A Fuller Picture of Osama bin Laden’s Life

Two of bin Laden’s attributes that glow by in Bergen’s account are his extraordinary self-belief and the strategies in which he modeled his lifestyle on that of the Prophet Muhammad. Fairly than consider to clarify the place bin Laden’s self-confidence arrived from, Bergen just describes it. It is all the a lot more fascinating as a consequence.

Bin Laden received his chance to struggle infidels — as Muhammad did — when Islamic forces took on the Russians in Afghanistan at the Battle of Jaji in 1987. He termed the confrontation “one of the wonderful battles of modern day Islamic periods,” and it produced bin Laden a war hero in the Arab push. But Bergen describes that it was Afghans, not bin Laden’s adult males, who did most of the preventing and incurred the heaviest losses. Al Qaeda missing only 13 guys. However, bin Laden saw this as his fantastic victory against a superpower, his version of Muhammad’s Struggle of Badr in 624. And like Muhammad, at Tora Bora he had his 300 followers dig trenches to echo the Prophet’s Struggle of the Ditch in 627. By now he was viewing himself as a globe-historical determine, and truly thought that he and his ragtag followers could travel the United States from the Middle East.

Together with his reporting on Jaji, Bergen painstakingly explodes other myths that have grown up all over bin Laden. That he had weapons of mass destruction that Pakistan delivered defense in Abbottabad that there was a connection in between bin Laden and Iran and, most calamitously of all, that there was a connection among Saddam Hussein and bin Laden. Bergen demonstrates much too that, far from hiding away seeing videos of himself though in Pakistan, bin Laden was running, even micromanaging, his group from his hiding spot.

Bergen is equally revealing about the Individuals. Although the C.I.A. believed torture was crucial to getting bin Laden, Bergen argues that it was not. Essential members of Al Qaeda held by the C.I.A. and subjected to coercive interrogation regularly supplied unreliable details. Drones, on the other hand, significantly curtailed Al Qaeda’s means to operate.

Similarly, Bergen demonstrates how the allied forces skipped their best option to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora in the months following 9/11. American and British ground forces were at a single issue outnumbered by journalists, he observes, and really qualified units out there nearby ended up in no way deployed, out of a misplaced anxiety of repeating the errors of the Soviets. In the meantime, as bin Laden was escaping Tora Bora, the Pentagon underneath Donald Rumsfeld was active arranging a war against Saddam Hussein, who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Bergen rightly suggests: “It was one of the most amazing misjudgments in U.S. navy background.”

In the stop, Bergen’s narrative illustrates some of the iron legislation of terrorism and counterterrorism. In all of his speeches and papers, bin Laden, like most revolutionaries, hardly ever articulated a good vision of the new earth he wished to build. The American counterrevolutionaries, for their element, invariably stretched the emergency powers they ended up accorded. Both equally unsuccessful. Considerably from expelling the United States from the Center East, bin Laden ensured America’s deep involvement. And Washington, by waging war on Iraq, saved Al Qaeda from oblivion.