I agree with the above points made by MEBuckner and I can see the point that delphica is making but I think we need to distinguish between “cowardly” and “misguided”.
From what I’ve read (up to now) the terrorists kept themselves to themselves while they were in America and didn’t mix much with the locals. But, in any case, they will have seen themselves as undercover agents on a mission in enemy territory.
A terrorist group is small compared to a State - Bin Laden only has about 2000 followers. So Bin Laden (or any terrorist group) cant just march up to America’s front door and say “Do you want a fight?”.
They would obviously lose so they have to use more devious techniques in order to even out the playing field. This is a war in which the US has a huge advantage because it is starting out from the position of being a rich and powerful nation state with a 260 million population. Not to mention all the best weapons in the world.
So if you see it through the eyes of the terrorist, this attack was the only way he could fire a cruise missile at New York. Just as America did to Bin Ladens camp in Afghanistan.
And, in fact, I’ve been wondering if this whole thing wasn’t all about Bin Laden’s revenge for that attack.
Bin Laden may have been hiding in the background until now but I’d say he’s pretty much invited us in now, wouldn’t you say?
So he’s probably prepared to die for his cause. He may be misguided but not cowardly.
Bear in mind Bin Laden is considered a hero across parts of the Arab world (Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Syria). He’s not afraid of the world as Osirissays.
The reason they hate America is nothing to do with what George W. Bush has been saying. They don’t hate your way of life or your democracy or your freedom. They object to your religion.
Every religion believes that it is the right one and every religion has it’s extreme edge where its followers can’t accept the idea of “live and let live”. So they believe non-believers are evil and must be banished.
So Bin Laden wants ALL Christian influence out of the muslim world. At the moment that means the US but it would be the same whatever Christian country was there - the UK or whoever. The US has 1000s of troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s most holy country. Bin Laden feels you are defiling it by being there because you are “heathen”.
The vast majority of muslims recognize this for the bullshit it is but this is his basic problem with America.
He doesn’t hate you because you are Americans, he hates you because you are Christians in a muslim land.
In fact, he may well even think Christians are great as people. No problem at all. He just doesn’t want Christians controlling Muslim lands. Remember he lived in the UK for a few years (before he got famous).