Monday, January 23, 2006

Osama's Book Club

Going under the radar has provided Osama all the time in the world to catch up on his reading, aside from making sporadic audio tapes. For the year 2006, Americans should read...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An unexpected endorsement from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has resulted in a huge jump in sales for a book by a critic of U.S. foreign policy.

William Blum's "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower" was ranked 209,000 on Amazon.com's sales list before bin Laden mentioned it in an audiotape released on Thursday. By Friday, the book was No. 30 on the Amazon.com list.

Bin Laden said al Qaeda group was preparing more attacks in the United States but also told Americans, "It is useful for you to read the book 'The Rogue State.'"

"I was quite surprised and even shocked and amused when I found out what he'd said," Blum said on Friday in an interview with Reuters Television in his Washington apartment.

"I was glad. I knew it would help the book's sales and I was not bothered by who it was coming from.

"If he shares with me a deep dislike for the certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views and I'm not turned off by that."

Blum said some friends and family members were afraid the bin Laden endorsement might endanger him but he said there had been no threats and he was not concerned.

Blum's 320-page book, which was published in 2000, begins with a chapter titled "Why Do Terrorists Keep Picking on the United States." The first sentence says, "Washington's war on terrorism is as doomed to failure as its war on drugs has been."

Other chapters in "The Rogue State" are titled "America's Gift to the World -- the Afghan Terrorist Alumni," "The U.S. Versus the World at the United Nations" and "How the CIA Sent Nelson Mandela to Prison for 28 Years."

Blum's other books include "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II," "Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire" and "West Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Political Memoir."

9 Comments:

Blogger mkchicago said...

"If he shares with me a deep dislike for the certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views and I'm not turned off by that."

This, in a nutshell is my biggest problem with some of the ant-war left. I certainly believed principled opposition to the war is possible, but when you're willing to mindlessly make common cause with (insert analogy to evil here)it tends to discredit your whole point.

Put it this way: I am opposed to "Affirmative Action". I understand this is also the position of the KKK. If the KKK holds an anti Affirmative Action rally you better believe i'm going to steer clear of those jackasses no matter what I think of the policy.

Blum sounds like a first class asshole.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

How is "not spurning endorsement" the same as "mindlessly mak[ing] common cause"? Blum didn't ask bin Laden for a plug, any more than you invited the klan to your anti-affirmative action rally.

8:07 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

Blum may not have asked for the plug, but he happily accepted it when offered.
My comments were more directed at "not turned off by that" bit. I also should have made clear that I visited this guy's web site and much of my animus was directed at that. I also was going to go off on a tangent about anti-war rallies being sponsored by International Answer and all the "moderates" who made common cause with them, but if you look at the post's time you can see I was more interested in going home.
(N.B. in my analogy the Klan was holding the rally, not me).

9:28 AM  
Blogger Pete Sampras said...

"This, in a nutshell is my biggest problem with some of the ant-war left. I certainly believed principled opposition to the war is possible, but when you're willing to mindlessly make common cause with (insert analogy to evil here)it tends to discredit your whole point."

Philosophically speaking, evil is relative and I don't necessarily equate extremism to evil.

"Put it this way: I am opposed to "Affirmative Action". I understand this is also the position of the KKK. If the KKK holds an anti Affirmative Action rally you better believe i'm going to steer clear of those jackasses no matter what I think of the policy."

Unlike the KKK, terrorists have a valid gripe against America's past 6 decades of foreign policy in the Middle East, which is directed towards Muslims. Bush could easily be labeled as evil for his extremist views on capitalism and America's unilateral foreign policy, but "evil" isn't the correct terminology.

Blum, like any good ol' capitalist American, is condoning the right of free speech for a terrorist and just happens to be making a buck (hundreds of thousands) in the meantime. He is not condoning the terrorist rhetorics itself, but rather the ability to be able to make such comments.

10:59 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

"Philosophically speaking, evil is relative
That is a highly debatable proposition (I don't care to open that can of worms at this particular moment).

and I don't necessarily equate extremism to evil."
Agreed. As Barry Goldwater put it "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice".

"Unlike the KKK, terrorists have a valid gripe against America's past 6 decades of foreign policy in the Middle East, which is directed towards Muslims. Bush could easily be labeled as evil for his extremist views on capitalism and America's unilateral foreign policy
Can you substantiate any of this?

but "evil" isn't the correct terminology."
Agreed.

"Blum, like any good ol' capitalist American, is condoning the right of free speech for a terrorist and just happens to be making a buck (hundreds of thousands) in the meantime. He is not condoning the terrorist rhetorics itself, but rather the ability to be able to make such comments."
He's not exactly condemning it either. Should a politician who recieves the endorsement of the KKK cheerfully accept it in the name of free speech? As for the "capitalist" part I have no objections to Blum cashing in on his unexpected winfall, I simply think he should take care to seperate his views from the terrorists.

2:47 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Evil is only relative when it refers to in-laws. Otherwise, it's most definitely not relative. I know MK wanted to leave this alone, but I can't help it. If someone's actions are to be condemned, there must be a standard. You can't say one is better or worse without having some sort of scale, for use whenever one has the unpleasant task of comparing Mother Theresa to Steve Forbes.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

S-Tard: Your point is well taken, but how does moral relativism automatically imply the lack of a standard? If I place Stalin at the "bad" extreme and MLK at the "good" end, there's my scale.

As for the rest of it, I agree with MK. When a monster gives you plaudits, you call him a monster and say you want nothing to do with him, regardless of the fact that you might agree with some of the points he makes. You think no klansman ever had a legitimate gripe against an African American, a Mexican or a Jew? Whether he has a gripe or not is not the point--the point is what he does about it, and the klansman and OBL have forfeited their rights to participate in legitimate social dialogue.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a surprising turnaround, former terrorist sympathizer William Blum has turned himself over to police for complicity in terrorist attacks.

“I hereby renounce all endorsement, tacit or explicit, from any and all terrorists living or dead,” said Blum to a packed news conference following his arraignment. “I apologize for my past comments, in which I indicated that I was ‘not turned off’ by Usama bin-Ladin’s comments praising my book. This clearly implied that I was turned on by them, and am sympathetic to terrorist means and methods. I am thus implicated in the death and suffering caused by this madman, and willingly turn myself over to the authorities. I sincerely apologize and throw myself on the mercy of the American people.”

Blum, in referring to his response to bin-Ladin’s comment that “It is useful for you to read the book ‘The Rogue State’,” said he was now disavowing any legitimacy this comment ever had. “Let me make myself perfectly clear: contrary to Mr. bin-Ladin’s contention to the contrary, it is not useful at all for you to read my book. It is counterproductive, uninstructive, and has nothing to contribute to our society’s discourse regarding the use and abuse of power. Let me also make clear that anyone who buys my book, reads it, or quotes it approvingly in private or public is, like Mr. bin-Ladin and myself, implicated and therefore partially responsible for the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Mr. bin-Ladin.”

Glumly looking at his feet, Blum concluded by mumbling, “As has been noted, I am a first-class asshole.”

In a related story, Mr. bin-Ladin, who in the past forfeited his right to participate in legitimate social dialogue, sought to redress this forfeiture by filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for years of intellectual ostracism. The legal brief filed today seeks US $1 billion, or the equivalent in yellowcake uranium.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Germanicus clearly has some difficulty distinguishing between illegal and just plain stupid (which means the terrorists have already won).

12:15 PM  

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