Skip to comments.Mark Steyn- Dust bin: Osama bin Laden is dead
Posted on 06/27/2002 6:50:15 AM PDT by Pokey78
Osama bin Laden is dead, says Mark Steyn, but it suits the Bush administration for the Eurosophists to believe he is alive
Hes back! Or he will be. Any day now. Just you wait. I want to assure Muslims, said bigshot Islamofascist Suleiman Abu Ghaith the other day, that Sheikh Osama bin Laden ...is in good and prosperous health and all what is being rumoured about his illness and injury in Tora Bora has no truth. Hes tanned, rested, and ready to rumble. America, warned Suleiman, must prepare itself and fasten its seatbelt. Wow. These guys dont just slash the throats of stewardesses, they memorise their lines. And it seems theyve made sure that Osama, like your tray table, is stowed and, like your seat back, is in an upright position. Or so our friend Suleiman claims. If it is Suleiman. His words were on an audiotape delivered to al-Jazeera, and al-Jazeera claims to have identified the voice as that of Suleiman, the baby-faced al-Qaeda sidekick who briefly became a famous face on the news bulletins last September and early October and has apparently survived the rumours of his own demise in December. I think Id want something a little more date-specific if a new Osama video turned up. You cant expect him to hold up that mornings paper as it would give a little too much away the Peshawar Bugle, the Baghdad Sycophant, the Tehran Fundamentalist but at the very least Id expect him to cite not just his usual ancient grievances (Andalucia in 1492, etc.) but also some more recent ones say, the Saudi World Cup teams Mossad-engineered 80 humiliation.
I said in the Sunday Telegraph a couple of weeks ago that Osama was deceased and in the Daily Telegraph back in March that he was a few specks of DNA somewhere in the Hindu Kush. Everyone else seems to think hes alive and well. Recently, several hundred of the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry exhumed every corpse in an al-Qaeda cemetery near Kandahar and, failing to find a body with a very long beard and a very short penis, concluded that Osama had gotten away. (He had at one point ten lookalikes to confuse the Americans, but, of course, even the most convincing doppelgänger would be unlikely to match Osamas unusual deficiencies in the trouser department.)
Where did he go? The alleged experts seem inclined to favour either the Greater Kandahar area or the Pakistani tribal lands. Supposedly, hes trimmed his beard, and is receiving dialysis from machines supplied by rogue elements of the ISI, Pakistans intelligence services, while waiting for a doctor to be flown in to perform a kidney transplant. I doubt it. On the Afghan side of the border, while the Talebans top execs have melted back into a not unsympathetic general population, the foreign occupiers Osama and his Arabs and other miscellaneous hirelings remain very unpopular. In the Pakistani badlands, meanwhile, he could perhaps rely on the fact that the $25 million bounty on his head is too large to have any meaning to your average Baluchistani villager, unschooled in such matters as exchange rates. But those duplicitous ISI guys are another matter, and I wouldnt trust any doctor they ushered into the room.
Oh, well. Hamid Karzai says hes in Pakistan. General Musharraf says hes in Afghanistan. From this we can deduce the general rule that, whatever country you happen to be in charge of, youd rather Osama were in someone elses. The obvious question for those who say the weirdbeard is getting dialysis treatment in Iraq or Iran is: why would Saddam and the ayatollahs feel differently from Karzai and Musharraf? Are they that fond of the old terrorist mastermind? The evidence suggests that both regimes are trying to avoid attracting Washingtons attention in the hope that this whole unfortunate axis-of-evil business will just fade away. Booking him into the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer General Hospitals Renal Ward would be like pasting a big ol target on your forehead. The Iranians, in particular, would be aware of a potential historical symmetry: it was Jimmy Carters decision to allow the exiled Shah into the US for medical treatment that provoked the American Embassy siege.
Conceivably, the Saudis are cocky enough to figure that they could get away with it. Theyve funnelled money to Osama, theyve supplied most of his manpower, their man in London our old friend Ambassador Algosaibi says hed like to be a suicide bomber if only he werent so old and out of shape and yet Crown Prince Abdullah still gets invited to Crawford to pal around on the Presidents ranch. The House of Saud could be forgiven for concluding that they can do anything they like and the White House will still hail them as a staunch ally. If Osama is alive, Saudi Arabias his most likely location. That would explain why the Americans havent found him in any of the places theyve looked for him: theyre choosing not to look in Saudi.
In any case, Washington is in no hurry to pronounce him dead. In a celebrity culture, its useful to be able to put a face to what would otherwise be a shadowy menace. The Chinese get away with a ton of stuff just because they eschew the Colonel Gaddafi pillbox hat and the Saddamite turtleneck and Village People moustache and run their tyranny with a bunch of boring interchangeable guys in specs and cheap lounge suits. Osamas generated websites and bumper stickers and T-shirts and song parodies, and announcing that youd found his DNA in the rubble of a daisy-cuttered cave would only prompt even more Americans to tune out of the war. Likewise, its the open-endedness of the Bush crusade (whoops) that rattles the Europeans: if Osama were dead, the Eurosophists would be saying, Cmon, you got your man, you had your revenge, now declare victory and go home. With the guy directly responsible out of the way, the European inclination to render terrorism as an impersonal abstraction born of desperation and hopelessness would be unstoppable. Thus, for Bush, at home and abroad, it is politically necessary for Osama to remain alive until the invasion of Iraq is underway. If I were choreographing this war, some conclusively distinguishing characteristics would turn up around 11 September.
Nonetheless, hes already stiff, hes six feet under, hes bin Laiden to rest, hes in paradise being pleasured by those 72 virgins and wondering if theyre tittering about his shortcomings. The alleged Suleiman insists that Osama, his Number Two Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and 98 per cent of the leadership of al-Qaeda are safe and are running their affairs perfectly. But, in that case, where are they? Holed up in the hills far from a video camera? Unlikely. Your average run-of-the-mill schoolgirl suicide bomber can make a farewell video. Ah, say the clever-clogs, but suppose hes been injured and cant appear on camera. Come off it. The killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl filmed his decapitation and then had his final moments plus the severed, swinging head augmented with news footage and music and captions, and widely circulated via the Internet. It is a vile and disgusting video, but it is technically accomplished. No matter how badly injured Osamas arms or legs are, they could have filmed his head up tight like Pearls, and broken up the film with other material. They could have slapped on some pancake and dunked his beard in a vat of industrial-strength Grecian. If Daniel Pearls murderers can get access to a professional studio and editing facilities, surely 98 per cent of al-Qaedas leadership can. If they could have, they would have if not Osama, then al-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar or any of the other hotshots whove been silent these last six months. They cant all be recuperating from kidney transplants. One or other would have turned up to crow on 11 March (the semi-anniversary) or some other significant date.
Heres what we know about al-Qaeda: the Number One and Two guys havent been heard from since December; Number Three, Mohammed Atef, is dead; Number Four, Abu Zubaydah, is in US custody; so are hundreds of others, 80 per cent of them Saudis captured in Afghanistan. Not all Osamas lieutenants are dead or in detention, but intelligence reports have spotted surviving individual members of his elite personal bodyguard in various spots around the globe, which would appear to suggest that theyve been reassigned to other duties: theres no point being a bodyguard when the bodys no longer in a state worth guarding.
Al-Qaeda has always been a decentralised organisation, but under a snooty all-Arab officer class. Now the misfit conscripts have been promoted way beyond their natural ability: the networks dependent on incompetent street punks like Jose Padilla, the dirty bomb guy captured in Chicago, and Richard Reid, the damp squib of a shoebomber, purely because they travel on respectable passports. The alleged Suleiman Abu Ghaith had nothing to boast of in his audio statement except the attack on a synagogue in Tunisia that killed 14 German tourists. This operation was carried out by al-Qaeda network, he said proudly. A youth could not see his brothers in Palestine butchered and murdered ...while he saw Jews cavorting in Djerba. But thats pretty pathetic, isnt it? Some network: it can kill barely any more people than a novice schoolgirl suicide-bomber acting out of Cherie Blairite desperation.
Go back to that video of Tiny bin Laden and the big-time sheikh yakking on about what a great day 11 September was and rolling around with laughter because some of the boys didnt know it was a suicide mission until they boarded the plane. Its clear the so-called evil genius never expected the Twin Towers to collapse. He just got lucky. His pa may know about construction, but Juniors just a peculiarly advanced model of the useless idiot son a criticism routinely made of Bush but actually far more applicable to Osama, who took his dads fortune and literally threw it down a hole in the ground. Despite the best efforts of the Independents graphics department, the caves of Tora Bora proved to be not some state-of-the-art Blofeldian labyrinth but just ...caves. The anthrax attacks, which the FBI persists in attributing to domestic sources, seem to me to be almost certainly al-Qaeda, both because they ceased around the time Osama and co. disappeared from view, and because of their ineffectiveness. It was National Reviews Jonah Goldberg who suggested that al-Qaedas operatives in Florida had been instructed to send anthrax to the American media and were boneheadedly literal enough simply to look up American Media in the phone book, it being the name of the publishers of the National Enquirer. Similarly, instructed to attack American airlines, they attacked American Airlines.
Now I could be wrong and Suleiman could be right. Maybe Osamas fit as a fiddle and ready to take out Disney World or the Rockefeller Center. Americans are worried about terrorist attacks on Fourth of July parades. Gays are worried that hell target Gay Pride parades, which have traditionally been very lightly policed. Perhaps al-Qaeda have plans to fly crop-dusters into the infidel sodomites. Perhaps itll be a flop, like the shoe-bombing and the anthrax and the dirty nuke. Or perhaps the idiots will get lucky again. An idiot with a nuke or chemical weapons could get very lucky.
But the real story here is not 11 September, or the attack on the USS Cole, or the embassy bombings in Africa, or even Oklahoma City, which seems more and more likely to have had a radical Islamic component. These events are separated by months, years, but in-between the splashy headline-grabbers the real work goes on day after day in the Saudi-funded madrasahs radicalising Muslims in South Asia, Pakistan, the Balkans, Western Europe and America. The Presidents speech on Monday was, among other things, a colossal rebuff to Crown Prince Abdullahs fictional Saudi peace plan and may or may not signal a full-scale re-evaluation of Americas long-turned blind eye to Saudi misdeeds. Is Osama dead? Yes. Is American cosseting of the House of Saud dead? Thats far harder to say.
Steyn is right - we're keeping OBL 'alive' for political reasons.
He's in Iraq. Let's get him!
Oops, got away. He's in Iran. Let's get him!
Oops, got away. He's in ... (repeat as necessary)
Yes, I did read your reply to me re: Steyn on the Mencken thread the other day.
I just got overwhelmed with other replies & have been busy working on the NC Chapter of FR.
I have read Steyn before, but will pay closer attention to him now.
(I always read Florence King first because her column is on the inside last page od National Review)
Perhaps the most .. er .. cutting Steyn line I've ever read.
A dead House of Saud beats a dead Osama in my book.
This thought is popping up in more and more mainstream publications.