After speaking with Saddam, I was not especially surprised to hear from Osama. He did not care to speak with me off record and wanted me to record and publish our conversation. He said he could no longer imagine talking to any American in a position of authority. He said he had been trying to do that for more than twenty years and response was always; who are you that we should listen? He felt he had satisfactorily answered question of who he was and noted that it produced no meaningful dialogue.
Osama: I am calling you to speak to people of world. Video and audio tapes have not worked very well. Do you have any questions for me?
Ed: Oh yes! Probably many you don't want to answer.
Osama: Try me.
Ed: Why do you attack innocent people?
Osama: We do not attack innocent people. We attack ignorant people who make it their business to support distorted government policies- policies that create humiliation and suffering in far away places. We attack irresponsible people who serve policy makers and fraudulent financiers.
Ed: Is that why you attacked World Trade Center?
Osama: Exactly. Not only were they symbolic of overwhelming economic power, we needed to send a message to hidden government of money and debt, that their days are numbered. They can hide from entire world and quietly control everything, but we can bring them down, even if we don't know their names, and we do.
Ed: Then your partially successful attack on Washington D.C. was symbolic of military power that serves money power?
Osama. Very good. The idea was to cut off head of dragon, and then limbs, in sequence. We had three Washington targets and only two attack ships, but timing demanded we strike when we did.
Ed: You have made it clear that if at first you don't completely succeed, you try again. I'm assuming that you will try to finish your targets in Washington.
Osama: I'm glad I called you. Since 1993, we have been trying to tell people of world that we will not fail in our mission, no matter how long it takes. We have been very patient and know value of patience. At same time, we give warning to all who live and work in and near our targets. That is another reason why we are not attacking innocent people. We are attacking targets where people choose to be, in spite of our warnings. They bet we won't succeed and then they lose bet, again and again. The World Trade Center should have stood empty since '93. Everyone there bet on U.S. Government and against us. They are doing very same today in Washington, because Americans refuse to learn from their mistakes and believe they are helpless to change, especially leaders.
Ed: I cannot argue with that. As I understand it, Al Qaeda and associates are well trained in use of weapons of mass destruction. Why haven't you used them?
Osama: For many reasons. First, it is not our desire to destroy all people of America but to awaken them to a reality in global politics, they, like their leaders, choose to ignore. Between attacks we leave space for dialogue. When none develops, we move on to next step.
Next, there are more than a few logistical problems in moving weapons to locations close to where they will be used. Saddam has been very helpful in this matter. Operation Iraqi Freedom has created great new opportunities for us. We owe U.S. a debt for this assistance.
Ed: You mean Saddam's money and cooperation?
Osama: That and more. The things Saddam wanted as head-of-state became very easy to acquire as Saddam-at-large, with pockets full of money. Since this stateless condition is new to him, he quickly teamed up with various stateless movements, with goals similar to his own.
Ed: Such as Al Qaeda and Palestinian fighters?
Osama: Very much like those. You recall his support for families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Saddam set up a trust account that will continue that support, long after he is gone. When living in Palestine is more profitable than dying, bombings will cease. I don't see that happening any time soon.
Ed: I don't think anyone does. You said Iraqi invasion has been good for you in many ways. Such as?
Osama: Our recruitment has more than doubled our numbers. It is perfectly clear to average Arab and Islamic believer that Iraq is only beginning of a grand imperial design for region. To set up a Westernizing propaganda center and spread out. President Bush calls it spreading Democracy, but it is a thinly veiled attempt to westernize Arab world and Islam, which will never, ever, happen.