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Reading Osama

Saturday, September 8, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

MSM and New media alike rush past some news events when a much anticipated story looms.

Because the Petraeus Report will be so critical, there’s a huge amount of speculation about it, and rightly so.

But OBL’s letter deserves more than a “skimming” and the trite, prepackaged responses such skimmings bring.  That’s why I read the entire transcript on last night’s program –I doubt very much if many if any newspapers printed the entire thing, and Americans should hear from their media in great detail what the “leader” of one of their two great enemies from within radical Islam is saying.  Don’t let the fake beard angle, amusing at it is, lead you to skim over this amazing message.

Now some serious reactions are beginning to appear.

Gabriel Schoenfeld has thoughts on OBL’s missive here

John Hinderaker posts on it here and here.

Instapundit collects some links on the video.  As does Ed Driscoll.

David Frum is startled to find he has Osama as a reader.

From Wretchard at The Belmont Club, this succinct summary:

It’s almost as if Osama the Muslim, not the infidel, has converted. From the tone of his remarks, Osama no longer speaks to the American people as the potentate of an unstoppable international apocalyptic movement, but rather as someone, who if you were ignorant of his true identity, might just as well be a spokesman for the Muslim wing of a Western political party.

I have been going through Lawrence Wright’s still-amazing The Looming Tower again –listening to it this time, a very useful approach to once or twice-read books– and against the backdrop of Osama’s goals a dozen years ago and his beliefs on how those goals would be achieved, Wretchard is on to the key fact about the letter:Osama’s a defeated man trying to find some new reason to believe and some call to a flock that is getting wary of losing every battle while being told it is winning the war.

Take some time to read the whole transcript this weekend.  There are new bin Ladens emerging in unlikely places, but the original enemy has not helped his image or his cause with this sequel.

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