L. Neil Smith's
Number 58, October 31, 1999
All Hallows Eve

An Open Letter to Mr. Ossama bin Laden

by L. Reichard White

Special to TLE

Dear Mr. bin Laden,

           In your interview with Diane Sawyer in 1997 you said that you were declaring war against the United States Government and the U.S. military. My friend Larry and I applauded your perspicacity and self-restraint when we heard that. After all, American citizens are victims of their government too, just not as much victims as the folks the bombs and cruise missiles land on. We're robbed, that is taxed, to pay for those missiles, and for many of us, it's against our will.
           I know I'm on thin ice here -- after all, NATO bombed the Kosovars, not to mention the Serbs -- despite the fact that the Yugoslav people, in one of the longest sustained peaceful demonstrations in history, tried to overthrow their unpopular President Milosevic just three years ago. Sadly we Americans have few such anti-government demonstrations to prove we are against what the unpopular politicians in Washington are doing to other people. Despite the anti Milosevic demonstrations (and the fact that Milosevic was originally backed by the same - - - the same people in the American Government who orchestrated the bombing), and despite the fact that some realized the Yugoslav people too were the victims of their government ...

~"We are not against the Yugoslav people. . . . They're decent folks. While not to the same degree as the Kosovars, they're victims of their government and its policies."
-- NATO spokesman Jamie Shea, 2 April 1999

           ... the Clinton Administration and NATO bureaucrats still blamed -- and ultimately punished -- the Yugoslav people for the Yugoslav government's depredations:

"If [Yugoslav] civilians are worried about military action [bombing] in Yugoslavia, they should tell their president that he can stop this by withdrawing his troops from Kosovo, by stopping the killing and by agreeing to the conditions in the Ramboullier agreement that would bring peace and autonomy to Kosovo."
-- Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon, 31 March 1999

           At least 2000 Serb civilians and countless Kosovars were killed as a result -- and bombing them only "back to the Stone Age," would apparently improve things by several centuries! The American government similarly punished the Iraqi people for the depredations of their government as well -- at least 200,000 of them died as a result of the so-called "Gulf War," and many more, especially children and old folks, as a result of the British-American imposed economic sanctions. As I've observed before, most governments and other terrorists no longer make the distinction between the government of the country they attack and the people living in that country. Until recently, Mr. bin Laden, you were one of the rare exceptions.
           But Phyllis Schlafley reports that in addition to the U.S. Government and the military, you are now going after any American who pays taxes as well:

"It's not only our U.S. troops who will be put in mortal danger; bin Laden has stated unequivocally that all Americans, including 'those who pay taxes,' are targets. At a recent Senate hearing, CIA Director George Tenet warned against the danger of a stepped-up terrorist campaign, saying, 'There is not the slightest doubt that Osama bin Laden, his worldwide allies, and his sympathizers are planning further attacks against us.'"
-- Troops to Kosovo; Terror for Americans? February 24, 1999

           I'm wondering if your change of heart is because U.S. government spokespeople sound so barbaric, like when Bush's Sec. of State James Baker told Iraqi Minister Tarique Aziz, "We will bomb you back to the stone age," and --

Leslie Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died [in Iraq]. I mean, that's more than died in Hiroshima. And you know, is the price worth it?
Then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeline Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it.

           I guess endorsing the deaths of half-a-million children to further U.S. foreign policy proves you should be Secretary of State, because that's the job "Mad" Albright now has.
           There's no use trying to hide these things -- you can find that Leslie Stahl interview quote right on the internet at www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/4481/greatquotes.html for example. But please Mr. bin Laden, remember, these -- these people in the American government don't speak for most of us citizens. Less than half of us who were eligible voted in the last presidential election. I like to think that was sort of a silent protest.
           I'm truly sorry that our tax money pays for such things, but most Americans, even the majority of us who decry bombing of folks in other countries, don't have the guts to stop sending the robbers in Washington lots of our money. (According to Sen. Don L. Nickles (R-OK), this can amount to 43.3% for just the income tax plus F.I.C.A. alone.) We're afraid the IRS will steal all our property and throw us in prison, leaving our families destitute. I know it really sounds strange, but we're so brainwashed by our "free press" that we don't even know what's being done with this money, let alone how to stop sending it to them. I suppose ignorance and cowardice aren't good excuses, but those are about the only ones we have. In fairness though, this was pretty much the only defense German citizens had for what Hitler did, the Russians for Stalin, etc. and in fact generally what citizens of most government-dominated societies usually claim.
           Mr. bin Laden, in the few video clips I've seen of you, -- and the one still-shot the American media seems to like -- you look like a very serene man. This seems highly unusual for someone in your line of work, especially when now and then they shoot Tomahawk cruise missiles at you personally. I can only conclude you're thoroughly convinced that what you're doing is the right thing, so I suppose there is little I can say to dissuade you.
           I guess we can't realistically expect you to hold higher standards than those held by our own United States government after all, especially from the standpoint of the US military's definition of a guerilla fighter as "a patriot with inferior resources." I guess it would be hard to argue that, holding yourself to higher standards than the American government, you shouldn't blame or punish the American people for the evil policies of their government. It's just that I feel and hope you may have a more developed sense of justice and fair-play.
           From your past successes (blowing up the American barracks in Riyadh for example), it's clear that you can pull off some pretty hallacious attacks. Blowing up both those African U.S. embassies at the same time sure impressed me. Some of our more candid politicians (as in other countries, we don't have very many) in their most candid moments admit that determined "terrorists" ("patriots with inferior resources?") can't be stopped:

"Now the mayor [Rudy Giuliani] had spoken earlier on the general threat of terrorism saying, 'Short of closing down America and closing down the city of New York, it would be impossible to entirely prevent terrorism.' He added that, 'It's impossible to have a police officer every place. That would be unrealistic and it would change the nature of a free society.'"
-- Brian Jenkins, CNN Live, 19 Feb. 1998

           It's almost a forgone conclusion then that,

  1. the US government will continue meddling in other people's affairs,
  2. no one can stand directly against America's mechanized storm troopers, and so
  3. the main alternative for revenge and deterrance for 1. above is, well, just what you have been doing.

           Finally Mr. bin Laden, I saw a news segment (CNN) claiming you're now targeting either New York City or Washington, D.C. If this is true, I can only hope that you make the right decision. Ever since the bombing of the Murrah Federal office building in Oklahoma City by anti-government Americans, (does that count in our favor?), I've been advising everyone to stay out of Federal buildings anyway. I guess "collateral damage" is inevitable, but I hope you'll try to keep it to a better minimum than NATO did in Kosovo! And if at all possible, could you please spare the Jefferson Memorial?

L. Reichard White rick.rabbit@elmos.com

P.S. I'm not sure you see yourself as a "terrorist," but if so, I hope you're not insulted to be linked with "governments" as in "governments and other terrorists." No disrespect intended I assure you.

P.P.S. More and more inhabitants here in North America are refraining from paying taxes, at least the infamous "income tax." Some estimates put this number as high as 20 or 30 million. Can we perhaps get some sort of certification or sticker or something so you'll know to leave us alone?

P.P.P.S. The U.S. Government, by way of snitches and/or FBI and other operatives, have been involved in the Viper Militia in Arizona, the Trade Tower bombing, the Olympic Park bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, etc. -- so if you attack any place but Washington, D.C., the Feds may get the credit.

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