How Bin Laden Bankrupted America - by Jon Basil Utley Sun Tzu's famous dictum was "know yourself" and "know your enemy." Jujitsu is based upon using your enemy's strength against him, e.g., like Jack in "Jack and the Beanstalk," who used the giant's own size and anger to get him to crash from his own weight. Bin Laden understood that the way to beat America was to turn its power back upon itself. His early stated aim was to bankrupt America. He knew his own weaknesses, and he profoundly understood America's, how its pride and fears could trigger irrational, self-destructive reactions. The genius of bin Laden's pinprick attacks, costing a few hundred thousand dollars, has left America reeling with two unending multi-trillion-dollar wars it doesn't know how to get out of. He knew that his own strength was mainly in his appeal to the minds of men, particularly to the lost dignity of Muslims trampled under the heel of their own dictators, Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and America's military. Getting rid of the "far" enemy was the way to take on the "near" ones. Instigating America to destroy Iraq was a triumph of genius. He must have known about the neoconservative cabal in Washington that was itching to start wars and destroy Iraq. In bin Laden's wildest dreams he then imagined that he could get an enraged America to destroy his enemies while, at the same time, isolating itself from allies and becoming seriously weakened. His prime Arab enemy, secular nationalist socialism, was embodied by the Ba'athist rulers in Iraq. Once destroyed, Muslim resistance could be channeled to religious fundamentalism as the only remaining force honest and profound enough to challenge Arab dictators and American soldiers successfully. In that sense he was allied with Israel, again an intelligent strategy of harnessing his enemies' strength, which, for different reasons, feared Iraq as the most modern, secular nation among the Arabs far more than it feared Muslim fundamentalists. Indeed, in Palestine, Israel built up Islamist Hamas at first as a counterforce to the secular PLO. Successful terrorists come from the well educated, not from fundamentalist fanatics.