Parts of an old letter from Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, are beginning to look uncomfortably accurate in the wake of President Joe Biden’s abandonment of the Afghanistan war effort.
The letter was sent to British newspaper The Guardian in November of 2002, and was titled “If Americans refuse to listen to our advice – then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the previous Crusades.”
A portion of the letter reads as follows:
“The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.
If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen (Islamic fighters), fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.”
It’s easy to see parallels in many of the references to the Soviet war effort (1979-1989). There can be little doubt that many terrorist groups will see the U.S. withdrawal as a victory, and encouragement for the one tried and true tactic against the US: simply wait them out.
The debacle has also breathed new life into what was a slowly dying organization: al-Qaida. The various al-Qaida accounts and supporters on Twitter (who remain unblocked and acceptable to Twitter, unlike a former U.S. President) were quick to gloat and congratulate the Taliban on the fall of Kabul. Charles Lister, Middle East Institute Director of counterterrorism programs told Yahoo News, “For Al-Qaeda, this is a dream come true. This breathes new life into Al-Qaeda for the first time in many years, if not since before 9/11.”
Bruce Hoffman, senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that bin Laden had also boasted in a videotaped statement during the 2004 presidential election that forces in Afghanistan had “bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat,” in a “war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.” Hoffman was alarmed that with a safe haven to reorganize in, the terrorist threat to the American homeland was now greatly elevated.
The Taliban and other terrorist groups aren’t the only ones gloating in the wake of America’s humiliation.
The People’s Republic of China, rising contender and aspiring archrival to the US, has certainly been amused to see America humiliated, though their snickering may be a bit premature. As Professor Eswar Prasad of Cornell University stated, “It’s hard to imagine this won’t spill over the border in some fashion or the other.”
As the withdrawal continues to humiliate America’s image and prestige at home and abroad, bin Laden’s smug bragging appears to have been turned into prophetic words.
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