Osama bin Lotto
May 10, 2004 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Osama bin Lotto [Flash.] What's your bet on when bin Laden will be captured? Some oddsmakers suggest the last ten days of July. I think the winner should get 22 pounds of tinfoil, and the runner-up some cologne.
posted by homunculus (11 comments total)
That's a pretty lame flash movie. It's way too long and slow, and the big payoff is to email some random dropbox email account? Where's the actual "lotto" at?
posted by mathowie at 5:19 PM on May 10, 2004

yeah really. the whole damn thing was an intro to a hotmail address. Wtf dude
posted by bob sarabia at 5:21 PM on May 10, 2004

I thought it was amusing. I doubt there is a real lotto, but if there was, the cologne would be a perfect prize.

I do hope Marshall elaborates on what he's heard about July, though.
posted by homunculus at 5:39 PM on May 10, 2004

According to tradesports 8% chance of capture by the end of the month, 27% by the end of September and 43%ish by year end.

Rates here. Click for graphs and the like. You can gamble on just about anything nowadays.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 7:31 PM on May 10, 2004

The logic of a Qadir-easy-ride/OBL-capture-on-demand quid pro quo seems a bit tenuous to me. Any moves against Taliban/Al Qaeda elements in the Tribal areas (including OBL) have been and will be wholly dependent on Musharraf putting his neck out for the US. Actions taken against extremists have already caused him immense difficulties and most likely contributed to his slightly paranoid, regressively autocratic actions of recent weeks. The decision of the US to go easy on Pakistan over proliferation is more likely to be a simple recognition that Pakistani action against the national hero, Qadir Khan would seriously undermine Musharraf's standing among his most critical supporters - his fellow military commanders - and risk curtailing all measures against extremists in Pakistan. In short, Bush had as much to lose as Musharraf if the US adopted a hardline over WMD allegations. Using this crisis as leverage in secret negotiations just doesn't seem likely in these circumstances.

That said, the idea of some hush-hush deal preceding the Qadir revelations is plausible. Note here, the numerous advantages accrued by Musharraf through support for US foreign policy, long before the Qadir news ever hit the headlines.

But, even this bodge-job of a conspiracy theory doesn't ring true. Well, not from the Pakistani side at least. Musharraf simply has too much to lose if he is connected in any way to the capture of OBL. Al Qaeda are seen as heroes to many Pakistanis and Musharraf seems far too canny to play such a straight hand with the US. Even if no links were found connecting "the General" to OBL's capture, Musharraf would still face a powerful domestic backlash, perhaps from the ISI cloak-and-dagger types who built up the Taliban. Most likely, he'd prefer the capture not to happen at all, let alone through his good offices.

In my opinion, if there was an agreement it was simply for Pakistan to hinder OBL's movement and restrict Al-Qaeda activities to the badlands of the NWFP. Thus Pakistan coughed up a few choice morsels every now and then to show her good character and so earn her military credits, her very late F-16s and her financial assistance. Nothing so tasty as to cause irrecoverable problems for Musharraf though. Such a situation, 12-18 months ago, suited the Bush administration pretty well too, simply because OBL's continued freedom meant a still-angry American public, a still living "War on Terror" and a still-possible realisation of that NeoCon wet-dream, regime change in Iraq.

But, if Musharraf hasn't much logical enthusiasm for a conspiracy delaying OBL's capture, Bush certainly has... Perhaps there've been some hints at a US-only conspiracy. Anyone remember the officer who said something along the lines of, "we'll have OBL within a year", quickly moderated his language and said no more? OK, that last bit's flakey but overall, this angle isn't wildly implausible. So, I'll play.

Most analysts wouldn't bet against there being a dramatic increase in violence and US casualties around the time sovereignty is transferred in Iraq so - if I was a Bush conspiracy advisor - I'd delay, hope to ride out the occupation woes without dying at the polls and then let OBL's capture tip the balance late on. Anything too late though will get even the most misty-eyed bushite a little suspicious and really risk turning away swing voters. So, a late move, but I think mid-September is probably as late as anyone could risk.

I look forward to saying, "I told you so."
posted by pots at 8:18 PM on May 10, 2004

If I was a betting man, I'd bet that he will still be unaccounted for by year's end. But if he actually is captured or killed between late July and the election, I'm stocking up on tinfoil.
posted by homunculus at 8:51 PM on May 10, 2004

I hope he's caught on November 3, after the President is reelected, just to torment as many of you as possible...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:00 PM on May 10, 2004

I have a feeling he'll surface around Halloween...conveniently right before the election.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:28 PM on May 10, 2004

Honestly, PP, Georgie being re-elected will be punishment enough for all America. Between the much-abused economy, the erosion of rights, and the idiot foreign actions, Americans are guaranteed to suffer.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 PM on May 10, 2004

Well, five, be prepared to be "punished." Also "tortured" and "abused."
posted by ParisParamus at 8:02 AM on May 11, 2004

and "raped with a broomstick" HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! Torture is funny when it happens to far away people who look different and have strange beliefs! OMGROFLLLOLOLOL!!!
posted by badstone at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2004

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