You have spoken much of how you see this war, and your reasons for starting it and carrying it on. Your statements have been read by millions. This is my response. I am not a powerful politician, I am just an American citizen. Read my words as I have read yours.
In 1991, Iraq, under its megalomaniacal dictator, Saddam Hussein, tried to invade the much smaller neighboring state of Kuwait. For once the west acted promptly to stop a conqueror before he got started. Operation Desert Storm freed Kuwait, protected Saudi Arabia from invasion, and decimated the armed forces of Iraq.
We heard nothing from you on the injustice of Iraq conquering Kuwait. But the presence of non-Muslims in the holy land of Saudi Arabia inflamed your bigoted heart. You declared war on us. In 1993 you tried to blow up New York's twin World Trade Towers, succeeding only in killing six people. You set off bombs in hotels in Kenya in 1998, killing hundreds because Israeli tourists were staying there, and in Indonesia in 2002, killing hundreds more, because British and Australian tourists were staying there. You fired rockets at an Israeli airliner in 2002, narrowly missing because your soldiers didn't understand how to use the weapons very well. You bombed trains in Spain in 2004, killing hundreds of people, and subways and buses in London in 2005, killing dozens more.
But your greatest success (if you can call it a success to kill thousands of innocent people) took place on September 11th, 2001. Al Qaeda agents armed with box cutters took over four airliners over the US. They flew two of them into the World Trade Towers, killing almost 3,000 people and finally bringing the giant office buildings down. A third plane hit the Pentagon in Virginia, killing hundreds more. A fourth plane was probably meant to hit either the White House or the Capitol. But a revolt by its passengers, led by account manager Todd Morgan Beamer (peace be upon him); medical research company Vice President Thomas Burnett (pbuh); sales manager and judo expert Jeremy Glick (pbuh); flight attendant Sandra Waugh Bradshaw (pbuh), and many others, forced the hijackers to crash the plane in an empty field near Somerset, Pennsylvania. All on board were killed, but the heroism of ordinary Americans saved the lives of a building full of people.
You give six justifications for your war on the west. Let me know if I have understood your position correctly. I would not like to argue against a straw man.
1. You despise Israel because you do not want Jews in Muslim lands, especially Jews who rule and oppress Muslims.
2. You despise America and its allies because our troops are in those same lands. As with the Jews, you see the mere presence of non-Muslims in Muslim lands as desecration.
3. You despise us because we occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. This is, of course, a direct result of your own actions, but that does not stop you from citing it as one of our crimes.
4. You despise us because we give aid and comfort to governments, including Russia, China and India, which are repressing Muslim minorities.
5. You resent us because we pressure middle eastern oil producers to keep prices low.
6. You resent us because we support the tyrants who rule most Muslim countries.
Here is how I see those issues.
1. Israel, and western support for it.
The state of Israel originally belonged to the Jews. God himself gave them that land, and they have lived there continuously for thousands of years. The prevalence of anti-Semitic hatred around the world prompted the creation of the Zionist movement in 1890. In addition to the land owned there by Jews since time immemorial, Jewish organizations bought more land in that area from 1890 to 1948. They bought it from Muslim owners who were perfectly happy to sell it, transacting commerce freely and without coercion.
Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime exterminated a third of the Jews of Europe from 1939 to 1945. Many of the survivors fled to the land then called Palestine. The United Nations granted them a state there. The proper response from Muslims in the area would have been to show hospitality to a new neighbor, as to a guest. Instead, infected by Nazi propaganda preached in the area for years by anti-Semites such as Haj Amin Effendi al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who sat out the war as a guest of Adolf Hitler, the Muslim nations attacked Israel repeatedly. In the 1967 war Israel captured the west bank of the Jordan river, and Gaza, from neighboring countries which had attacked it. The Israelis have now left Gaza. I believe they ought to leave the west bank as well. But you know and I know that even if they gave it up tomorrow, you would still hate them and want them driven out of the area entirely.
Western support for Israel, which has no oil, comes about simply and solely because the west supports self-determination and nation status for all people, including the Jews, and because democracies support other democracies. Although the west should pressure Israel to give up occupied lands, Israel itself has a right to exist in perpetuity, and the west will continue to support it. We do not and will not abandon a friend.
2. The presence of non-Muslim troops in Muslim lands.
There is nothing in the Holy Qu'ran or the hadiths which say Muslim lands should be free of all non-Muslims. This doctrine is solely yours. Civilized peoples know how to behave toward a guest. You do not appear to hold civilized values in this regard.
We entered Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1991 to defend them from a brutal and unprovoked attack. If you feel Saddam Hussein was right to invade Kuwait, you have a strange lack of empathy for Muslims unjustly attacked and oppressed. If you believe Saddam Hussein was wrong to attack Kuwait, why was the US or UK wrong for sending troops to help Kuwait?
Your hatred for Jews and Christians is simply and solely bigotry on your part. It serves no end other than the protection of your self-image and self-regard. It is not the will of God, and you do not speak for God when you express hatred of Jews and Christians, who, like Muslims, are people of the Book.
3. Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
For you to complain about this is surely hypocrisy on an unheard-of level. American and British and other allied troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq simply and solely because you attacked us and we had the right to try to destroy you in retaliation. And rest assured, we will. In the meantime, note that your intense desire to see fewer western troops in the area has resulted directly in more western troops being in the area.
4. Western support for states fighting Muslim insurgencies.
We support Russia, China and India in their struggles against Muslim minorities because those Muslim minorities, influenced directly by you, have adopted your terrorist tactics of attacking innocent civilians. Chechnya had the sympathy of the entire world once, and it was entirely possible that the world would have pressured Russia into making concessions to the oppressed Chechnyan people. But when they took over an opera house and an elementary school and hundreds of civilians died, the Chechnyans lost the sympathy of the world.
This is a general principle of western thought which you do not seem to understand. Any cause that uses terrorist tactics, be it the cause of Palestine, of Chechnya, or of Al Qaeda, causes western minds to turn against that cause. To use terrorism is to make western minds stop listening to you. It makes your claims, not illegitimate, but indefinitely postponed. One does not negotiate with a gun to one's head. Stopping terrorist tactics must be a prerequisite to negotiations. Terrorist tactics never intimidate free peoples. They only harden their resolve. Hijacking airplanes, blowing up cafes and buildings, threatening and killing the innocent, wins you nothing at all. It only makes enemies.
5. Western pressure to keep oil prices low.
The United States and all its allies are too addicted to oil. This is a fact. We would be wise to develop alternate sources of energy. But while we still use oil, we have every right in the world to haggle over the price. That is what commerce among free people is all about. You don't dictate the price and force others to pay it. You negotiate. There is nothing morally wrong in the US asking OPEC to keep prices low. It is normal for a buyer to seek a low price, just as it is normal for a seller to seek a high price. But to force one party or the other to agree to terms at gunpoint is not moral and is not justified; it is theft. I believe the Holy Qu'ran condemns theft. So does my religion, Christianity. So does Judaism.
6. Western support of Muslim tyrants.
This may be the only legitimate complaint in your litany of grievances. The west has, indeed, supported regimes it ought not to have supported. But you will never get any country to change such policies by killing its civilians. Again, the use of terrorism loses you sympathy, and makes those you are trying to reach stop listening.
You are wrong, Mister bin Laden. It is wrong to kill civilians. It is wrong to kill the innocent. It is an offense against human law and custom, and more than that, it is an offense against God. Who are you to murder God's children? If you want to wage a war, wage it against soldiers. That is how civilized people behave.
You are in the wrong. You ought to give up, disband Al Qaeda, and surrender to western authorities. You will be fairly tried, and very likely, you will be convicted and executed for the thousands of murders you have committed or ordered. But surrendering would be the right thing to do. Continuing to wage your sordid war against civilians would be the wrong thing to do.
I know how you resent anyone who disagrees with you. I know that Al Qaeda has operatives in the US, and perhaps they will try to retaliate against me personally, or my family, for posting this letter. That is no reason to refrain. Free people speak freely. If they are civilized, they do so politely. I do not think I have been impolite to you. I have spoken respectfully, stating facts. If you decide that I must die because of that, I will leave the outcome in God's hands.
Shema Yisrael: Adonai Elohenu: Adonia Echad.
Father in Heaven, into Thy Merciful Hands I commend my spirit. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, and by the grace and power of the Holy Ghost. Amen.Barton Paul Levenson