Tag Archives: usama bin laden

A look at al Qaeda, the long war — and us

Summary: With the newest terror alert, it’s timely to review what we know about al Qaeda. What kind of organization is AQ? How are they fighting us? Here is a brief summary (quickly written), giving one perspective on these things. We are in war, a war of choice, a war we’re fighting in a mad fashion, a war that might have horrific effects (even more horrific effects) if we continue as we have since 9-11.

One of the 2 builders of 21st C America

One of the 2 leading builders of 21st C America



  1. Forms of al Qaeda
  2. What is al Qaeda?
  3. Fighting al Qaeda
  4. For More Information

This post is a summary of conclusions drawn in the dozen-plus posts about al Qaeda listed at the end. See those for the details of analysis and evidence. These are my guesses based on the available scraps of public information.

(1) Forms of al Qaeda

We are told of two versions of al Qaeda:

  • a powerful global organization like SPECTRE, THRUSH, & COBRA
  • a powerful system of a central unit plus national franchises

These are conflicting stories; neither has much supporting public evidence. The first is fiction, a useful creation of US propaganda after 9/11 to gain support for the Patriot Act and foreign wars. Based on the public information, AQ might no longer exist in any effective form. Just as a shattered remnant issuing PR materials — bolstered by the US government, for whom it’s a useful boogeyman.

The second version is equally questionable. There are effective national organizations using the AQ brand name (eg, AQ in Iraq). These have some things in common with other organizations using the AQ name and AQ “central” — belief in some form of jihadist theology, opposition to Western culture, etc. But they are not “franchises” in any meaningful fashion.

Franchises are licenses from a central organization to operate under its umbrella, usually with some degree of control by the center. Like McDonalds, perhaps the paradigmatic example. See this Bloomberg article about life as a McDonald’s franchisee, under the thumb of the parent. There is little evidence that’s how AQ operates, that the AQ HQ has such control over others using the AQ name, or that AQ “central” can provide meaningful support to the national AQs. AQ “central” does not even control the most basic element of a franchise: control over the name.

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Vital reading for America: two stories that might help arouse us to action

Summary:  Please read these in full. These are big stories. Too important to excerpt. Both concern every American. Perhaps they can help arouse the anger that might be the Republic’s only hope for survival.



“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased)

“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997)

Readers often complain that the FM website offers description of America’s problem — even diagnosis of America’s problems — but no solutions. I disagree.  People look for formulas, nostrums, simple & easy solutions.  Such as tinkering with the laws, Constitutional Conventions, even new ideologies.

I disagree.  Any of these paths have the potential to reform America if we wish to reform America.  None will work otherwise.  By “wish” I don’t mean asking the Blue Fairy for a wish, but demanding reform — with a willingness to pay any price to achieve it.  As have so many Americans before us.

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Bin Laden won, with our assistance. Our applause shows the scale of his victory.

Summary:  The real story told by “Zero Dark Thirty” is the historic victory of bin Laden, and the price he paid for it. Americans demonstrate this by their ignorant, enthusiastic applause for darkness of The New America, and their eager acceptance of the lies lovingly told by the film.

Bin Laden's BFF

Bin Laden’s BFF


About the hit by a heavily armed high-tech special ops team on an unarmed old guy and some women living in a suburban house, gloriously dramatized by “Zero Dark Thirty”:

What endures on the screen are scenes that can make a viewer ashamed to be American, in the context of a movie whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American.
— “Two Cheers for Zero Dark Thirty’s Torture Scenes“, Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s “Danger Room”, 10 December 2012

Bin Laden and al Qaeda accomplished what might be the most effective single military operation in history, especially on a effect per man basis.  It cost Bin Laden his life, eventually — a price he probably considered a fair exchange for this historic victory.

9-11 changed the course of a great nation, turning America decisively toward the dark side. Massive internal surveillance, militarization of police, endless war, hatred of Islam., torture, lifetime detention without trial, incessant propaganda, and a stream of fake terror plots (created by the government).

We pay for this with larger deficits, loss of global leadership, and corruption of our people (eg, jingoism, bloodlust).  We see celebrate these things, the death of the America-that-once-was, by applauding the film “Zero Dark Thirty”.

Welcome to The New America!   Brought to you by al Qaeda and the US government, with the willing assistance of the US people.

For more about bin Laden see:

  1. ImportantWas 9/11 the most effective single military operation in the history of the world?, 11 June 2008
  2. Bin Laden wins by using the “Tactics of Mistake” against America, 6 February 2011
  3. Important:  About the strategic significance of bin Laden’s execution, and the road not taken, 5 May 2011

Other layers to the film’s significance, showing our true selves

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Death celebrates 9-11. Can we stop and think before we walk further along the road of terror?

Summary:  The news from Libya has produce the usual flood of American hysteria, and the natural (by now, habitual) but foolish desire to strike back. It should instead force us to stop and think. As should the attacks by our Afghanistan allies. Something has gone terribly wrong with the War on Terror brewed in cold calculation during the dark days after 9-11.  How appropriate that this occurs on its anniversary. Today to find a useful perspective we go to the fringes of “respectable” political thought in America, and find some golden insights we can use.  At the end are links to a wealth of additional useful articles.

Osama bin Laden

“He [VP Cheney] would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it – Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. In other words, he thought the whole world had to be made anew, and that after September 11, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. … We’re coming after you, so change or be changed.”

— UK PM Tony Blair in his memoir A Journey: My Political Life.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
— Aphorism 146 in Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

Although ignored by senior leaders of the US government before, after 9-11 the name Al Qaeda became a totem for the American people. The stop button on our brains, it’s mention the equivalent of waving the bloody shirt. Any thought about our strategy must start with questions about the myth and reality of al Qaeda. These were asked here in 2005 (and countless times since), and for most Americans it remains unanswered. Here are some answers, confirming what we’ve said here so many times.

The Uses of al-Qaida

by Richard Seymour
London Review of Books, 13 September 2012
Reposted with their generous permission

President Obama has waged war on al-Qaida by drone and by ‘kill list’. Vladimir Putin has hunted al-Qaida in the North Caucasus. The late Colonel Gaddafi, and now Bashar al-Assad, have summoned alliances against it. The alarming ubiquity of al-Qaida, its mitosis and metastasis seemingly outpacing the destruction of its cells, is attested by the multiplication of enemies on the US State Department’s list of ‘foreign terrorist organisations’. In 2002, al-Qaida appeared as a single entry; now there are four officially recognised organisations with the same root brand: al-Qaida (AQ), al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The list also includes the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, usually described as an ‘affiliate’ of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The taxonomic determinacy of this list is deceptive. Consider al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the group held responsible for organising the attempt in 2009 by the ‘underwear bomber’, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to blow up a plane en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. AQAP was one of the most alarming new franchises identified in a briefing given to Congress by the Federation of American Scientists in 2005, one of a rash of new ‘presences’ and ‘affiliates’ of al-Qaida emerging from Bali to Mombasa. It was said to be responsible for an attack on the US consulate in Jeddah in 2004 and, the FAS claimed, was attempting to overthrow the Saudi royal family. Yet, 5 years later, a Carnegie Endowment analysis paper traced the origins of a group called al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to the emergence of a small number of jihadis who had escaped from prison in Sanaa in February 2006. And the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported that ‘al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) emerged in January 2009 from the union of two pre-existing militant groups: al-Qaida in Yemen (AQY) and al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia.’

Can these various expert analyses all have been discussing the same organisation?

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The Republic has died. Let’s decide how to commemorate those responsible. Post your ideas!

Summary:  Here we discuss the hidden history of our generation (hidden to us, obvious to future generations). At the end we announce a contest.  What kind of monument best commemorates the two men responsible for killing the Constitution?

The Constitution has died.

It lived only in our hearts.  At first government officials moved beyond the Law in secret (organizations such as the CIA were explicitly setup to do this).  Then they leaked their deeds, testing for acceptance.  Now they boast, rewarded by our applause (enthusiastic acceptance).

The Presidential campaign provides its wake, as candidates boast how they’ll take us into the post-Republic era.  Obama has an advantage, as he can boast what he’s done to destroy the Constitution.  About killing by drones, about the execution of bin Laden. As we see in yesterday’s advertisement pretending to be news in the New York Times: ”Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will“.

We’ll see the movie later this year of a heavily-armed special operations team executing a old man.

The November election will provide a plebiscite ratifying the death of the Founders’ dream, as we passively choose between two candidates each devoted to building the post-Constitutional America.

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