“Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won’t change their view.”
During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: “What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?”
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From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks–on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000–all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.
Read Lewis’ entire essay at the link above. He forgot Khobar Towers in 1996.
When Osama envisioned a spineless, weak America, he had today’s Democratic Party in mind. FDR is spinning in his grave.