Osama bin Laden does not want you to vote for George W. Bush.
Yesterday al Jazeera released the full unedited text of Osama bin Laden’s election address to the nation, and after seeing it we can safely put him in the “anybody but Bush” column. Al Jazeera originally ran only seven minutes of the eighteen-minute tape. According to Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ali Ballout, the network broadcast what was “newsworthy and relevant” and would not comment on the remaining eleven minutes. You would think that all of the first confirmable new message from Osama since 2001 would be significant, and rumors began to float about what the missing sections contained. Jihadist web sites cried conspiracy, that Al Jazeera was showing only what the CIA would let it air. Another terrorist-affiliated website said it would post the entire tape in a couple of days. This type of outcry more than anything is probably what led Al Jazeera to post the complete transcript.
And in it we learn that the al Qaeda leader does not want President Bush reelected.
For Osama bin Laden this election is a referendum on the Bush presidency. Here is the gist of his argument against the president: he is a failure as a war leader. He has used the Patriot Act to stifle freedom. He ran up a huge budget deficit. He expanded the war to Iraq to help the “shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Haliburton,” and to secure Iraqi oil. And when things began to go wrong the president obstinately refused to change his ways. “So the war went ahead,” Osama said, “the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future.”
“And,” Osama adds, “it all shows that the real loser is…you.”
Bin Laden even has the chutzpah to invoke the dying thoughts of the victims of 9/11, which he characterized as, “Hold to account those who have caused us to be killed”–meaning not himself but President Bush. The terrorist mastermind justifies all of his actions as legitimate retaliation for the pain, suffering and death caused by the Bush family in the Middle East since 1991. OBL says he has been on-message for years, in interviews in which he has spelled out his goals and rationales, and through actions such as the Embassy bombings and the attack on the Cole, not to mention 9/11. Moreover, he remains belligerent: “We want to restore freedom to our nation,” he says. “Just as you lay waste to our nation, so shall we lay waste to yours.”
The final part of the message, which seemed to be an appeal to members of the Coalition to seek safety by abandoning the war on terrorism, was examined by the Middle East Media Research Institute and found to refer not to other countries, but to individual American states. When placed in full context, it is clear that MEMRI’s analysis is correct; bin Laden is trying to strike a deal with the American people to use the power of the ballot to create more blue states than red. Here is the full excerpt of his closing argument:
[K]now that: “It is better to return to the truth than persist in error.” And that the wise man doesn’t squander his security, wealth and children for the sake of the liar in the White House. In conclusion, I tell you in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida. No. Your security is in your own hands. And every state that doesn’t play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.
Seeing the tape in its entirety removes any mystery about its purpose. It is not a generic anti-American screed, as the original Al Jazeera edit was clearly meant to imply. The video is an appeal by Osama bin Laden to the American electorate to cast their votes against George Bush.
Knowing that, remember, as Osama says, your security is in your own hands.