Bin Laden-backed book becomes best-seller
A RECOMMENDATION by Osama bin Laden has propelled a controversial book which criticises United States foreign policy and claims the war on terror will fail into the best-seller lists.
Bin Laden encouraged Americans to read the book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, by William Blum, in a taped message promising further attacks on US soil if the Americans do not quit Arab territory.
The 320-page book condemns the way America deals with the world and predicts the war on terror will be as big a failure as America's war on drugs.
Mr Blum's book, which had previously sold fewer than 200,000 copies rocketed up the Amazon.com charts to number 23 in the US after it was mentioned in bin Laden's message which was released last week.
The world's most wanted man said: "If Bush carries on with his lies and oppression it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State."
And the al-Qaeda leader quoted a line from the writer, that he would end US interference in other nations' affairs if he were to become president.
Washington-based Mr Blum, 72, said he was "surprised and even shocked and amused" by bin Laden's approval of his work. He added: "I was not turned off by his endorsement. I'm not repulsed and I'm not going to pretend I am."
Mr Blum, who has also written a book on CIA plots against other countries, said he had not received any threats since bin Laden recommended his book.
He described the 9/11 attacks in America in 2001 as "an understandable retaliation against US foreign policy". But he made clear that that was not a justification for the suicide attacks.
The book, published by small Washington firm Common Courage Press, is currently standing at number 62 in the Amazon UK top 100 books.
The book has been backed by less controversial figures than bin Laden. A leading liberal critic of Republican policy, Gore Vidal, said of the book: "Rogue State forcibly reminds us of vice president Agnew's immortal line 'The United States, for all its faults, is still the greatest nation in the country'."
Former University of California at Berkeley professor-turned-author Peter Dale Scott added: "Critics will call this a one-sided book. But it is an invaluable corrective to the establishment portrait of America as the world's greatest force for peace.
"Even confirmed opponents of US interventionism can find much in this important book that will both educate and shock them."
The bin Laden audio tape, which has been authenticated by experts, was his first public pronouncement for nearly a year.
He offered the US a "long-term truce" but only in return for American troops being pulled out of the Arab world.
Rejecting the offer, a White House spokesman said: "We don't negotiate with terrorists - we put them out of business."
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