Among other things that this tells us, it shows that he is alive. No other statement since shortly after 9/11 had Osama on video talking about any contemporary events.
Also, will this finally silence all the corrosive drivel about how the CIA and/or Mossad pulled off 9/11?
CAIRO, Egypt – Osama bin Laden, reading a statement to the American people in a new videotape aired Friday, directly admitted for the first time that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks and said “the best way to avoid another Manhattan” was to stop threatening Muslims’ security.
This is, of course, what certain American and European analysts have been saying since 9/11: if we just stop bothering them, all this will go away. But this founders on history. Before Iraq, before Afghanistan, before the founding of Israel, before the founding of the USA, there was still jihad. If Osama didn’t have the grievances he trots out, he would have others: they are mere pretexts, as changeable as stage sets. Jihadists like to point to the abolition of the caliphate in 1924 as the source of all their woes and the cause of their struggle today — but there were other jihads, and other pretexts, long before 1924.
I think this point may be one of the most difficult of all for Americans to grasp.
It was the first footage of the al-Qaida leader to surface in more than a year. The video, broadcast on Al-Jazeera, showed bin Laden with a long gray beard, wearing traditional white robes, a turban and a golden cloak reading from papers in front of a plain, brown curtain….
There was no way to determine when the tape was made, although it did refer to next week’s presidential elections in the United States.
“We decided to destroy towers in America,” bin Laden said, referring to the World Trade Center.
“God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind,” he said.
He accused President Bush of “misleading” the American people since the 2001 suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands,” bin Laden said.
“To the U.S. people, my talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster,” he said. “I tell you: security is an important element of human life and free people do not give up their security.”
“If Bush says we hate freedom, let him tell us why we didn’t attack Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have dignified souls, like those of the 19 blessed ones,” he said, referring to the 19 hijackers.
“We fought you because we are free .. and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours.”
I am not a Wilsonian. I do not think that every human heart harbors a natural longing for democracy. I would be inclined to tell him, sure, freedom for your nation. Run your nation according to your own devices, and may God help you. But many in your nation have the idea that they should make war against those in my nation who resist the imposition of your idea of the ideal system of government. As Sayyid Qutb said, “The foremost duty of Islam is to depose Jahiliyyah [the government and society of unbelievers] from the leadership of man.” And to do so, he makes clear, by force. That is not a prescription for peaceful coexistence; no doubt many Westerners will think that that is what Osama is offering, but it isn’t.
UPDATE: Drudge has a full transcript.