The Zawahri Memoir
Terrorist attacks on Western civilians are justified because they live in democracies and are directly responsible for government policies that anger Arabs, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant implies in the latest excerpt of his memoirs. In the passages that appeared Tuesday in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Ayman al-Zawahri says the West understands only "the language of self-interest coupled with oppressive power."
"If we want to make them understand our rights we have to speak to them in the language they understand," he said.
In his memoirs, al-Zawahri accuses the West of the "crime" of creating Israel. "In undertaking this crime, the Western countries were supported by their people. Those people enjoy the freedom of decision .... In the end, they vote in elections to choose the governments they want, then pay taxes to willingly finance their policies," he said.
Al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy and, some say, the brains behind the outfit, certainly simplifies Western decision-making. All citizens of any country, regardless, are by this reasoning fair game for any group who opposes something their goverenment does. Citizenship itself becomes the crime, with death the punishment. This bit of sophistry has been published before, especially in the Middle East with regard to Israeli citizens. It's a necessary attitude if one is to justify attacks on teenagers and granny ladies. Unless there is some justification the indiscriminate killing of members of entire blocs of population would have to be called by its true name: murder.
Al-Zawahri certainly gives the lie to accusations that the USA is carrying out a war against Muslims. A determination to kill people because they vote in elections and pay taxes is not a religious conviction. It isn't even a political conviction. It is pure psychopathy. And if the conversation is being phrased "in the language we understand," certainly the West must reply in the same language; to do otherwise would be discourteous. That means we should kill every adherent of al-Zawahri's kind of twisted reasoning anywhere they can be found.
Al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden, and their backers declared war not only on the United States, but on the West. Because those declarations were phrased in the terminology normally associated with raving madmen, the United States and the West didn't take them seriously. That allowed our enemy to achieve some notable successes against us. But the successes only came because war is so much easier to fight when there is only one side engaged. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were a product of hubris -- and lunacy.