T Nation

Our Own Private Bin Laden

I ran across this in some of my studies. IMO, it is well worth the hours time to watch if you have an interest in the Cold War, the Middle East, and the rise of Extremist Islamism.

I’d like to think some of the topics discussed are common knowledge, but from my experiences talking to people, I don’t think they are.

Ze Big New. Lol! He’s a nut.

Seriously though, no one is going to spend an hour watching that. What are these things we don’t know that we should? Summarise for us.

It’s mostly a historical thesis about where we are today based on the past. It’s of mixed political bias, including interviews with individuals both on the left on the right. The thesis the author is presenting, is that we are on the line between history and current events. The historical solutions to the problems we are facing, largely inherited as there are soon going to be leaders who weren’t alive when this all started, are going to lead us (the US/the West) to “self anhilation” and that we need to rethink a solution to this problem, which requires re-evaluating exactly what got us here.

It was the work of an Iranian woman whose father was associated with the Shah’s “regime” and he was executed after the revolution while she escaped to America with her family. This was the birth of Islamism, led to the Desert 1 tragedy and also the events in the film Argo.

It starts with an introduction on the Cold War by Milt Bearden, the CIA’s man on the ground during the proxy war between the US and Soviets in Afghanistan. He introduces the major threat to the US back then as the Soviets and throughout the film discusses his role in arming the resistance and also his thoughts on how to fix the problem it has created. Next comes the inverview with ZBig and how his policy of getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was implemented. We won this and it ended the Cold War, but also led to the rise of Jihadism and the polarization of the Muslim world i.e. some blowback and unintended consequences.

Next comes more good stuff, the BCCI scandals, Pakistani drug dealing, medieval Islamic societies ruled by corrupt governments and the West’s general method of owning them.

It eventually concludes that we ended the Cold War, which led globalization and the rise of the multinationals, who have lobbying power and the ability to sway policy in there favor, etc, etc. Some more “leftist” type thinking here and an interview with Chomsky, although the point remains is that there is now a profit motive to continue with the status quo.

Finally, it focuses on the media’s focus on Bin Laden, and how it actually created a “north star” for terrorists and motivated them more.

Milt Bearden’s quotes at 1:00:10 are specifically worth watching, that if this trend continues it becomes a fight against the birth rate of the Muslim population and “ain’t no white folks going to win that battle”

IMO, really worth the watch.

Okay fair enough. I don’t have time to watch it but I’ll give my opinion. The enemy of the West is ourselves not Islamic fundamentalists or any other extrinsic threat. I agree with the Hegelian concept of “the end of history” - but this state will never become universal or permanent. It is merely the end of our history. All it takes for history to start over is two guys to have a political argument.

Germany reached the end of history after WWI and an argument ensued and revolutionary conservatives won the argument domestically then lost it internationally. Radical Islam is just the latest argument against the enlightenment and parliamentary democracy. It’s an argument we cannot win unless we reject the enlightenment ourselves and embrace ultranationalism.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Okay fair enough. I don’t have time to watch it but I’ll give my opinion. The enemy of the West is ourselves not Islamic fundamentalists or any other extrinsic threat. I agree with the Hegelian concept of “the end of history” - but this state will never become universal or permanent. It is merely the end of our history. All it takes for history to start over is two guys to have a political argument. Germany reached the end of history after WWI and an argument ensued and revolutionary conservatives won the argument domestically then lost it internationally. Radical Islam is just the latest argument against the enlightenment and parliamentary democracy. It’s an argument we cannot win unless we reject the enlightenment ourselves and embrace ultranationalism.[/quote]

In this case, she is questioning your conclusion and that we need to embrace “enlightenment” and start to question ultranationalism, as ultranationalism may likely lead to the end of our history, sooner rather than later.

[quote]theuofh wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Okay fair enough. I don’t have time to watch it but I’ll give my opinion. The enemy of the West is ourselves not Islamic fundamentalists or any other extrinsic threat. I agree with the Hegelian concept of “the end of history” - but this state will never become universal or permanent. It is merely the end of our history. All it takes for history to start over is two guys to have a political argument. Germany reached the end of history after WWI and an argument ensued and revolutionary conservatives won the argument domestically then lost it internationally. Radical Islam is just the latest argument against the enlightenment and parliamentary democracy. It’s an argument we cannot win unless we reject the enlightenment ourselves and embrace ultranationalism.[/quote]

In this case, she is questioning your conclusion and that we need to embrace “enlightenment” and start to question ultranationalism, as ultranationalism may likely lead to the end of our history, sooner rather than later.
[/quote]

I didn’t say we need to embrace “enlightenment”. I said we need to reject “the enlightenment”:

Or more specifically, we need to reject the two ideologies of enlightenment philosophy that have shaped the political landscape:

  1. The “rights” of universal man - collectivism

and

  1. The “rights” of the individual - classical liberalism

If the individual believes he is entitled to certain “rights” then he should be willing to fight and die for them. Show me a libertarian who is as fanatical as an Islamic fundamentalist and I’ll show you a unicorn.

Men don’t fight for abstractions like “universal rights” - they fight for their own rights. And in most cases not the right to be free from but rather the “right” to be free to - ie, to impose their will on others.

Bin Laden said that when a man sees a strong horse and a weak horse he will naturally choose the strong. He was right. If the West is going to confront radical Islam it needs a coherent organising principle. Pluralism, diversity and universal rights are not a coherent organising principle. Nationalism is.

Just watch the flick when you have an hour.

[quote]theuofh wrote:
Just watch the flick when you have an hour. [/quote]

I shouldn’t need to. If you agree with any of the things asserted in the video you should be able to articulate them yourself.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]theuofh wrote:
Just watch the flick when you have an hour. [/quote]

I shouldn’t need to. If you agree with any of the things asserted in the video you should be able to articulate them yourself.[/quote]

The film is basically a series of interviews with individuals from a broad range of political beliefs and nationalities. This yields some relativity on what is a very complicated problem, beyond what is typically captured in the typical media streams of information.

uofh, sounds like a very interesting film. I don’t have an hour right now but if I get some down time I will come back and watch it. An interesting thesis as you describe it, I’ll hve to see if I take the same message away

Interesting article. I posted it in the Iraq thread as well since I thought it was relevant. Thoughts?

edited:
Theuofh, you seem to be blaming the United States way too much. The Russians also had many allies in the Middle East,& propped up just as many dictators over the years. They also armed Saddam and if you were around during the Iran/Iraq war, you should know this. The Iraqis were never our allies, hell, they even took a shot at our ship The Stark. We may have backed them 'cause they were an enemy of our enemy, but, having a Stalinist government, they were always Russia’s ally.

I’m going to try to break this down for you and I really hope you’ll take me seriously because I’m not American - I don’t really have a dog in this fight.

[quote]theuofh wrote:

It’s an interesting article, but it seems to blame the Islamists way too much. Even if you had stable governments, whose side are they on? Does it even matter how sectarian they are?

Saudi Arabia is every bit as fundamental Islam as anyone else, including the prosecution of Christians, but they obey and keep stability.

[/quote]

This is absolutely true. Saudi Arabia is the most radical Islamist regime on the planet.

True again. But Saddam “went off the leash” when he invaded Kuwait and threatened the world’s oil supply.

I always agreed with this. I thought it was a strategic error of enormous magnitude. But I backed Bush out of loyalty - when the US went to war with Saddam I backed the US because my country(Australia) has been in debt to the United States since 1942. It’s an actual existential debt. The United States is the guarantor of our security. Why would I side with Saddam of all people against my benefactor?

This is where we part in a big way. The Islamic fundamentalists in Iran are not angry that we overthrew a secular, democratically elected leader(Mossadeq) - they hated Mossadeq. Why? Because he was secular and democratically elected. They had assassinated the previous democratically elected leader themselves and would have done the same with Mossadeq. To say the removal of Mossadeq is the source of their grievance is a profound misunderstanding of their motivations. The Islamic fundamentalists in Iran are not interested in secularism or democracy. Surely you realise this?

I’m asking questions to try and figure it out. I’m an engineer and not a philosopher or historian. I was also a toddler when the Iran-Iraq war finished.

I don’t mean to blame the US, and I’m not un-American, but most of the material I can find that brings this stuff up is of an obvious political slant, and they definitely don’t talk about it on the news. I try to keep that in mind as I go through it, but sorting the wheat from the chaff is at times a challenge. There is a lot of history here before that I was not alive to experience as well.

Additionally, a lot of the interesting material on the cold war is just now being published.

Rumsfeld did give Saddam chemical weapons. I can look that one up. I’m not defending Saddam, nor making a moral judgement on past actions.

[quote]theuofh wrote:
I’m asking questions to try and figure it out. I’m an engineer and not a philosopher or historian. I was also a toddler when the Iran-Iraq war finished. [/quote]

No problem.

I hear ya, but I lived through those years and remember how many of the Middle Eastern Dictators were anti-US, and anti-Israel. You also had the beginnings of terrorist groups in Lebanon and the PLO constantly killing Americans in the 80’s as well. A lot of the hatred I blame on anti-US KGB propaganda which was spread throughout the third world during the Cold War.

[quote]
Additionally, a lot of the interesting material on the cold war is just now being published.

Rumsfeld did give Saddam chemical weapons. I can look that one up. I’m not defending Saddam, nor making a moral judgement on past actions. [/quote]

I did some research and retracted some statements from the post above…hence the “edited”.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

This is where we part in a big way. The Islamic fundamentalists in Iran are not angry that we overthrew a secular, democratically elected leader(Mossadeq) - they hated Mossadeq. Why? Because he was secular and democratically elected. They had assassinated the previous democratically elected leader themselves and would have done the same with Mossadeq. To say the removal of Mossadeq is the source of their grievance is a profound misunderstanding of their motivations. The Islamic fundamentalists in Iran are not interested in secularism or democracy. Surely you realise this?

[/quote]

Can you talk more about this?

I have a naive understanding of Iran’s history starting with Mossadegh, mostly from Wikipedia.

This is kind of what I’m getting at:

The US, at least our ruling class, is a bit hesitant to accept a responsibility for their role in creating the terrorist threat. The start of a solution, is first at least privately admitting this, so we can start dealing the problem at it’s root versus trying to manage the manifestation.