Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How's "The Hunt" Going?

I know it's unfashionable and so six years ago, but for some reason I thought about Bin Laden today. The extent to which he's dropped off our national radar effing astounds me. If on September 12, 2001, someone told you that in 2007 we'd still be "on the hunt" in addition to being bogged down in an unrelated war with more dead than on 9/11....well, never mind. It appears OBL's going to get a pass, as a senior CIA official once advocated here. We'll spend a few seconds shaking our heads about it once a year for the next few decades while we're treated to periodic Elvis-redux "sightings" and verbal ping-pong matches across the Khyber Pass ("he's not in Pakistan/he's not in Afghanistan" between whomever's running those two countries). And his legend will endure in large parts of the Arab and non-Arab world.

If there's one topic guaranteed to infuriate me, this is it. Anyone else?


Blogger The Fly said...

About time for the Dixie Chicks to release a cover of Have You Forgotten?

2/08/2007 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

paris hilton looks ravishing on the cover of newsweek...its the process and machine bringing obl into and now out of sight/minds... iraq related then...but not now... those 16 words...

2/08/2007 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

One imagines 'company' folk come in every form. OBL is, perhaps, one of the most clever.

2/08/2007 3:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's Bin Laden?

2/08/2007 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's one of a very long list of outrages produced in the last 6 years.

You reach a point where you're numb from feeling outrage and deep frustration, and helplessness.

2/08/2007 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

Since TCR is being unfashionable, I will be as well. I would suggest that possibility that bin Laden has not been caught because he was never that important to begin with. The Administration seemed to lose interest in him rather quickly. Why would an administration that is so concerned about terrorism not go full bore after the supposed #1 terrorist? I see two reasons: either they are not that concerned, or he is not the #1 terrorist. Actually, I beieve it is both. The threat of terrorism in this country is not nearly as great as it is made out to be. Other than the 9/11 attacks (yes, that is a big one to leave out), what terrorism has occurred here? The anthrax scare, the Oklahoma City bombing and the WTC bombing almost 15 years ago. Terrorism is not a major threat to this country, especially compared to some others. Add to this the fact that the FBI is on record saying that they have no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks (see here) and you can see why those in the know are not that concerned with catching bin Laden. He was a useful villain, but I propose the possibility that he was also a convenient scapegoat. Heck, the FBI cannot even prove that identity of all the hijackers! Our fecklessness regarding bin Laden's capture is one more indication that we are not being told the truth about what is really going on, where we are as a nation, and how we got here.

2/08/2007 9:42 AM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

Bin Laden is a symbol, of course, among other things. But symbols are important. I'd venture that the best chance of a renewed serious effort to capture or eliminate him will be after a new president takes office... just one of a literal host of messes to be cleaned up after this Worst Presidency Ever.

2/08/2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger mrs panstreppon said...

C.R., You may not have been paying attention at the time but the FBI stopped posting information about the attacks on its website in October 2001.

I still have lots of questions. Why did the hijackers pick Boston, Newark and Dulles airports? Newark is known for air traffic delays (and thank goodness for them). But why not pick JFK and LaGuardia if you want to run a couple of planes into the WTC in a hurry?

Why would Atta risk a connecting flight on the biggest day of his life? Did the FBI canvass the Muslim community centered very near to the Portland ME airport?

Awhile ago, I suggested you read Chapters 5 and 7 of the 9/11 Commission Report which describes events leading up to 9/11 from the Al Qaeda side. Does the story even sound plausible to you?

Here's one that bugs me to no end. We don't know where Mohamed Atta learned to speak English although the 9/11 Commission was happy to tell us that Atta spoke fluent German.

Most of the narrative in the 9/11 Report about OBL and Al Qaeda's involvement in 9/11 came from Khalid Sheik Mohamed via third hand information. 9/11 Commission members were not permitted to interview KSM's interrogators, let alone KSM. But by now, KSM's brains are so addled, he'd tell us anything the government wants us to hear.

You don't get around much so you don't know how many people don't buy the 9/11 story. The other day, a fifteen-year-old told me about his high school teacher who sneaks links to 9/11 conspiracy theory websites to her students.

As for me, the government has not provided enough evidence for me to conclude that Osama bin Laden was the 9/11 mastermind. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't.

2/08/2007 11:32 AM  
Blogger Spider said...

As a fellow New Yorker, by blood and birth, this infuriates me as well.

2/08/2007 11:32 AM  
Blogger Grodge said...

Bin Laden my be a scapegoat, and he may be sufficiently boxed in to never be a threat again. The FBI may feel that they have no hard evidence against him.

But bin Laden is a symbol to the Muslims who revere him. He attacked the American Satan... and survived.

Above all else, bin Laden proves to future terrorists everywhere that America is a paper tiger.

2/08/2007 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with previous.

2/08/2007 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

"bin Laden is a symbol to the Muslims who revere him. He attacked the American Satan... and survived."

This is a good point, and perhaps one that would prompt us to go after him with more gusto. But I think it is useful, in the context of the 9/11 attacks, to consider how he got that reputation. There are sources, like the Power of Nightmares BBC documentary, that propose that Al Qaeda's stature on the world stage has as much to do with our treatment of them as it does with what they have been able to do. Basically, Osama bin Laden would not be nearly the holy warrior that he is if we had not treated him as such. It is interesting that by treating someone as though they have power and influence, one can give them power and influence.

2/08/2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...


We have already seen the "power struggle" in several ways.

1.) Dr. Zawahiri is now the front man for al Qaeda. There are multiple potential reasons for this, not all necessarily exlusive of one another.

2.) There is a lot of activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan that most likely does not involve bin Laden. There have been attacks, of course, in the Middle East and Europe, as well as India, that involve broader jihadist movements than al Qaeda. However, this is one of the reasons behind "The Base". It has always seen itself as a movement and not the armed wing of some faction or a quasi-army, like other terrorist forces in the past.

3.) Zarqawi was a "rival" to bin Laden. The two never saw eye-to-eye in Afghanistan, so to speak. When bin Laden was substantially diminished, he tappes the rising Zarqawi as the leader of the "movement" in Iraq. It was like openning a McDonalds in Paris -- not exactly what someone in Pennsylvania would recognize. After Zarqawi's death, an Egyptian, al Masri, now leads al Qaeda in Iraq -- or the two rivers, or Mesopotamia. Whatever you wish to call it.

The entire concept is misguided and vapid. Bin Laden used the jihad in Afghanistan to build a lethal organization meant to disrupt the world in the name of their financer. There were jihadists before bin Laden, and there will be jihadists after him.

He should be skinned.

His death will likely result in a number of spastic martyrdom attempts throughout the region. Many of these will be ineffective and misguided. He is a symbol for jihad, whether he is alive or dead.

There are plenty of jihadist leaders who are already trying to supplant bin Laden as the leader of militant Islam. In fact, I don't even think you can call bin Laden the leader of that movement, based on what is above and that Nasrallah fought Israel to a standstill. Sadr avoids capture in Iraq. There are numerous Sunni insurgencies in Iraq. There are Salafist attacks throughout the Muslim world.

Great analysis, all in all, from that CIA operative. Let's allow the man to remain in the pasture and occasionally opine in a random newspaper from time to time. Or, let's ignore him until he goes away.

2/08/2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger Humbug said...

If you kill the Bogeyman, who are people to fear?

If there is no fear, what are you to threaten them with?

If you cannot threaten people, how else do you coerce them?

If you cannot coerce people, how can you make them vote for you?

Watch actions... not words.
If you cannot make them vote for you, how do you get elected?

If you cannot get elected, then how do you...

Hmmm...A question there, eh?

What exactly *are* the administrations goals? 'w' certainly does seem stupid, but as inept as this administration seems, it *has* accomplished a few goals.

Look at what this administration *has* accomplished. That will reveal their true intentions.

Hint: GWoT, Bin Laden, et. al are a means, not an end.

Watch actions, not words.

2/08/2007 3:28 PM  
Blogger TommyWonk said...

That's 1,976 days, in case you're counting.

2/08/2007 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


US of Amnesia - preserving our sanity to sustain our insanity.

2/08/2007 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were al Masri, or bin Laden, or Zarqawi before he was killed, wouldn't you be pissed off at America?

2/08/2007 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

humbug, what do you think is the end please?

2/08/2007 7:53 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

hahaha...come on. We've needed an enemy since the end of the cold war. Profits had been on the decline. No longer...The military industrial complex is in a bigger bubble than housing and tech combined. If we get Bin Laden we'll have to go to the trouble of finding a new Bin Laden.

2/08/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

"what do you think is the end please?"

Power and control of geo-politics, the US population and resources, and mid-east oil. Not to mention consolidation of executive power.

2/09/2007 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

There's another end, which I gather was a key point of discussion at WEF Davos last week: global citizenship and sustainability.

It's the 21st Century, trekkers, and high time we renounce wars and economics of aggression.

2/09/2007 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that allowing Bin Laden to survive was part of the agreement. We have been played for fools and continue to allow it. Bush and Cheney will fry in hell for what they have done. Let's watch Bush finish reading a book about goats just like he was told to - could it have been more scripted? Look at him with his fireman's hat and bullhorn at ground zero - he was having one of the best days of his life.

2/09/2007 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but whose globe?

2/10/2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2/10/2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous i robot said...

3 x 7 could = 21

2/13/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...Globalization has also contributed to the spread of terrorism, drug trafficking, AIDS and environmental degradation..."[Talbott]

2/14/2007 5:56 AM  
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