Column: Respect for the enemy

Who ultimately pays the cost of the war in Iraq? Definitely not President Bush and Dick Cheney. The President and Vice President have only profited. “Anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind,” can see it. “The real loser is you … the American people and their economy.”

What did the Bush administration do with the power that the people entrusted him with after the tragedy of 9/11? “Under the disguise of fighting terrorism … he moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom (seen in the Middle East) to his own country. They called it the Patriot Act.”

The author of those quotes is a psychotic; a fundamentalist murderer with a horribly skewed interpretation of Islamic doctrine deserving to have his head posted on a pike at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Yet despite the fact that he is by far one of the worst human beings in modern history, it’s really disturbing that Osama bin Laden is coming out and making more sense than a majority of American politicians and media personalities. He knows more about our nation than some of us.

Right-wing readers are already thinking, “Osama’s attacking the Bush administration because they stand for freedom, and Osama hates freedom.” If the propaganda Bush spews about al-Qaeda hating freedom was true, then why didn’t they, as Osama puts it, “attack Sweden?”

The war on terror is not as cut and dry as some would like to believe, and the latest tape from Osama bin Laden is attempting to show America just that. We just need to actually listen.

Bin Laden’s newest video tells of how when he saw the towers of Beirut fall in 1982, he felt that the people who were responsible needed to pay. The same way we need to make him pay for what he did on 9/11. Hate him as much as you want, anyone who saw the towers come down in New York cannot help but relate to the anger that bin Laden must have felt when he saw the same thing happen in Lebanon.

He describes a scenario comparable to the one in Israel and the Palestinian territories with two sides that have both been attacked refusing to let the other have the last laugh. The problem on both sides of this conflict is one of ego. As Americans, we refuse to concede to the reality that bin Laden’s hatred is fueled by legitimate reasons. But face it, America, in the past, we have screwed up and made mistakes in policy that have killed innocent civilians. No matter whether you’re from America or from the Middle East, if you see someone kill women and children you are going to hate them. Bin Laden saw American actions cost the lives of Lebanese innocents. To say he is in the wrong for hating the American government is to say that we are wrong for hating al Qaeda.

To those reading this column and thinking I’m a traitor and an unpatriotic sympathizer who hates America; you’re close-minded and infantile.

I hate Osama bin Laden, I hate al-Qaeda, and I hate anyone who is willing to intentionally kill any civilian. That’s the difference between us and them – when we kill civilians it’s supposed to be by accident, while they do it on purpose.

There is a line between America and al Qaeda, but it should be one of respect. We must learn about what drives our enemy, if only so that one day it may be possible to end his existence.

Sun Tzu said, “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril … If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.” Bin Laden has proven that he knows us. We do not know him. Until we respect him and his kind enough to learn about them, understand the way they think and the reasons for those thoughts, they will have the upper hand.

-The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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