Is bin Laden dead?
July 27, 2002 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Is bin Laden dead? Some people in the intelligence community are apparently beginning to think so and are even quietly speaking to reporters about it.
posted by TBoneMcCool (77 comments total)

 
is george bush dead?
posted by quonsar at 6:21 AM on July 27, 2002


nope. And the kicker is...... were we going to kill him in the first place? Probably not.
posted by bradth27 at 6:53 AM on July 27, 2002


Now, guys...

TBoneMcCool?!
Y2karlMcHuh?
Ach, the alias's to come...
posted by y2karl at 7:00 AM on July 27, 2002


So does that mean we've defeated evil and the War Against Bad Things is over?
posted by mathowie at 7:04 AM on July 27, 2002


Oh dear, I do hope so.

But I have a sinking feeling that there are More Bad Things out there, more evil-doers, and that the best course of action is to report anyone suspicious to the proper authorities, increase military spending, ignore any financial pecadillos that elected officials might have engaged in, start paying CEO's a lot more, and arrest and detain without charge anyone who says different, gosh darn it.

You can't be too careful.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:09 AM on July 27, 2002


Fuck Bin Laden.

The real enemy is Saddam. The man's toast
posted by matteo at 7:21 AM on July 27, 2002


I'd say that the real enemy is your own government, actually.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2002


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thanks for the useful source, stavros...

btw there was a slight flavor of irony in my post,
my mistake if that didn't work
(ps the whole October Surprise argument wasn't
convincing back when Reagan allegedly used it,
it's even less convincing now -- I don't see evidence of
a Democratic landslide in November, Desert Storm II or not)
posted by matteo at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2002


matteo: with the follow-on, I suppose I can appreciate the ironic character now. The reason that it does work is those who don't support unending war against unseen enemies are still bristling from the ad hominem attacks and general venom spewed during the weeks that the war hawks were beating their chests. Now that things have cooled somewhat there is perhaps hope of reasonable discussion. Somehow, I doubt it'll happen that way.
posted by shagoth at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2002


(Whoops. I hate it when I miss the irony, and veer into polemic.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:42 AM on July 27, 2002


I have always counted on our "intelligence community" to get the real score, and now I know that some think he is dead and others think not. That helps a great deal.
posted by Postroad at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2002


Even if he is dead, he's going to be used as the icon of the anti-terror movement. They'll be hunting down his "associates" for a while, I bet.

"We've always been at war with Eastasia..."
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:05 AM on July 27, 2002


"Let us taunt it. It may become so cross that it will make a mistake."

Seems to me that this is a rather desperate attempt at drawing him out.

"You would think he would want to demonstrate to us and all the world that he was still in charge, still alive, but he has not, despite the fact that his spokesman said he would make an appearance soon."

Olly-Olly-Oxen-free, Binny.... Marco?

If Bin Laden's gone underground, he's lost no effectiveness because of it... if it could be said that he had any real effectiveness in the first place. He may be dispicable, but he's on the level of Timothy McVeigh, not Adolf Hitler. A tinhorn threat.

But Dubya promised the fatherland his head on a plate, and at the moment that plate is still empty, even after killing more Afghan civillians than Bin Laden did. An attack made with the specific promise that "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. (Applause.)"

A little embarassing.

This sure sounds like a perfect example of Aesop's 'Sour Grapes'.
posted by Perigee at 8:28 AM on July 27, 2002


It's also important to consider that George I got little electoral bounce in 1992 from the Desert Storm victory, the economy _was_ in disarray anyway -- as then Governor Clinton understood better than all those Democrat Presidential wannabes who chickened out of the race (then-Senator Al Gore included)

Clinton also learnt that nowadays you basically can't win an election based on a victory in a distant war.

And fucking up Saddam real bad unfortunately won't stop all those Al Qaeda sleepers and Mohammed Atta fans, so Americans won't enjoy a Al Qaeda ceasefire because of a Desert Storm II triumph -- those sleepers get lots of funds from Saudis, not necessarily by the Iraqis remember. And anyway 9-11 didn't cost much, just living expenses plus flight school for a bunch of thugs, any America-hating rich Arab prick can shell out 200,000 bucks for the satisfaction of taking down the WTC, Pentagon and -- probably -- the White House, remember the fourth hijacked plane was heading toward DC before crashing in Penn (btw: did the heroes aboard save DC? was it a fighter plane that finally shot it down to avoid the fourth massacre?)

Americans usually re-elect presidents in a time of war, OK.
But fighting WWII cured the long-lasting economic effects of the Great Depression, it accomplished the economic target started by the New Deal, being WWII commitment the ultimate mass Keynesian action.

If we want to be a little cynical but pragmatic here, Desert Storm II won't heal the economy, exactly like the '91 war didn't heal that post-Reagan recession
posted by matteo at 8:35 AM on July 27, 2002


While the terrorist world loses sort of a big symbol if he is dead, it really doesn't matter in the long run if he is. For one, if an official word comes up that he has died, he'll just shoot up to the top of the old martyr lists in their eyes, and there are plenty more angry at the United States anyway. There will always be those who want to put the hurt to the United States, so we just have to stay wary without living in fear and not let our government pull too many shady things on us in the process of working in our "best interests..."
posted by almostcool at 8:39 AM on July 27, 2002


Osama has become the Elvis of the Muslim world.

It doesn't matter if he's dead or not; people will continue to report Osama sightings for a couple of decades.
posted by ilsa at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2002


"So does that mean we've defeated evil and the War Against Bad Things is over?"

yes mr. howie, you can go back to your code now.

"I'd say that the real enemy is your own government"
i hear this from a canadian?-no slurs stavs but duck off man, wanna list of your govts deeds big guns. Shit, you people are so rich you can export your garbage. I see it daily. along with the Ontarioians in their mini-vans going to AMERICAN malls. (they all look 50, white and are bug- eyed)
"don't look at the americans amelia, where only here for the Levis' and Pfaltzgraf"

the enemy is Saddam and if Bin laden is alive, he's probably there.


"were we going to kill him in the first place?"
if you'd done your homework, you people would realize at least four assassination attempts were made (one by the Saudis) before 9-11.

i swear, i've been called for pissing on mefi and i stopped and i see little but pissing now. i live to smack ignorance down..... Im to fuckin tired for you people and your egos.

aesops sour grapes? are you kidding.

matteo- you have no point in your last...paragraph

"any America-hating rich Arab prick can shell out 200,000 bucks for the satisfaction of taking down the WTC, Pentagon and -- probably"

a plane ticket, three water balloons, a drunken stavs, 6 fire crackers,and two player ciggerttes and i could take apart half of Rome big daddy-whats your point, huh, that you have none? (P2;)...oh does that make me a terrorist?
want to hear my flying pig special op....no, it's to funny to waste here.....and almostcool is my new hero (no snark) but dont underestimate BL...he's like a young yassir/nasser john/vladimir to the hardcore.

i bet the company would pay big bucks for him in a nudie with say a BLT and some sheep.
posted by clavdivs at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2002


er, mad as hell, and ah, wont take it no more.
posted by clavdivs at 8:52 AM on July 27, 2002


And for just as long, apparently, people will continue to post snide Orwell/Nazi metaphors. Not to mention repeated worries, despite repeated lack of evidence, that Questioning the War will get you arrested. Apparently, wanting to not get New York blown up again will be the downfall of our entire democratic system.

Personally, since I suspect there's an excellent chance he remains alive, I'm surprised he hasn't come forward at least to mock us and our efforts. On the other hand, Al Qaeda has never been particularly eager to secure credit; they don't view the terrorism as a means to getting a letter in the paper, for instance. Despite worries last fall that there were stirrings in the Arab, or Pakistani, "street", motivating the masses doesn't seem to be part of their program. Their jihad seems to have a different internal logic than we're used to; most guerrillas and terrorists in the 20th century used the Lenin-Mao-Che model. Maybe it's too Western. Certainly we've missed the point more than once on Muslim tribal psychology; many jihadis seem unperturbed by the loss of Taliban control of Afghanistan, when in terms of the fascist or communist blocs, defeat of the associated central nation-state served as a metaphysics-crushing blow.

Some have made this out as a sign that Al Qaeda and the islamofascist movement are somehow postmodern, or post-postmodern, but maybe they're actually just more pre-modern.
posted by dhartung at 8:58 AM on July 27, 2002


Friend clavdivs, I never said that the Canadian government was any better. They're not, much. For what it's worth, I haven't lived there for more than a decade, and that is a big part of the reason why.

(Also, I don't post under the influence any more, at least not here. Any incoherence and hyperbole is purely from naturally occurring synaptic misfires.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:00 AM on July 27, 2002


I have always counted on our "intelligence community" to get the real score

Maybe you should try the Moby message board. Hahaha.
posted by Satapher at 9:01 AM on July 27, 2002


Nope. Not kidding at all.

We've spent how many skadillions of dollars, been harangued about this monster under the bed, had little plastic flags hanging off of every other car, sent in the troops, deposed a government, indebted ourselves to the future rebuilding of Afghanistan, declared ourself the policemen of the world, we're being lined up for libertys restrictions, we're lining up new invasion targets... but we haven't got what we went to Afghanistan for in the first place.

So... now he's dead? Without a corpse?

What part of this is not analogous?
posted by Perigee at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2002


clavdivs
maybe I wasn't too clear the first time, my fault.
The point of my post -- I've re-read it, it's not that obscure, but you cannot be too clear -- so here it is again, quickly

- it doesn't really matter if osama's dead in terms of future attacks on the US or other Western countries -- they're bound to happen again, we're dealing with loose networks and relatively cheap operations

- same thing for taking out saddam -- it won't stop Al Qaeda sleepers nor stop other America-hating supporters of Al qaeda

- there are those who think Bush will get re-elected thanks to Desert Storm II -- I've explained why I think it's not the case

ok?

and, if you're tired of us, just don't check out MeFi -- it's not mandatory. you'll be missed but the community will manage I suppose
posted by matteo at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2002


I'm angry sir, not at you, hell i don't know you but feel a kinda e-finity. your govt is ok, hell when that trained derailed near Lansing (2600 evac-ed) The Canadians stepped up to the plate and took action and i live near a railroad track and feel safer to a degree (for all the work done recently)...and US bombing canadian solders makes my heart sink. But my point is that the two can work it out. I formally admonish myself for dragging Stavs into my anger. I too am getting leery of this "war".

"Their jihad seems to have a different internal logic than we're used to; most guerrillas and terrorists in the 20th century used the Lenin-Mao-Che model."

true, if you base it on operational and dogmatic axioms. BUT they have done traditional communist workings like OBLs' work (infra) in Sudan, his communal like living, helping out friends with cash (like funding an internationale) heck, al-queda means 'the base' like the base of support. (linkless dhart comments are good, why one asks, because you get pure dhart, thats why)

matteo, for what it is worth, respect is granted-(noone will catch the p2 so we can agree your not...hopefully)

loose networks have away of being found, i trust in time they will be found.

"same thing for taking out saddam -- it won't stop Al Qaeda sleepers nor stop other America-hating supporters of Al qaeda"

what scares me is some genius who thinks a war with iraq is all about OBL- Saddams gotta go.

"there are those who think Bush will get re-elected thanks to Desert Storm II"
i agree, but, don't no...he wont get re-elected because of his Coolidge like policies, same as his old man.

nothing will stop others hatred for US. what the world should fear is BIG SAM becoming like what we are accused of-blood thirsty, greedy monsters with a jets for a genitalia and arms made from missiles.

you don't want to see BIG SAM mad- he might just fulfill those accusations. then I'm off to Cambodia, teaching english, hopping for weekends drinking with Stavs up in Seoul on weekends. I have nothing against Ex-pats.
posted by clavdivs at 9:31 AM on July 27, 2002


If Bin L. alive, there is one sure way to get him: broadcast and advertise that he is invited to be on the Larry King show. No one ever turns down L. King.
posted by Postroad at 9:49 AM on July 27, 2002


Postroad: The Larry King idea is brilliant. But I think the truth is that we can't afford to have bin Laden dead right now. Having him dead would make it much, much harder for George W. to justify his war against All That Is Evil and Un-American.

Does anybody else find it odd that we have thousands of troops marching up and down Afghanistan desperately looking for a fight and not being able to find one? If Osama turns up dead, it's going to be a lot harder to justify keeping these troops in Afghanistan, not to mention the Philippines or anywhere else we might need an excuse to deploy.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2002


even after killing more Afghan civillians than Bin Laden did.

If you're going to make these sort of wild accusations you really ought to back them up with some data that actually supports your argument.

It's also important to consider that George I got little electoral bounce in 1992 from the Desert Storm victory, the economy _was_ in disarray anyway -- as then Governor Clinton understood

While I agree with your larger point, the economy was not in disarray during the election of 1992, despite Democrat spin claiming it was. In fact, the recession was actually fairly mild by post-war standards and was well over before the campaign had even begun.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:54 AM on July 27, 2002


Does anybody else find it odd that we have thousands of troops marching up and down Afghanistan desperately looking for a fight and not being able to find one?

It's odd that we have thousands of troops marching around Afghanistan when it's common knowledge that a lot of the Al Qaeda evildoers are in Pakistan.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:14 AM on July 27, 2002


Dhartung, sometimes your eagerness to fellate the hand that feeds you clouds your views.

And kirkaracha, we've been working with the Pakistani army to mop up AQ in that country. It's just not something either side wants to advertise for obvious reasons.
posted by artifex at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2002


Dhartung, sometimes your eagerness to fellate the hand that feeds you clouds your views.

Care to elaborate, or are we just here for the cheap shots?
posted by BlueTrain at 11:25 AM on July 27, 2002


Apparently, wanting to not get New York blown up again will be the downfall of our entire democratic system.

Roads to hell, the constitution of the pavement thereof, etc.

Seriously Dan, when does this war end?
posted by jjg at 11:42 AM on July 27, 2002


ljromanoff - Sorry; I had posted this one before as the basis for that statement, but forgot to re-up it here. Try this: and it is a January publication, not taking into account the bombings that have occured since, i.e., the wedding.
posted by Perigee at 11:42 AM on July 27, 2002


I've always thought that it was in our (US) best interest to kill OBL and keep it quiet as it:
a) Allows us to send troops where we feel necessary
b) May thwart any "blaze of glory" OBL may have had in place for his exit -- as many terrorism "experts" have theorized that he had a final big operation lined up for after he bites it.
c) It keeps the crazies of 'queda guessing as well, perhaps increasing the "chatter" intelligence intercepts, thus helping us nab more suspects.
d) Lets the US announce his death at the most politically expedient time.
posted by herc at 11:49 AM on July 27, 2002


Agreed, herc. Our own interests are better served by keeping OBL in a state of flux ... war without end and all that. Total Animl Farm stuff too, with stated aims casually being erased and replaced.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:54 AM on July 27, 2002


How do you fellate a hand?
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2002


Links to another, not-so-stable report can be found here: So. Not-so-wild.
posted by Perigee at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2002


Is Obi-Wan Kenobi dead?
posted by gluechunk at 12:15 PM on July 27, 2002


Is Jerry Garcia dead?
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:41 PM on July 27, 2002


Tinhorn tyrant is right. There's political and media interest in making ObL something on par with the old Soviet republic. The guy's track record simply doesn't support the thesis.

Its interesting to keep hearing about terrorists and their cells like a plane has never been hijacked before 9/11. If keeping the war machine going is justfied by the fact that there will always be enemies of America, well we should at least admit that it will be a perpetual struggle and the 1984 references are not too out of place.
posted by skallas at 1:07 PM on July 27, 2002


ljromanoff - Sorry; I had posted this one before as the basis for that statement, but forgot to re-up it here. Try this: and it is a January publication, not taking into account the bombings that have occured since, i.e., the wedding.

Accepting these statistics as reliable (which I will do for the sake of argument although I suspect they are inflated to further a political agenda), then where are your bin Laden data? If every starvation death in Afghanistan death since the war began can be attributed in your view to GWB, then bin Laden must be considered responisble for every one since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, as he was the de facto head of the country through his sponsorship of their regime.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:22 PM on July 27, 2002


According to USA today, anyway, this is the US civvy death toll brought about by Bin Laden. So. As I said, not so wild.

And, for my money, anyway, trying to proclaim Bin Laden defacto ruler of Afghanistan is simply... bizarre. A little akin to saying that G. Vance Smith of the John Birch society is the actual power-behind-the-president of the US. You seem to be going a heck of a long way to try to avoid the simple mathmatics - we've iced more civillians trying to get Bin Laden than he did to cheese us off.

In any case, you asked for facts and figures. There they are. I don't see this as an argument: my point was, and still is, that after all we've gone through - and continue to go through - we've come up with absolutely zilch Bin Laden-wise... which was the very reason we started this "War on Terra."
posted by Perigee at 1:56 PM on July 27, 2002


(BTW: just for info, I checked out Carl Connetta and Charles Knight. They advocate a smaller military but appear relatively apolitical - pretty respected, it seems in the longhair community. They are by no means pacifist; I'd say the numbers are pretty sincere, in a policy-wonk kind of way.)
posted by Perigee at 2:14 PM on July 27, 2002


first, according to those references, many more people have been killed by al qaeda than the usa (nearly 4000 (overwhelmingly civillian) on 9/11 alone, compared to about 2000 (almost half troops) in afghanistan).

second, saying that the "very reason" for the war in afghanistan was to kill bin laden is as silly as the us government propoganda that paints him as an evil monster that's the single cause of attacks and resentment.

[i don't like what the usa is doing either, but I'd rather the arguments against it were honest]
posted by andrew cooke at 2:24 PM on July 27, 2002


You'll have to show me your figures, andrew. What I see is

1000-1300 civilian deaths due to aerial bombardment;

800+ troop deaths due to post-war reprisals and mis-management of prisoners

A minimum of 3000 civilian deaths attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war on the nation's refugee and famine crises
.

So.. that makes 4000-4300 civillians, and an additional 800+ military targets. Keeping in mind, of course, that there have been incidents since that have raised the collateral damage figures.

Second, I didn't say 'kill' Bin Laden. I said 'get' Bin Laden.

"These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate."


Is there some other way to construe this that I'm missing? I'd be glad of the enlightenment.
posted by Perigee at 2:51 PM on July 27, 2002


And, for my money, anyway, trying to proclaim Bin Laden defacto ruler of Afghanistan is simply... bizarre.

Perhaps bizarre to you, but that may be because you're choosing to ignore the evidence. bin Laden funded the Taliban's capture of Kabul and was a major financial resource to them both during their takeover of Afghanistan and once they became the ruling authority. He was also one of the closest advisors of Mullah Mohammed Omar. Hardly akin to a G. Vance Smith in any way.

You seem to be going a heck of a long way to try to avoid the simple mathmatics - we've iced more civillians trying to get Bin Laden than he did to cheese us off.

And you are clearly ignoring the difference between deliberately targeting civilians and not doing so.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:36 PM on July 27, 2002


Nope - not deliberately ignoring it at all - I Completely agree. We didn't Deliberately Target civillians. Bin Laden did. That doesn't change the fact we've apparently managed to knock off more of 'em than he did.

I'm not fond of the fact that we did so, but there you have it. Cest la guerre - civillian casualties happen; I've got no major problem with it.

Now, go back to my original post, and with all of this explanatory behind it, and tell me what it is you actually Disagree with. Because I must be missing something.
posted by Perigee at 5:01 PM on July 27, 2002


Now, go back to my original post, and with all of this explanatory behind it, and tell me what it is you actually Disagree with.

I thought that was fairly apparent. bin Laden is responsible for orders of magnitude more deaths than "we" are. I understand you dispute this by not finding his responsible for anything done by the Taliban, but I find that position to be pretty dubious.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:08 PM on July 27, 2002


"Him" not "his". Typo.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:09 PM on July 27, 2002


And that would be the nexus. You're right. I don't see the connection you do. To me, the Taliban were a seriously fundimental religious regime - Bin Laden was a military man with deep pockets. To me the Taliban was responsible for the state. I personally see them (especially in a country so based in religion) as considering their positions as more... divinely based and inspired. I can't imagine, frinstance, that Binny had much to do with fun in Bamiyan.

On that point, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by Perigee at 5:21 PM on July 27, 2002


The argument relating Bin Laden to the Taliban wasn't that he agreed with their religious goals and was a part of their government, but rather that he provided them with the military and financial assistance required to take control of the country.

Think the extreme versions of "Americans propping up corrupt dictatorial regime" and you'll have the idea.

So he may have not had much to do with Bamiyan, but without him the Taliban would never have moved from the "civil war" stage to the "blowing up statues" stage.

The Pakistanis helped both bin Laden and the Taliban a great deal as well, but Musharraf either cooperated with or knuckled under to the US (depending on your point of view) and that's why he's still in power.
posted by jaek at 6:37 PM on July 27, 2002


well, when a fabricated boogy-man loses his power, the gov't will reinvent another.
posted by jcterminal at 9:21 PM on July 27, 2002


I see where you're going, jaek (yeah - it feels like I'm parked here, but it's a Slow weekend...~grin~), but I still don't agree. Using that yardstick, lj would have to say that ultimately the US would be responsible for all the deaths in Afghanistan (for supporting Binny in the first place), Iraq, and - just to cause mischief - Israel, just to name a few, because we suppoorted their power structure when it was convenient to us.

It leaves no room for responsibility by the direct participants; "I shot the sherrif, but Larry gave me the bullets, go arrest him instead." Did Larry give you the bullets with the direction to use them to kill the sherrif? "No... I told him I was afraid of (fill in the excuse), and couldn't afford any, so he gave me some."

The US and - along the same lines of logic anyway - Bin Laden may have made not just an unwise but a coldhearted, calculating, nasty, evil choice... but they couldn't be convicted in a court of law for the specific actions of their respective governmental choices.

Anyway, that's the way I see it.
posted by Perigee at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2002


then bin Laden must be considered responisble for every one since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, as he was the de facto head of the country through his sponsorship of their regime.

De facto? In your mind, perhaps, where 'facts' and 'evidence' have their own definition. Does that make these people the de facto heads of the USA since January 2001? Well, perhaps we don't need to answer that question.
posted by riviera at 9:29 AM on July 28, 2002


Using that yardstick, lj would have to say that ultimately the US would be responsible for all the deaths in Afghanistan (for supporting Binny in the first place)

Again, one does not have to make that great a leap to find bin Laden responsible for the acts of the Taliban. His connections with them are direct and clear.

Does that make these people the de facto heads of the USA since January 2001?

No, it doesn't.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2002


No, it doesn't.

"That's not argument, that's contradiction." Idiot.
posted by riviera at 10:49 AM on July 28, 2002


Well, lj; I'll call you on that. You started this conversation by asking me to back up my assertion about casualty figures with facts. You then suggested that Bin Laden was responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan of civillians during the Taliban regime. You now assert this to be a very direct responsibility, in no way as tangential as our own support for questionable regimes.

Lets see your facts and data... because that's sounding an awful lot like a wild accusation to me. Pony up.
posted by Perigee at 10:51 AM on July 28, 2002


so Americans won't enjoy a Al Qaeda ceasefire because of a Desert Storm II triumph

I say that we pull out of Saudi Arabia and let Saddam invade and occupy Saudi Arabia. If bin Laden is alive, that would be the ultimate irony, seeing his little country occupied even more. It would just drive him and all the other Saudi terrorists (al-qaeda) absolutely bonkers. Plus, it could make our oil cheaper. Also, a lot less people would die than if we invaded Iraq.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:05 PM on July 28, 2002


Lets see your facts and data

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A40211-2001Oct10
http://www.observer.co.uk/Print/0,3858,3880478,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1549285.stm
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/stories/061002/new_061002030.shtml

Idiot.

I see you're signing your posts now, riviera. Glad to see you've accepted the appellation most of us have been using for you for a while now.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2002


Still don't see a direct connection that does not rival others the US has; frinstance I see the Washington Posts 100M, and raise you the US aid to Israel - 2.5 Billion since 73. Unless I'm missing a finer point somewhere - which is possible - this should mean that we 'Own and Operate' Israel in the same way Binny does Afghanistan.

We pretty much propped up the Shah of Iran - I haven't found the figures on this one, but I think you'd probably agree with that, but documents two and three here suggest the close ties.

Heck, your own reference (#3) says as much as you say Binny did for Afghanistan -"...Along with many in the Taleban leadership, Bin Laden is a veteran of American-backed Afghani resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979."

I could go on to other regimes.. but the point I'm making is that you haven't given me a smoking gun here yet that can not be mirrored in US policy. What do you have that puts Binny in a different light than our own world excurions? As far as I can see, you haven't brought anything that changes that yardstick - that " ultimately the US would be responsible for all the deaths in Afghanistan (for supporting Binny in the first place), Iraq, and - just to cause mischief - Israel, just to name a few, because we supported their power structure when it was convenient to us."
posted by Perigee at 4:12 PM on July 28, 2002


I could go on to other regimes.. but the point I'm making is that you haven't given me a smoking gun here yet that can not be mirrored in US policy

Which really amounts to nothing more than changing the subject.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:51 PM on July 28, 2002


Glad to see you've accepted the appellation most of us have been using for you for a while now.

Who is this 'us' of which you speak, lj? Or are you using the royal we?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:44 PM on July 28, 2002


Actually, what it amounts to is you have no answer. Using that yardstick, lj would have to say that ultimately the US would be responsible for all the deaths in Afghanistan (for supporting Binny in the first place), Iraq, and - just to cause mischief - Israel, just to name a few, because we suppoorted their power structure when it was convenient to us.

It leaves no room for responsibility by the direct participants; "I shot the sherrif, but Larry gave me the bullets, go arrest him instead." Did Larry give you the bullets with the direction to use them to kill the sherrif? "No... I told him I was afraid of (fill in the excuse), and couldn't afford any, so he gave me some."

The US and - along the same lines of logic anyway - Bin Laden may have made not just an unwise but a coldhearted, calculating, nasty, evil choice... but they couldn't be convicted in a court of law for the specific actions of their respective governmental choices.


That's the point you dispute. Defend your point beyond reasonable refutation, lj. You're still in 'Wild Accusation' land.
posted by Perigee at 6:05 AM on July 29, 2002


Using that yardstick, lj would have to say that ultimately the US would be responsible for all the deaths in Afghanistan (for supporting Binny in the first place), Iraq, and - just to cause mischief - Israel, just to name a few, because we suppoorted their power structure when it was convenient to us

Without bin Laden, there would be no Taliban. They relied on him for their military, and his financial and military support allowed them to take Kabul. Now, whether or not the U.S. can be said to have done the same thing with the Israeli government, etc. is completely beside the point and does not change the facts about the nature of the Taliban regime.

Consequently, bin Laden has to be considered responsible for the Taliban death count. Not solely responsible certainly, but he was a prime mover in the Taliban. It is absurd to wash his hands clean of every murder committed by them while at the same time charging the United States with every starvation death in Afghanistan since the war started.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:14 AM on July 29, 2002


As far as I could tell, the numbers didn't charge the US with every starvation death in Afghanistan - just those deaths from several causes that were attributable to the bombing and war. And that's pretty logical; actually, if you think about it, the number is pretty conservative - not an irrational figure at all.

Afghanistan was already in the middle of a 3-year drought and famine. You unhome folks, make 'em abandon their homes and become refugees during the winter in Afghanistan, there's going to be freezing, there's going to be potable water and food problems. You're also going to have disentery and all those fun other things that come with putting a toadload of people together in a small space without sanitary - or even semi-human - conditions. Heck - we knew that going in: they had it all over the news during the first several days of the bombing. This ain't the Scooby-Do mysteries to us. You can absolutely bet that there were more civvy deaths in Afghanistan this winter than 3,000-3,400... but that's our slice of the pie.

Those are deaths that We Caused. Our hand. Our smoking gun. Our Red-handed. The Fair Cop. Directly Attributable.

That's what I'm looking for - something that you can bring forward and say - look: He did This.

Not that he supported someone who did that - we've gone 'round that mulberry bush, and its a mirror of what we do all the time. If supporting a regime = responsibily for the deaths under it, the good ol' USA has a couple of million skeletons in its closet, and Binny can try for the rest of his life and not even come close... unless he lays hands on a couple of nukes...
posted by Perigee at 8:01 AM on July 29, 2002


lj, OBL importance for the taliban was big, but OBL was considered a joke as far as combat vets go in afghan resistance to the sovs. He was influential in organizing the base but his role was limited up until 2000 or so. He had to prove himself to vets like Omar.

'It is absurd to wash his hands clean of every murder committed by them while at the same time charging the United States with every starvation death in Afghanistan since the war started'

agreed, when Omar hoarded that dope crop cash, and took money from OBL, he effectively turned control over to OBL.
posted by clavdivs at 8:07 AM on July 29, 2002


As far as I could tell, the numbers didn't charge the US with every starvation death in Afghanistan

No, they did not - you did. You are using that data to support your "GWB Afghanistan civilian death count."

Those are deaths that We Caused. Our hand. Our smoking gun. Our Red-handed. The Fair Cop. Directly Attributable.

Oh really? Again, the Taliban take no accountability whatsoever?

That's what I'm looking for - something that you can bring forward and say - look: He did This.

Why is that your standard for bin Laden, but not for Bush - who you have held personally responsible ("But Dubya promised the fatherland his head on a plate, and at the moment that plate is still empty, even after killing more Afghan civillians than Bin Laden did") for thousands of civilian deaths?

If supporting a regime = responsibily for the deaths under it

bin Laden was not merely sending a check. Again, he was a close advisor, he provided them with the means to exist, etc. Does he not hold any responsibility at all in your view unless he was out in the Afghan wilderness yanking food from the mouths of starving Afghanis personally?
posted by ljromanoff at 8:15 AM on July 29, 2002


Nothing will give Bin Laden a bigger thrill (dead or alive) than the pending Bushie unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq. Wag the dog. Wag, dog, wag!

Remember warbloggers, One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian!
posted by mark13 at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2002


lj, you're either being deliberately obtuse, or you've run out of ammo and have started throwing rocks. I'll try this one more time, using small words so there's no mistake.

Look at the reference page.

Look at the 3,000-3,4000 figure.

Look at the words "civilian deaths attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war on the nation's refugee and famine crises. "

The Taliban did not kill those people... our actions did.

Had the Taliban still been there, and we weren't, they would not be dead.

They are dead of causes attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war on the nation's refugee and famine crises. "

With the program yet?

Now. Think, Ruk: I Gave you OUR Caused Direct Civillian Casualties. I'm asking for yours for Binny. No double standard. The same one.

The problem is - you got no game on this point.

You want to play some kind of weird musical chairs game where the Taliban is responsible for the civillian deaths we caused, Bin Laden is responsible for the deaths the Taliban caused... and we're Prince Valiant with the sword of righteousness, and stainless of blame.

Face it, hombre: our hands aint clean. And no amount of pretzel logic will change that. And we've sent more than checks - we've given out the bombs and the bullets, too.

I'm waiting for you to call on your hand or fold it, lj. I don't get shaken by rhetoric.
posted by Perigee at 9:29 AM on July 29, 2002


Look at the words "civilian deaths attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war on the nation's refugee and famine crises. "

The Taliban did not kill those people... our actions did.

Had the Taliban still been there, and we weren't, they would not be dead.


Those deaths are attributed to the war. You use them to condemn only one participant in the war - and for that matter, only one person on one side of the war. "The Taliban did not kill those people" - are you absolutely sure that not one of those people were killed by the Taliban? Every single civilian death during the entire war is singly the fault of only one party?

I return to my earlier query which you have neglected to address:

"That's what I'm looking for - something that you can bring forward and say - look: He did This.

Why is that your standard for bin Laden, but not for Bush - who you have held personally responsible ("But Dubya promised the fatherland his head on a plate, and at the moment that plate is still empty, even after killing more Afghan civillians than Bin Laden did") for thousands of civilian deaths?"

You want to play some kind of weird musical chairs game where the Taliban is responsible for the civillian deaths we caused

The Taliban are responsible for civilian deaths long before the war began. Do you dispute that?

Bin Laden is responsible for the deaths the Taliban caused

In part, yes he is. Unless you are willing to believe that all the information known linking bin Laden to the Taliban is fictional, I fail to see how you are willing to give him a pass on the actions of the Taliban.

Face it, hombre: our hands aint clean

Please point out where I have ever made that argument. Failing that, put the strawmen away.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:43 AM on July 29, 2002


I didn't neglect it: it's right there.

1) Dubya is president of the US.
2)Dubya elected to invade Afghanistan - which I do not disagree with.
3)Dubya is commander-and-chief of the armed forces.
4)The armed forces bombed, then invaded Afghanistan.
5)Civilians died because of it - again, which I don't see as avoidable, but Did occur.

Direct Line from Bush to dead guys: Decision to bomb was his. Decision to invade was his. Civillians died due to bombing and invasion and refugee problems.

We invaded Them. If we hadn't, there would be zero civilian casualties attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war. Find a military man, if you need to see some clarity in this point. Once you understand that civilian casualties are part of war, and accept that its gonna happen, you'll stop choking on the obvious. Its considered acceptable but regrettable losses. Even the hawkiest of hawks wouldn't have a problem ponying up to acknowledging this.

Do I dispute that the Taliban knocked off civillians? Heck no - frankly, I'm happy as hell to see 'em stomped out. But I see the civillians the Taliban killed as deaths the Taliban are responsible for. Not Bin Laden.

And one last time around the mulbery bush: if you want to link Monetary and Military Support of a regime to responsibility for the deaths caused by that regime, go for it. I won't argue against it: in a way, I even accept it. BUT... in doing so you put more blood on the hands of the US than Bin Laden could ever amass in several lifetimes.

Now... lesse... as to where you have tried to wash our hands of responsibility:

1) Where you suggested that the US killed more civillians than Binny was a 'wild accusation', I heard the water running.

2) When you decided to baselessly tie Bin Laden to the Taliban's civillian body count - even to the point at which you called him 'defacto head of the Taliban' - to inflate his evility, I heard you getting out the soap.

3) Your Statement that "bin Laden is responsible for orders of magnitude more deaths than "we" are." - still unsubstantiated - was a good lather...

4) Taking the deaths due to our invasion and trying to shift blame to the Taliban was a nice afterwash.

Now. Getting back on point. The top of this comment shows the direct responsibility Dubya takes in the deaths of those civillians. His decisions. His guns. His bombs. He said, "Ready... Aim... Fire." Show me some similar direct linking of this 'magnitude' of civvy deaths Bin Laden can be linked to in the same direct way, and we're clear.
posted by Perigee at 10:33 AM on July 29, 2002


We invaded Them. If we hadn't, there would be zero civilian casualties attributable to the impact of the bombing campaign and war.

That being true, that does not therefore mean that none of the civilians deaths once the war began are not the responsibility of the Taliban.

Its considered acceptable but regrettable losses. Even the hawkiest of hawks wouldn't have a problem ponying up to acknowledging this.

I have no argument with this, but it makes me wonder why then you find it appropriate to compare these "acceptable but regrettable losses" to the deaths bin Laden is resposible for, which I (and perhaps you as well) consider to be murder.

Do I dispute that the Taliban knocked off civillians? Heck no - frankly, I'm happy as hell to see 'em stomped out. But I see the civillians the Taliban killed as deaths the Taliban are responsible for. Not Bin Laden.

Fine. bin Laden is not repsonsible for anything done by the Taliban - I understand your position. I find it to be ridiculous, but I understand that you hold it.

1) Where you suggested that the US killed more civillians than Binny was a 'wild accusation',

If I say that Stalin killed more people than Charles Manson, is that suggesting that Manson's hands are clean? Clearly not. Your reasoning is faulty.

2) When you decided to baselessly tie Bin Laden to the Taliban's civillian body count

By your judgement it is baseless. I disagree.

3) Your Statement that "bin Laden is responsible for orders of magnitude more deaths than "we" are." - still unsubstantiated - was a good lather...

It is unsubstantiated in your view because you seem to be of the opinion that bin Laden has done nothing that actually caused the deaths of anyone in Afghanistan except perhaps being there. Again though, pointing out that person X has done worse than person Y is not a vindication of person Y's actions.

4) Taking the deaths due to our invasion and trying to shift blame to the Taliban was a nice afterwash.

I am not trying to shift the blame to anyone. The blame lies with both parties. In suggesting that the U.S., or GWB specifically, is repsonsible for 100% of the civilian deaths due to the invasion amounts to twisting the data to fit your opinion.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2002


...and those figures that tie Bin Laden to civillian deaths are coming right up..?
posted by Perigee at 11:06 AM on July 29, 2002


...and those figures that tie Bin Laden to civillian deaths are coming right up..?

Here's a few. As long as you hold the somewhat apologist view that bin Laden and the Taliban are two completely discrete things than these won't do much for you. But of course, you can only bring a horse to water as they say.

http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/01101712.htm
http://hrw.org/wr2k2/asia1.html
http://www.hrw.org/wr2k/Asia.htm#Afghanistan
http://www.hrw.org/worldreport99/asia/afghanistan.html
http://www.genocidewatch.org/taliban.htm
http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1997/international-reporting/works/3/
posted by ljromanoff at 11:35 AM on July 29, 2002


Then, once again, we're at an impasse. ~smile~ It's been fun, lj, sincerely. Let's get out of this tomb, and get a little light. Surely there's another topic just down the road to lock horns on. Thanks for the exercise!
posted by Perigee at 11:44 AM on July 29, 2002


It's been fun, lj, sincerely.

Agreed.

Let's get out of this tomb, and get a little light.

Is this a George Romero reference you're sneaking in?
posted by ljromanoff at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2002


God. It's come to this.

The question in 2002 has become: who has killed more, Bush or Bin Laden?

It is a cause for shame that the United States has a leader who can be compared (justifiably) in such a way...
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:39 AM on July 31, 2002


It is a cause for shame that the United States has a leader who can be compared (justifiably) in such a way

FDR has them both beat by hundreds of thousands but you probably find him admirable, eh Foldy?
posted by ljromanoff at 7:02 AM on July 31, 2002


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