$1 billion bounty on bin Laden
September 17, 2001 9:31 PM   Subscribe

$1 billion bounty on bin Laden "'Now it's time to wipe out the wasp nests of terrorism,' says Edward Lozzi, a West Coast PR agent lined up to handle the fund." It's a free-market justice crusade in the name of the Amurrican People!
posted by Sapphireblue (27 comments total)
They could turn it into a reality show and make a killing.

So to speak.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:33 PM on September 17, 2001

Why not just call up Randall "Tex" Cobb?
posted by raysmj at 9:39 PM on September 17, 2001

muah ah ah.. if i was able i'd take em up on it..
posted by KimmishKim at 9:43 PM on September 17, 2001

They should be careful about who they go around giving that kind of money to. Bin Laden is a major threat, and obviously needs eliminating (and will be anyway), but the kind of collectives for hire who possess the ability to take him out could do a lot themselves with a billion dollars. I'd gladly thank them for their help in risking their lives so protect humanity, but if it takes that kind of money to pursued them to do it mankinds peaceful co-existence isn't their main concern.
posted by Kino at 9:51 PM on September 17, 2001

YES! It's about damn time for the Renegade remix!
posted by Hankins at 9:51 PM on September 17, 2001

Well, it's not like this might be a good time to discourage the notion that money is acceptable moral currency...is it?
posted by Opus Dark at 9:58 PM on September 17, 2001

Why not just call up Randall "Tex" Cobb?

Done, this thing will be over by sunrise.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:59 PM on September 17, 2001

This "news piece" is just self agrandisement by a pretty lame PR man.
posted by davehat at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2001

Opus, I've got faith that the direct action any-means-necessary zero tolerance approach the worlds military and governments is taking to this will be perfectly ample for Cheney to get his expressed wish of Ladins head on a platter. I don't think throwing a billion dollars of private money anyones way will show terrorists that their actions will not be tolerated - that can only be achieved by international legitimate action. A billion dollars bounty will only be available infrequently yet terrorism itself and the urge to engage in it is, at present, a permanent state of being. That situation needs to be minimised, the evil in this world needs to see terrorist acts against civilians will be seriously counter productive to their causes, that they will be victims of their own actions, and a one off billion dollar incentive is not the way to do it.
posted by Kino at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2001

Let's see... Osama wants to destroy the US. So do his lieutenants. They kill him, collect the billion, and have 4x the funding for their reign of terror than they did before.

By the way, a billion dollars is twelve times Afghanistan's annual exports (excluding opium). If they had that much money, maybe they wouldn't feel like killing folks like us.
posted by kfury at 10:37 PM on September 17, 2001

What if Saddam Hussein turns him in? Did the morons ever think of that?

They've got to have some sick, dodgy lawyers to offer that kind of money up.
posted by dopamine at 10:39 PM on September 17, 2001

As far as i can tell - it isn't a prize for the claiming - but one which will be offered to pre-determined militants who then get on with the job. The scenarios you imagine aren't impossible though because who those organisations then decide to offer a slice of the lucre to is right out of the funders control.

Even if that danger was excluded.. How would a group of hard-as-fuck mercenaries going in and killing bin Laden show rogue governments that they can't allow terrorist organisations to operate freely on their soil? How could it possibly send the chilling message that funding such activities will be viewed as directly commissioning terror and that forceful action will be taken against that nation in consequence?. Something long overdue that the world now has a chance to do before a continent gets infected with smallpox, or worse. All a billion dollars in some ruthless groups coffers will do is..

A] Add to a lawless mercenary collectives ability to be available for hire to carry out some serious operations for the next highest bidder that happens to come along and..

B] Get us the prize of Ladens fly infested rotting dead flesh.
posted by Kino at 11:17 PM on September 17, 2001

Bin Laden's got a great arsenal of currency on his side. Maybe not a billion, but its impressive enough to pay his followers thousands of dollars each to accomplish their missions. Maybe matching that is the way to stop him. Many of the people working for him do so because he has provided for them, when the alternative for them was a hard poor life on the streets. The loyalty may partially be spiritual, but I bet it's more financial than they'd be willing to admit.

Maybe his followers can't be bought. Maybe they can. Maybe we need to find that out. However, you're right when you say allowing this money into the hands of one of Bin Laden's associates would just add fuel to the fire. This bounty plan is also short-sighted. Bin Laden's head is just one of the snakes on Medusa.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:42 PM on September 17, 2001

Could everyone please stop using the word 'crusade'. Given the situation...
posted by vbfg at 1:22 AM on September 18, 2001

I don't use the word 'crusade' myself but i can understand why some would refer to it as one. The cause is much bigger than bin Laden or Afghanistan. It's a change of sensibilities. A shift towards a state where mass killings of civilians is a death knell to those regimes and organisations that carry it out - even if it means literally having to remove those regimes and organisation from the map. It takes a lot to show that a cause will be eliminated if despicable actions are taken by those who wish to further it but it's highly essential for the future of billions of people that this opportunity to create that reality is maximised and cashed in. I'm aware of the paradox in what i'm saying and even that i may look like a hypocrite, but i believe in OUR cause - doubtless they believe in theirs. The thing is though - we ARE going to win.

The democratic international community has risen to the challenge of fighting for good against those who make it their business to bathe in the waters of fear and control and steer their people towards a fight for destruction. Afterwards, once we've enforced justice in this campaign on those who seek to impose suffering, the world will be a much safer place than it is today. A much safer place. A place where open and free societies can flourish with a minimised threat of danger. Where nations and people can revel in their diversity and enjoy each others. And if someone gets pissed off at anyone or anything the only option for them will be to handle it in an honourable manner within the realms of international treaties in the full knowledge that anything less will surely trigger their destruction.

This is the first time in half a century that the worlds had any real chance of taking action that is important enough to save it. We're entering into the most important war in history. This, from all indications, will be a new type of war, but an international war on many fronts, and one which will doubtless be dubbed by future generations 'World War Three'. And someday it will be fully understood that this was the greatest Allied action of them all. Bar none.
posted by Kino at 1:49 AM on September 18, 2001

Nobody's gonna collect the billion.

Bin Laden


-Making sure the US has mired itself in sufficient rhetoric and demonstrated sufficient duplicity.

-Dispersing his funds to trusted lieutenants, effectively spawning hundreds of new, untraceable cells.

-Writing a martyr's manifesto that will enshrine him into Islamic fundamentalism as a demi-god. What a fierce and convincing piece of doggerel that could be. What a grand way to demonstrate his own concern for the Islamic brethren he has placed in harm's way. What a neat way to disperse the US target - to seed an invisible field with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bloodthirsty orphans. He will have fathered a species, and he will have died for them.

Thus will he slap us twice, once from this side of hell, and once from hell itself.

See, I have all these jolly night time entertainments, and I figure it's selfish not to share...
posted by Opus Dark at 2:24 AM on September 18, 2001

If it's now legal for American citizens to hire hit men, you've become your own enemy.

Maybe bin Laden will post a bounty on Bush & Co., one million dollars per death of the top 50 American officials. He could put the money in hidden accounts and let a few trusted pals know how to award it, so people would get the money even if the US got to bin Laden first. Suicide bombers could have the money paid to family.

Or he could start paying one thousand dollars per dead American. The twin towers would have been a 5 million dollar job.
posted by pracowity at 2:28 AM on September 18, 2001

1. I envy your optimism
2. Not your pragmatism
3. "Crusade" is kind of inappropriate, because it originates in an effort by religion crazed, plundering misfits from the, then, barbaric christian lands of the West, to invade, slaughter and inflict all kinds of terror to people of the islamic world, which at the time was the beacon of civilisation.
4. Said crusades, ended with the Western armies having their ass kicked by the muslims.

Also bear in mind that horrible, prolonged, large scale atrocities have happened and are still happening with the West's blessing and arms. See, among many examples, Turkish Kurdistan.
posted by talos at 4:48 AM on September 18, 2001

Are there really international mercenary organizations/non-state actors of such power, or are those only fabrications of spy novels?

Plus, the crusade metaphor is confused. We have no Jerusalem to conquer. We don't want to create colonial fiefdoms. And it seems clear that military solutions alone may not solve the problem, which appears cultural as well.
posted by Charmian at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2001

Kino - bless ya, man. One of the few intelligent things I've read lately on MetaFilter.
posted by Spirit_VW at 6:41 AM on September 18, 2001

How different is that from the Ayatollah of Iran offering a bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie, the kind of act which the State Department has deplored as a violation of human rights?
posted by timyang at 6:48 AM on September 18, 2001

Kino: I think you misunderstood me. Is this or is this not about the eradication if Islam from the face of the planet? Crusade against drugs? Fine. Crusade against poverty? Fine. Crusade against even one Muslim? Public image nightmare and, short of nuking Mecca, the greatest tool for recruitment you could possibly give. If that's the kind of thing you're after then cool, go ahead. Take us all with you.

FWIW, calling it anything else sits fine with me. I'm not calling for inaction. I'm calling for an acknowledgement of the difference between people's arses and people's elbows. I'm calling for an acknowledgement that this is not the western world versus Islam but the free and democratic lands of this earth against terrorism.

The 'crusade' metaphor was always confused BTW, even when applied to the Crusades themselves. The First Crusade for example was to save Constantinople and Byzantium from the Muslim invaders. The Fourth Crusade was originally to take back bits of Egypt but ended up taking Constantinople from Byzantium instead, transporting much of it to Venice and leaving the rest so bankrupt that when the Byzantines returned fifty years later they had no chance of holding out against the Turks.
The rest is history, and Constantinople, the second Rome, is now Istanbul.
posted by vbfg at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2001

Wise up you knuckleheads. There's no $1B bounty. This marketing hack dreamed up a freakshow for people to mull around in their heads.
posted by UncleFes at 7:32 AM on September 18, 2001

Personally, I do not want anyone with the wear-with-all to kill OBLadin to have access to $1B.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:34 AM on September 18, 2001

This is sort of not really on topic, but I feel compelled to go ahead with it: be damned if I'm going to start excising perfectly good words from my vocabulary lest someone hear one word (crusade with a lower case c, no less) and think I'm advocating American holy war---if someone gets that from *anything* I've said, they aren't listening and will draw their own conclusions regardless.

"Burning Down the House" is just a song, "Spider-Man" is just a movie, and "crusade" is just a synonym for "mission". Really, I'm not at all comfortable with the need of the last week to sanitize the most mundane things of daily life to be newly appropriate for consumption in the post-WTC era.

Not to mention the whole post was pretty tongue-in-cheek in the first place, which I thought was fairly apparent, but then again maybe not.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2001

It's not so much you that made me mention it SB as much as Bush. The word's a common enough one when referring to some 'great task ahead' in probably all of western culture because of our shared cultural heritage. That's cool, if I had a problem with that I'd have to rewrite a thousand year old history to change it. But when the President of the US says it as part of a briefing within the context of going after people who have their own claims to speak for the whole of Islam, whether they actually do or not, then I'm worried for the propoganda potential for the other side. Your use of the word reminded me and I had to get it off my chest. Sorry. :)
posted by vbfg at 2:59 PM on September 18, 2001

You're thoughtful to worry about the "propaganda potential". I fear much of America isn't smart enough to have such thoughts. What on earth do these people harrassing Arab-Americans think they are accomplishing but adding fuel to the fire? That photo of the "Kill Arabics" graffito that was in the news a couple days ago horrified me for that very reason.

I can see your point, vbfg, but I think the idea that anti-American supporters of fundamentalist Islam would pounce on that one word and use it against us presupposes that they are 1) bound by truth in the first place and 2) concerned at this point with such small things as semantic variations on single words. No one who doesn't already see America as the enemy in a holy war is going to arrive at that viewpoint by the President's use of that one word, or any other.
posted by Sapphireblue at 3:47 PM on September 18, 2001

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