Osama bin Laden Research Paper
It goes without saying that George Bush and Osama bin Laden present absolutely different points of view on events and causes for the September 11th attacks and we can clearly see it from their speeches. They both can not analyze these events objectively because their nations’ security and interests are connected with these events. They both express position favorable for their countries and protect their people. The events of the 11th September are very tragic in the American history. Because of this terrorist act a number of buildings were destroyed and a lot of people killed.
Osama Bin Laden in his speech, which is the response to Bush’s accuses, explains the roots and causes of such terrorist acts: “But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred” (Bin Laden, 2004).
America supported Israel and Israel with its help invaded Lebanon. During the invasion many of people were killed and the country was greatly destroyed: “I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy” (Bin Laden, 2004). This was the first sign for bin Laden and al-Qaida. Lebanon and Israeli conflict was open but no country intervened in its solution. Bin Laden and eastern people interpreted America’s position in this situation as an act of tyranny and oppression upon weak and helpless country.
The leader of al-Qaida states that the idea to destroy American skyscrapers was born in his head when he saw destroyed towers of Lebanon: “And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children” (Bin Laden). Osama bin Laden accuses American government of anti-democratic actions and shows that the possible response could be also antidemocratic actions. Terrorist actions for eastern people are a kind of resistance. One of Bin Laden’s main rhetorical strategies is an attempt to put the burden of responsibility on America accusing it in the starting the conflict. He makes his best to show that Al-Qaida did nothing but only defended his country from the American terror.
Bin Laden presents data about mass murders of millions of people in Iraq, where children and women, even not speaking about men, were cruelly killed. He emphasizes in his speech that Iraq is a strategic goal for America. He states that Iraq give the U.S. an access to oil and other outrages. This aim is hidden behind democratic logins. Bush wants to change the totalitarian regime into democratic one in Iraq but his actions do not prove his words.
Bush calls Osama bin Laden and his followers “freedom-haters” and explains their terrorist attacks as aggressive actions towards democratic nations. Bin Laden states that his actions are not terrorist ones and his policy is oriented on the United States not accidentally: “If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike for example - Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 - may Allah have mercy on them” (Bin Laden). In Bin Laden’s eyes America is an oppressor of free states who are military as strong as the USA itself and so are not able to make a resistance.
Osama Bin Laden tries to persuade people that the terrorist actions of his organization can be justified because they were just a response to the American policy. Terrorist actions can in no way be justified, they can be just explained. People can see that terrorism has a background and that country’s policy sometimes does not correspond to the interests of other counties and it can lead to such terrible consequences as terrorist acts. Bin Laden’s facts and arguments are exaggerated but, nevertheless, he names general roots of eastern people’s hatred. America, following democratic aims, often forgets about aims of other countries. Some states, especially if we speak about the Arabic world, are still not ready for the democratic regime and they are not able to accept such changes. Bush must take it into account taking any actions in this direction because the reaction of other states can be unpredictable and even tragic for the American society and the events of the September 11th are a bright example for it. Governmental policy must be carefully chosen and must take into consideration all the possible consequences of any actions in order not to endanger people’s lives.
Osama Bin Laden uses a number of rhetorical strategies and that is why his speech is so convincing and makes people believe it. He turns around the facts so cunningly that they sound as real ones. Bin Laden characterizes his behaviour as the fight for freedom: “we fight because we are free men who don’t sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours” (Bin Laden, 2004). The main aim of his speech is to make people sympathetic to eastern people and interpret terrorist acts as protests against oppression.
In his speech the leader of al-Qaida presents Bush and the American nation as anti-democratic invasors not giving evidence to support his position. He accuses Bush of hiding true facts about these tragic events: “Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred” (Bin Laden, 2004). He states that only he can tell people the real causes: “I shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider” (Bin Laden, 2004).
He uses rhetorical questions: “Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism?” Such questions, which are oriented on human understanding and sympathy, help him to support his position and make it evident for other people. He also uses inaccurate figures presenting them as statistics, for example, the figure of victims in Iraq, although this information does not coincide with official data.
Another distinctive feature of Bin Laden’s speech is its religious background. He refers to Allah all the time: “All Praise is due to Allah… Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah” (Bin Laden, 2004) emphasizing that everything is done in the name of Allah and by His authority.
Osama Bin Laden is a master of rhetoric; he uses its strategies perfectly. His speech is oriented on common people, who have children and who care about their family. Hearing that thousands of innocent children and women died in Lebanon and Iraq people start sympathizing these people and supporting Osama Bin Laden. His speech is carefully thought-out and every word has its value. He uses inaccurate data and false argumentation in order to support his point of view. He uses only those facts that are appropriate for him. All in all, his speech, having a rational ground, is based on exaggerated facts that create in people’s minds false understanding of events. He accuses America in anti-democratic behaviour and justifies his own Al-Qaida’s terrorist actions in such a way. His speech is a bright example of persuasive rhetorical speech.
At the beginning of his presidential campaign Bush promised to extend the level of Social Security in the country and continue American democratic mission in Iraq. Bush placed the emphasis on both social and economic spheres and international politics and at the same time he planed to perform a reform in education. President Bush focused his attention on education because it is the guarantee of the qualified and professional workers and economic growth of the country, as a result. “President Bush vowed to push a “reform agenda” for education in his second term that would extend his academic accountability program known as No Child Left Behind to the high school level and expand access to college by reforming the financial assistance system” (Tokaji, 2005). Bush was going to give every person a possibility to get an adequate education.
His moderate speech quickly got new shades of meaning after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The answer to the events of September 11, 2001 was the so-called “War on terror” proclaimed by George W. Bush. The main aim of which was to unit huge number of people and stop acts of terror not just in the USA but all over the world. However, to exterminate the evil by another evil is impossible, and taking united aggressive actions against acts of terror can do noting. President Bush announced after the events of the September 11 about the terrorist attack: “on a scale that has created a state of armed conflict that requires the use of the United States Armed Forces. He also expressed an opinion that “there is a necessity in effective conduct of military operations and prevention of military attacks, which makes it possible to detain certain non-citizens and if necessary, to try them for violations of the laws of war and other applicable laws by military tribunals” (Elsea, 2001). All the attacks will be treated like the acts of war but not like criminal acts and react accordingly. Such a policy makes it possible to regard any attacks as a violation of the international law of war and gives the US an opportunity to prosecute “terrorists” through the special military commission without the federal court.
As we can see Bush’s rhetoric is based on the attempts to make people afraid of terrorism. He uses different arguments in order to persuade people that people of Arabic world are dangerous. He confronts different nations and uses hatred and fear as a means to control the minds of people. Nowadays Bush is known as a very successful and effective orator. Before presidential election of 2004 many people had doubts in his ability to express his thoughts and, thus, present the country on the world arena. The situation had changed before the elections and nowadays Bush is one of the most effective orators of the world. Such a change in the attitude of media and wide public to the president can not be explained only by the improvement of his rhetoric skills. The growth of popularity of Bush can be explained by the successful choice of instruments to influence the minds of people. He uses loud names, blaming terrorism, such as ‘Enemies of freedom, “enemies of our nation”, “enemies of democracy”, etc. and these clichés gradually become reflected in the minds of people. At the present moment for the Americans the word Arab became a synonym for the word “enemy”. Bush’s speeches contain a lot of such references. For example, “Enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country”, ‘Thousands of dangerous killers… are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs,” “The Taliban in Afghanistan. Absolutely. Repressive” and many other similar words are used as set expressions. Now such phrases presented in his speeches do not need any specifications. People understand that Bush speaks about terrorists and people also understand that Bush assumes that all Arabian population consists of terrorists only. Such generalizations have double effect. From the one side they are used to raise hatred to other nations and from the other side they create panics and provoke fear in people. People who are scared are easier to manipulate and Bush is perfectly aware of this fact. Unfortunately, fear becomes one of his main weapons and his speeches are created in such a way that this fear grows with the flow of time.
In his speeches Bush puts much effort in order to justify American war actions all over the world. The threat of terrorism becomes an object of speculation. After the sad events of September 11, 2001 people became easier to influence and this fear is used by the government. Bush reminds people about the necessity to fight in order to save the democratic ideals and save their lives. Same as Bin Laden, Bush turns to blaming other part. All the time Bush underlines the necessity to “fight the enemy” and “defend our country”. He goes even further and using the fear and anger of people, he persuades them that the war will be lengthy. As he states, “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen” (Bush). His famous saying “Our nation is at war”, proclaimed after the tragedy of September 11 became the core statement, which explains the state policy. In the Congress session soon after the tragedy Bush proclaimed that “enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country”. Statements like this gradually persuade people in the necessity to fight the entire nation. From the other side nobody mentions that terrorists who committed an attack September 11 did not express the will of the entire country. From the historical and political courses we know that starting a war is a prerogative of the country. Since this does not happened with the U.S. the terrorist attack was used as a pretext to accuse the entire country.
Rhetoric of fear and anger proves to be an effective one. It is hard to imagine that people will follow leader, who promises them war and fighting with other countries. On the other hand, this is the thing which happens in the U.S. at the present moment. People support Bush, who bases his rhetoric on the necessity of war. His speeches are combined is such a way that people do not doubt a threat of terrorism any more. They see it as a real threat and think only about the ways to fight it. It becomes even surprising that the entire nation is not only ready to participate in the war, but also agrees to live in the state of war for an uncertain time. As Bush proclaims, “Our war on terror… will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated” and also “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen” (Bush) and such calls seem to satisfy people. The reason of such obedience is fear. Constant mentioning about the threat of terror makes people eager to stop this threat in order to save their lives.
Despite Bush and Bin Laden present fundamentally different social, political and philosophical systems, they use similar tools in their rhetoric. They blame other sides and create an atmosphere of fear and anger among their citizens. Both, Bush and Bin Laden insist that they possess the only true information on the subject and refer to other side only like “enemies”. As states Bruce Lincoln, Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago: “Both men construct a Manichaean struggle, where Sons of Light confront Sons of Darkness, and all must enlist on one side or another, without possibility of neutrality, hesitation, or middle ground” (Lincoln, 112). They make a division of the entire world into those, who support them and those, who stands against them. They both use fear as means to control the minds of people and make people follow their ideals.
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