Bin Laden’s writings suggest we defeated him a long time ago

There’s some interesting information about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida in an Associated Press story based on writings by bin Laden taken from the compound where Navy SEALs killed the terrorist leader last month. Add it up, and it seems we had marginalized bin Laden and, in his view, won the battle of ideas long before we finally killed him:

As Osama bin Laden watched his terrorist organization get picked apart, he lamented in his final writings that al-Qaida was suffering from a marketing problem. His group was killing too many Muslims and that was bad for business. The West was winning the public relations fight. All his old comrades were dead and he barely knew their replacements.

Faced with these challenges, bin Laden, who hated the United States and decried capitalism, considered a most American of business strategies. Like Blackwater, ValuJet and Philip Morris, perhaps what al-Qaida really needed was a fresh start under a new name.

“Al-Qaida,” in bin Laden’s mind, was that it wasn’t evocative enough of a struggle of America versus all of Islam — a notion that President Bush refuted from the very beginning of the war on terror:

The problem with the name al-Qaida, bin Laden wrote in a letter recovered from his compound in Pakistan, was that it lacked a religious element, something to convince Muslims worldwide that they are in a holy war with America.

Maybe something like Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad, meaning Monotheism and Jihad Group, would do the trick, he wrote. Or Jama’at I’Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida, meaning Restoration of the Caliphate Group.

As bin Laden saw it, the problem was that the group’s full name, al-Qaida al-Jihad, for The Base of Holy War, had become short-handed as simply al-Qaida. Lopping off the word “jihad,” bin Laden wrote, allowed the West to “claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam.” Maybe it was time for al-Qaida to bring back its original name.

Bin Laden may have thought it was “deceptive” of America to say it wasn’t at war with Islam as a whole, but it seems Muslims found us more persuasive. That runs counter to the idea promulgated on the anti-war left that we were losing the battle for Muslim hearts and minds by taking the fight to the terrorists.

In fact, bin Laden believed it was al-Qaida, not the U.S., that was losing hearts and minds in Iraq:

In one letter sent to [deputy Ayman al] Zawahri within the past year or so, bin Laden said al-Qaida’s image was suffering because of attacks that have killed Muslims, particularly in Iraq, officials said. In other journal entries and letters, they said, bin Laden wrote that he was frustrated that many of his trusted longtime comrades, whom he’d fought alongside in Afghanistan, had been killed or captured.

And while our search for bin Laden took more than nine years — long than that, if you count President Clinton’s efforts — it seems we had long since succeeded in rendering him ineffective:

Using his courier system, bin Laden could still exercise some operational control over al-Qaida. But increasingly the men he was directing were younger and inexperienced. Frequently, the generals who had vouched for these young fighters were dead or in prison. And bin Laden, unable to leave his walled compound and with no phone or Internet access, was annoyed that he did not know so many people in his own organization.

Any chance this changes the minds of those who claimed Bush had ignored bin Laden and that it took Obama to nab Osama?

Probably not.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

78 comments Add your comment

JKL2

June 24th, 2011
12:01 pm

-Any chance this changes the minds of those who claimed Bush had ignored bin Laden and that it took Obama to nab Osama?

No. Wasn’t it obvious the little guy hiding in the corner was in charge of everything?

Junior Samples

June 24th, 2011
12:17 pm

No matter how you spin it, the result is still the same. President Bush didn’t kill bin Laden.
President Obama did.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Soothing isn’t it.
Feeling better now?

MrLiberty

June 24th, 2011
12:29 pm

Obama also said that his plan was to drag us into an unwinnable war in the middle east, bankrupt the country through out spending on the war, and divide the nation.

Not only that, but in the end, the FBI never even showed him as being tied to the 9-11 events that our previous liar-in-chief used to justify the two illegal wars he dragged us into(never mentioned anywhere on OBL’s FBI page). Really gotta wonder about that fact.

Sounds to me like HE WON.

Harvey Schock

June 24th, 2011
12:50 pm

Would you be writing this if it were President Bush who oversaw the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden? My guess is that you would be taking on President Bush’s detractors.

Logical Dude

June 24th, 2011
12:59 pm

MR LIberty: Obama also said that his plan was to drag us into an unwinnable war in the middle east, bankrupt the country through out spending on the war, and divide the nation.

Ummmm… Who?

Intown

June 24th, 2011
1:05 pm

I’m not sure why you think this would make people change their minds that it took Obama to nab Osama or why you single out some stray far left argument as your straw man. First of all, Obama did get Osama and Bush did not. Second, there was near universal support among Americans left, right and center immediately after 9/11 that we should go into Afghanistan and “take the fight to the terrorists.” Third, the problems of losing our focus on the fight with Al-Qaeda (the guys who actually attacked us on 9/11) started when Bush’s weak mind allowed our nation to have its eye taken off the ball by Cheney and others pushing their own agenda — taking out Saddam Hussein. Well, Bush got Saddam. But, it took Obama to get the guy who actually attacked us on 9/11.

Logical Dude

June 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

Kyle: it seems we had marginalized bin Laden and, in his view, won the battle of ideas long before we finally killed him:

Technically, I completely agree wtih you on this statement. He was mostly toothless and trapped in his own compound.

You seem not to mention though. Although marginalized, he still needed to be brought to justice.

“Any chance this changes the minds of those who claimed Bush had ignored bin Laden and that it took Obama to nab Osama?”
Well, when Bush himself says something like “I don’t worry about him anymore”. . . well, it sure sounds like Bush was ignoring him. (although *I* know in reality we were doing all we could to track him down by following any credible leads)

joe

June 24th, 2011
1:24 pm

leave the past in the past…now what are we gonna do about Obama’s war in Libya, out of control entitlement spending, 14+ trillion in debt, 9+ unemployment, 3.50 gas ($4 elsewhere) and refusal to cut any decent budget cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling?

FLA Alum

June 24th, 2011
1:30 pm

Obama didn’t get anyone – the Seals did. And they did it in spite of Barry’s lame policies or decisions.

Here we go again

June 24th, 2011
1:32 pm

But in a world where those who shout loudest, with the most radical ideas receive the most press, I’d say plenty of people in america — on the far right — really do consider us to be at war with Islam.

GW

June 24th, 2011
1:32 pm

The Seals work for the CiC, President Obama, and they took out Osama under orders from their boss.

Logical Dude

June 24th, 2011
1:33 pm

FLA Alum,
Obama didn’t get anyone – the Seals did. And they did it in spite of Barry’s lame policies or decisions.

Well, it was the Presiden’t final authority to go in and actually DO this. So yes, Give credit where credit is due. The Seals for their performance, and the president for the green-light of the operation. Without one or the other, it wouldn’t have happened.

Fred

June 24th, 2011
1:35 pm

I don’t know Kyle Wingfield at all and had never read anything he wrote. I found this piece interesting and informative, even uplifting, until from out of nowhere comes a political slant to it. Disappointing. I think Bush and Obama and countless other Americans in various jobs have fought al-Qaida. Oh, how I hate all the partisanship now. One can hardly find any responsible reporting without a political punch thrown in. Maybe I just miss journalism.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
1:53 pm

Obama did not get Osama, he was just in ofice while the CIA and Navey killed him. Obama has prolonged the recession, Hillery has further distanced us from the rest of the world and if the Dems get re-elected into control of our government, we all loose…

Michael

June 24th, 2011
1:54 pm

It was not Obama who got Osama Bin Laden I didn’t see one picture of him there! It was the Navy Seals that took him out!

Brent

June 24th, 2011
1:54 pm

Uh, Fred, this is in the op-ed pages ( that stands for opinion/editorial ). You should really get out more.

Mr. Dithers

June 24th, 2011
1:55 pm

Surely you aren’t saying that Bush nabbed Osama, are you, Kyle? We know that didn’t happen. Are you saying that it has all been a lie, and that we hadn’t needed to worry about Osama any more or that Al-Qaida wasn’t a threat all those years we been after them in Afghanistan? Surely you aren’t saying that either. The letter you note was sent to his deputy was written “in the last year or so”, and I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that Barack Obama was President during that time frame. So what is the point of this article, beyond taking a gratuitious shot at the President? Is there any other point to it?

Cutty

June 24th, 2011
1:55 pm

President Clinton’s efforts? Ten years ago every republican alive was blaming him for 9/11. As if Bush came in office the day before. This whole piece is retrospective, childish banter. Bush himself said multiple times that bin Laden was not a high priority, and he didn’t think about him much. Face it, the killed was killed on Obama’s watch, with his authority. I know how bad that hurts you war fanatics feelings but its fact.

Kyle Wingfield

June 24th, 2011
1:57 pm

“Although marginalized, he still needed to be brought to justice.”

Logical Dude, I agree with this completely and gave Obama his due credit at the time (and still do now). And while you say *you* knew we were really trying to get him all along, I think — and the comments on my blog at the time of bin Laden’s killing reflect this — a lot of people didn’t think so.

Jon P

June 24th, 2011
1:58 pm

First of all, let’s get something straight…Obama did NOT kill Osama. Navy seals did and it was not because “we finally found him”…it was because Obama needed positive publicity. Secondly, let’s be honest…Obama is the one that is destroying America through his incompetence and wasteful spending. He’s worse than Osama ever thought of being. The sad thing is that instead of calling Obama out and, hopefully voting him out, we’re being distracted and congratulating him for the death of Osama instead of seeing what he’s actually doing (or not doing). Sad. Open your eyes and stop judging by appearance only and start looking at the things that matter to the citizens of this country (unemployment, government spending out of control, higher taxes) and see things for what they are. I admit that no politician is perfect and none are trustworthy (i.e., will do what they say they will do), but once they’ve had a chance to make an impact and fail to do so, it’s time to try someone else. Ask yourselves this question…”what impact does the death of Osama Bin Laden have on this country? Does it help create jobs, does it lower the federal deficit or does it get you a pay increase?” If not, then Obama needs to go. Vote him out in 2012 and give someone else a chance.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:01 pm

Before the raid, I will bet you a dollar to a dime that Obama did not know the name of the informant, the commander of the mission or a single troup on one of the copters. If the mission had failed it would have been another copter accident in Afganistan. Since we got him, he has used it to his political benefit as much as possible.. I wish I had a job like that…

Filter

June 24th, 2011
2:05 pm

Grizz,

It’s really hard to take someone seriously that can’t spell Navy.

The Truth

June 24th, 2011
2:07 pm

Kyle, really, who cares about getting the credit? The man is gone and the network is not nearly as strong as it was. I dont consider myself liberal or conservative but American. That is what is wrong with the US right now….we refuse to compromise waiting for precious soundbites on either FOX or MSNBC. You can see the wide divide on these blogs all the time and it is really nasty. We just need to man up on both sides, walk across the aisle and find out what is best for the country as a whole. And we can do it without Osama bin Laden….he is gone.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:08 pm

I can spell, I cant type.. LOL

DebbieDoRight

June 24th, 2011
2:12 pm

What a bunch of partisan hacks you “Obama DID NOT kill Osama” people are! Obama didn’t pull the trigger, but he did give the order. I bet any of you $10 that if the Order from Obama had went the other way and Osama had escaped and/or countless Seals had died, you would’ve been more than happy to give Obama his due then.

You people sicken me. Divide and conquer, Osama didn’t do that — Faux News and people like Kyle did. Hope you’re happy.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:17 pm

This is how stupid congress and Obama is. The stimulus package that we spent 360 billion on bailed out the financial institutions and automobile industry and put the rest of the country in bankruptcy. A Atlanta economist proved that if we had given every American over the age of 50, one million dollars with three stipulations, You had to retire, had to purchase or payoff your home, and had to buy a new car, that it would have solved the mortgage crises, the unemployment problem and the auto industry. It was presented to congress and was turned down, why; they could not buy votes with it. And but the way, it would have saved us $140 BILLION…..

mike

June 24th, 2011
2:18 pm

I imagine there will be those out there always spinning President Obama was not responsible for getting ole bin Laden. Sort of like US history now be told the slaves came to this country to help the southern farmers. Do you folks ever get tired of taking the facts and just bending them into something else?

Real American

June 24th, 2011
2:20 pm

It still hurts like it did the night of the announcement doesn’t it Kyle? LOL

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:22 pm

Mike, I am about facts and accountability. If there is one thing missing in our government is accountability. Unless you sent lude photoes over the internet from you liberal congressional office…

Chi Town

June 24th, 2011
2:23 pm

Obama did not get Osama.

He was back at the White house while the white man when and did the work.

DollarDawg43

June 24th, 2011
2:25 pm

The fact that three U.S. Presidents approved dedicating resources to find OBL and the time it took to acomplish the task proves how dicy this kind of thing is in that part of the world. Rather than criticize any of our Presidents we should be thankful that each of them, representing each party and having very different political views, realized how important this was and never lost sight of finding this guy.

Each one deserves credit. Without the contributions of each administration this monser would still be on the loose.

Atlanta 1

June 24th, 2011
2:26 pm

Facts:

President Clinton could have taken him out before 9/11 and didn’t do it.

President Bush did drag us into two wars at the same time that cost American lives, injured many and hurt our tresury. But he did managed to make this evil SOB pretty much ineffective. Could there have better way – I believe so.

President Obama, who promised to get us out of Iraq and close Gitmo and has done neither. Why? Logic says, that once the office became his – he got a dose of the ‘real world’ and decided to do what was pragmatic and correct verses what would score him points on the left. (Too bad he didn’t draw that same conclusion with health care).

President Obama made a gutsy call and took a calculated risk and got rid of this scumbag once and for all. Did the work the Bush team put in place help? Absolutely, but this President lived up to what he said he would do. Step up attacks in Pakistan and would go in to Pakistan if he had evidence that Bin Laden was there. So give credit where credit is do…

Is what it is…

Destiny

June 24th, 2011
2:27 pm

Are some of you people serious? As the President,(so disrespectful to refer to him as anything else) said in his speech, “On my Order” so yeah he did kill Binny Boy. W (in my best Texas drawl) was to busy lining his pockets and those of the Vice president who was way too busy shooting his friends in the face.

GaDAWG

June 24th, 2011
2:27 pm

I find it funny all this talk about Obama killed Osama, and he is the savior of this country, and blah blah blah… He is a failure above all failures at this job we call “leader” of America. He, Obama, has done nothing for this country but draw the dividing line even wider. What America needs to do is flip thru a few documents that describe what this county was founded on. I hope and pray that this country gets it right in 2012 and doesn’t just look for the hand out from someone making promises he can’t keep.

Finn McCool

June 24th, 2011
2:29 pm

Still can’t get over the fact that the cowboy from Texas couldn’t find, much less kill, the #1 enemy of the USA.

It took a Muslim,Socialist from Kenya to get the bad guy for the Cowboy!

mwuahahahahahahahaha

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:31 pm

GaDAWG, you are spot on….. I wonder how many people on this BLOG voted for Obama and for their congressional representitives for what they promised them as opposed to what they would do for the country.. Liberal idiots…

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:33 pm

I bet they all believe in entitlements, wellfare, food stamps and income redistribution from the people that went to school, worked hard, make a decent living and raise responsible children,,

Mr. Skynyrd

June 24th, 2011
2:34 pm

Shooting him in the head was too easy. Should have brought him back to Times Square, put him in a basket attached it to a crane. Hoisted his Muslim aZZ up as high as the crane would go, lit the basket on fire and watched him jump, like the people in the Trade Center. Maybe we’ll do Al Zawahri that way (or whatever the he!! him name is).

Elliot Garcia

June 24th, 2011
2:35 pm

Any fool that would still vote for Obama needs to lay off the reefer….

Filter

June 24th, 2011
2:36 pm

Fair enough Grizz. I don’t think I realized how much a cheap shot that appeared to be until I saw it in print. My apologies.

KyleIsBushWhacked

June 24th, 2011
2:36 pm

Kyle says “Any chance this changes the minds of those who claimed Bush had ignored bin Laden and that it took Obama to nab Osama?” Say what Kyle? Bush himself while president said he wasn’t interested in or think much about Osama. Just let it go with trying to credit Bush with anything.
Get a life Kyle.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:38 pm

Filter, No worries..It’s Friday!!!!

Just Saying...

June 24th, 2011
2:39 pm

$3 trillion committed for the Iraq folly – where Sadam wanted nothing to do with bin Laden. Right, Kyle, you keep on believing Osama was front and center for Georgie boy.

Elliot Garcia

June 24th, 2011
2:42 pm

Obama couldn’t lead himself out of a paper bag….

Intown

June 24th, 2011
2:42 pm

I revise my earlier posting.

Bush did not take out Saddam. The 4th Infantry Division and Task Force 121 did.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:43 pm

AHHH only in America, both sides have an opinion and neither have a clue. God bless America, we need it..

Tundra Dude

June 24th, 2011
2:44 pm

al-Qaida really needed was a fresh start under a new name.

Exactly right. You know the name “Al Qaeda” was a Western invention. No self-respecting T group would use that as a name.
I doubt there were any billboards in the Mideast, such as:
Wanted: A Few Good Men …to Join the Toilet Brigade

“Ana raicha Al Qaeda” is colloquial for “I’m going to the toilet”. A very common and widespread use of the word “Al-Qaeda” in different Arab countries in the public language is for the toilet bowl. This name comes from the Arabic verb “Qa’ada” which mean “to sit”, pertinently, on the “Toilet Bowl”. In most Arabs homes there are two kinds of toilets: “Al-Qaeda” also called the “Hamam Franji” or foreign toilet, and “Hamam Arabi” or “Arab toilet” which is a hole in the ground. Lest we forget it, the potty used by small children is called “Ma Qa’adia” or “Little Qaeda”.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:45 pm

Elliot, that is a much kinder way of saying it than I had in mind. He could not find his A$$ with a road map, Onstar and a GPS..

Bobby

June 24th, 2011
2:46 pm

It was under Obama’s watch that Osama bin Laden was killed. End of story. The only thing Bush/Cheney did was involve us in wasteful invasion of Iraq and lost sight on the capture of OBL.

Grizz

June 24th, 2011
2:49 pm

Bobby, Have you ever been at the right place at the right time and accepted credit for something you had nothing to do with.. If so, run for office..