There are many myths about the late terrorist dog known as Osama bin Laden. Peter Bergen from the New America Foundation attempts to bust some of the most prominent of those myths. (Please note he does not deal with the myth that OBL was already dead):
1. Osama Bin Laden was a product of the CIA. This is a common myth and one of those who has helped this myth gain credence is the Marxist film-maker Michael Moore.
According to Bergen, the facts are: the CIA had no dealings with Afghan Arabs such as Bin Laden during the Russian-Afghanistan war. They dealt with the Pakistan ISI. Bergen cites three source that show that this particular myth is just that, a myth.
2. OBL attacked the US because “of our freedoms”. This was the trope of GWB. However, Peter Bergen notes that in his speeches not once did OBL attack any of those freedoms, but concentrated on Middle East policy. Most of his videos concerned alleged attacks on Muslims (leaving out that the Muslims attacked first of course).
3. Al Qaeda has nothing to do with Islam. Again this was a GWB myth. To the contrary, AQ firmly believed that their attacks have everything to do with Islam. OBL justified his attacks by using the “sword” verses from the Koran.
‘ ”Zawahiri, not bin Laden, is the real brains of al-Qaeda”: The conventional view is that Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor and al-Qaeda’s longtime second in command, has been bin Laden’s ”brain.” But in making the most important strategic shift in al-Qaeda’s history – identifying the US as its key enemy, rather than Middle Eastern regimes – bin Laden brushed aside Zawahiri’s obsessive focus on overthrowing the Egyptian government. Noman Benotman, a Libyan militant who has spent considerable time talking with both of al-Qaeda’s leaders, told me in an interview that ”Osama influenced Zawahiri with his idea: Forget about the ‘near enemy’; the main enemy is the Americans.”
Bin Laden also kept Zawahiri in the dark for years about al-Qaeda’s most important operation, cluing in his deputy only during 2001.