Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened the European Union with grave punishment on Wednesday over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
In an audio recording posted on the Internet, Bin Laden said the cartoons were part of a "crusade" in which he said the Catholic Pope Benedict was involved.
The message was released on the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The cartoons were first published by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 but a furor erupted only after other papers reprinted them in 2006.
Good heavens! Doesn't Osama understand that Islamic anger over these cartoons is counterproductive? That his comments are not only wrong but divisive? I understand that the dear man--almost an uncle really since our association dates back some 7 years now--is an occasional fierce critic of Western Civilization, particularly American Domestic and Foreign Policy...but still....
NOTE TO OSAMA, THE CAVE DWELLER:
We have a choice in this country, Osama. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism and violence. We can tackle jihad only as spectacle – as we did in during the WTC attack– or in the wake of tragedy, as we do in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play your and Dr. Zawahiri's tapes on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the doomsday, and make the only question in this war you declared in 1998 whether or not the American and Westerners sympathize with those horrible, offensive cartoons of Mohammed. We can pounce on some gaffe by George Bush as evidence that he's playing the 'Crusader' card, or we can speculate on whether backward and impotent Muslim men will all flock to Al Qaeda regardless of its intellectual content.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that we’ll only be talking about some distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this exchange, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk openly and honestly about the medieval religion you are trying to spread violently throughout the world that is stealing the future of Muslim children and Christian children and Jewish children and Hindu children and Buddhist children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids must all submit to Islam and kill infidels; that those kids who don’t submit, deserve to die and are allah's problem. These children of the world are our kids--yours and mine, and we must not let them die or suffer because you prefer to death to life and mentally still reside in the Middle Ages instead of the 21st century. Not this time.
Are you with me, Osama? Let's talk.... My position can be summed up as follows:
I'm sure you will have to agree, Osama, that under the brilliant new guidelines that were disclosed in a recent historic speech, that this kind of thing is no longer able to be considered politically incorrect or even particularly offensive. Thanks for being so understanding!