City of Brass

Since religious demogougery hasn’t worked out so well for Al Qaeda’s attempt to win hearts and minds of the muslim masses, Osama bin Laden is trying a new strategy: scare ’em with science:

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming, according to a new audiotape released Friday.

(…) He blamed Western industrialized nations for hunger, desertification and floods across the globe, and called for “drastic solutions” to global warming, and “not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change.”

Bin Laden has mentioned climate change and global warning in past messages, but the latest tape was his first dedicated to the topic. The speech, which included almost no religious rhetoric, could be an attempt by the terror leader to give his message an appeal beyond Islamic militants.

Let’s be clear here – Osama bin Laden’s only real interest in global warming is how he can exploit it for his own short-term ends. If he is aware that water scarcity caused by global warming will disproportionately impact muslim countries, it would be a bonus for him, not a tragedy. The craven attempt at exploiting a truly global disaster for short-term political gain would be obscene if we weren’t already inured to his shamelessness and utter lack of moral integrity.

Speaking of shamelessness and exploiting fear for political gain, conservatives are seizing upon bin Laden’s comments as evidence that the political left and Al Qaeda are ideological allies. This is a refrain we’ve heard many times from the right, however, so we are inured to this as well by now.

Unfortunately, the political right has internalized the extremist interpretations of Islam espoused by bin Laden himself. It’s ironic that these people accuse the left of being in ideological alliance with our enemies when by their own actions, they provide aid and comfort in practice (even if ostensibly opposed in intention). Unfortunately, the self-declared Defenders of the West and Watchers of the Jihad don’t have the clarity or commitment to principle to recognize the self-defeating nature of this attitude. The people who recognize that the best defense against our enemies is to embrace our principles instead of abandon them, are few and far between.

Incidentally, here’s my entirely serious and well-meaning advice to Osama bin Laden: hook up with the climate change denialists. Seriously – don’t you know that freshwater from melting glaciers will upset the salinity balance in the North Atlantic and plunge North America and Europe into a new Ice Age? You’d totally win by default.

Related: Talking global warming at Talk Islam. Also, bin Laden on Twitter isn’t amused.

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