In a largely ignored, but astonishingly vivid and precise analysis broadcasted on Al-Jazeera on November 1, 2004, Osama bin Laden explained how al-Qaeda was exploiting America’s political gullibility, economic power, and corporate interests for its own purposes and how unintentionally cooperative the Bush administration had been. It is easy, said bin Laden,

for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin [jihadists] to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies . . . So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy . . . That being said . . . when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that al-Qaeda is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.

Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations—whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction—has helped al-Qaeda to achieve these enormous results.

And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States, even if the intentions differ . . . for example, al-Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event [the 9/11 attacks], while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost— according to the lowest estimate—more than $500 billion. Meaning that every dollar of al-Qaeda defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.


In the spring of 2006 the tactic bin Laden described was being used by Iranian radicals, led by their fanatical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Their bravado about Iranian uranium enrichment appears designed to polarize Iranian relations with the west to their faction’s internal political advantage. As if on cue, War on Terror pundits in Washington, including members of the cabal that orchestrated the American-led invasion of Iraq, have begun promoting the idea of the preventive bombing of Iran, followed up if necessary by an invasion.

Such political calculations, along with supercharged policy arguments regarding Iranian nuclear capacities, reflect nothing so much as the frightening capacity the mechanisms of the War on Terror may have to produce the enemies the war needs to sustain itself. Indeed, as even the advocates of such a policy acknowledge, the regime in Tehran and its Hezbollah allies based in Lebanon would respond to American attacks with a worldwide campaign of terrorism against U.S. targets. These attacks would dwarf anything al-Qaeda has been or could be capable of mounting, thereby contributing a list of 9/11-type outrages long enough to help sustain the War on Terror for many years to come.

Lowering the Temperature By Ian S. Lustick
EXCERPT: Trapped in the War on Terror

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©2006 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 11/10/06