Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Message To The West (Al-Awlaki)

This is a message from Anwar Al-Awlaki to the west (it was a message to me from a Facebook friend). What is his message to the west? What does it mean? What's he talking about!?

Firstly, Who Is Anwar Awlaki!?
Dead. He was an American born Al Qaeda propaganda operative who was considered extremely dangerous due to his ability to understand and communicate with potential western Jihadis. He was one of the factors that pushed Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hassan to turn his gun on Americans. He and his son were killed in 2011 by sequential drone strikes.

What Is His Message To The West?
He is here to tell us that:

  1. The West cannot win! The war is expanding!
  2. Obama promised transparency--but he didn't grant it!
  3. We are not safe--we used to be able to buy airplane tickets in the newspaper with no dogs, scanners, and whatever. Now? SCANNERS!! YOU AREN'T SAFE!? We even hit you on your holiest of days: Christmas day (the underpants bomber).
  4. Our men are lining up to fight! See that!? They are asking to be allowed to kill Americans when you come! See that!? They're not afraid! They can't wait to be martyred!!
  5. We are fighting for Truth and Justice! You are fighting for Imperialism and Oppression!!
  6. Your foreign policy is why we attack you! Why Hassan attacked you! 
  7. Fellow Muslims of the west--either attack them--or leave and live amongst our kind.
It ends with video of beardo himself firing an RPG rocket at a giant rock and shooting a single shot into an empty desert with an AK-47 as Islamic hymns are sung.

What Does It THINK It Means?
Well, first off, it's a little old--the guy died two years ago. But the points are pretty much all the same all the time. Let's see:
  • We Are Implacable: We will never give up--ever-ever.
  • You should dislike Obama for "reasons"
  • We are scary--scary-scary. Look what we have cost you: LONG LINES FOR FLIERS!! Whatever you do don't remember the Underpants Bomber was a joke!
  • Your people love life. We love death. You'll never hear one of ours saying YOLO, will you! Advantage: Jihadi!
  • We are fighting for truth, justice, and throwing acid on school girls.
  • Fellow Muslims--you don't like the US anyway, do you? C'mon--admit it. Life sucks and you could blame the FBI.
What Does It REALLY Mean?
If Awlaki was one micrometer as sophisticated about Americans as he was supposed to be he knew one thing for certain: most Americans would never, ever hear this message. So what was he trying to do? Well, here we go.

Firstly, his audience is American kids who are disaffected and angry and might turn to his side. Mostly these would have to be Muslims--but he'll take anyone. He wears a sword and an American 1980's Army jacket. This says, in American symbolism, I am a bad-ass. He has a stack of books including the Koran. This says "I am studied."

He wears a shirt-mic for sound--but has a microphone in front of him on the desk--like he's being interviewed by the press. I am important.

He has his black and white "pirate flag" (where else have American audiences seen a black and white flag?) which says "I am a renegade." Wouldn't you like to be a bad-ass righteous renegade too? Just blow up a Christmas tree or something: Boy will your parents be embarrassed THEN!

The argument he uses is actually far left: that Obama is not transparent is sometimes a right-wing criticism but is more accurately a left-wing "he didn't live up to our hopes" approach. The imperialism charge? Left-wing. The It's-Your-Fault-Foreign Policy attack? Left wing. Basically he's talking to disaffected liberal-like people on the theory that angry young Muslims will never be part of the Tea Party no matter how much they hate America.

Is Any Of This Interesting?
Not so much. Are we less safe today? Not really:
The 70's SUCKED

Does our foreign policy cause terrorism? I doubt it as a primary cause. Here is a lengthy article called The Roots of Muslim Rage: the theory is that as the formerly great Islamic culture went into decline they are embattled by opposing forces of secularism and modernity. Both are implacable enemies that cause great consternation and humiliation and they identify the west as the source of both. In other words? They kinda do hate us for our freedoms.
Ultimately, the struggle of the fundamentalists is against two enemies, secularism and modernism. The war against secularism is conscious and explicit, and there is by now a whole literature denouncing secularism as an evil neo-pagan force in the modern world and attributing it variously to the Jews, the West, and the United States. The war against modernity is for the most part neither conscious nor explicit, and is directed against the whole process of change that has taken place in the Islamic world in the past century or more and has transformed the political, economic, social, and even cultural structures of Muslim countries. Islamic fundamentalism has given an aim and a form to the otherwise aimless and formless resentment and anger of the Muslim masses at the forces that have devalued their traditional values and loyalties and, in the final analysis, robbed them of their beliefs, their aspirations, their dignity, and to an increasing extent even their livelihood.
Are Jihadis just plain better troops than Americans? Because of their lust to die fighting us? Earning Al Qaeda's Respect. It talks about the loving-life-vs-loving-death appeal and decides that drones are the solution to the equation: they allow a win-win wherein Americans live and Jihadis die. The article makes the case that elements inside the Jihad have changed their opinion of what American force can deliver on:
In other words, it is not merely that American and other Western forces are good at hitting what they aim at. They are also victorious in their campaigns against the jihadists. A letter from Abdelmalek Droukdel, the emir of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, to his subordinates in Mali urged them not to provoke a military intervention from any of the “great powers” because that would inevitably lead to the defeat of the effort in Mali.
Finally, there's one more thing: according to the Islamic literature the only war individual forces can launch is a defensive one--it takes an actual pan-Arabian Caliphate to launch an offensive war. As such everyone on their side of the game is careful to make it clear they have no other options! They've tried everything in order to not have to do this. Now the only solution left is to turn their unending war on the United States and her allies.

This is, of course, bullshit. It's the same thing White Power says in the US--or the IRA said in Ireland. Here it's just dressed up in Sharia law. Basically they're going to fight as hard and as dirty as they can until the last person gives up on their rage. A 100-year war plan is what you have when a 10-year war plan won't realistically win you anything.

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