With President Obama in the White House, Osama bin Laden is focusing his rhetorical attacks on the people around him.
Osama bin Laden doesn't have former President George W. Bush to kick around anymore. That has made his sales job a little tougher, something in evidence in the Al Qaeda leader's latest propaganda tape dispatched from his latest presumed hiding place in Pakistan.
Bin Laden generally times the release of a tape to the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks that he helped organize and which touched off the bloody ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This year was no different, with his "message to the American people" released on Islamic militant websites on Sunday.
But while his world view remains the same – the United States is a dangerous empire that backs Israel in its occupation of Arab lands – the packaging of his comments is now subtly different. Bin Laden was happy to describe Mr. Bush as "the evil one" responsible for authorizing what he describes as wars of conquest to subjugate Muslims.
But President Obama (he of the middle name "Hussein") comes in for gentler treatment. Bin Laden praises Obama for his acknowledgment of Muslim grievances in a speech in Cairo earlier this year. Rather than an evil plotter, Obama is merely a useful idiot for the secret cabal that bin Laden says runs Washington. Obama, he says is "powerless" to stop them and is in some sense a "victim" of their plots. Bin Laden's view is basically the popular conspiracy theory that "big corporations" and their agents actually run the US government with an Islamic twist.