My September 11th post generated a fair amount of email, which is always gratifying. Matt mentioned, after seeing my little cartoon of Osama bin Laden’s notebook, that you can see the real thing at the Smoking Gun. The manual on display concerns “Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants.” A lot of it is standard Anarchist’s Cookbook kinds of advice: wear sneakers, hide in the dark, be careful with explosives, and so on. What makes it disturbing is the fact that it probably really was used by the people who did the deed. It contains a strange mixture of Islamic fundamentalist cant along with boring high school textbook pedagogy. Here’s a sample:
Islamic governments have never and will never be established through peaceful solutions and cooperative councils. They are established as they always have been: by pen and gun… by word and bullet… by tongue and teeth. In the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate.
This book belongs to the guest house. Please do not remove it from the house except with permission.
What do you suppose the punishment is for removing it from the house without permission?
Another good friend, colleague, and poetry aficionado extraordinaire pointed out that when Andrei Codrescu mentioned Allen Ginsberg, he probably had the poem America in mind. As my friend said “It’s at least one model for the form Codrescu chose, and the contrast in their endings heightens the poignance of Codrescu’s, at least insofar as poems resonate further in the way they play off of one another. And Codrescu’s is plenty poignant on its own.”