Bloggers on the latest Bin Laden tape.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 20 2008 7:27 PM

Bin Laden Speaks. Or Does He?

Bin Laden speaks. Or does he? A new audiotape featuring Osama Bin Laden's voice has surfaced with yet another series of warnings and rebukes from He Who Shall Not Be Found. In this one, Bin Laden accuses the publishers of the Danish Mohammed cartoons—and the pope! —of advancing a "New Crusade" against Islam. Kind sirs of Christendom, he doth protest, "You went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings." Also, the toons were a greater offense to this newfangled Emily Post of mass murder than the West's killing of Muslim women and children.

Small Dead Animals shows that al-Qaida evidently stole one screen capture in a recent propaganda video from the film 300: "The Al-Qaeda media braintrust's latest production incorporates images of Spartan spears drenched in the blood of Persians."

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At Commentary's contentions, Emanuele Ottolenghi writes: "Bin Laden has just officially applied the doctrine of taqfir against Europe because of the Danish cartoons. Taqfir, it should be recounted, means the permission to punishment unbelievers by death: unbelief, more than any other sin, dooms souls to hell in Islamic thinking. What Bin Laden said is short for 'Europeans, as a body politic, are apostates. And they deserve to die.' " "People like OBL are incapable of seeing and understanding irony, aren't they?" says Michael van der Galien at PoliGazette. "Sure, it's perfectly fine to blow yourself up in the middle of a market, in an attempt to kill as many innocent 'non-believers' (and believers) as you can, but publishing a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammed is considered to be 'uncivil' and in breach with 'the etiquettes of dispute and fighting.' "

Steve Skojec says bring it on: "If you want a new crusade, Bin Laden, go ahead and go after the pope. Ever hear of the Battle of Lepanto? How about Granada? Vienna? The Catholic armies of the past broke the back of the Ottoman Empire and scattered the warriors of jihad so badly they had to nurse their wounds for centuries."

The Jawa Report thinks Bin Laden's dead: "The Muhammad cartoons were first published in September of 2005! There is literally no doubt in my mind now. This is an old audio, probably from 2006, of bin Laden. As Sahab must have been embarrassed that they had nothing to offer the world on this the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, so they hurriedly released an old audio they had lying around. The fact that there was no accompanying banner is evidence that they threw this together last minute." Pretty much, addsReport on Arrakis: "Why is Bin Laden harping on news from 2 years ago? No mention of Geert Wilders' upcoming movie? No one's even seen the movie and already you have some muslims foaming at the mouth. But Bin Laden only talks about the motoons, because he doesn't know about Fitna, because in most likelyhood he is dead."

Read more about Bin Laden's message.

Misspoke? Many news outlets have reported John McCain's "gaffe" in Jordan (later repeated elsewhere) when he said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaida is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran." Joe Lieberman thereafter whispered in McCain's ear that he should have said "extremists," not al-Qaida. The online left, as well as Barack Obama, have jumped all over this item, pointing to it as proof that McCain doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to national security. But conservatives defend the senator, arguing that there is ample evidence to support his original, retracted claim.

At MyDD, Jonathan Singer asks: "Even considering McCain's apparent strength in polling, are Americans really going to elect someone who is fudging the facts about a purported relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq in the immediate wake of a presidency in which the administration went to great lengths to allege a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda in order to get the country behind a war in Iraq?"

Blogs for John McCain retorts that the candidate was in fact right about an al-Qaida-Iran nexus running through Iraq: "It would seem that both the AP and the liberal bloggers jumping on McCain need to educate themselves a bit more. It's pretty obvious that they had no desire to look around to see if there was any evidence that McCain was actually right. All they were interested in was playing 'gotcha' and exploiting it for political gain."

And Thomas Jocelyn at the Weekly Standard's Blog says McCain was wrong to apologize for the statement. Among Jocelyn's assertions is that "the theological differences between Iran and al Qaeda have never been a serious impediment to cooperation. For example, I wrote a lengthy essay on the topic of Iran's cooperation with al Qaeda going back to the early 1990's. And in a recent piece, I detailed the evidence cooperation between Iran's chief terrorist, the late Imad Mugniyah, and al Qaeda."

Your Right Hand Thief worries: "the 'McCain is "confused" meme' feeds into voters' fears that he is too old to be President. So every time he makes a gaffe, the 'confused' description can be used by the Dems, and—most importantly—can be repeated over and over again with plausible deniability."

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.

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