This is a very good article
September 15, 2001 4:01 AM   Subscribe

This is a very good article which does us the service of specifically addressing why it would be "okay" to (basically) assassinate Bin Laden. And you thought we'd just carpet-bomb.
posted by j.edwards (11 comments total)
and another takes his place or do extremists get more out of hand? Or both?

From a recent slate article:

It is a mistake to assume that killing Bin Laden means killing his movement. It's true that Bin Laden is an iconic leader who inspires his followers and millions of sympathizers in the Muslim world. But eliminating Bin Laden would do nothing to decrease the intensity of the other militant Islamists. The Afghan war created a cadre of warriors and belligerent clerics who are constantly recruiting. Bin Laden has a core of highly trained aides ready to continue his work. His trainees are scattered in two dozen countries. It is hard to imagine how the United States could neutralize all of them. And attacks on Bin Laden have only increased his popularity: Killing him would likely rally many more Muslims to his cause.
posted by skallas at 4:15 AM on September 15, 2001

You know the embassy bombers were sentenced this week, and if I recall correctly, not given the death sentence because the extremists (lets use that word instead of muslims) would hold them up as martyrs..

I have been thinking recently that there is something decidedly fishy about all this - having read the post about 13 countries hackers attacking Middle Eastern ISPs, it seems that groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas are sophisticated enough to use advanced computer encryption techniques, and have many highly-intelligent recruits to train in using them.. So why bin Laden? Why could it not be one of those two hitting at Israels main benefactor??

How on earth did they find a Qu'ran and an arabic flight manual in that car (some please confirm this?) - after probably years of preparation, would they really need to do some last minute brushing up??

Something fishy..
posted by Mossy at 4:39 AM on September 15, 2001

see this mefi thread and this article on the investigation
posted by asok at 6:41 AM on September 15, 2001

From the article:

In 1998, U.S. embassies in Dar es Salanni and Nairobi were bombed, killing 258 people, including a U.S. Ambassador and eleven Americans. Fourteen days later, President Clinton, acting on "the strongest evidence ever obtained in a major terrorist case," attacked Osama bin Laden's forces. U.S. warships fired cruise missiles at bin Laden's Afghan camp and a Sudanese chemical plant.

The author fails to mention that the missiles fired on Afghanistan landed in Pakistan...and that the Sudanese "chemical" plant was actually a pharmaceutical factory, wrongly identified. No apologies. No investigation of how many innocents were killed.
posted by mapalm at 6:48 AM on September 15, 2001

On flying a terror plane: you hijack a plane. Someone trained got it inm the air for you. You have your terror pilot aim for a bulding. He does need to wrry about landing. This taken care for him. Every let a young kid hold a car wheel while you reached for a smoke or something? Well imagine then taking some basic fly training.
posted by Postroad at 7:53 AM on September 15, 2001

Actually Postroad, I've talked to many pilots and they said the the course & drop in altitude it took to hit the WTC was very difficult to pull off, they were highly skilled.
posted by Mick at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2001

skallas: then what should we do?
posted by argybarg at 12:33 PM on September 15, 2001

argybarg: Any military retaliation that doesn’t include a massive change in foreign policy will likely cause an increase in terrorist attacks against the US.

Look at it like this: John Dean points to a few military retaliations and regards them as successes. Current events seem to point to a wildly different conclusion, don’t you think?

As mapalm points out, the Sudan bombing was a total failure. That’s conventional wisdom in media outside the US, since none of the objectives were met.
posted by raaka at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2001

As mapalm points out, the Sudan bombing was a total failure.

Yes, but let's keep in mind that the Clinton Administration's military strategies and beliefs could not have been more different from those of the Bush Administration. Clinton's people believed in those pinpoint hit-and-run strikes. Powell and Cheney come from the Gulf War School: Use Overwhelming, Annihiliating Force or Don't Even Bother Trying. And, as Bush the elder stated publicly this week, Play Dirty When Necessary. I have a feeling that we're not going to just go try to capture bin Laden; we're going to attempt to completely destroy the entire Mideast terrorist infrastructure. And if that means killing every one of them, from the psychotic "clerics" on down, so be it.
posted by aaron at 3:14 PM on September 15, 2001

raaka, agreed. But what form should the military retaliation take?
posted by argybarg at 6:45 PM on September 15, 2001

Use Overwhelming, Annihiliating Force or Don't Even Bother Trying.

That’s true unless they want to keep an evil tyrant in power. Then they’re pussycats.

we're going to attempt to completely destroy the entire Mideast terrorist infrastructure. And if that means killing every one of them, from the psychotic "clerics" on down, so be it.

“Rule by force” moved 20 people to hijack planes and knock down the World Trade Center.

But what form should the military retaliation take?

The presence in the Mid East needs to be light, surgical and get out in a hurry. Not Mogadishu light — a better word would be inconspicious. The only way this would work is if the Taliban’s allies weigh on them. It looks so far that this might be the case, as Iran and Pakistan agreed to close their borders.

The longer the military is there, the more casualties they’ll take. I just heard today that any American base in Pakistan is going to have to watch its back. That country, despite what Musharraf says, is not US friendly. If the US just goes over and invades, Laden and the Taliban have a good chance of inflicting massive damage. They turned Russia back in the 80s — that’s no weak enemy. I’m not saying Laden’s jihad would win, but if the conflict drags on for more than 3 or 4 months it’ll quickly become Vietnam II.

The military aspect isn’t as important as foreign policy changes. The US has effectively ruled the Mid East by force for the last 20 years, and that’s what creates resentment. The US is seen as keeping Hussein installed, supporting human rights abuses and generally throwing its weight around. As long as that continues, US civilians will continue to be targets.

In a sense, the diplomatic efforts should be much longer and infinitly more strategic than the military efforts. One over-riding rule: don’t support human rights abuses in any form.
posted by raaka at 11:59 PM on September 15, 2001

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