Well, I must admit that I didn’t expect Leonard Peikoff to get onto the opinion pages of the New York Times via an “[al] Qaeda intellectual.” The opinion essay in question mostly consists of excerpts from Muslim “jihadi” web sites about the anniversary of September 11th. Here’s the one relevant to Dr. Peikoff, with the op-ed writers’ introduction in italics, then the translated commentary in plain text.
Hamid ibn Abdallah al-Ali is a Kuwaiti ideologue of jihadism — the only Qaeda intellectual to have posted a text specifically for the Sept. 11 anniversary. The sheik cites an article by Leonard Peikoff, heir and executor to Ayn Rand, that appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
In his article “End States that Sponsor Terrorism,” Leonard Peikoff, one of the leading ideologues of American extremism, concluded that America’s policy of appeasement toward the Muslim world led to Sept. 11. For 50 years, he writes, American administrations have relinquished their true ownership rights over Muslim oil resources, which they discovered and developed the technology to extract. The solution, according to Mr. Peikoff, is for the United States to eliminate the states that sponsor terrorism with the most lethal weapons at its disposal.
This is exactly the kind of rotten thinking that animates those living in the extreme west of the globe, from where they spread their rot to the rest of the world — these politicians of underdevelopment, criminality and mass extermination of humanity. This is the arrogance of fascism, of which Bush has accused Muslims recently: in this case it is the fascism of the cross standing on the tribunes of oil. In short, it means that they own our oil that is in our land; they own our blood, which they can shed at will; they own our present and future, and they have the right to change our history and our education!…
Hunger, disease, thirst and regional wars instigated by poverty all stem from the greed of the West, its thirst for plunder and desire to control the world’s wealth. These in turn lead to a rate of destruction every year that equals the destruction World War II effected over six years.
The mercenaries who dominate the World Trade Organization … the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund …the bloodsuckers of the world’s poor, the immiserators of nations and the thieves, murderers, shedders of blood: these are the ones who control the international political system. They are the ones who spread their armies throughout the world, terrorizing and stealing the wealth of nations while enslaving them. They are the ones who are exterminating the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and other places. They are the ones who ally themselves to the despotic rulers in order to suck the blood of the people, using companies that are owned by the leaders of their countries and headed by murderers and criminals.
(Via Ray Niles.)
Update #1: Dr. Peikoff’s article was also discussed at some length in this op-ed in an Egyptian weekly newspaper. Here’s the key section:
When I was researching for this article, I looked for material that may help me identify any change that may have occurred in recent US foreign policy. I found an article written by Leonard Peikoff, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. What caught my eye was not just the title of his article, “End States Who Sponsor Terrorism”, but that it was published first 2 October 2001, right after 9/11 and immediately before the war on Afghanistan. The article was republished 9 September 2005, on the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This says volumes about the vision of the US rightwing, and its persistence.
Peikoff believes that the appeasement policies pursued by successive US administrations towards the Islamic world are responsible for the latter’s belligerence, which climaxed on 9/11. Fifty years ago, Truman and Eisenhower’s abandonment of oil rights tempted the Muslim world to take its first stabs at freedom. The second stab came from Khomeini’s Iran, where US diplomats were held hostage. President Carter, Peikoff goes on, wavered in his response, which encouraged the Muslim world to shed American blood. The first killers were Palestinians who hijacked planes in the late-1960s, before being joined by others eager to get in on the game, Peikoff argues.
Successive US administrations saw Muslim crimes as individual crimes that call for legal action against the perpetrators. But Peikoff proposes a more radical solution: the eradication of all countries that sponsor terror. The expression of “ending” countries that sponsor terror is not one that Peikoff invented. He borrowed it from Paul Wolfowitz, currently president of the World Bank. Only reluctantly does Peikoff agree with Donald Rumsfeld that nuclear bombs cannot be used. For Peikoff, Iran is the key source of terror. Not only does he call for the destruction of Iranian military power, but he also advises “the destruction of every branch in its government”.
It would be inaccurate to claim that Peikoff’s article encapsulates the current US administration. I understand that President Bush, in comparison with Peikoff, may look like Mother Theresa. Furthermore, the failure of US policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon has given rise to opposition within the ranks of the Republican Party. There is just a slim chance the US administration may learn from its mistakes, but I am not optimistic. This administration is so steeped in its own indoctrination, it is likely to remain as intransigent as ever.
The comment that Dr. Peikoff makes President Bush look like Mother Theresa is more accurate than the author realizes, I’m sure.
Update #2: Dr. Peikoff’s article “End States that Sponsor Terrorism” can be found here.