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<nettime> Oh! "Freedom!" (27 times) and al Qaeda
Michael H Goldhaber on Sat, 22 Jan 2005 17:59:14 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Oh! "Freedom!" (27 times) and al Qaeda


According to NPR, Pres. Bush said the word "freedom"  27 times in his 
21-minute inaugural speech yesterday ? an excellent example of 
misleading framing (in the sense recently popularized by George 
Lakoff).  

Even worse, Bush spoke again of the 9/11 attack as being an attack on 
"freedom." This is utterly absurd.  

What was attacked were two of the world's largest office buildings, 
both, incidentally, built by government, not "free" enterprise. (The 
Pentagon is obvious, and the WTC was built by the NY Port Authority.)  
We are usually told the fourth plane was to be aimed at the White House 
or the Capitol, but for all I know one of the huge office buildings in 
Washington could have been the target --or maybe another side of the 
Pentagon was. The previous major al Qaeda attacks were also on 
government office buildings, at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es 
Salaam. 
The other attacks were on US military targets. 

 I don't know why bin Laden has it in for office buildings, but since 
he cut his teeth in the guerilla war against the soviets in 
Afghanistan, and since he has made it clear he believes he brought down 
the USSR through that, it's quite clear he has now focussed on the 
remaining "western" superpower. Would Bush say bin Laden attacked the 
USSR because of opposition to freedom? As for the office-building 
fetish, possibly bin Laden and his group did attack Soviet office 
buildings  in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan; maybe that even stuck 
in his mind as a source of success.   

Of course 9/11 was heinous, but it was an evil attack on office 
buildings, or perhaps on office workers, bureaucrats, or bureaucracy,  
not freedom. Let's reclaim that important fact.   

( I have previously speculated that al Qaeda was interested in 
attacking the World Trade Center because they were confused by the 
name, and thought that, rather than being rented out with difficulty 
mainly as back offices for Wall Street, it was, indeed, the center of 
world trade. If so, this again shows that we should be careful what we 
name things.) 
 
 
Best, 

Michael 


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