As of Osama bin Laden’s Friday video, in which he prattled on about George Bush’s reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren as the Twin Towers were attacked, we know that he is a Michael Moore fan.
Perhaps “From Cannes to the caves, they love him,” will be the new slogan for Moore. But of course the video was more than a review for Osama’s favorite filmmaker.
One of the best reviews of the video is from Belmont Club (a blog that really is coming into its own right now):
“It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.”
Belmont Club argues that there are only two answers to the question bin Laden poses:
“The American answer to Osama’s proposal will be given on Election Day. One response is to agree that the United States of America will henceforth act like Sweden, which is on track to become majority Islamic sometime after the middle of this century. The electorate best knows which candidate will serve this end; which candidate most promises to be European-like in attitude and they can choose that path with both eyes open. The electorate can strike that bargain and Osama may keep his word. The other course is to reject Osama’s terms utterly; to recognize the pleading in his outwardly belligerent manner and reply that his fugitive existence; the loss of his sanctuaries; the annihilation of his men are but the merest foretaste of what is yet to come: to say that to enemies such as he, the initials ‘US’ will always mean Unconditional Surrender.”
New York Times columnist David Brooks also had a must-read piece on the meaning of the bin Laden tape (Brooks penned one of the best leads I’ve seen lately: “The nuisance is back!”)
That’s a reference to John Kerry’s remark to the New York Times magazine that terrorism, if treated as a law enforcement problem, can be reduced to the level of a nuisance–like gambling or prostitution.
Brooks doesn’t think bin Laden looks quite so tamable:
“Well, the Osama bin Laden we saw last night was not a problem that needs to be mitigated. He was not the leader of a movement that can be reduced to a nuisance.
“What we saw last night was revolting. I suspect that more than anything else, he reminded everyone of the moral indignation we all felt on and after Sept. 11.
“Here was this monster who killed 3,000 of our fellows showing up on our TV screens, trying to insert himself into our election, trying to lecture us on who is lying and who is telling the truth. Here was this villain traipsing through his own propaganda spiel with copycat Michael Moore rhetoric about George Bush in the schoolroom, and Jeb Bush and the 2000 Florida election.”