Osama declared war on us in his 1996 fatwa. He had a bunch of demands and grievances that made some sort of sense. Here’s a sample:

5-Destruction of the oil industries. The presence of the USA Crusader military forces on land, sea and air of the states of the Islamic Gulf is the greatest danger threatening the largest oil reserve in the world. The existence of these forces in the area will provoke the people of the country and induces aggression on their religion, feelings and prides and push them to take up armed struggle against the invaders occupying the land; therefore spread of the fighting in the region will expose the oil wealth to the danger of being burned up. The economic interests of the States of the Gulf and the land of the two Holy Places will be damaged and even a greater damage will be caused to the economy of the world. I would like here to alert my brothers, the Mujahideen, the sons of the nation, to protect this (oil) wealth and not to include it in the battle as it is a great Islamic wealth and a large economical power essential for the soon to be established Islamic state, by Allah’s Permission and Grace. We also warn the aggressors, the USA, against burning this Islamic wealth (a crime which they may commit in order to prevent it, at the end of the war, from falling in the hands of its legitimate owners and to cause economic damages to the competitors of the USA in Europe or the Far East, particularly Japan which is the major consumer of the oil of the region).

Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush is in a different category. It asks the President of the United States to submt to Allah. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch notes that:

…the letter was indeed the call to Islam that must precede any attack, in accord with Muhammad’s words (in Sahih Muslim 4294) about inviting the unbelievers to accept Islam or dhimmitude and fighting him only if he refuses both.

It gets worse. The New York Sun (not to be confused with the New York Times) editorializes that:

President Ahmadinejad’s letter to President Bush, widely interpreted as a peaceful overture, is in fact a declaration of war. The key sentence in the letter is the closing salutation. In an eight-page text of the letter being circulated by the Council on Foreign Relations, it is left untranslated and rendered as “Vasalam Ala Man Ataba’al hoda.” What this means is “Peace only unto those who follow the true path.”

It is a phrase with historical significance in Islam, for, according to Islamic tradition, in year six of the Hejira – the late 620s – the prophet Mohammad sent letters to the Byzantine emperor and the Sassanid emperor telling them to convert to the true faith of Islam or be conquered. The letters included the same phrase that President Ahmadinejad used to conclude his letter to Mr. Bush. For Mohammad, the letters were a prelude to a Muslim offensive, a war launched for the purpose of imposing Islamic rule over infidels.

Let me get this straight. The leader of Iran has issued a call to George Bush to accept Islam or be conquered. All bin Ladin wanted was for the US to exit the Middle East and leave Israel to the wolves. He had no expectation of converting us, at least in the short-term.

Ahmadinejad (or those who pull his strings) believe their religion too much; it leads not to rational decisions. By contrast, George Bush is promoting secular values in the Islamic world: democracy, human rights, women’s rights and freedom of religion. These are the rational values of civilization.

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