Dear Americans Defending Bin Laden: He’d Still Want To Kill You

Photo by Al-Jazeera/Getty Images)

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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It should come as no surprise that lefties on TikTok are cheering for Osama bin Laden’s infamous “Letter to America.” More surprising is that parts of bin Laden’s critique of America resonates with conservatives as well. But anyone who defends any one part of bin Laden’s critique is missing his larger point. No matter how much you agree with him on America’s many ills, bin Laden would still kill you for one very simple reason.

Thousands of users took to TikTok this week to post their reaction to bin Laden’s letter, where he explains why he attacked the United States on 9/11. The videos come from people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, but appear mostly to come from younger generations. The reaction, however, is all largely the same: bin Laden opened their eyes to the realities of geopolitics, and they will never be the same again. In the context of the current Hamas-Israeli War, they have come to understand how one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. (RELATED: ‘You Failed’: Megyn Kelly Slams The Parents Of TikTokers Who Have Been Praising Osama Bin Laden Online)

This is exactly the point that the 2002 letter – scrubbed from the internet after its viral re-emergence – sought to make. In the letter, bin Laden addresses two questions:

“(Q1)Why are we fighting and opposing you?”

“(Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?”

Q1 lays out a list of grievances against America’s supposed oppression of the Muslim world. He critiques American support for Israel for causing the “oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation” of the Palestinian people. He argues that Muslims are the “original Semites” and that historical Jewish claims to the land are “fabricated lies.” He indicts the oil trade as the “biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world,” and claims that U.S. military bases “corrupt our lands” and “besiege our sanctities.” All Western exploitation is said to occur under American “supervision, consent and orders.” Against such a great evil, resistance is both necessary and righteous.

“It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression,” he argues, even against “innocent” civilians. The American people “choose their government,” “pay the taxes,” and fight in the army that oppresses the Muslim world –  no one is innocent.

Twenty years ago, this may have been shocking. Now, it just sounds like the average $50,000 a year college education. It’s no surprise that a generation raised on this relativistic bile would revel in finding it in its natural habitat. Like bin Laden, America’s so-called marginalized communities seek retribution for the “taste of humiliation” that an oppressive American system is said to have inflicted on them.

Yet it is the answer to Q2 that disconcertingly resonates with many conservative critiques of America.

“We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest,” he argues. “We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.” He even evokes the Founding Fathers: this is “precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.”

In other words, a decadent, liberal elite is responsible for all that’s wrong in America. Is this the world’s most infamous terrorist talking, or a conservative talk radio host?

Interestingly, liberals and conservatives can both evoke bin Laden “They hate us because of your jingoistic imperialism,” a liberal can shriek. “No,” a conservative can reply, “they hate us because of your decadent individualism.” Both are true, to an extent, but are symptoms of a large disease. Radical Islamists hate us because we are not like them: “The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam,” bin Laden writes.

He does not just want for America to leave the Muslim World alone; even an active push for “decolonization” is not enough. Rather, he wants a “complete submission” to Islam and “the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict” it. The Queers for Palestine would be treated the same as American military generals under the global Caliphate.

Neither does he wish to see the American moral revival that conservatives have long pined for. He is not against the excesses of liberal individualism that leads to 50 percent divorce rates and child drag shows. Rather, he opposes even the Founding iteration of liberalism, that enshrines religious tolerance and where the concept of individualism is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is this very tolerance and individualism that he opposes. Even the most morally upright Western is still an infidel. (RELATED: Social Media Giants Crack Down On Viral Osama Bin Laden Letter Justifying 9/11 Attacks)

No matter how based or woke you are, bin Laden would still want to kill you. He is on a religious crusade, and his critique of America cannot be separated from his underlying Islamic supremacism – the same mentality that is alive and well among Hamas terrorists.

That brings us to the last bad actor in this story: the tech censors who want to make it appear as though the letter never existed. Scrubbing it from the internet, whether it’s the Guardian taking down their archival copy or TikTok banning the video responses, is wrong. Yes, the letter expresses great evil, but it is a piece of history that must be understood. If we view our enemies as one dimensionally evil, unworthy of closer examination, we make ourselves feel good but give them the upper hand by underestimating the complexity of their motivations. At a time when Islamic extremism is once again surging around the world, that’s no longer a luxury we can afford.