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January 19, 2006 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Osama threatens attacks, offers truce Now THIS should be interesting. Do we deal with terrorists or take a chance of another 9/11?
posted by kgasmart (143 comments total)

 
Huh?
posted by selfnoise at 7:55 AM on January 19, 2006


The US accepting a truce would be like enacting a policy of handing out clean needles in the midst of the ongoing War on Drugs. We can't show any signs of weakness in front of a nameless, stateless enemy.
posted by Rothko at 7:55 AM on January 19, 2006


Are we still laboring under the impression that AQ is a SPECTRE-like hierarchical organization with clear lines of communication and accountability? Whatever has been set in motion already is way out of bin Laden or al Zawahiri's control, even if there is a shred of truth to this. If bin Laden were to convert to Christianity tomorrow, there would still be a threat of terrorist attack on US soil.
posted by psmealey at 7:57 AM on January 19, 2006


Exactly, Rothko - you can't have peace because that's what the terrorists want.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:58 AM on January 19, 2006


"Gahdamit, everyone wants us out of Iraq and there's that goddamn documentary about arms dealers. Got any ideas, Karl?"

"Sir, what if we have Bin Laden come out in favor of truce and against arms dealers?"

"That's my little turd blossom."
posted by fleetmouse at 8:02 AM on January 19, 2006


We should ask the people of Anda- uh- Spain how that truce thing is working out.
posted by baltimore at 8:06 AM on January 19, 2006


This sort of makes me wonder if there isn't something really big a de-stablizing planned. It's not like border security is that much better in the US since 9/11. I don't think it'll be planes into buildings. Maybe some bird flu or some of the missing WMD? Who knows, but if OBL isn't always full of crap. My guess is that he'll be ignored because we can't make deals with tehorrists, but it's a good reason to raise the threat level and round up some folks for gitmo. If an attack does come off, how hard would it be to postpone some elections like LA after Katrina?
posted by Numenorian at 8:08 AM on January 19, 2006


Why would Osama release an audio tape rather than a video like he usually does?
posted by gfrobe at 8:08 AM on January 19, 2006


So I suppose newsfilter just wasn't cutting it, you needed that extra edge provided by the shrill editorial tone?
posted by prostyle at 8:11 AM on January 19, 2006


It kind of makes me wonder if AQ has a longer-term plan for political legitimacy - sort of like Hezbollah.

Still, if AQ is that decentralized, with many cells, then I imagine something like a brokered truce would splinter them ideologically, and thus render any truce unenforceable and ineffective.
posted by TeamBilly at 8:11 AM on January 19, 2006


When a rigid ideologue offers you a truce in contravention with their previous statements, you can assume two things: either they know they are going to lose, or the offer is worthless.

Such rhetoric is a positive sign. It shows an acknowledgment by even Bin Laden that he can't get his way doing things the way he wanted to do them or at least needs to try to buy some time.

That being said, I think this post was pre-mature. We don't have much confirmation of anything, this single link AP post doesn't give us much. I wish this topic could have some meat on the bones such as other discussions of what a truce could entail. (Well, the post does give us one thing: it does give us an insight into the reasonableness of the AP. Under the photo of bin Laden it says: "Exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden is seen in this April 1998 file photo." That you can define bin Laden as an "exiled Saudi dissident" is an insult to the intelligence of the reader.)
posted by dios at 8:12 AM on January 19, 2006


Still, if AQ is that decentralized, with many cells, then I imagine something like a brokered truce would splinter them ideologically, and thus render any truce unenforceable and ineffective.

That's it, man. This is viral Al Qaeda - even if OBL were to agree to some "truce," what's to say that self-appointed Al Qaeda members elsewhere would go along with it?

We might want to watch here, though, I expect Shrub will make some manly-man type statement that "We will never negotiate with terrorists," followed by a big bust of brown people with high explosives, and then we'll all be back to loving Dubya...
posted by kgasmart at 8:13 AM on January 19, 2006


gfrobe - There was a "bin Laden" tape at the end of 2004 and one just before the US elections.
Audio tapes are the more usual communication, but why that would be, I daren't speculate.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:13 AM on January 19, 2006


Let me be the first to address the likelihood of this happening in the words of the schoolyard -

"Chinny Reckon".
posted by longbaugh at 8:13 AM on January 19, 2006


actually, that's completely wrong, I just checked and the one before the elections was a video, sorry.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:14 AM on January 19, 2006


Since when does Bin Laden sound like a Bond villian? I haven't been watching the past few installments of the Bush series, does anyone know what happens next?
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:14 AM on January 19, 2006


Some one should phone Jack Bauer. Within 24 hours Osama will be dead and terrorism a thing of the past.
posted by bap98189 at 8:17 AM on January 19, 2006


I thought that AQ was a spider webbish shadowy organization that was cell based and almost without central organization or authority. Even if Bin Laden is (was?) their spiritual or ideological leader or guide, does he actually have the ability to offer truces or stop planned attacks once they're in motion?
posted by illovich at 8:17 AM on January 19, 2006


al-jazeera (just so we can have the full spin).
posted by adamvasco at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2006


It kind of makes me wonder if AQ has a longer-term plan for political legitimacy - sort of like Hezbollah.

Of course they do, at least at the level of the higher-ups; all they want to do is run Saudi Arabia. They attack us in order to try to run us out of the region so they can take over. The 'hating America' thing is strictly for the grunts.
But at the grunt level, it doesn't matter what bin Laden or anyone else wants to do anymore. All you have to do is strap some TNT to yourself and call yourself al Qaeda and boom, you're al Qaeda. So whatever this is, it's crap- there is no centralized control or leadership of this thing, so his offer of a "truce", whatever that means, is completely toothless.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2006


Most of what I have heard about OBL claims that he was, for the most part, the financier for a couple of loosely connected Islamist groups. Now that his assets have been frozen, I would think that his power has diminished substantially (course, they were frozen prior to 9/11/2001, but that might have come too late, assuming that he did finance those attacks). I guess, though, that the efforts of the US and UK to build him up as this Dr. No like character mitigate this diminution somewhat, but if he doesn’t command the resources that he once did, I wonder how big of a threat he can be, if he is even alive.

It seems absurd to think that even if he is alive, and had the ability to mount a large-scale attack on the United States, that he could call for a truce against the US and have it be recognized by other militants.
posted by Tullius at 8:19 AM on January 19, 2006


When a rigid ideologue offers you a truce in contravention with their previous statements, you can assume two things: either they know they are going to lose, or the offer is worthless.

Is it possible that we are overlooking a third very real option? Perhaps Osama is just a raving egomaniac who needs some attention. Whatever else is contributing to the genesis of this message (whatever it may be), I'd bet a large portion of it has to to with him feeling relevant again.
posted by underdog at 8:20 AM on January 19, 2006


Wait, I thought Osama was dead? Didn't some sources somewhere tell some guy somewhere that he was dead? What, am I now supposed to stop trusting those right-wing op-ed writers when they just state stuff like that? Oh, my world is reeling.
posted by OmieWise at 8:26 AM on January 19, 2006


We'll take the truce one we realize OBL is behind all the missing white women.
posted by iamck at 8:31 AM on January 19, 2006


Putting my tin foil hat on...

So maybe this wasn't a release by OBL. It might have been a release from GWB made to look like it came from OBL. Now George can say "We don't make deals with trrrrists" and have a small jump in the polls by the Shamericans who believe his lies.

Ok, taking the tin foil hat off now.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:32 AM on January 19, 2006


It's A Trap!
posted by shoepal at 8:32 AM on January 19, 2006


Such rhetoric is a positive sign. It shows an acknowledgment by even Bin Laden that he can't get his way doing things the way he wanted to do them or at least needs to try to buy some time.

Wishful thinking is a powerful intoxicant. At any rate, everyone else on the thread gets it in that whatever bin Laden says or does, AQ is a non-hierarchical terrorist org structure that does not take its orders from one command or ops HQ let alone from him directly. Bin Laden's pronouncements may be designed to have a positive effect on morale of AQ's adherents, but they seem more or less irrelevant otherwise.

Whatever you think, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Fascist, the "terrrist threat" is here to stay.
posted by psmealey at 8:32 AM on January 19, 2006


I just watched the documentary The Power of Nightmares, and the thesis is that there is no such thing as a "global terror network." Even the name Al-Qaeda was invented by the US. What's dangerous is not the man but the ideas--and unfortunately, they're spreading fast these days. I highly recommend downloading it. Over 3 hours, it traces neocon and islamist ideas from the 50s to the current situation, and it's quite stunning.
posted by muckster at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2006


Is it possible that we are overlooking a third very real option? Perhaps Osama is just a raving egomaniac who needs some attention. Whatever else is contributing to the genesis of this message (whatever it may be), I'd bet a large portion of it has to to with him feeling relevant again.
posted by underdog at 10:20 AM CST on January 19


I suppose that it the point of him releasing a tape, but it doesn't explain the content of the tape. Any tape from him would have received exposure. Another diatribe from him about how an attack on The Great Satan was about to come. A call to arms to defend the holy land. A comment that it would be good for Sharon to die and for Israel to follow. Any of those things would have brought him attention, and those things would have been consistent with his prior messages.

Something has to account for the dramatic change in substance of his message. I don't think he would change his rhetoric just for attention. That would undercut his base of support.

To be honest, I am surprised he thinks he could even offer a truce. It would seem he doesn't have that power based on his own view of the Koran. He has espoused a very extremist conception of jihad. He has not suggested that struggle for Muslims is internal; he has suggested that the struggle for Islam is against the West. He has relied on the words of the Prophet that there are two houses: the House of Islam and the House of War. And that whatever was once in the House of Islam cannot be removed; whatever is in the House of War must be fought. But insofar as he has relied on that rhetoric as the unmediated word of the Prophet, I don't see how he can claim to offer a truce. That would be in contravention of his own definition of jihad that he previously ascribed to. That calls to mind two questions for me: whether bin Laden believed what he was saying from the start about the requirements of jihad, and if so, whether he is really offering a real truce.

Of course, the other alternative is that we don't know enough at this point in time whether it was bin Laden and whether he really said what al Jazeera claims.
posted by dios at 8:39 AM on January 19, 2006


Some one should phone Jack Bauer. Within 24 hours Osama will be dead and terrorism a thing of the past.

Chuck Norris could take out Osama. Chuck Norris prefers to leave the low-lying fruit for the other operatives so they don't feel bad and quit playing.
posted by craniac at 8:40 AM on January 19, 2006


I get this vision of OBL in a cave somewhere, having a chat with someone with the general idea being, "Zaquari is getting too big for his britches and we need to do something."

If the tape is actually authentic, it does point to possible dissension in AQ's ranks, and if they're not a unified front, then they've got issues of their own. Granted, I'm playing armchair geopolitical analyst, but based on what we have (which isn't much) it doesn't seem unreasonable.

Is there anything published somewhere that describes Zaquari's ideology? Is he a strict Wahabbist as OBL is described? Are his views congruent with OBL's?

On preview: That would be in contravention of his own definition of jihad that he previously ascribed to. That calls to mind two questions for me: whether bin Laden believed what he was saying from the start about the requirements of jihad, and if so, whether he is really offering a real truce.


From what I've read, the guy is fairly practically-minded, if a nutjob. If he sees this as a way to bolster AQ's position politically, it makes sense.
posted by TeamBilly at 8:44 AM on January 19, 2006


Why do we always assume OBL is even talking to us? These tapes aren't for our benefit; they never have been. If they were, he'd be talking about how shopping malls and donut shops all had bombs in them.

OBL is smart. He knows that the only Dubya shakes his hand is if Dubya gets it bronzed and mounts it on his desk. Any offer of truce is a strategical component of his PR strategy. Everything he says is a strategical component of his PR strategy.

No, these tapes are for his people, whose numbers are growing. And just how are we fighting that again?
posted by deadfather at 8:44 AM on January 19, 2006


I think everyone is quite wrong be so dismissive of the importance of bin Laden. He is a major figurehead in the parts of the world that are presenting the problems. His poster is all over; his words are listend to; he is the heavyweight. Whether he operationally controls every thing is not necessarily relevant to whether his message has importance. He is looked to as the figurehead of a movement. What he says has enormous impact and he is very important. Will his death end the movement? No. But while he is alive, he can control it by throwing his weight around because he has ideological power. That is the reason why it is a fault of this administration that they haven't located him yet---he is very important.

To say that this message isn't important because AQ is a decentralized organization is spurious, at best.
posted by dios at 8:45 AM on January 19, 2006


either they know they are going to lose, or the offer is worthless.

Just hypothetically, if an attack was ready to go, and this offer made first, wouldn't the "hey, we tried to do it the peaceful way" spin improve the general reception?
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:45 AM on January 19, 2006


Such rhetoric is a positive sign.

No it's not. The fucker being caught would be a positive sign. This is a reminder that an 80-year old homicidal maniac is still so popular and influential- good or bad- that he can still record a fart and get it on national television.

Al-Qaeda is not de-legitimized and people are still joining it, mainly because of the U.S. practically handing the recruitment rhetoric bin Laden needs to him on a plate. I fail to see the positive side of that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2006


Why would Osama release an audio tape rather than a video like he usually does?

Podcasting.
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2006


We'll take the truce one we realize OBL is behind all the missing white women.

Ask and ye shall recieve, iamck.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2006


Just hypothetically, if an attack was ready to go, and this offer made first, wouldn't the "hey, we tried to do it the peaceful way" spin improve the general reception?

Yep. He gets to appear "reasonable" to Muslims.
posted by kgasmart at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2006


Wait, wait, you mean Michael Ledeen was full of shit, and lied to us?


Further, Osama just bought dubya a percentage point or two. You see if he doesn't keep popping up at just the right times between now and midterm elections.


Jeez, it's as if he were still a CIA asset...
posted by stenseng at 8:53 AM on January 19, 2006


Neither Bauer nor Norris my friends but Commander Codpiece "Wanted Dead Or Alive, "Smoke him out!, Bring it on!" and his trusty sidekick, Rambo for this job.

"Protect me daddy dubya from these meanie terraists, please!!" - mister pee pee pants patriotic pooper
posted by nofundy at 8:54 AM on January 19, 2006


Wait, I thought Osama was dead? Didn't some sources somewhere tell some guy somewhere that he was dead? What, am I now supposed to stop trusting those right-wing op-ed writers when they just state stuff like that? Oh, my world is reeling.
posted by OmieWise at 8:26 AM PST on January 19


No, it's Al-Qaeda's number 2 who we killed. Repeatedly. To date we have killed twenty-eight of bin Ladin's right-hand man. Unfortunately there are 4,371 more of this particular individual.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:55 AM on January 19, 2006


If bin Laden were to convert to Christianity tomorrow, there would still be a threat of terrorist attack on US soil.

yes, the threat of 747s crashing into abortion clinics
posted by matteo at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2006


I think everyone is quite wrong be so dismissive of the importance of bin Laden. He is a major figurehead in the parts of the world that are presenting the problems. His poster is all over; his words are listend to; he is the heavyweight.
posted by dios at 8:45 AM PST on January 19


Maybe you should give your favorite President a call and ask him to capture bin Laden instead of dicking around in Iraq, then.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2006


OBL sees the writing on the wall: that the political situation is changing gradually towards acceptance that America getting out of Iraq is a good thing.

If America gains resolve and decides to stay in Iraq forever, it will continue to be a training ground for his ilk (as he mentions in the tape) and a rallying cause. So, he wins.

If America pulls out, he can claim it was partly under his influence, and the AQ elements in the area can turn their attentions on Saudi, so, he wins.
posted by LondonYank at 8:58 AM on January 19, 2006


My own first instinct is that it is a reverse psychology play.
The Iraq war has been very, very good for OBL, and now with all the troubles the GOP is facing, there is a good chance that Bush would try to proclaim victory and get out, or at least draw down forces prior to the 2006 elections.
By making this truce offer, OBL makes it very hard for Bush to draw down without seeming like he is caving into, or negotiating with the terrorists. Bush might even have to make a little show of force, and that will surely help OBL's movement.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2006


Man, that OBL sure knows his strategery!
posted by nofundy at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2006


or what LondonYank said.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2006


Wait, wait, you mean Michael Ledeen was full of shit, and lied to us?

I think Ledeen said OBL died in mid-December, and al Jazeera is now saying this tape is from December. So we don't have that specifically nailed down. I don't know if Ledeen is right or wrong or if he is just talking from his ass. But the sake of fairness, it is possible that he could have been correct. And if bin Laden was close to dying from kidney failure before the tape, perhaps that might inform the change of substance and the reason it was on audio and not video?

But we don't know at this point because this discussion is a tad pre-mature.
posted by dios at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2006


Second the recommendation on The Power Of Nightmares.

It's important to realize that the real motive behind Bin Laden's statements and actions is to build and consolidate his own power and influence - just like anyone else in politics. His statements aren't intended to obtain any particular reaction from his Western opposition; they're calculated to appeal to his sympathizers and near-sympathizers. Wondering why he's offering a truce to his Western opposition is missing this point. He's not really offering a truce, he's trying to show the Arab world that he's concerned for it's welfare, that supporting his revolutionary fundamentalist Islamic agenda doesn't have to mean living in a state of low-level warfare all the time.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:03 AM on January 19, 2006


I wonder if the recent air strikes in Pakistan are hitting close to home, and that has generated this communique.
posted by craniac at 9:05 AM on January 19, 2006


This is a reminder that an 80-year old homicidal maniac is still so popular and influential

He's actually 48 y.o. -- born on March 10, 1957.
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on January 19, 2006


This is just politics. OBL wants the Arab world to place blame for Iraq and the slow rebuilding to be placed squarely on Bush. The message is calculated to win support regardless of whatever Bush's response is.
posted by xammerboy at 9:11 AM on January 19, 2006


it seems to me that if bin laden had really wanted a terrorist attack on american soil by now, he would have pulled it off ... our security isn't that good

that raises the question ... why hasn't he?

possibly, he's satisfied with the current state of affairs in the middle east, where americans are providing easily obtainable targets

or possibly, he's been asked to hold back by other, more powerful people for reasons of their own

that last thought should make us all feel uncomfortable

the tape, of course, is an attempt to explain away his inactivity in the u s to his rank and file

it's clear to me that bin laden has ordered his people to hold off ... it's not clear to me why ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on January 19, 2006


Bin Laden peace offerings are old news - This is a message to our neighbours north of the Mediterranean, containing a reconciliation initiative as a response to their positive reactions.

dios: When a rigid ideologue offers you a truce in contravention with their previous statements, you can assume two things: either they know they are going to lose, or the offer is worthless.

Not in contravention with the tenor of previous statements at all actually... I agree though, it is more or less worthless propaganda.
posted by Chuckles at 9:13 AM on January 19, 2006


superb timing. just the very ticket to revive not only a deeply unpopular war but possibly the fortunes of a flagging presidency too. how incredibly fortunate is that? wonders will never cease.
posted by rodney stewart at 9:15 AM on January 19, 2006


I have a salmon doody to protect the American purple.
-g.w. bush
posted by davelog at 9:17 AM on January 19, 2006


Do we deal with terrorists or take a chance of another 9/11?

afaik 9/11 happens every year.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:28 AM on January 19, 2006


A list of translated Osama speeches and interviews I have found so far , to get an idea about the man

Time 1999 Interview
October 2001
April 2004 Offer of treaty to Europe
October 2004 Security is in your own hands
posted by elpapacito at 9:29 AM on January 19, 2006


Let's see: election year...check.
Lots of Republicans under investigation...check
Wiretapping scandal hasn't just gone away...check.

Oh look! Must be time for Bin Laden to make an appearance!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:32 AM on January 19, 2006


Osama is dead.
This is just GOP fear-mongering to divert attention from all the scandals of late...
posted by phredhead at 9:32 AM on January 19, 2006


The weird part of the tape was when bin Laden said that "This will one day be a Caramel Region again!"
posted by ColdChef at 9:33 AM on January 19, 2006


Whatever influence he has he should use 100% of it to call for the cease all hostilities towards American soldiers in Iraq today.

Then maybe his call for truce can be taken seriously by the world.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 9:35 AM on January 19, 2006


StickyCarpet and kgasmart are on the right track; check out this CBS interview with Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris.
After Sept. 11, Scheuer says bin Laden was criticized by Muslim clerics for launching such a serious attack without sufficient warning. That has now been given. And he says bin Laden has even obtained a fatwa, or Islamic decree, justifying a nuclear attack against the United States on religious grounds.

"He secured from a Saudi sheik named Hamid bin Fahd a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans. Specifically, nuclear weapons," says Scheuer. "And the treatise found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans."
There's also a bit about how "Bin Laden is remarkably eager for Americans to know why he doesn't like us," and that we're just not listening. Both ideas point to a Bin Laden who's interested in having some moral authority to his actions, probably not so much in the West but certainly in the muslim world, even to the point where he's willing to take some tactically unnecessary steps (like consulting a mullah to get a sanction for future actions) in order to get that perception. I think this statement (if it's even him) is better viewed in that context than as the desperate ravings of someone who knows he's losing, and in that light it's pretty creepy.
posted by rkent at 9:40 AM on January 19, 2006


dios: I think everyone is quite wrong be so dismissive of the importance of bin Laden.

That deserves repeating! It seems to me that your entire comment there is spot on. Still important (CIA) to remember (CIA) who contributed (CIA) to his importance (CIA) of course.

Anyway, Gwynne Dyer's reaction to Bin Laden's October 2004 statement is as true today as it was at that time... (Dyer alludes to a peace offering in that statement as well... I'll see what I can dig up.)
posted by Chuckles at 9:40 AM on January 19, 2006


Oh look! Must be time for Bin Laden to make an appearance!

And time to raise the terror color level to orange!
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on January 19, 2006


I wonder if the recent air strikes in Pakistan are hitting close to home, and that has generated this communique.

Either that or he's about to nuke us. Call me a pessimist.
posted by tweak at 9:44 AM on January 19, 2006


elpapacito's comment makes clear that there was at least a veiled peace offering in October of 2004 - "Your security is in your own hands". Here is the metafilter thread on that statement: This campaign message sponsored by ...
posted by Chuckles at 9:49 AM on January 19, 2006


Bin Laden didn't blow up the projects...
posted by elastic.scorn at 9:51 AM on January 19, 2006


I told ya he was either dead or alive.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:52 AM on January 19, 2006


Bush on Bin Laden:
“So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him. … And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2006


A truce with AQ doesn't mean an end to terrorism, but couple it with a withdrawl in Iraq and by golly you sure have taken some steps to erode the recruiting base IMHO. But it's all a moot point, since "We don't negotiate with turrists".
posted by rollbiz at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2006


Operating on the assumption that the tape is authentic, here's an assessment of the questions in the thread:

Truce offering: Actually presages an attack. The dominant theme which UBL uses to rally Muslims to his cause is the "sixth pillar", jihad -- defensive jihad. Under his operating theory, jihad is the duty of all the ummah because Islam itself is under attack. In waging defensive jihad, warnings and offers of truce can be a pre-requisite to justification for offensive attacks. He has to offer an "out."

He has offered cautionary words to many nations before attacking them or their interests abroad. After supporting the US in Afghanistan, UBL issued warnings to our allies which went unheeded...hit the French in Karachi and Yemen, Germans in Tunisia and Kabul, Australians and British in Bali. After hitting Madrid, he issued terms of ceasefire to Europe which were ignored...then hit London. A truce offering should be taken as a sign that an attack is imminent.

I can't think of an occassion where he's offered one to the US before, other than the general sense (as in "we wage jihad you because you attack us.") In fact, his peace offering to Europe was offered with an asterisk that nothing the US could do would cause him to call off the next attack.

It would be in character for UBL to only offer a truce when he's assured that an attack is in the final stages of readiness.

Re: Why haven't they struck the US since 9/11?

One, they are patient and operate over a long timeline...like us, they desire to strike by a method, time, and place of their choosing. The penchant for multiple, simultaneous, and well coordinated attacks on iconic targets, yielding massive casualties and economic damage yields a 3-4 year time cycle at minimum. Also, the disruption of destroying their camps and breaking up various sleeper cells may have set back or caused them to abort some operations.

Two, there is a "need" to outdo the 9/11 attacks (which were the most wildly successful terrorist attacks of all time.) A lesser attack (say, truck bombs at shopping malls) could be perceived as a diminished capacity, a notion which UBL needs to dispel.

Three, recruiting, training and placing the operatives takes time. Don't be surprised if the next attempt comes from either A) operatives trained in Iraq, or B) operatives recruited in France, the Netherlands, or other Euro countries with widespread disaffected Muslim youth, travelling on EU passports/visas.

Re "dismissiveness": Dios is absolutely correct. It is wise to operate on the assumption that UBL is a man of his word, that he means to do exactly what he says. History shows his "sincerity". Dismissing his importance or stated intentions (or minimizing his capacity to strike) is fatal nonsense, demonstrated over and over.
posted by edverb at 10:06 AM on January 19, 2006


Two, there is a "need" to outdo the 9/11 attacks (which were the most wildly successful terrorist attacks of all time.) A lesser attack (say, truck bombs at shopping malls) could be perceived as a diminished capacity, a notion which UBL needs to dispel.

You know, I've thought this as well, though I tend to think that truck bombs at shopping malls, hand grenades at sporting events or some other more "modest" attack would do plenty to freak Americans out en masse, if that truly was the goal.

Simultaneous truck bombs at, say, six randomly selected U.S. shopping malls would mean deserted malls throughout the entire land for weeks.
posted by kgasmart at 10:14 AM on January 19, 2006


Edverb is exactly right. OBL has offered truces before, but they've always happened right before an attack. Remember the tape that came out in April of last year? It offered a truce to the European countries, that would expire three months from the date of the tape. The bombings in London happened right on schedule.
posted by bshort at 10:15 AM on January 19, 2006


edverb ... perhaps bin laden does feel that he needs to outdo himself where america is concerned ... it just seems to me that less dramatic attacks, such as suicide bombings, would have been rather easy for him to pull off somewhere in this country ... and i'm not really sure that these attacks being smaller than 9/11 would be as damaging to al queda's reputation as badasses as their doing nothing to us

all i can say is that his failure to follow up in the usa seems to be a deliberate decision, not a failure of ability ... and i don't think we should be taking comfort from that
posted by pyramid termite at 10:16 AM on January 19, 2006


You know, I've thought this as well, though I tend to think that truck bombs at shopping malls, hand grenades at sporting events or some other more "modest" attack would do plenty to freak Americans out en masse, if that truly was the goal.

If that was the goal, it would have happened already.

Their goal is not to freak Americans out, per se, it is primarily to damage the American economy -- a strategy where there's a place for audacious strikes on economic and military targets, also where there's a place to bleed America slowly by sucking it into neverending wars of attrition.
posted by edverb at 10:17 AM on January 19, 2006


Exactly, Rothko - you can't have peace because that's what the terrorists want.

Bestest comment evah.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 AM on January 19, 2006


The offer of a truce is not designed to achieve a truce, but it is necessary for him to offer it before an attack that will take innocent lives for theological reasons. These videos all have a purpose, as the one before the election did, and this one clearly is a precursor to an attack of some kind.
posted by chrismc at 10:22 AM on January 19, 2006


He's actually 48 y.o. -- born on March 10, 1957.

OBL is a pisces? Now that makes no sense at all. I totally figured aries or sag.
posted by psmealey at 10:23 AM on January 19, 2006


Their goal is not to freak Americans out, per se, it is primarily to damage the American economy -- a strategy where there's a place for audacious strikes on economic and military targets, also where there's a place to bleed America slowly by sucking it into neverending wars of attrition.

I dunno, this seems to me to be where OBL has a fundamental misunderstanding of how the U.S. economy works.

Frankly, if he scared off consumers to the degree that consumption actually decreased, that depressed retail sales, he'd both freak out citizens AND put a big dent into an economy, as consume spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity...
posted by kgasmart at 10:23 AM on January 19, 2006


Re "dismissiveness": Dios is absolutely correct. It is wise to operate on the assumption that UBL is a man of his word, that he means to do exactly what he says. History shows his "sincerity". Dismissing his importance or stated intentions (or minimizing his capacity to strike) is fatal nonsense, demonstrated over and over.

Not to be dense, but what does it matter if we 'dismiss' his message? I'm assuming that all of the pertinent intelligence folks are already gathering and connecting dots the best they can. The only thing left to do is raise the general threat level to orange. It seems to me that the current administration is in a no win situation. If they don't raise the threat level and something happens then it's "Osama determined to attack..." PDB all over again. If they do raise the threat level then it's just election year fear mongering.

I guess at the most general level i'm asking, what does 'not dismissing intentions' actually mean?

p.s. self disclosure... I can't stand Bush or his politics, but hell, what would you do in his place now?
posted by underdog at 10:23 AM on January 19, 2006


Sister Havana nails it.

What's the threat level today mister pee pee pants?

Want daddy to scare the boogieman away?

Did Americans act this way during the "cold war", or WW2, or any other time in history?
Who are these cowards who want to hide behind daddy dubya's pants leg and urinate themselves every time OBL says boo?
posted by nofundy at 10:25 AM on January 19, 2006


I think it's remarkably beneficial to the US Administration to have this tape released during a time of plummeting public confidence in the Republican party, especially as elections are coming up soon.

Remarkably beneficial.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on January 19, 2006


Let's see: election year...check.
Lots of Republicans under investigation...check
Wiretapping scandal hasn't just gone away...check.

Oh look! Must be time for Bin Laden to make an appearance!


I'm just as willing as the next guy to don a tin foil hat from time to time, but for an administration as incompetent as this one to pull of something like the release of a tape to al jazeera... and not screw it up somewhere... i just don't know.
posted by underdog at 10:30 AM on January 19, 2006


And so begins the great Bush/Cheney Reboot, this is just what they'll need to get an excuse to invade Iran. I have no idea what chain of evidence they'll use to link OBL to Iran but I'm sure they'll make up something. "Yellowcake II: Operation Sands of Terror" coming soon to an Army recruitment center near you.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:36 AM on January 19, 2006


Osama seems to show up only at times which are extremely convenient for the administration.
posted by clevershark at 10:37 AM on January 19, 2006


I guess at the most general level i'm asking, what does 'not dismissing intentions' actually mean?

For years, there was a widespread error in thinking among intelligence analysts and security consultants that misportrayed UBL as a mindless killer, a bloodthirsty maniac, a backwards thug...or alternately a PR face in front of the true evil of Al Zawahiri, maybe an affable sort, not so bright, and not very capable.

Not so. He's arguably one of the very few people in whom no one vested any authority, who has changed the world. He's reached the status of cartoon super villain, through savvy use of modern management techniques, funding, a history of undying support for his causes, motivational speaking, and a public persona.

If he lives tomorrow, he's a living legend. If we killed him tomorrow, he's a martyr. Today, he is able to point to his "acheivements" and say that he has struck not one, but TWO global superpowers -- utterly destroying one and seriously damaging the other, and living to tell the tale. He's friggin Robin Hood to his people.

There's another, similar misconception for example that suicide operatives are devoid of hope, or that they are dirt farmers with nothing to lose, dumb misled brutes. They generally are not...for example the 9/11 hijackers were all middle-class, well educated people from seemingly decent families. They are not hopeless, but rather aspirant to positions of "greatness" among their peers, living exemplary lives and dying exemplary deaths.

That's the sort of thingto which I'm referring. The message isn't so much for this thread, really, more of a general attitude. To see Bin Laden or his methods, or his base through Western eyes is a fatal miscalculation. He's not dumb, he's not insincere, he's not a "politician" in the sense of Western politicians. The general ignorance and dismissiveness which surrounds him in Western culture is a dangerous and naive set of assumptions.
posted by edverb at 10:38 AM on January 19, 2006


I can't stand Bush or his politics, but hell, what would you do in his place now?

Resign.
posted by edverb at 10:45 AM on January 19, 2006


Personally, I vote truce. What little hair is left on my head will be gone completely after a nuclear winter and I care way too much about my looks to let that happen.
posted by poppo at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2006


Osama is dead. We killed him after september 11th, the us didn't admit it because it would have created a martyr out of him, and al-Qaida didn't admit it because he was a strong recruiting figure. All of the supposed documents from Osama have neglected to have him in video, something that he did on an almost monthly basis prior to Septmber 11th. Also the videos released after setember 11th were lacking in details describing current events or wording that would have allowed a real determination of date.
posted by sourbrew at 11:00 AM on January 19, 2006


Does anyone care about this announcement? I didn't think that Ossama was still alive, much less a threat.
posted by 517 at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2006


Now, let's all remember to thank Al-Jazeera for being a good little terrorist mouthpiece and helping this hit the airwaves. Complicity with terrorist organizations is good for ratings, after all.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:12 AM on January 19, 2006


He just wants some make up sex. And more time to get his plans in place.

But I'd still like to see Osama get captured and held accountable for his part in the planning of 9/11. Shame his family and our president's family are business partners, that makes things awkward.

Mitrovarr, did you mean Fox News when you wrote Al-Jazeera? Or CNN? Because all of them are complicit in helping Osama get his message out to his troops.
posted by fenriq at 11:14 AM on January 19, 2006


CIA confirms speaker on tape is bin Laden.
posted by ericb at 11:21 AM on January 19, 2006


fenriq: Mitrovarr, did you mean Fox News when you wrote Al-Jazeera? Or CNN? Because all of them are complicit in helping Osama get his message out to his troops.

Al Jazeera are responsible for the first broadcast of it, and for broadcasting it to the areas that matter most. Once it hits the air in once place, people that care about it can seek it out, so it doesn't really matter if it's broadcasted by others.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:23 AM on January 19, 2006


If you think that CNN or FOX wouldn't have broadcast this story if the tape had been sent to them then you're fooling yourself.
posted by bshort at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2006


Al Jazeera are responsible for the first broadcast of it, and for broadcasting it to the areas that matter most.

Maybe that's why Bush wanted to bomb 'em...
posted by kgasmart at 11:28 AM on January 19, 2006


HAHAHA!

That some of you losers even CONSIDER appeasement, or should I say TIME OUT for the self-declared enemy.
posted by HTuttle at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2006


I seem to recall that the notion that OBL wants the next US attack to be even bigger than 9/11 has been confirmed, I kinda thought by one of his own messages. There was something in the mainstream press in, oh, the last two years to the effect of OBL is relatively near death but wants to die in a suicide attack that will make 9/11 look like a day at the beach. (I gotta get back to work or I'd be searching for it. My apologies.) Also, I find it even more unsettling to realize that OBL had initially been planning a TEN plane attack on 9/11 but backed off because of the logistics and increased risk of getting found out. But to know that that's the scale he thinks at....
posted by kimota at 11:30 AM on January 19, 2006


HTuttle - wow, straw man, much? Who is suggesting appeasement?
posted by bshort at 11:31 AM on January 19, 2006


uh yes, blame the messanger because the only way to get information out is through tv over the air.
posted by chrismc at 11:31 AM on January 19, 2006


I'm shocked the world doesn't fall down laughing at a statement like this. The guy doesn't even have the power to show his face on TV, much less get an audiotape aired without at least a month's delay.

If his comments were subject to .0001% of the scrutiny any other public figure faces, he'd have zero credibility.
posted by b_thinky at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2006


bshort: If you think that CNN or FOX wouldn't have broadcast this story if the tape had been sent to them then you're fooling yourself.

Perhaps, but in that case, I wouldn't be any happier with them than I am with Al Jazeera. Is it too much to ask that media outlets don't broadcast terrorist messages when they receive them?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:33 AM on January 19, 2006


But I'd still like to see Osama get captured and held accountable for his part in the planning of 9/11. Shame his family and our president's family are business partners, that makes things awkward.

Do you honestly believe that?
posted by b_thinky at 11:33 AM on January 19, 2006


Is it too much to ask that media outlets don't broadcast terrorist messages when they receive them?

Then who decides what is an acceptable message? You? The administration?

Like it or not, this is news and that's what the news channels do: report the news.
posted by bshort at 11:35 AM on January 19, 2006


Take a lot of .wav files of OBL blathering, then cut&paste snippets until you've got something that approximates what you want said. THEN record it onto crappy audiotape, copy that tape to another, then copy it once more.

Send to Al Jazeera, and "OBL LIVES! He ain't dead, really! See, we've got an AUDIOTAPE of him! We can't come up with a video because, because, uh, have you taken a LOOK at how expensive videotape is at the Peshwar WalMart? We're POOR! All we can AFFORD are the used cassettes from Abu Ali's Bait & Pawn when we go and buy our explosives!"

Now that I've made fun of it - if it IS real, you'll notice what he's calling for - a truce in Iraq and Afghanistan so he can concentrate on operations in the US. Why would he call for such a thing if AlQuaeda's got such a strong hand?

There is, IIRC, something called the 'hudna' - a temporary truce which is usually observed until the side calling for it is ready to fight again, at which point it's broken and hilarity ensues.

I wonder if this isn't his attempt to call for a hudna?
posted by JB71 at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2006


bshort is right about edverb’s being right about dios being right OBL shouldn’t be misunderestimated.

On the other hand, you don’t want to give him the legitimacy and accept that he can strike at will.
(Gee, it would have been nice if he had remained a priority).

The move would be to take him at his word since he seems intent on playing the moral superiority game.
So we say something like - we need to establish channels of communication and avenues of cooperation in order to start talking truce.
Since his offer is either B.S. or it isn’t. If it is - he won’t want to send anyone to (publically) sit down at the table. If it isn’t - then we have a communication link.
Diplomacy is the most successful (and most often used) form of fighting terrorism. Unfortunately everyone politically seems to want to be a hard ass and thinks diplomacy, intel analysis, negotiation and social reform is for pussies.
But once those channels of communication become regularized, the intelligence flows like wine.
I’m talking diplomacy here, not negotiation. Negotiators are there to distract while your other hand is doing something. Even when it’s straight it is (in politics) a zero sum game. I’m speaking of diplomacy - resolution.
If that’s what OBL wants, that’s what we should force down his throat.
Accepting the truce as an offer to engage in diplomatic relations turns an attack on his part into a morally inferior position for him.
It also ends the moral skepticism we’ve had internally in the U.S. (and here on Mefi).

So re-parse the “I won’t hit you if you will be nice and talk” into “We are willing to open diplomatic channels.”

Then accept on that basis. And put him into moral check - checkmate if he attacks. It’d make him lose followers in the way our bullets don’t seem to. Maybe do it in Iceland or some place recognized for the big political talks. Geneva. Or send out a small diplomatic envoy (not married, not much family) very publically. If they get killed or taken hostage (hopefully) it’s seen that OBL is talking out of his ass. Numerous ways of doing this though without getting anyone killed. And the upside is if it doesn’t work, we haven’t turned all our swords into plowblades, but at least we tried.

But, y’know, I’m not as hardcore as “Bring ‘em on!” Bush.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 AM on January 19, 2006


it seems to me that if bin laden had really wanted a terrorist attack on american soil by now, he would have pulled it off

No need to. Bush's invasion of Iraq was a dream come true for bin Laden, at least 2222 American military personnel have been killed in Iraq, and the Iraq war could cost up to $2 trillion.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:43 AM on January 19, 2006


"Therefore I say: know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril."    - Sun Tzu
posted by Smedleyman at 11:44 AM on January 19, 2006


I think one of the most interesting aspects thats not being discussed is the whole "not negotiating with terrorists" part. Why is it that what we and our allies do is always looked at as "military action" or something similar, while our enemies use "terrorists", especially if they are not a state. While I'm far from a supporter of most of the ideals that UBL and other islamists push for in their ideal nation-state, it very hard for me to not see the hypocrisy in the way we deal with him and other "rogue states". My reading of the positions of almost all of the recent "terrorists" is more along the lines of, stop fucking with us and we'll leave you alone. For so many years the US has had its nose (and military and covert operations) in everyone elses country and business, and it seems people are finally deciding that they have had enough and want to fight back militarily. Not to mention the effects of neo-colonialism on these places and their average citizens.

I don't support the use of violence by either side, but i think its foolish to look at one as the white knight and the other as the black. Its two sides of the same coin, and in fact, the US and its European allies are the ones who pushed first.
posted by teishu at 11:47 AM on January 19, 2006


Therefore I say: know the enemy

Why does Sun Tzu hate freedom?
posted by kgasmart at 11:47 AM on January 19, 2006


HTuttle - wow, straw man, much? Who is suggesting appeasement?
posted by bshort at 11:31 AM PST on January 19


Critiquing HTuttle when he is obviously trolling is grounds for a timeout. Just a little fyi.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2006


Is it too much to ask that media outlets don't broadcast terrorist messages when they receive them?

eye of the beholder much? Al Jazeera broadcasts Bush statements too, they support equal opportunity terror rhetoric.
posted by teishu at 11:53 AM on January 19, 2006


bshort: Then who decides what is an acceptable message? You? The administration?

Like it or not, this is news and that's what the news channels do: report the news.


Directly broadcasting a terrorist recruitment video is stretching the bounderies of what constitutes 'news reporting', although censorship isn't exactly a road I want to go down either.

It just bothers me that Al Jazeera knows that Bin Ladin will get support from their broadcasts, and that innocent people could die because of it, and they do it anyway. It really shows which side they're on, I think.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:02 PM on January 19, 2006


someone needs to explain to him that there are simpler ways to start a book club.
posted by 8 Bit at 12:06 PM on January 19, 2006


mitrovarr, you might find al jazeera by hugh miles an interesting and enlightening read. in the past OBL et al have made threats against al jazeera, because they deemed them to be working for mossad.
posted by quarsan at 12:27 PM on January 19, 2006


Is it too late to say that this was a shit post and we're all a little dumber for participating?
posted by gsb at 12:55 PM on January 19, 2006


It really shows which side they're on, I think.

oh for fucks sake
posted by mr.marx at 12:57 PM on January 19, 2006


sourbrew writes "Osama is dead. We killed him after september 11th, the us didn't admit it because it would have created a martyr out of him, and al-Qaida didn't admit it because he was a strong recruiting figure. All of the supposed documents from Osama have neglected to have him in video, something that he did on an almost monthly basis prior to Septmber 11th. Also the videos released after setember 11th were lacking in details describing current events or wording that would have allowed a real determination of date."

Nailed it.
posted by moonbird at 1:18 PM on January 19, 2006


Nailed it.
posted by moonbird at 1:18 PM PST on January 19


You wanna buy my magic beans?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:22 PM on January 19, 2006


We don't negotiate with terrorists. Haven't you been following along in the book?
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:22 PM on January 19, 2006


From
CIA confirms speaker on tape is bin Laden.

“The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God’s permission.” -UBL

And:
“The Al-Qaida leader did not give conditions for a truce in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera.”

He is such a prick.

This patronizing tone from UBL, threatening innocent people in their homes and the smug hand of God (*wink* - but you know it’s us) Inshallah psuedo-fatalism really just pisses me the fuck off.

The schtick is so Goddamned obvious. Really they should have a counterterrorist explaining the rhetorical techniques UBL uses. I guess it’s also frustration at how the suits over here are handling it.


“Is it too late to say that this was a shit post and we're all a little dumber for participating?” -posted by gsb

Oh, c’mon. Don’t read it then.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2006


But I'd still like to see Osama get captured and held accountable for his part in the planning of 9/11. Shame his family and our president's family are business partners, that makes things awkward.

Do you honestly believe that?



Do you honestly not know that?

Do you not know that Salem bin Laden invested in the startup of Arbusto Energy, Dubya's failed oil company?


The Saudi BinLaden Group - "a huge construction firm with over 40,000 employees is represented in the major cities of Saudi Arabia and the Arab capitals of Beirut, Cairo, Amman, and Dubai. The company builds highways, housing units, factories, hangars, and military bases, some of which are part of the U.S.-Saudi "Peace Shield" agreement."

The SBG benefited heavily from U.S. reconstruction contracts after the first Gulf War.

Further - Saudi Binladin Group, the conglomerate owned by Osama bin Laden's family, has invested in:

"Carlyle Group, a well-connected Washington merchant bank specializing in buyouts of defense and aerospace companies." ('WSJ,' 27 September 2001)

Through his lofty position at Carlyle and as a consultant, George Bush Sr. is closely linked to the bin Ladens.

In fact, Bush Sr. and members of the BinLaden family met together the day of the 9/11 attacks.

But hey, no connection, right?
posted by stenseng at 1:58 PM on January 19, 2006


You're right, Smedleyman. I will contribute.

Osama is the leader of himself, and perhaps a couple of other folks.

Osama can't talk terms for a truce, because he can't speak on behalf of all the terrorists.

Osama is not responsible for all terror attacks. In fact, most matyrdom operations are virulent.

If anything, Osama is like one of those wonderful industrialists who backed the Fascists, way back when. But don't assume the terrorists are fascists, they're just radical -or neo- conservatives within the Islamic faith.

By elevating this man as a State actor, *we* have inflated his ego. The man believes he is sublimating a new Paradise. He's already there.

This is still a stupid post, the fuzzy guidelines were broken and just because a 100 comments flooded the thing it becomes a permanent stain on this place.
posted by gsb at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2006


I'm amazed that ANYONE can't see by now that UBL has as many strings attached making him walk and talk "just like a real boy" as Dubya does.


The whole thing is a manipulation.

Kill a few people, scare a whole lot more, get a whole lot of power, and a whole lot of what's left of the planet's dwindling petrochemical reserves.

Rinse, repeat.
posted by stenseng at 2:02 PM on January 19, 2006


Think about it. Kerry is neck-in-neck with Bush shortly before the election? Who would show up but ol' Osama. Now Bush is facing increasingly strong questions about the wiretapping affair, and like magic Osama shows up again.

The guy's on cue.
posted by clevershark at 2:45 PM on January 19, 2006


Really they should have a counterterrorist explaining the rhetorical techniques UBL uses.

Smedleyman , you crazy ? If you explain masses rethoric, if half of them gets it, who will listen to polticians, pundits and priests ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:03 PM on January 19, 2006


It is awfully convenient timing for Bush Inc., but I'm kind of with underdog on this one. I'm not convinced this administration could pull off something like this without making a misstep along the way.
posted by Meredith at 3:07 PM on January 19, 2006


So why is it that OBL isn't dead yet?
posted by bshort at 3:08 PM on January 19, 2006


And OBL plays the bonehead Bush perfectly yet again. Of course he doesn't want a truce - why would he when things are going so well for him? And he knows full well that the surest way to make sure he doesn't get one is to offer one - thereby hoisting Bush and similar assheaded fuckbrains on their own simple-minded "No deals with turrists!" rhetoric.
posted by Decani at 4:32 PM on January 19, 2006


dios: "When a rigid ideologue offers you a truce in contravention with their previous statements, you can assume two things: either they know they are going to lose, or the offer is worthless.
"

I would argue that when a rigid ideologue offers another rigid ideologue a truce, which is closer to what is actually happening, these assumptions don't hold water.

I'd say you can assume that UBL knows very well that 1) the majority of Americans do not currently support the War we are waging, 2) that he can do some damage to his opposition - a not blameless group of powerful men - without even needing to lie or mislead, and 3) that there isn't a chance in hell that that his offer, whether worthless or not, will be accepted. The rigid ideologues that hold sway here, with their keen grasp of the subtle complexity of "messages" necessary to send, and their firm and steadfast commitment to the simple and true and just path they have so single-mindedly followed since day one, could not let that happen.
posted by 31d1 at 4:38 PM on January 19, 2006


OBL seems as delusional and out of touch as GWB, but then this has always been the case. I don't for a moment believe this was staged for the benefit of our resident fear mongers but they will be quick to take advantage of rather than respond to it intelligently. Thus far it's been an astounding mess of illegal activity, childish fearmongering, terrorist recruitment (via the wonderfully horrible Iraq situation), and profiteering. I expect that to continue.

Perhaps, but in that case, I wouldn't be any happier with them than I am with Al Jazeera. Is it too much to ask that media outlets don't broadcast terrorist messages when they receive them?
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:33 PM EST on January 19 [!]


Al Jazeera actually does this thing where they report news, something were no longer used to in the United States unless you watch PBS. They're not in the business of keeping things from people ala Fox...

For some reason, Fox didn't bother to broadcast the comments of soldiers supporting Murtha during his town hall meeting, but only the positive comment by a single soldier. My guess is Fox feels that anyone who supports Murtha supports the terrorists or at least, doesn't support the troops. Is this the sort of nonsense we really need?
posted by juiceCake at 5:36 PM on January 19, 2006


Late to the party, but I think everyone here needs to watch more 24. :)
posted by tomplus2 at 5:39 PM on January 19, 2006


If OBL is willing to negotiate with terrorists, why can't GB?
posted by lometogo at 9:32 PM on January 19, 2006


Well the answer is obvious.

We're in Iraq, after all, for that very reason. We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here.

So, clearly, all we have to do is remind Osama that we are in Iraq waiting for him and then double-double dare him to go there and take us on - or call him a big chicken, then make clucking sounds and laugh at the way he dresses.

It's the republicon way.
posted by rougy at 9:54 PM on January 19, 2006


underdog : Is it possible that we are overlooking a third very real option? Perhaps Osama is just a raving egomaniac who needs some attention.

He should join MetaFilter. He'd be a natural.
posted by Ritchie at 4:05 AM on January 20, 2006


I can't stand Bush or his politics, but hell, what would you do in his place now?
posted by underdog at 12:23 PM CST on January 19


Impeach myself.
posted by goethean at 8:00 AM on January 20, 2006


“Smedleyman , you crazy ? If you explain masses rethoric, if half of them gets it, who will listen to polticians, pundits and priests ?” -posted by elpapacito

What’s one thing got to do with the other?

Also - folks still watch pro-wrestling even though they know it’s choreographed. It’s at about that level now. Is Bush ‘tougher’ than Kerry. Call outs. Reversals of fortune. The big twist. The surprise wrestler showing up in the middle of the match.

....Jesus, I was using that as a snarky metaphor, but it’s seeming more and more apt...
posted by Smedleyman at 8:46 AM on January 20, 2006


Washington Post timeline of Osama bin Laden's tapes and videos.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2006


AL-Qaeda's #1 #2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued a tape today.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on January 20, 2006


Washington Post timeline of Osama bin Laden's tapes and videos.


Now, who has an overlay of Bush Admin approval ratings for the weeks preceding and subsequent to each Bin Laden tape?
posted by stenseng at 10:43 PM on January 20, 2006


John Kerry is posting on Kos.
posted by homunculus at 11:07 PM on January 20, 2006


Book Sales Soar After Bin Laden Recommends 'Rogue State.'
posted by ericb at 8:57 AM on January 21, 2006


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