“Bin Laden had the book on Obama,” Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, who asks, “What should we make of the bookshelf?” Bin Laden’s bookshelf that is. Beyond being photographed on the 2008 campaign trail — chillingly in retrospect — holding fellow leftist Fareed Zakaria’s then-recent book The Post-American World, the pop culture-obsessed Mr. Obama seems to prefer binge-watching television to reading.
But Bin Laden’s choice of reading material is fascinating, as Mirengoff writes, who notes that Bob Woodward has the rare distinction of being on both Nixon’s enemies list, and Osama’s reading list:
Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United States. Unlike ISIS, which strives to capture territory and create a caliphate, bin Laden focused on attacking America and American interests.
But attacking America wasn’t an end in itself. Bin Laden’s overriding goal was to drive the U.S. out of the Muslim world so that al Qaeda and its affiliates could topple hostile governments in these regions.
Once we understand this, we must see bin Laden as more of a success than a failure. And we must see President Obama as the vehicle through which bin Laden succeeded.
Under Obama, the U.S. is basically exiting the Muslim world. We pulled out of Iraq (and haven’t re-entered to any significant degree). We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We never pulled into Syria, despite the advice of many in both parties that we should.
We didn’t stay in Libya. We’ve been driven out of Yemen. Our influence with Egypt and Saudi Arabia (two countries of special interest to bin Laden, surely) has waned considerably.
As for the toppling of governments, bin Laden’s dream is partially realized. The Afghanistan government hasn’t fallen, but it may well, once the U.S. leaves. And the government’s hold on large portions of the country is weak to non-existent.
The Iraqi government hasn’t fallen, but it has lost huge chunks of territory to Islamic terrorists, with even Baghdad now threatened. The government of Syria is in basically the same condition.
These two pop culture icons couldn’t be happier about the rapidly disintegrating state of the world: