White House says bin Laden is Powerless and Impotent

And if you believe it, I have a bridge to sell you.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser said on Sunday al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is “virtually impotent” and can do little more than send videotaped messages.

“This is a man on the run in a cave who is virtually impotent other than his ability to get these messages out,” White House aide Fran Townsend said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “It is propaganda.

I have a couple of comments on this. The very fact that this assessment came out of the White House tells me it is also “dead flat wrong.” (see post below) To trust any information from a White House source is beyond gullible at this point.

If you have read any meaningful research lately about bin Laden, impotent is hardly a word to describe him. He has a very wide following and the power associated with it. But Bush has no intention of going after this former ally and he will use any excuse to avoid it. So now that excuse is, ‘he’s impotent and no threat to anyone so we aren’t going to waste resources going after him.’ This is meaningless White House verbal masturbation but most Americans will believe it is true love.

laden.jpgThe other thing is this whole myth about bin Laden living in a cave. Are we to believe, with all of his supporters, including governments, that he has spent all of these years living in some filthy mountain cave? This is ridiculous. While he has used his own funds to finance his network’s activities, bin Laden is or at least was a billionaire. He can afford to travel, to bribe and to network. And we aren’t looking for him. He has powerful friends and influence in many middle eastern and Asian nations. He has no reason to live in a cave. Silly.

You know, you have to be willing to read something besides the NYT and watch something besides Fox News. One of my favorite authors, David Hagberg (who wrote of a bin Laden planned attack in the US a year before 9/11) has done some serious digging into the terrorist’s habits. He believes that bin Laden has a well protected compound in Karachi, Pakistan, another in Khartoum, Sudan and most likely others and that he is able to travel freely between them. Indeed, Robert Fisk, a writer for The Independent, knew and met with bin Laden prior to 9/11 and in 2002 he wrote:

“We should start with Tora Bora in the autumn of 2001. Under heavy bombardment by the US Air Force, Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida fighters realised they could not hold out indefinitely in the cave complex of the White Mountains above Jalalabad. Bin Laden was with them. Al-Qa’ida men volunteered to fight on to certain death against the Afghan warlords paid by the Americans, and Bin Laden at first refused to leave them. He argued that he wished to die with them. His most loyal bodyguards and senior advisers insisted he must leave. In the end, he abandoned Tora Bora in a state of some anguish.”

He continues,

“Bin Laden went either to Kashmir (possible, though unlikely) or Karachi (most probable). I say that because Bin Laden boasted to me once of the many admirers he had among the Sunni clergy of this great, hot and dangerous Pakistani city. He always talked of them as his “brothers”. He once gave me posters in Urdu which these clerics had produced and pasted on the walls of Karachi. He liked to quote their sermons to me. So I’ll go for Karachi.”

In October 2004 Fox news talked about bin Laden’s life in Sudan.

During his four years in Sudan, bin Laden appeared to live the life of a successful Arab businessman, owning a large, white mansion in an affluent neighborhood near the airport. Even by Western standards, the house was luxurious. A large white fence surrounded his compound, which held a lush garden.
Bin Laden was well known in Khartoum even before he became the world’s most wanted terrorist. In Sudan, bin Laden was a prominent member of the business community — he owned at least 35 companies, employed an estimated 4,000 workers and was responsible for building many of the major roads in and around the capital.

I think the bottom line here is that the White House does not want to pursue bin Laden because it might cause discord with one of our new and fragile allies. Bush can hardly show that Pakistan is harboring our most wanted fugitive and at the same time continue to sell the American people on Pakistan as an ally. Same goes for Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Sudan.

Bin Laden is alive, maybe not well, but hardly impotent and I’m sure we will continue to be victimized by his influence. Letting him escape, allies or no allies, is a crime.

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