Adam the American
Our best shot at looking into the mind of Al Qaeda came along about a week ago in the form of an American auto-videoblogger who is regarded by the CIA as a high ranking member of Al qaeda, at the relatively young age of 28. Quite precocious- and to think I'd written off my generation as underachievers. He even had Al Zawahiri as a warm up act.
If you've ever sat through a sermon of around 45 minutes you'll have experienced something like this before. I was going to say it's the most boring thing I'd ever heard, but it isn't- he just lost me a bit when he started to say how you have to balance what the Koran says with other bits of the Koran, and then quoting in Arabic. The early part when he lists the failures of the West while omitting any of the things that have really gone wrong, eg. the holocaust, communism and many related massacres- things mostly only tangental to our responsibilities- is a masterful show of selectivity. Towards the end he starts to make little idiomatic gestures- "you don't have to be a rocket scientist"- and gets a little more personal than at the beginning (you can use the cursor at the bottom of the video to run through some parts and cut to the chase, I think).
My conclusion: he's no dummy, but he is a hectoring little dictator, and I'm glad he's not my dad.
The best thing I read on it, which picked out the central points I missed in my fascination with this personality before me, is here. (via Daniel Pipes)