Since running away at Tora-Bora, Bin Laden has mainly served as al Qaeda “propagandist in chief.” His main task is to make al Qaeda appear relevant. Osama spin is reflected through his video and audio tapes in two ways.
First, al Qaeda’s chief makes veiled and vague threats; that way if something happens he can take credit for it. If nothing happens, he doesn’t lose credibility.
Second, Bin Laden stays topical. He links al Qaeda’s goals and aspirations to events in the news. So, for example, when violence spiraled out of control in Iraq, he called the country—the central battleground for his cause. (On the other hand, when terrorists in the country got whacked right and left, he stopped talking about Iraq). More recently, Bin Laden tried to take credit for the attempted Christmas day bombing of a Detroit bound plane. (Though the group that launched the attack is linked to al Qaeda many doubt Bin Laden played any operational role). In his latest screed from his cave in Pakistan, Bin Laden attacked the United States over global warming.
According to a report in The Washington Post, he “blamed the United States and other industrialized nations for climate change and said the only way to prevent disaster was to break the American economy, calling on the world to boycott U.S. goods and stop using the dollar.”
Bin Laden must be getting desperate for ideas. Now, he is not even creative. He is just the latest in the long line of those that have jumped on the climate change bandwagon for no other purpose than to vilify and attack the United States.
The truth is the United States already does more than most countries to protect the environment. Indeed, the more developed economies are, the more they do to take care of the environment. “Evidence abounds,” point out the Heritage Foundation’s Terry Miller and Anthony Kim, “ [t]he Environmental Performance Index (EPI), published by the World Economic Forum, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, provides ‘a composite index of current national environmental protection efforts.’ Levels of economic freedom and the EPI are positively correlated at a statistically significant level. The freer the economy, the higher — and more sustainable — the level of environmental protection.” The surest way to save the earth is to promote economic freedom.
Sadly, it is not only terrorists like Bin Laden that advocate the opposite. Debunking their idiotic ideas is the first step to making them irrelevant.
With regards to Bin Laden, however, that is not enough. Perhaps the most important take away from this latest tape is that winning the war in Afghanistan and rooting Bin Laden out of Pakistan matters. Words can kill. As long as al Qaeda holds out in Pakistan they will give hope to their cause. When they are crushed, their cause will die with them. Defeating terrorism means crushing its campaign to spread ideas and arguments as well as taking out its leadership, support networks and sanctuaries.