Wright goes back to the 1920's and the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood to trace the origins of today's modern Jihadi in an effort to understand why we're in the position that we're in with the Islamofacists.
The book revokes a number of myths that surround Al-qaeda, bin Laden and the Afghan campaign against the soviets.
OBL's initial impulse in joining the mujahideen in Afghanistan was primarily because he was a devout anti-communist. The mujahideen commanders in Afghanistan saw OBL and his Al-queda as sayeed ("hicks" in arabic). They were untrained, inadequately armed and were only interested in dying for martyrdom. They were largely viewed by the fighters as a pain in the ass. Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden's college friend, even went to visit OBL in Afghanistan and implored him to come back to Saudi Arabia and quit the pipe-dream of creating an All-Arab peninsula. Khalifa could see that bin Laden and his "troops" were about to be wiped out by a soviet encampment that was only kilometers away. The squalid conditions and impoverished surroundings were not conducive to training anything. Bin Laden refused to be budged and Khalifa and he never spoke again.
Bin Laden is not as tall as you've heard: he's about 5'11" to 6'00" tall. He's not the 6 foot, 6 inch giant that he's commonly portrayed to be.
He doesn't have kidney disease and he isn't a billionaire. When he left Sudan in the early 1990's he only had about 50,000 dollars in the bank.
Many of the people that OBL interacted with didn't like his personal idiosynchrises. He has a highpitched, nasal voice. When he laughs he titters and holds his hand up to his face like a girl. And he's generally regarded as an incompetent military commander with little or no leadership qualities. He has often deferred leadership roles to other, more able, people.
Many of the stories of battle in Afghanistan are utter hyperbole. Bin Laden and his troops were about to engage a small soviet force when Bin Laden had the idea that he should climb a tree to get a better visual on the enemy positions. The soviet group was only 70 meters away. They saw him in the tree and opened fire. He was nearly killed by incoming 7.62mm rounds. An RPG exploded and knocked him out of the leafless tree. Mortar rounds came in hot and heavy from the soviets. OBL, in typical fashion, declared that he was so calm that he "fell asleep" during the engagement. What probably happened was that he fainted. OBL does suffer from low blood sugar and is often light-headed. He carries a bag of salt with him and dips into it frequently to keep his sugar from falling too low.
On April 17th, 1987 OBL showed his incompetence and almost got his entire crew killed. They spent months planning a big attack on an Afghan government outpost near Khost. Right before the attack was to begin, they found that someone had forgotten to get wires to connect the rockets, there was no ammunition at any of the positions, and there was no food for the men.
The enemy forces overran OBL's position and his men had to destroy The Lion's Den (Al-qaeda's group of tunnels which they used to store their supplies and equipment). It was a stunning defeat for Osama bin Laden.
So anyone who disagreed with their [Dr. Fadl & Dr. Ahmed - takfiri leaders] joyless understanding of Islam were deemed apostates and their lives were forfeit. The mujahideen leaders were apostates eventhough they'd come to help liberate Afghanistan.
They regarded the entire population of Afghanistan as infidels because they were Salafists. The new takfiris believed that they were entitled to kill practically anyone and everyone who stood in their way; indeed they saw it as their divine duty.
One important point that Lawrence Wright brings up in the book is the Muslim concept of tak-fir (excommunication, in arabic). It is what the jihadis use to justify murdering other Muslims. The Koran explicitly states that Muslims shall not kill anyone, except as punishment for murder. The murderer of one innocent, it states, is as if "he had murdered all of mankind." The killing of Muslims is an even greater offense. So how can they justify murdering other Muslims? They use Sayyid Qtub's "logic" to justify it. Qtub stated that any leader who did not institute Sharia law in his country, by deduction, must be an apostate. According to Mohammed's writings, there are only 3 ways in which a Muslim can kill another Muslim: Marital infidelity,
as punishment for murder or for turning away from Islam. That was what the Muslim Brotherhood had used to murder Anwar Sadat, the former president of Egypt. He was the first victim of the twisted logic of tak-fir.
This tak-fir was even extended, for example, to anyone who registered to vote! The logic being that if someone participated in a Democracy, they were implicitly saying that the government was more important than God - which is heresy.
Therefore, anyone who voted was an apostate and was deemed to have turned from Islam - and could be murdered.
So on this September 11th, 2007 - Please remember to do something to support our troops. Fly the flag, send a card, make a phone call. We're in this fight and we need to follow through and eliminate the threats that we have at home and abroad.
God bless America, God bless her Warriors and may death come soon to Osama bin Laden and his to his sick, twisted ideology.