Tuesday, November 02, 2004


My last post on Osama bin Laden

Okay, probably not my last post. But my final post on his tape from last Friday.

It appeared to me that this tape basically repeated his "offer" to Europe: withdraw from the Middle East and Al Qaeda will leave you alone. I've adduced several reasons why this "offer" should be rejected. (Europe already did.)

What I didn't say, because I didn't think of it, was - well, of course we're not going to accept this offer. Even assuming it was sincere - hardly a risk-free assumption - we would never simply ignore the fact that he murdered 3000 Americans. (Well, maybe George W. Bush would ignore that, other than to use it as a campaign theme.)

But the United States, aside from the challenge to our national pride, has too many interests at stake to withdraw. Our commitment to Israel, our need to protect a vital source of petroleum, etc.

Bottom line: It's never going to happen. We're not going to abandon the Middle East to the tender mercies of that madman. There's hardly a point in even discussing it as if it were any kind of real possibility.

Bin Laden probably knows this. He's just messing with our heads.

Also, probably building a local case for his next outrage. He can tell Arabs and Muslims that he gave us fair warning; we didn't accept his offer, so any deaths are our fault, not his.

Remember, he doesn't give a shit about us. The only opinions he really cares about are Arab and Muslim opinions. That tape was as much for local consumption as it was for us.

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