Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 2001 / 24 Tishrei, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
Poor little rich boy, Osama
FOR ALL HIS bashing of America, Osama bin
Laden truly has embraced America's culture of
victimhood. The gazillionaire's son would be a great
guest on Rosie O'Donnell's TV show. I can see him
now, wrist pressed to his forehead, moaning, "Poor
Consider Sunday's performance -- Osama Live (on
videotape) with two sidekicks.
The poor little rich boy doesn't exactly have a
strong complaint about how the world or the West
has mistreated him -- or his native Saudi Arabia, for
that matter. What's the worst America did to him?
Send U.S. troops to help defend the Saudis against
further aggression by Iraq's Saddam Hussein. For
that he murders American civilians and children?
No doubt OBL is aware that this complaint can't
win enough sympathy, so he has sucked in other
Muslims' victimhood as a vampire sucks blood. His
personal sob story doesn't play -- he'll borrow
some lines from Palestine and Iraq.
It is irrelevant that better men have tried to negotiate
peace between Israel and Palestinians or that
children starving in Iraq could be healthy and
nourished if Saddam Hussein cared more about his
own people than spending money on arms and
Besides, bin Laden must hold onto this fiction of his
anger having a political cause -- instead of a sick
desire to kill "infidels" because they're "infidels" --
so that Westerners who pride themselves on being
understanding can attribute more acceptable
rationales for his bloodlust.
While some lefties have hailed the "courage" of the
terrorists, it should be noted that OBL lacked the
courage Sunday to state what his objectives are.
In fact, he was so cryptic, that many knowledgeable
folk still aren't sure about what he meant when he
said, "Our nation has been tasting this humiliation
and this degradation for more than 80 years." (He
mentioned "80 years" twice.)
What happened 80 years ago? A U.S. intelligence
official believes OBL is referring to "80 years of
Western colonization." Others believe that bin
Laden was referring to British Foreign Secretary
Arthur J. Balfour's 1917 declaration in favor of a
Jewish homeland in Palestine.
You would think that if OBL had a real beef here,
he would have been explicit about what happened
80 years ago to make him so mad.
But he has to be vague, if only because, as Meyrav
Wurmser, director of the Center for Middle East
Studies at the Hudson Institute, noted, "Eighty years
ago, America was not in the region (the Middle
OBL's choice of the words "humiliation" and
"degradation" over 80 years tells the real story. For
80 years, the West has been on top. Better
standard of living. More freedom. More equality.
This reality, Wurmser argues, does not jive with
OBL's view of the natural order of things. "You
think that your place in the world is on top," said
Wurmser, "but you live in a society that is on the
decline." Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's
also-ran status. Professional victim bin Laden
Worse, said Wurmser, "We have abused them by
telling them that their version of the world doesn't
work. You don't have to say a lot. The West is
And what must be most galling is that all this time
that radical Muslim extremists have been whining
and playing the victim, we didn't even bother
arguing with them. We figured, live and let live.
It was the biggest insult of all. And for that, civilians
and children must
Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.
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