So say you’re the head of a terrorist organization. You treat your employees pretty well, giving them generous vacation benefits, but your organization isn’t booming, what will all the mass murders. Maybe, in the tradition of down-on-their-luck corporations of the past, it is time for a new name?
Osama bin Laden thought it just might be. The Associated Press reports that the former top al-Qaeda official “lamented in his final writings that al-Qaida was suffering from a marketing problem.” Matt Apuzzo reports:
Faced with these challenges, bin Laden, who hated the United States and decried capitalism, considered a most American of business strategies. Like Blackwater, ValuJet and Philip Morris, perhaps what al-Qaida really needed was a fresh start under a new name.
The problem with the name al-Qaida, bin Laden wrote in a letter recovered from his compound in Pakistan, was that it lacked a religious element, something to convince Muslims worldwide that they are in a holy war with America.
bin Laden’s undated letter was found by the Navy seals who killed him at his compound in Pakistan last month. The AP reports that the White House took the documents as positive reinforcement for President Obama’s push to nix religiously charged words from the federal government’s lexicon:
Words like “jihad,” which also has a peaceful religious meaning, are out. “Islamic radical” has been nixed in favor of “terrorist” and “mass murderer.” Though former members of President George W. Bush’s administration have backed that effort, it also has drawn ridicule from critics who said the president was being too politically correct.
Some of bin Laden’s suggested names? Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad, meaning Monotheism and Jihad Group and Jama’at I’Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida, meaning Restoration of the Caliphate Group.
If those don’t quite roll of the tongue, Spencer Ackerman is running a poll for new al-Qaeda names over at Danger Room.