OBL, Why did he target America and Americans?

Any reason?

Because America is the Great Satan? Because it’s there?

that’s not an answer to my question

Didn’t he say that our having troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1st Gulf War (to his way of thinking, savage infidels too close to the holy cities of Mecca & Medina) was a blasphemy and had to be punished?

How do you know?

I don’t remember if he was pissed that we were there at all, but I do (seem to) remember that ObL was angry that the U.S. didn’t vacate Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War.


I think he also offered to deal with Saddam himself and was rejected.

Either that or he saw Blues Brothers 2000 and decided drastic steps were called for…

I’m currently reading the book ‘growing up bin laden’ written by one of Bin Laden’s wives and one of his sons about his life in the 80s and 90s, up until a few months before 9/11 when they left.

The reasons his son gives are basically.

  1. Bin Laden wanted to fight Saddam (he didn’t like Saddam since he was a secularist by Bin Laden’s standards), but the Saudi government ignored him and put NATO and US troops in charge of Saudi safety. So western troops in Saudi Arabia angered him (I tend to think of it kindof like the KKK getting mad that black and jewish police officers are in their neighborhood. Not only are people you consider inferior in your neighborhood and there is nothing you can do about it, but they are protecting and dominating you)

  2. NATO and the US had female troops defending the Saudi Kingdom. So female soldiers defending arab men pissed him off even more.

  3. When the US put pressure on Sudan to kick Bin Laden out of Sudan that pissed him off. His son said he was trying to develop a stable life in Sudan and investing to grow the Sudanese economy, then the gov. kicked him out due to international pressure. His son said him being kicked out of Sudan was a huge turning point. Before that Jihad was just part of Bin Ladens life. After being kicked out of Sudan it was all Osama Bin Laden seemed to talk about or work on.

  4. In the book his son says Mullah Omar met with Bin Laden around 95-98 or so (I don’t remember when) saying that he was under international pressure to kick Bin Laden and Al Qaeda out. Bin Laden talks him into letting them stay, but I’m sure after being kicked out of Sudan that pissed him off too. His son didn’t say that that event angered him, but after Sudan him nearly being kicked out of Afghanistan had to piss him off.

  5. Bin Laden told his son that Israel and the US were basically the same country, but he felt the US was the weaker of the two and should be targeted first. So if you target the US first by bankrupting it (by dragging it into endless wars and using fear to freeze up the economy) that will eventually make it easier to target Israel.

You can just look at the reasons bin Laden himself gave:

Letter to Americans:

Basically, he felt the USA, acting at times through Israeli agency, was attacking the whole Muslim community. He wanted us to convert to Islam, stop being so immoral and hypocritical, and stop messing with the Islamic world.

There are some interesting (with every connotation that implies) bits in his letter. Since I’m sure others will draw attention to the things he says, I’d like to note the context behind the half-hearted call for us to convert to Islam. That’s something that Islamic convention calls for, but the way he’s doing it is pretty obviously a “cover your ass” kind of publicity trick aimed at the jihadi community rather than the USA. al-Qaeda has always been something of an unpopular beast among jihadi circles for taking the fight to the “far enemy” rather than the near enemy, and a big part of their statements are to justify their actions among their peers.

Islam certainly has a strong tradition of people explaining why they choose to do stuff, and why they are justified in doing stuff. Even those in favor of suicide bombing claims justification from classical Islamic theological principles and authors (In my non-Muslim opinion, which is shared by most Muslims, they do it impossibly stupidly, but at least they try to explain it, they don’t just shrug their shoulders.)

I remember seeing an item some years ago. It was in the style of a motivational poster (maybe with a picture of OBL?) and read:
“They Hate Us Because We Don’t Know Why They Hate Us.”

US support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So he was on a mission from God?

Also see the 1998 fatwa:


So, that pretty much sums it up.

Steve Coll has 2 books that detail Bin Laden’s hatred for the west, “Ghost Wars”(for which he won a Pulitzer Prize) and “The Bin Ladens”. Coll was a reporter in India during the Soviet/Afghanistan war and reported extensively on that war. I’d summarize here, but an understanding of Saudi society, Islam, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and host of other topics would make this a VERY long post.

Basically the idea was that there should be no non-Muslims occupying any Muslim country. Al Qaeda wanted the Soviets out of Afghanistan, Israelis out of Palestine, and Americans out of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

You don’t turn yourself into a legend/martyr/caliph by targeting the Canadians. There’s really nothing more to it than that. Same reason Kanye doesn’t record polka music.

I bet landing helicopters at his house and shooting him in the eye pissed him off.

Theoretically it’s a reason he would target America, if he weren’t undergoing the ol’ sea change.

It got William Henry Harrison elected President.