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The supposedly inevitable spread of democratic political systems, capitalistic economics, and secularism. I'd like to thank you all for coming out tonight and World Affairs Council of Northern California and all the other hosts, who are responsible for allowing me to speak tonight I'm in their debt. I very much appreciate it. I'm kind of new at speaking in public. I spent 25 years not doing it. And I finally broke down last week and ordered some business cards just because writing my emails on napkins and other kinds of paper got tiresome. But I begun to do a little more talking and I think about 3 weeks ago, I was feeling a little bit cocky because someone had asked me to speak and I was going to go and they called and said, "Well, we're going to have about 200 people." I said, "Oh my God! 200 people."Talk to me. So, when my children got home from school, I said, "Well listen. I'm going to speak tomorrow night and there's 200 people coming to listen to me." And, they kind of walked away without any comment and my daughter, who's in 5th grade, turned around and came back and she said, "Don't worry dad. Sometimes the teachers make us listen to people we don't want to hear either." So, I hope at the end of this evening, you don't feel as though the teacher made you come and listen. Today, America is engaged in a war of survival against an enemy unlike any other our country has fought. We have been so engaged for the best part of a decade and yet, we have not yet begun to understand our opponents. Laden personified by Osama bin Laden our enemy at once more complicated and more simple than he has been recognized. Religion is the key to understanding our enemy and so far, we have fought shy of making that judgment. Bin Laden, and those he leads, have presented us with a struggle we cannot avoid. A conflict in which the choices are not between war and peace but between war and endless war. We cannot talk our way out of this war and we cannot and must not try to appease our way out of this war. At the same time, we cannot win and survive if we use only the two tools now available to us: intelligence operations and military actions although harsher and more prolonged applications of each will be required. This is the context in which I will present this talk. A talk which also will have a decidedly nationalistic edge to it. It will focus on how America got to its present position and how America will fail to defeat the enemy if we do not recognize the enemy's most important motivation is what we do. Not who we are or what we believe. And if we do not review and perhaps alter the status quo of our policies toward the Islamic world, this is an effort to permit America to employ a range of war fighting tools that is not limited to only the military and intelligence operations. The stage was set for our present dilemma more than 15 years ago. As you will recall, the buzzword 'change' dominated discourse on world affairs in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Gorbachev held power in the Soviet Union that was failing economically at home, militarily in Afghanistan and as an imperial power in Eastern Europe. The buzzword became a mantra and through most of the 1990's, the United States and the West sidelined reality in favor of Kant about the end of history and the approaching triumph of globalization. The supposedly inevitable spread of democratic political systems, capitalistic economics, and secularism. On the eve of history's end, in 1988, an expatriate Saudi named Osama bin Laden and a few confederates formed an organization they called "Al-Qaeda"; in English, "The Base". It is fair to say that the western media took no notice of this new entity. The men who formed it or the goals they established. Western Intelligence services did no better than the media and that's a pity. Bin Laden and his associates, Islamic zealots all formed Al-Qaeda to ensure that there would be no dissipation of the momentum emerging from what clearly was the Soviet Union's coming defeat in Afghanistan. These men acted to institutionalize the organizational networks that provided money, manpower and expertise to the Afghan Mujjahaideen and their non-Afghan Muslim allies. would draw military training, funding, combat veterans, travel and identity documents, religious guidance and the other sinews of war. They sought to make the Al-Qaeda a central source from which Islamic groups and insurgencies around the world would draw military training, funding, combat veterans, travel and identity documents, religious guidance and the other sinews of war. Bin Laden and his lieutenants also meant Al-Qaeda to be the point around which Islamist groups would rally and find strong inspiration, leadership and over time, an enduring and historic symbol of resistance, perseverance and piety. This vision for Al-Qaeda, I think, can be compared to a like inspiring symbol that arose serendipitously during our own civil war. That symbol was born when several South Carolina regiments rallied down the Stonewall brigade commanded by the Virginia-born, Presbyterian zealot, Thomas Jonathan Jackson at the battle of first Manassas. And Al-Qaeda's leaders built their group to be the same sort of rallying point. One from which other Islamists would draw inspiration and as General Lee might have said, "To decide for themselves to assume the aggressive against the United States." Today, Al-Qaeda stands as an unqualified success in the role it sought as an inspirer and facilitator of Islamic insurgencies. As we meet, Al-Qaeda veterans are assisting Islamic insurgencies around the world as combat soldiers, military trainers, financial experts, medics and logisticians. The scope of Al-Qaeda's activities can be seen by a simple recitation of some of the places where Al-Qaeda members are supporting Islamic insurgencies: Southern Thailand, Mindanao in the Philippines, Afghanistan, Western China, Kashmir, Somalia, Chechnya, Iraq, Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia. Al-Qaeda also has succeeded in serving as a rallying point and as a source of inspiration for Islamist militants around the Islamic world. Last week, the Abu Sayaf group set off multiple bombs in the Philippines, killing 20 and wounding more than a 130. Last month, Islamist violence continued to increase in Thailand and Bangladesh. And in Thailand, for the first time, we saw for the first time, the use of suicide car bombs. Last December, Al-Qaeda's forces attacked the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These events are in addition to the day to day internationally-televised violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the Israel-Palestine theatre. While only the Jeddah attack was conducted by Al-Qaeda, each of the others drew inspiration from Bin Laden's leadership and each definitely advanced Al-Qaeda's goal of instigating a worldwide Islamic insurgency against America and its allies. Beyond its facilitating and inspiring, and instigating roles, Al-Qaeda's founders wanted their organization to be the engine that would, after the Red Army's defeat in Afghanistan, refocus the Muslim world and the United States as the main and most lethal threat to Islam's survival. By depicting the United States in this manner, Al-Qaeda hoped to prompt ever larger number of Muslims to oppose America with violent means, wherever and whenever possible. By any measure, Al-Qaeda's success in this endeavor must be judged still far from complete. And yet, the endeavor must also be judged as a work in progress that holds tremendous promise for success. At this point then, it's worth asking what factors have and are driving Al-Qaeda's success in turning increasing numbers of Muslims against the United States. The first factor is Osama Bin Laden himself. He is by any standard, a great man. Great in not in any positive sense as far as Americans are concerned, but in the sense of changing the course of history. How many individuals can be said to have truly changed history in the last half century? Ronald Reagan and with Reagan's help, Mikhail Gorbachev, certainly. Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II, of course. Bill Gates, you bet. What about Osama Bin Laden? For Americans, this man's course-altering impact on history is painfully apparent. Try boarding an aircraft. Entering a federal building or taking your child's grammar school to a museum. Your child's grammar school class to a museum. Note the concentric rings of defense around the White House and the city's under-siege field. Franklin Roosevelt did not have a quarter of that security when he led America to victory over two fascist empires. And note the so-called sterile zone that was in place in the nation's capital for the inauguration. A system so invasive and militarized that one might imagine it more suitable to the Archduke Ferdinand's 1914 visit to Sarajevo, rather than for the celebration by Americans of their President's inauguration. Track the spiraling federal deficit, much of which can be attributed directly or indirectly to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. And analyze the poles that show Americans strongly worried for the first time about devastating domestic terrorist attacks and the slow erosion of civil liberties. Inescapably, Osama Bin Laden must be judged a remarkable, and a remarkably dangerous man. He is a veteran soldier thrice wounded, a construction engineer, a modern chief executive officer, devout Muslim, a devout family man and a well known humanitarian. A soft spoken but eloquent order and an implacable enemy of America. He is in many ways cut from the same cloth as other heroes of Islamic history. He is what Americans and Britains in the 19th century would have called "a worthy enemy." An enemy so dangerous and talented that he had to be respected and whose measure had to be precisely taken before he could be utterly defeated. In the 20th century, he might have well been called the freedom fighter, dining at the White House if he was on our side. In the 20th century, he might have well been called the freedom fighter, dining at the White House if he was on our side. Adding also to Bin Laden's stature as a history changer is the fact that for many Muslims, he is a combination of Robin Hood and St. Francis of Assisi. Risking his life to defend his people and assisting those in need. Perhaps most notably, Bin Laden is one of the only world leaders, Muslim or Western, who consistently matches his words with his deeds. A second factor in Al-Qaeda's success is that the threat posed by Bin Laden the man is sharpened by the fact that the Muslim world is an utter wasteland in terms of political leadership and heroic figures. No better validation of this reality can be had than by recognizing that Saddam Hussein, until scooped from his underground home, was Bin Laden's only rival as a hero and leader in the Muslim world. In Saddam, we had a gangster, an apostate and a mass murderer, who, on those counts, was despised overwhelmingly by Muslims. Yet he was respected and cheered on as the one Arab leader who defied the United States. Beyond Saddam however, lay a Muslim world, led by corrupt, tyrannical and often effete kings, princes, dictators and coup-installed generals. These men paid lip service to Islam but ruled their police states as wholly-owned family businesses. Complete with an opulence and palaces and mansions that would make Francis son king look like a back woodsman on a tight budget. Potemkin Muslims at home, these rulers are really more at home in Zurich, in Monte Carlo, the South of France, Kentucky's Horse Country, and the upscale flesh markets of south-east Asia. In the midst of this Muslim leadership desert, Osama Bin Laden took center stage in 1996 by declaring war on the United States. He quickly turned out to be much more than an angry and unusually tall Saudi. He is from his first public words a speaker of eloquent and as Professor Bernard Lewis has noted, almost poetic Arabic. In an invaluable gift in a culture that prizes oral communication skills. Bin Laden moreover, is the son of the wealthiest non-royal family in Saudi Arabia and a son who chose to abandon his family in its secure and luxurious lifestyle for a life of danger and uncertainties as a holy warrior in Afghanistan and Sudan. Parenthetically, it is hard not to have some respect for a man who not only volunteers to fight but also lives a life that requires him to drink Afghan and Sudanese water for a quarter century. Lacking rivals, and blessed with an eloquence and, literally and figuratively, intestinal fortitude, Bin Laden also is a man whose character traits are the stuff from which the heroes of Islamic history are made. He is quiet, pious man. Speaks without bravado, dresses without show and despite his noble birth, has fought and bled in the trenches of the Mujahideen. He has a common touch with the common man and shows deference to his elders and Islamic scholars and jurists. Like Saladin, Bin Laden has in the eyes of Muslims defended Islam against Christendom's attack when no other Muslim leader dared to act. Bin Laden's words and actions strike chords of historical memory among the extraordinarily history-aware Muslim masses and their sustained reverberations contribute to the growing influence, to his growing influence, across the Islamic world. The third factor powering Al-Qaeda's growing influence lies quite simply in the opaqueness of America's political leaders and elites. Today, Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda have only one indispensable ally and that ally is US foreign policy towards the Islamic world. The US policies specified by Bin Laden are perceived as attacks on Islam by most Muslims if the polling of recent years is correct and as always, perception is reality. These policies were not made by mad or evil men. No policy maker, I believe, wanted a war with Islam. But war we have and the policies are driving our enemies. Still stung by the rhetorical lashing America received at the hands of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeni, our elites are not listening to Bin Laden's words. They assume that he is ranting, the late Ayatollah's scathing litany about the great Satanists of American society. Its debauchery, lack of morals, man made laws, pornographic movies and gender equality. Because they are not hearing or heeding Bin Laden's words, our leaders assert that he and Al-Qaeda are driven byan apocalyptic vision that demands complete destruction of America's democracy, freedom and liberties. With respect for my betters, Republicans and Democrats, there cannot be a more inaccurate assessment of Bin Laden's arguments or goals nor one that is most certain to lead to America's eventual defeat. Bin Laden's gripe if you will has little to do with the vague but incendiary rhetorical attacks made against US culture and society by Khomeini. While Bin Laden shares the grouchy old Iranians distaste for our culture, he has taken the more effective tack of focusing on specific US policies towards the Islamic world in his effort to focus Muslim hatred on America. On Bin Laden's indictment sheet, there are just 6 items: US military and civilian presence on the Arabian peninsula. The US military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and its military presence in other Muslim countries. The ability of Washington to press Muslim oil-producers to keep oil prices at a level acceptable to Western consumers. US support for regimes that are suppressing Muslims, including Russia in Chechnya, India in Kashmir, China in Western China. Unqualified US political, economic and military support for Israel, and decades old US support for apostate and tyrannical governments across the Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria and others. Bin Laden's decision to focus on US foreign policy shows more than just a touch of genius. By doing so, he tapped a well of anti-American sentiment that spans the Islamic world's ideological spectrum, from whisky-drinking Pakistani generals to Salafist missionaries preaching among the morals of Mindanao. While it is absolutely true that not all or even most Muslims support Bin Laden's military attacks on the United States, it is just as true that most Muslims deeply resent and even hate, according to a half dozen years of polling by reputable Western firms, the US policies that Bin Laden has identified as attacks on Islam. In addition, in an Islamic world, that is divided by sectarian differences, as well as by theological differences within sects, Bin Laden's focus on US foreign policy has acted as something akin to a glue of unity, allowing many Muslims to temporarily downplay sectarian, cultural and ethnic arguments and focus on the United States. It is clear that opposition to each of these policies has become a gut religious issue for many Muslims. Far more Muslims, for example, are willing to sacrifice their lives to defeat US policies than ever were willing to attack the so called US cultural threat identified, demonized and railed against by the Ayatollah. It is time, I think, for Americans to debate these policies. Not to blame, denigrate or find fault with America. But rather to review these cold war era policies to ensure that they still serve and protect Americans. Bin Laden's personality and character, the lack of credible Muslim leaders and hatred for US foreign policies have combined to yield a growing threat to America. One that is underestimated because of our leaders, because our leaders blindly assert that Al-Qaeda's target is our way of life. Frankly, time is not on America's side. We and our allies are in a truly momentous race and one that, at the moment, we are clearly losing. We are at a point in history when Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden are changing into Al-Qaedaism and Bin Ladenism philosophy and a movement rather than a man and an organization. This movement is a geographically diverse assortment of Islamic groups that have back burner plans to destroy national governments. Be they in Egypt, Algeria or Saudi Arabia and are gradually adopting Bin Laden's three part strategy of attacking American citizens, our interests and our economy, thereby creating costs that will drive America from as much of the Islamic world as possible, thereby depriving Israel and Muslim tyrannies of the US support that ensures their survival. Again, time is of the essence. For nearly a decade, the US has faced the formidable foe in Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden, a foe which is far from defeated. Now, we are about to face, indeed, may already be facing, a much larger and more formidable foe in the world wide movement that has been engendered by Bin Laden's leadership and eloquence, Al-Qaeda's attack and Muslim hatred for a quarter of a century old US foreign policy. And more parochially, we are about to face this foe with the US intelligence community in disarray. And in some ways, weaker than it was on 11th September. The Goss-Graham Commission and the subsequent Kane-Hamilton Commission were unable to identify a single person who was responsible for any single thing involved in the failures that led to 9/11. By failing to find any personal culpability among the senior leaders of the US intelligence community, we have protected and prolonged the careers of failed men and women and have locked into place their risk adverse mindset that led America to the disaster of 9/11. One only needs to refer to the reports that the FBI has failed again to install a modern, reliable computer system, wasting $170 million dollars in this particular effort. Thus, a decade after we began fighting Al-Qaeda, the FBI cannot communicate reliably and securely within its own organization, let alone with other intelligence community components. The investigatory commissions also have shown the working men and women of the intelligence community that only junior level officers are ever held to account for personal negligence or dereliction of duty. The only answer that has been identified as a fixed to pre-9/11 intelligence community problems has been to blithely expand the community's bureaucratic structure and size, thereby deluding the small pool of experienced officers who are working against Al-Qaeda and Sunni militancy in September 2001. Let me again refer in closing to our own civil war. An increasing number of Muslims are rallying to Bin Laden's forthright stand against America. Just as those South Carolinians rallied on Jackson's brigade at First Manassas, and just as that battle transformed the virtually unknown Thomas Jackson into the inspiring and invincible hero and legend Stonewall Jackson, so too have Bin Laden's words and actions to date, with the strong assist from US foreign policy and two plus decades of our democracy crusading hypocrisy transformed a once obscure Saudi into an inspirational Islamic leader, hero and even legend. And today, as US military and intelligence forces try to achieve the worthy goal of killing Bin Laden, it is essential that we keep one other fact about Jackson's career squarely in view. The most vicious and bloody fighting of our civil war occurred after Jackson was killed at Chancellorsville. Thereafter, the army of Northern Virginia was surely led by the substantive and military brilliance and personal example of Robert E. Lee. But just as surely, it was fueled by the inspirational legend and heroic memory of an implacably anti United States Presbyterian zealot named Jackson. And so it will be even if Bin Laden is killed. America has turned a corner in its struggle with Islamist militancy. But the road it is now on leads to greater bleeding in terms of both lives and treasure. And along that road, America will continue to encounter a foe inspired by the legend and heroic memory of an implacably anti United States Islamic zealot named Osama Bin Laden. Thank you very much."