Sunday, February 19, 2006

We'd Like You Dead, Too

This is one of the strangest news stories I've seen lately. Usually, if someone is winning a war (or at least thinks they are), they don't discuss their own possible defeat. There's only one situation I can think of where someone would say, "I would rather die than be caught alive!*", and that's when they are about to get caught.

* I think this is different than something like, "Live Free or Die!" - the latter is a statement of bravery and freedom, and has more to do with policy than capture.

There are two reasons that come to mind as to why someone would make such a statement: Either in the hope that their enemy would rather have them alive than dead; or a simple statement of bravery before what may be the inevitable. Either way, in this case, it's a good sign:
Usama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive and declared the U.S. had resorted to the same "repressive" tactics used by Saddam Hussein, according to an audiotape purportedly by the Al Qaeda leader that was posted Monday on a militant Web site.

The tape appeared to be a complete version of one that was first broadcast Jan. 19 on Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite channel, in which bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but also said his Al Qaeda terror network would soon launch a fresh attack on American soil.

"I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," bin Laden said.
Well, all right, Osama. We'd definitely prefer that you die humiliated, after having been tried for the murder of about 3,000 people and been interrogated for as much information as possible, but if you want to kill yourself now, we're cool with that.

Does this mean that Osama bin Laden is starting to feel a pinch? Are the US soldiers getting closer to tracking him down and capturing or killing him? We can only hope.

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  1. I think that he lost a long time ago, when the Taliban was overthrown.

    The problem is, the typical western ideology is blind to the underlying issue: The problem is not Osama Bin Ladin. The problem is that a lot of the Islamic world (probably not a majority, but a large minority) is very hostile to our values and will fight to the finish against them. Kill Bin Ladin, and you still have that. More Bin Ladins will spring up spontaneously.

    But much of western political theory is so caught up in being anti-Marxist that it became politically incorrect to admit that there are some things that are beyond the power of individuals -- or individual nations -- to control. That is particularly true of the political and philosophical Right.

    Unfortunately, I don't see a solution except to wait it out, and hope things change. One thing we *could* do is to stop supporting people who are on the wrong side. See this essay:

    Every time we fill up our tanks with gasoline we are indirectly supporting "Wrong Islam".

  2. I think there's still the aspect that an individual such as Bin Laden has a tremendous effect on the psyche of people. Capturing the world's most powerful terrorist is a major blow to terrorism - even if he really wasn't doing anything for 3 years. It also convinces people here and around the world that we are capable of hunting down terrorists - even someone with all the years of preparation and planning of bin Laden will be caught eventually - and never come close to truly fulfilling any long term goals.

  3. Or of course it's psychology meant to make us think we are close. He is a sly guy.