Bin Ladin Alive and Promises New Attacks
June 23, 2002 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Bin Ladin Alive and Promises New Attacks Al Jezeera received a new tape.
posted by bas67 (12 comments total)
To be fair they haven't actually received a tape, all they have is audio of some guy saying that he has one, wether or not that is true remains to be seen
posted by zeoslap at 8:14 AM on June 23, 2002

Not sure I follow you, zeoslap: they aired the tape Sunday, according to the report.

Meanwhile, can someone help me parse this sentence? Because I've read it at least six times now and still can't figure out what the guy's saying:

The [recent U.S. warnings about al-Qaida threats] were "a cover-up for the ugly face of the onslaught by the Democratic Party against the Republican Party after the American president announced he was aware of the Sept. 11 operations and because of the economic problems the American government was suffering from," Abu Ghaith said.

Is he saying the Republican party had foreknowledge of the attack? Or that the previous threat alerts were faked by the US to cover up, uh, something? Or what?
posted by ook at 10:37 AM on June 23, 2002

If another act of terrorism hits, say goodbye to the Bush administration in 2004. And a number of Congressmen before then.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2002

ook: the audiotape contains the voice of his lieutenant only, not bin Laden. The claim is made that he is alive, but the photograph that was broadcast by al-Jazeera is from the videotape released on October 7.

I believe a simple interpretation of that sentence, though, is "the GOP administration is using the al Qaida threats as a distraction from Democratic political criticism". But these guys are off the deep end in their own mythology, now, so you have to kind of strip away the metaphor. After all, the messages brought to the West by their own technology are in the end the petards placed by the Greek slave-engineers under the wall of the castle on Rhodes by the Caliph Suleyman, which should be perfectly clear.
posted by dhartung at 11:37 AM on June 23, 2002

I guess I misunderstood what zeoslap was getting at; sounded like he was questioning the existence of the tape itself, not the validity of its contents.

Has anyone found a translation of the complete tape yet? My searching has so far turned up nothing but nearly word-for-word reprints the same two wire reports (the one linked here, and the let's get a reaction from the authorities back home version.) However off the deep end and ungrammatical their mythology is -- and it is -- I think we need to understand that mythology if we hope to have any effective way to prevent further attacks... it's an odd feeling, to say the least, to hear al Quaida's perspective on the US's internal politics (and even, in a roundabout way, siding with the Democrats).
posted by ook at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2002

[I posted that too quickly, and perhaps didn't make myself clear. Certainly I'm not suggesting anything as ludicrous as some sort of cabal between the terrorists and the democratic party. It's just that we get so few actual details about the mindset of the people we're supposedly fighting against, so this feels like a rare chance to find out what these people think they stand to gain by attacking us. That's all.]
posted by ook at 12:59 PM on June 23, 2002

All I meant was that all Al Jazeera has at the moment is an audiotape of someone saying that they have new tape of Bin Laden but that no actual verifiably recent Bin Laden footage has been aired.
posted by zeoslap at 3:39 PM on June 23, 2002

Paris, I agree that a number of congressmen could be ousted if another attack hits either before the 2002 or 2004 elections, but Bush won't. I don't think defensive military conflicts (i.e. not Vietnam and Korea) have ever hurt the political standing of a president after the fact (Lincoln actually might be an exception, he faced a surprisingly tough reelection fight, but that obviously was a very different situation). While criticism of his efforts will be greater, the rally-behind-the-leader effect will again overwhelm it.
posted by gsteff at 4:08 PM on June 23, 2002

I don't think defensive military conflicts (i.e. not Vietnam and Korea) have ever hurt the political standing of a president after the fact (Lincoln actually might be an exception, he faced a surprisingly tough reelection fight, but that obviously was a very different situation).

Hard to say what and what is not a defensive conflict. But it is true that Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, all wartime Presidents, have found that having troops abroad is no defense from losing House seats.

In Wilson case, the troops were marching to victory as the American people voted against his party in record numbers....

As to specifics on whether a defensive conflict hurts a President...If you mean by defensive millitary conflicts simply attacks on America, one could put the Iran Hostage situation into the category, and it certianly hurt Jimmy Carter. If you mean situations where our physical ground is under attack, well there's too little to sample from...even Lincoln's example doesn not exactly work because he techically the defender but really the attacker. The South was not invading the North until later in the war.
posted by brucec at 5:42 PM on June 23, 2002

Bush will be hurt by further attacks only if (a) he fails to take aggressive action against their perpetrators or (b) the Democrats had advocated a different and plausibly more effective defensive posture and Bush had ignored it.

As for (a), that's pretty unlikely. I'm sure that Bush has a pretty big move planned in the event of another significant attack ... perhaps a punitive attack on the infrastructure of Arab and Muslim anti-americanism, a half-dozen Wahabbi maddressas and pro-Al Quaeda newpapers blown up by cruise missles...

As for (b), every leading Democrat is Mr. "Me Too" right now. I don't see one of them being willing to gamble on opposing a significant element of Bush's plan, unless they decide to try to out-hawk him. If Gore doesn't run, I could see Lieberman out-hawking Bush, but nobody else.
posted by MattD at 6:44 PM on June 23, 2002

George Bush: Soft on Terrorism

Not just yet, but if the administration doesn't get their shit in gear a smart Democrat will out-triangulate Bush & co. on hawkishness. Right now he's on the cusp of repeating his father's mistakes.
posted by owillis at 9:08 PM on June 23, 2002

Here's a likely translation of the audiotape:

Al Qaeda: Hello?

Al Jazeera: Yeah, is your Dad there?

AQ: Um, yeah.

AJ: Can I talk to him?

AQ: Ah, sorry he can't come to the phone right now...

posted by yonderboy at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2002

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