Looking for something to read? 
Go read the last half dozen entries at Let it Bleed.

And read Jay Currie's comments over at BlogsCanada at this post and this one.
Jim, I think we agree that Saudi has a revolting government - however its citizens are hardly the poster children of poverty which you argument would require. While the majority of Saudis do not live like the 30,000 princes, Saudis willing to work do quite well. (Of course the 27% of Saudi males who are unemployed in a nation which has had to import millions of guest workers have not done so well.) Every Saudi citizen has free medical care and free education up to and including university for those who can make the grade. On a scale of 1-10 Saudi would be about a 7 (Kuwaitis and citizens of the Emirates being 10's) and Gaza about .5.
I think it is important not to try to use the well worn Palestinian template when dealing with the jihadis. The Western left sees the Palestinian struggle through the Marxist lens which the inventors of the PLO, knowing who their friends were, imposed. Accurate or not that is how the Palestinians have managed to evoke sympathy. While bin Laden has been perfectly willing to claim that his jihad is, inter alia, on behalf of the Palestinians it comes from a very different place.
Unfortunately the left in the West tends to feel very, very uncomfortable - as they should - with the root causes of the bin Laden heresy and so try to squeeze it into the Palestinian mold.
bin Laden has been quite explicit about what he wants. The removal of the Jews and the Crusaders from all of the Muslim lands broadly defined. The restoration of the Caliphate.
Likey the best way to understand bin Ladenism is to treat it as a cult: its analogs are the Moonies and Hare Krishna and death cults like Jonestown. Certainly, the evidence of how it recruits and how it targets recruits - intelligent, middle class kids who are somehow alienated from the cultures they are living in - mirrors Moonie and Hare Krishna tactics.
Seen through that lens bin Ladenism becomes a lethal, lunatic offshoot from the more bizarre end of the Islamic fundamentalist spectrum. And through that lens it may be possible to see means of intervening well before the bomb belt is strapped on.
There is no question that a wellspring of the impulse to bin Ladenism has been the pathetic performance of so many Muslim states and their amazing failure to participate in the twentieth century world. That, however, is being addressed through regime change and the communications revolution which not even the Iranian mullahs have been able to stop effectively. No question that it is critically important for the West in general and the United States in particular to apply pressure for regime change and for the creation of increasingly fair, prosperous and democratic states in place of the corrupt, backward and tyranical states much of the Islamic world has been saddled with.
The root causes of a cult tend to be personal rather than political. The tiny fraction of Islamic individuals attracted to al-Qaeda and its franchises are not necessarily motivated by any sense of justice or desire for greater prosperity so much as by the sense of belonging which a cult creates.
Peace and prosperity could break out in the Middle East - as I believe it is - without the bin Laden cult being in any deflected from its anti-materialistic goals. For bin Laden, like most religious fanatics, it is the promise of the next world which justifies creating hell in this one.

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