The Cult of Al Qaeda
July 11, 2005
Al Qaeda is a stew of toxic ingredients: rightwing fundamentalism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, nostalgia for empire, and a glorification of violence. It’s a cult, and most cults quickly collapse under the weight of their own foolish doctrines.
But some cults last longer when the leaders and recruiters of the cult can point to everyday events and say, “I told you so.”
And that’s what bin Laden and his followers have been able to do.
First, with the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia. Then with the sanctions on Iraq. Always with the U.S. support for Israel’s brutal policies of occupation. And now with the invasion of Iraq, and the torture at Abu Ghraib, and the roundup of thousands of Iraqi men.
Bin Laden and his followers have an easy recruiting job.
I’m sure they can go to almost any Muslim capital in the world and find 100 people on any given day who will volunteer for a suicide mission.
That’s what we’re up against.
Bush says, simply, “the war on terror continues,” and doesn’t give a moment’s thought to U.S. policies that might be aiding the terrorist cause. “We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home,” he said in his July 9 radio
address, oblivious to the fact that the London bombings put the lie to this rationale, at least as far as the people of Great Britain are concerned.
Now I don’t believe in caving in to terrorists. I hate Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda hates me.
But I also don’t believe that the United States should continue pursuing immoral policies just because Al Qaeda opposes those policies.
The Iraq War is immoral.
The unconditional support that the U.S. gives Israel is immoral.
The United States should get out of Iraq and stop giving Israel a blank check not to appease Al Qaeda but because it’s the right thing to do.
Al Qaeda will continue on its bloody path, and it will find other excuses for its inexcusable, despicable actions.
But its appeal will diminish, and we’ll be the safer for pursuing decent policies.