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Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?


Theresa Heinz-Kerry and Madeline Albright think W. already has Osama bin Laden up his sleeve—or maybe in that bulge under the back of his suit coat—ready for an October surprise. Senator Heinz-Kerry thinks not. Columnist Mark Steyn thinks Osama's dead (and probably has been for years).

Now Matthew Heidt weighs in with a fascinating post on Froggy Rumninations, essentially confirming Mr. Steyn's position:

Usama bin Laden is dead. You hadn't heard? Well, I'm not breaking news, President Bush knows damn well that UBL has been dead for quite some time. But why would Bush keep it to himself? If he were to disclose his knowledge that UBL is dead he would blow John Kerry's doors off in the election, and yet he remains silent. Why?

Maybe you're wondering how I know he's dead. Perhaps one of my SEAL buddies let me in on the secret? NO. I know because a publicity whore and grandstanding scumbag like UBL could not possibly resist the multitude of opportunites to inspire his cult members. His number 1, Zwahiri, has appeared on video or audio broadcasts every few months since 9/11. UBL has not been heard from since Tora Bora despite developments in the GWOT in Afghanistan and Iraq that make it unthinkable for him to have remained silent. Not to mention successful attacks in Bali, Madrid, Turkey, and Jakarta to name a few that remain unremarked upon by UBL. The invasion and occupation of an Islamic state by the US and not a word. Elections held for the first time in Afghan history, and he had nothing to say about it in the lead up. AQ tried once early on to air a tape that never mentioned key developments in the Afghan campaign and was quickly discredited as an attempt to put one over on his followers by airing a previous recording. Zwahiri decided that it was better to just pretend that UBL was alive because there was no plausible martyr story to tell. UBL went out running for his life like a coward. He is dead. His remains are turds shat by scavenging animals in the mountains of Afghanistan blown by the wind and stomped on by US troops.

By why not make it public? After all, this is the one thing that could ensure the President's re-election. Have you noticed how coy DOD officials and high ranking officers are when the question is posed? They know. They certainly have intelligence to this effect. Of course, the President could have instructed subordinates to start saying that intel indicates UBL is dead. This would have put pressure on him to prove otherwise by issuing a statement which he is clearly unable to make. This process could have started 6 months ago, and if UBL did not answer, it would in effect prove the case. But it didn't happen. Why not?

Because the President knows that making UBL a martyr would serve to further inspire his minions, and he realizes that preventing this from happening is more important than his re-election. Instead, UBL remains forever silent even as his recruits yearn to hear his voice. Eventually these cultists will realize themselves that UBL went out like a punk, not a martyr and that the AQ head shed has been lying to them for years. That realization combined with US combat boots knocking their teeth down their throats will go a long way to beating this cult into submission. But it is important to recognize that the President's committment to killing terrorists supercedes his committment to his own re-election. I'm sure he hopes that the American people will come to this conclusion on their own and vote for him anyway, but it is quite a risk to take in the ultimate ME situation.

The Conventional Wisdom, of course, holds with the still-has-a-pulse view. Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf said recently he feels "reasonably sure," bin Laden is alive. In an interview with CNN, "he said the reason bin Laden is still at large is a combination of the terrain where he disappeared—in remote eastern Afghanistan or western Pakistan—and that 'he has supporters' in the area where he is hiding."

Colin Powell agrees: "I don't know where he is," he told the Associated Press. "I don't know his state of health. I believe he is still alive, but I can't prove that. He clearly is in hiding, and he is on the run." Germany's intelligence chief August Hanning supports Powell and Musharraf's contention, though with some fairly sketchy "evidence": "We continue to see traces of his activity. He tries to organize, to motivate [his followers]."

None of these statements strikes me as especially persuasive. In fact, all the weasel wording leads me to think the Frogman may be on to something. But if Osama is dead, can we decide once and for all how to spell his name?

UPDATE: Greg Djerejian of the Belgravia Dispatch has an even more persuasive argument for Osama's death. But Dan Darling at Winds of Change offers what Greg describes as a "near magisterial" counter-argument that Osama is merely lying low in Iran. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Posted by Rodger on October 17, 2004 at 04:52 PM | Permalink


Donald Rumsfeld said it best. To paraphrase, he said that he believes that Osama would like to be seen on video, yet he is not seen on video, therefore, there is some reason to believe that Osama can not be on video. As my Uncle Smedley used to say, that's too cute by half. I can not name one other person in the world who would want to be seen in a photo with this week's TV guide in his hands than him.

Face it: as I have been saying for years, the conventional wisdom is always wrong.

Posted by: Michael Gersh | Oct 19, 2004 3:25:28 AM

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