“I need everyone to stop what they’re doing right now and go read — it’s literally two pages. Go read ‘A Letter to America,’” Lynette Adkins said in one viral TikTok. “And please come back here and just let me know what you think because I feel like I’m going through, like, an existential crisis right now, and a lot of people are.”
If all these TikTokkers were doing was encouraging people to skeptically read bin Laden’s infamous “Letter to America,” which explained his supposed justifications for the 9/11 attacks, that wouldn’t be so objectionable.
But they should read it critically and see it for the (deeply antisemitic and conspiratorial) morally bankrupt apologia for barbarism it is.
Instead, several TikTokkers in these viral videos promoting the letter openly state they now realize bin Laden “was right.”
It’s bizarre, if unsurprising, to see this stance from supposedly “woke” progressives because they must have breezed past the part of the letter where bin Laden names our country’s tolerance of homosexuality, separation of church and state and sexual liberation for women as motivating reasons for terrorists’ desire to destroy America.
But the bulk of the letter cites US Middle East policy as justification for the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 civilians.
While many of the specific charges bin Laden levies at America are disputed or ahistorical, it is absolutely true the motivations behind anti-American terrorism are more complicated than “They hate us because we’re free,” and the concept of “blowback” from our actions overseas is real — it was first recognized by the CIA.
Yet what’s not true — and is, in fact, evil to its core — is bin Laden’s logical leap that if the US government has harmed Muslims overseas, they are therefore justified in targeting and killing innocent American civilians.
“The American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us,” bin Laden writes, because the “American people are the ones who choose their government” and “the American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us.”
Bin Laden uses depraved mental gymnastics to justify murdering women, children and others with no connection to US foreign policy in cold blood on 9/11.
But despite these arguments’ obvious hollowness, millions of impressionable, clueless young people apparently find them so convincing as to reorient their worldview.
This has ramifications far beyond how the next generation reflects on 9/11.
Since Hamas’ vile Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that killed at least 1,200 Israelis, many Americans have been dismayed that many young people are openly siding with Hamas and viewing the terrorists who killed civilians as “freedom fighters.”
Indeed, a depressing but sadly unsurprising Harvard-Harris poll found that 51% of 18- to 24-year-olds think Hamas’ violence against Israeli civilians was justified.
How did we get here?
Well, even if they hadn’t read bin Laden’s infamous letter, young people have already been spoon-fed a form of the intellectually bankrupt collectivist worldview he espouses through the leftist messaging that dominates college campuses, digital-media and social-media discourse.
Holding an American janitor who worked in the Twin Towers or an Israeli baby slaughtered by Hamas responsible for the actions of their government is not all that different from the kind of collective or ancestral guilt regularly assigned to white people in the “woke” worldview.
It’s all part and parcel of an un-American ideology that views people not as individuals responsible for their own deeds and actions but as tokens from a nebulous collective.
It’s not enough just to condemn or write off the millions of young people who’ve fallen prey to this pernicious perspective.
Instead, we must reach out to youth and try, somehow, to help them see the error of their ways.
Because if we fail, the America our descendants inherit will be fundamentally unrecognizable from the one we all know and love.