The extent to which the enemies of America abroad ape the anti-Western rhetoric of Western intelligentsia never ceases to amaze. The latest example features none other than Osama bin Laden, who in a recently released Internet recording lamented the massive flooding in Pakistan, for which he blamed - wait for it - climate change.
In the message, a voice believed to be bin Laden’s proclaims, “The huge climate change is affecting our nation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world,” which “calls for generous souls and brave men to take serious and prompt action to provide relief for their Muslim brothers in Pakistan.” But as John Collins Rudolf reminds us on the New York Times’ Green blog, it’s not the first time bin Laden has so railed:
“In an audiotape obtained by al Jazeera in January, the al Qaeda leader dedicated virtually an entire speech to the subject and laid particular blame on former President George W. Bush for failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions.” (How much greenhouse gas was emitted during the execution of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, bin Laden does not specify.)
America’s enemies are attracted to the arguments and rhetoric of the elite Western left for a simple reason: They share with the left the same hatred - for Western culture, especially capitalism - and the same goal - the diminution of Western (and especially American) power. Prominent left-wing scholars Frantz Fanon and Edward Said have synthesized the socialist critique of Western values with Third World anti-colonial fervor for legions of liberal academics and commentators, who like their ugly anti-American hatred dressed up in pseudo-intellectual ribbons and bows. This intellectual and spiritual alliance between the Western left and foreign anti-American radicals is poised to deliver a victory for al Qaeda of the kind that never could be achieved on the battlefield.
The destruction of America’s economic might has always been a principal goal of al Qaeda, which recognizes America’s economic dynamism as the source of its military power. Bin Laden himself has talked of “bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.” Yet bin Laden’s attempt to devastate the American economy directly with the Sept. 11 attacks was only marginally successful. A 2002 report on the economic consequences of the attacks, prepared by Gail E. Makinen of the Congressional Research Service, concluded:
“The economy was contracting when 9/11 occurred and it was poised to shift toward positive growth shortly thereafter. The terrorist attacks did cause some severe localized effects, especially in and around the target areas, and that may have muted the magnitude of growth in the fourth quarter. This fairly modest effect may have been due to assurances given by the Federal Reserve within hours of the attack that it was still in business and that sufficient liquidity would be available for the financial community. Over the next three days, the Federal Reserve added some $100 billion per day in liquidity. As a result, it can be argued, a human tragedy was not compounded by a financial crisis.”
While the Sept. 11 attacks failed in their ultimate goals that day, we are following ruinous policies that will do the terrorists’ work for them - crippling the U.S. economy on a scale of which bin Laden scarcely could have dreamed.
Al Qaeda’s attacks even may have helped the process along. Think about it. Terrorists attack the United States on Sept. 11. The U.S. pushes back hard, invading two predominantly Muslim countries and overthrowing the regimes in both. However, the American public judges the handling of the wars to be badly managed by the party in power (in this case, the GOP), putting the electorate in perfect position to be charmed by a left-wing, anti-capitalist candidate promising “change.” The left-wing candidate, once elected, proceeds to do what left-wing politicians do - expand the welfare state. Within short order, a new trillion-dollar entitlement is added to our already creaking economy, and the debt and deficits pile higher than ever before.
Our national debt - not yet two years into the Obama presidency - is a whopping $13.6 trillion, or 92 percent of gross domestic product. Some analysts, however, suspect the real number could range from $60 trillion to $200 trillion once you add in all unfunded federal liabilities. This is a fiscal house of cards that is destined to collapse, and catastrophically so. The sociopolitical chaos that will ensue can only be imagined. It also may be imagined that, wherever he is, if he still is, the chaos will give great comfort to Osama bin Laden and company.
Matt Patterson is senior editor at the Capital Research Center and a contributor to “Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation” (HarperCollins, 2010).