Pakistan Envoy Meets Mulla Umer
September 17, 2001 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Pakistan Envoy Meets Mulla Umer I think there is an increasing sense of interest building in the world about the proof that USA has against bin laden for the recent attacks. The US should atleast come out with some proof, if not for public, then for the states helping her out. Uptill now, Bin Laden has been touted only as a Prime Suspect. Is the US going to prosecute Bin Laden before being proven guilty. Remember that, Bin Laden has only been a Prime Suspect for any other terrorism blamed on him. The Muslim world is very important if any mission against terrorism has to be completed successfully. The Muslim world needs solid proof. I am not saying that Do-It-And-Blame-The-Muslims mentality is at work here. All I am saying is, US does not have solid footings to prosecute Bin Laden.
posted by adnanbwp (28 comments total)
Is the US going to prosecute Bin Laden before being proven guilty.

Um, Do you mean "persecute"? The purpose of "prosecution" is to prove the guilt of a defendent in a court of law.
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:18 AM on September 17, 2001

Perhaps you haven't been paying attention to all of the news coverage. President Bush has said that we are not only going to eliminate the terrorists that actually performed the act, but all of their support networks as well. Since this is the case, it is almost a 100% certainty that Bin Laden was involved in some way.
posted by d_brown3 at 7:23 AM on September 17, 2001

They said there are multiple financiers of Project WTC. I havent heard the return of that news item in two days.

MrBaliHai : Thanks for the correction :)
posted by adnanbwp at 7:31 AM on September 17, 2001

It (once again) bears clarification the the onus of prosecuting terrorists in not on the US or the Afganis. terrorism has been deamed an International crime, and hence (must) should be tried in a World court. Furthermore, what the Taliban has requested was proof of Osama's involvement so that THEY could prosecute him, which is obviously unnaceptable given their past support for his activities. I see this as a political move to delay further US pressure applied through Pakistan (my opinion, of course).
I would also like to point out that this is one more example of those who resent the US playing the role of "world-police" and yet expecting us to do it nonetheless, because they won't help us police their own.
Finally, am I missing something here? The Taliban has claimed that they have severed Osama's communication with the outside world, and yet he has released broadly publisized statements. Not doing a very good job of cutting him off, are they?
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:35 AM on September 17, 2001

No degree of evidence mounted beforehand would be satisfactory to the Taliban. It would, however, be important to assure the countries whose assistance is necessary (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, even, ugh, Iran) that we're not just lining up the usual suspect.
posted by argybarg at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2001

Wow, adnan. I haven't seen such editorializing in a front page post since oh, i dunno...the last time you posted? Or the time before that maybe?

In the future, please present a link with an appropriate description and save your spin for the comment threads.
posted by dogmatic at 7:49 AM on September 17, 2001


You have raised a good point about communication. Come to think of it, The only way OBL has been communicating with the press is by video recording his speeches or sermons what ever we call them. These videos are then some how delivered to Al-Jazeera (Arabic CNN like news network operated from Gulf State of Qatar).

Before that, he some how used to make it possible for a western or Pakistani journalist to find him in Afghanistan. As John Miller of ABC who interviewed him in 1998 said that, I found OBL on the top of a mountain at 1 in the morning because he wanted me to find me.

While the US intellegince spends so much time finding OBL through hi-tech resources, I wonder if OBL does all his planning and communication through recorded videos.

argybarg: I agree.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:54 AM on September 17, 2001

I personally doubt that any known terrorist above "guy in the street" level will see the inside of a courtroom; certainly bin Laden won't. That'd be stupid, beacuse it would give terrorists more fuel and targets.

As for bin Laden's guilt, I think it's probably moot. He's a dead man, regardless of guilt. If the US doesn't get him (and we probably will), then his usefulness to the Taliban and terrorists is at an end and they will either turn him over to the US or kill him themselves (the latter, I would imagine).

Which is an interesting point: do you think that, if the Taliban delivered to the west a verifiably dead bin Laden, that it would cool down the entire proceedings and, maybe, even be a significant PR boost for them?
posted by UncleFes at 7:54 AM on September 17, 2001

Why, that's pretty dogmatic of you, dogmatic.
posted by adampsyche at 8:03 AM on September 17, 2001

OBL is not a mad man. His objectives/political agenda is debatable issue, but his planning, his hold on logistics and the control on his organization is perfect.

I think he got irritated by the fact that his attacks on USS Cole and other US embassies did not start a discussion about his demands in the US. And that is why he decided to up the notch a bit. What is to stop him to tell is confidantes about his resources and its uses saying that if some thing happens to me, the following series of events should take place.

I also think, he is drawing US into a military war in Afghanistan. It is common knowledge that air attacks wont do it. It wont work. It would only change the position of the rubble we call Afghanistan. The russians beat us to it. But on the other hand, Afghans have thousands of years of reputition of being stubborn defenders of its land. The british tried and failed twice. They named it the North West Frontier. A Frontier they couldnt cross. Then the Russians tried and lost terribly.

Just to demonstrate my point, let me tell you how a bunch of Afghans, armed with only knives and daggers, used to stop and overtake a Russian tank.

They used to take a large piece of cloth, about the size of a double bed sheet and layer it with a lot cow dung. As a tank would approach their hiding place, one Afghan used to throw the dung covered sheet on the tank's chain. That would tangle and compromise the tank's ability to move. At the same time, another person would cover the tank's view glass with the same cow dung. Now another Afghan would get on top of the tank and wait for the Russian soldiers to come out. The rest is history.

The reason for this post is that US should be careful. I fear that as Bin Laden has been always a step ahead of the US, I think that he wants US to land its forces in Afghanistan and that is his real plan.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:06 AM on September 17, 2001

I would rather not get drawn into a military discussion here, but if the Gulf war proved one thing, it's that the US tactics of war are not the same as used by the Soviets. It is unwise to draw conclusions of what is probable based only on what has been.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2001


oops I did it again. hehe

Hey man if u did see my profile dude, you must have seen that I just joined Mefi like at the start of this month. I am still learning how things go here.

Sorry to evy one who got irritated.

I will spin, but only in comments from now on ;)

God Bless All
posted by adnanbwp at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2001

I agree that it would be foolish for the US to get into a land war in Afghanistan. A topographical map and a couple of Soviet veterans could tell you why. No one questions the efficacy of the Afghan guerilla, who are perhaps individually the finest non-traditional soldiers in the world. Which is why I don't think there's any way that we'd invade - not a chance. At worst, stealth air strikes on industry and military targets. But more likely, special forces strikes on selected ground targets.

In the event the Taliban don't hand over bin Laden's head to Pakistan, he'll die in the nightscope of a Navy SEAL.
posted by UncleFes at 8:14 AM on September 17, 2001


Which do you think would be better, for bin Laden to "die in the nightscope of a Navy SEAL," or be prosecuted in the U.S.?

A serious question, not a flame. It seems that killing him renders him a martyr and hero to his followers. But bringing him to our shores simply gives his confederates greater specificity of purpose, leaving them to keep attacking until we give him up (or don't, I suppose).

Are we better off with him dead or alive?
posted by Sinner at 8:37 AM on September 17, 2001

Of the two, I think it'd be better to just kill him. Prosecuting him would make him far more of a martyr, because a drawn out trial will give his followers multiple incidences of outrage and provide bin Laden (who is supposed to be a very eloquent speaker and media savvy) opportunities for inflaming his followers and generally denouncing his enemies.

Moral considerations aside, I think an even better response would be to "disappear" him, and the same for his command structure.

But the more I think about it, the more I think he'll be turned over to the US already dead.
posted by UncleFes at 8:44 AM on September 17, 2001

We're better off finding out who actually did it, along with a nice amount of that proof stuff without pointing fingers at people..

The terrorists that bombed the US embassies weren't put on the death sentence for fear that they may become martyrs, so if bin Laden goes to trial, who knows what will happen?

And if the SEALs could kill him, why haven't they done it already?? He has been linked to previous terrorist activities which led to the death of US civilians, right?
posted by Mossy at 9:02 AM on September 17, 2001

I wouldn't be particularly bothered right now if bin Laden were "disappeared", but I'd hope they'd get him to hand over his bank statements first.

The problem with prosecution is that the 'cult of Osama' is so ingrained in "training camps" like that mentioned in the NYTimes article, that any anti-Osama publicity is instantly rejected as disinformation.
posted by holgate at 9:10 AM on September 17, 2001

He has been linked to previous terrorist activities which led to the death of US civilians, right?

Yes, but... :)

For one, the political will for retaliation wasn't as strong then as it is now. The political administration was in a transitional period. The Cole and the Marine barracks incidents, for example, was military (as opposed to civilian) targets, and therefore assuming of some risk; the embassy bombings primarily killed non-Americans. In addition, we've seen a general decrease in the effectiveness and efficacy of our foreign intelligence agencies since the end of the cold war. I would hazard that military covert operations were considered of little use to the previous administration, based on their minimal perceived effectiveness (I'm thinking of Carter's attempt to free the Iranian hostages as an example). So, my guess is that bin Laden was never killed by SEALs because the SEALs were never sent after him.

I don't think a death sentence is of much deterrence to terrorists. The risks of bringing them to trial would, imo, outweigh the benefits of a successful conviction, even if such a thing could be guaranteed.
posted by UncleFes at 9:27 AM on September 17, 2001

> I would rather not get drawn into a military discussion
> here, but if the Gulf war proved one thing, it's that the
> US tactics of war are not the same as used by the
> Soviets.

As was pointed out at the time, the US was lucky enough in the Gulf war to encounter the only dictator in the world dumb enough to stand and fight a pitched battle. War in Afghanistan would be guerilla warfare, as it was for the Russians and as Viet Nam was for the US.
posted by jfuller at 9:31 AM on September 17, 2001


I suppose I did imply guilt on bin Laden's part, although I've said before how I can see him not being the culprit.

To that end, you can essentially replace every instance of "Bin Laden" in what I'd said and replace it with "the culprit."

However, even if he is innocent of this particular attack, given the means I'd kill him with my bare hands for what he's done before.

Also, I think you're likely right about a SEAL team's ability to execute bin Laden. We seem to impart near-mystical powers to our special forces, but just reading some of the links on MeFi in the past couple of days, it's become clear to me that even the much-vaunted SEALs might never even be able to find the man, much less kill him.
posted by Sinner at 9:40 AM on September 17, 2001

... and to jfuller's point, does anyone else see this conflict as combining the worst aspects of the drug war and vietnam, both of which have recently been acknowledged as more or less unwinnable?
posted by Sinner at 9:42 AM on September 17, 2001

We seem to impart near-mystical powers to our special forces

And to our enemies. The simple fact is that no one in this world is untouchable, from bin Laden to Bush to you and I.

As for bin Laden's guilt and the search for proof of that guilt, I think it's become tertiary to the eventual outcome. bin Laden has become a liability to the the terrorist community, and they have the same kind of retirement program as the mafia. But unless I am wildly mistaken about the Taliban's wish to avoid becoming persona non grata amongst the Islamic world AND the various global terrorist organizations desire to remain anonymous and untargetted, I'm betting that bin Laden will die at the hands of his compatriots.


Perhaps. I outlined my five point victory program in a previous thread, and would welcome comments on it.
posted by UncleFes at 9:49 AM on September 17, 2001

adnan: how does one start a dialogue with somebody who refuses to take direct responsibility for their actions? He's never fessed up to the Cole bombing, for instance, yet U.S. leaders should have taken it upon themselves to discuss his needs as a result? If he knew half as much about diplomacy as he does demolition, maybe we could have worked something out.
posted by Jack Torrance at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2001

Even with our advanced technology, we couldn't get bin Laden (BTW, how do you refer properly to him? The Taliban calls him Osama; is that his first name or last?) I would suppose the reason why we didn't get him we don't know where he is in Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan has already had the heck bombed out of it by the Soviets, making the Taliban unlikely to capitulate in the face of threats of air strikes (the Taliban doesn't seem to clearly perceive how stupid they're being) threats of a ground war may have to be carried out. Then we must decide what our goals are. Take out bin Laden and his leadership? Kill the Taliban leadership and install the opposition forces? Rebuild Afghanistan as US friendly state?
posted by Charmian at 10:59 AM on September 17, 2001

Even with our advanced technology, we couldn't get bin Laden

We could get him; we can get anyone. ANYONE can get anyone - IF they are sufficently motivated.

threats of a ground war may have to be carried out

Never happen. For one, the modern army hates ground wars. It took us months to work up the gumption for a ground invasion of Iraq, and then not until we had pretty much reduced the Iraqi army to rags. For two, we may have short memories, but they are not so short that we will forget supplying the Mujahadeen against the Soviets.

Rebuild Afghanistan as US friendly state?

Rebuild the entire middle east as a US friendly region. Our security now demands it.
posted by UncleFes at 11:23 AM on September 17, 2001

We seem to impart near-mystical powers to our special forces, but just reading some of the links on MeFi in the past couple of days, it's become clear to me that even the much-vaunted SEALs might never even be able to find the man, much less kill him.

Probably because the Navy couldn't get their boats close enough to his camps in land-locked Afghanistan in order to drop the SEALs off... :-)
posted by fooljay at 12:31 PM on September 17, 2001


Thats a very good point u raised. I have thought about it before. I have an answer. Not every one might agree with me. But I have always agreed to disagree.

Bin Laden seems very angry with US forces stationed in Saudi Arabia. Close to the Islamic sites of Mecca and Medina. He is angry that these forces are on this holy land under their own flag.

The reason why the US forces failed to execute the plan and pentagon did not call back its forces is very interesting. The US found out that the equipment and arms provided to Saudi Arabian government by US were capable of thwarting any internal effort to take down the Saudi Monarchy. But, the Saudi military is not trained and utterly incapable to use those equipment and arms. In the absence of permanent bases the US needs 72 hours to take over required positions and thwart any internal movement to take over the Saudi government. Therefore it is essential for US personel to be present in Saudi Arabia to take control of any such movement.

One way for dialogue is to move US forces out of Saudi Arabia. There are permanent bases in Kuwait and Bahrain already and they should be enough to take care of the US forces "official" business, to protect these states from Iraqi invasion. Isn't that what the UN mandated the alliance with ?

At the same time, the US government should have activated a dialogue process with the Taleban through Pakistan. US has used Pakistan's help to initiate deplomatic dialogue with China in the past. Why not now ? Afterall the US and Pakistan were very close allies during the Afghan war.

By building support in the Muslim states, and being sensitive to things like US troops in Saudi Arabia, I think the US can achieve much more towards peace than by a war in Afghanistan. Believe me, It would be futile. The Afghans have thousands of years of history behind them to prove this claim.

God Bless All
posted by adnanbwp at 12:49 PM on September 17, 2001

Pakistan's assistance is the first evidence I have seen of leadership by the more reasonable Islamic governments. This has never been part of the equation before. Bin Laden has been the bad sheep in their family, but part of their family nonetheless. We do have interests in common with most of the Islamic world, and now that they are expressing the political will to resolve the situation we may find they can handle this better than the US.
posted by username at 3:38 PM on September 17, 2001

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