Osama Who?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post, along with Does George Bush Know the Bronx Exists? and Politics as Usual? Hopefully not, are a bit dated but I moved them over from a defunct political blog. Newer posts appear below Politics as Usual? Hopefully not.

Tomorrow marks a sad day, eight years since 9-11. And thanks to the horribly misguided and grossly corrupt George W. Bush and Dick Cheney we still haven’t captured or killed the real bastards who attacked us on 9-11. It is absolutely criminal and disgusting. I wrote the following piece three years ago. It unfortunately still rings true.

New York City, August 2006

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it is truly sad how we are not even remotely close to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden (or his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri or former Taliban leader Mullah Omar). What is even sadder is the fact that our misguided, incompetent leaders, from President Bush to his entire administration, never even say the name Osama bin Laden. This was apparent as far back as 2003, when the administration began ratcheting up the drive to invade Iraq — and replaced bin Laden with Saddam Hussein. In response to the President’s silence on the 9/11 mastermind, Bob Graham, then a Democratic Senator from Florida, referred to the al Qaeda leader as “Osama bin Forgotten.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Karl Rove issued this edict: Don’t mention his name!

So today, five years after 9-11, the administration is still toeing their pathetic line that somehow Saddam Hussein was the real threat and we needed to get rid of him. Right, Saddam Hussein, the man that had nothing to do with September 11 and never attacked America during his nearly three decades in power. We don’t even get updates from the President or his minions on how the hunt for bin Laden is going. I guess when you don’t mention someone’s name, you can bet on people forgetting about him and don’t need to even bother to seriously try and track him down.

The media is also at fault here. Sure, as we approach the five-year mark you’ll be hearing about bin Laden, but reporters should be asking the President’s spokespeople every day how the search is going and if any new, excuse me, if any at all, since we never hear his name, attempts at capturing or killing bin Laden are in the works. Actually, the White House press corps might need to remind Tony Snow who Osama bin Laden is, given the dearth of information the White House provides about the hunt for you-know-who and Mr. Snow certainly never mentions his name.

Unfortunately for the administration and its supporters, and here is the kicker, WE KNOW WHERE BIN LADEN IS! He’s in the Waziristan part of Pakistan – the same country that was one of only three countries on the planet to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate rulers in Afghanistan. The same country that provided millions of dollars in support to the Taliban. The same country that, in the aftermath of 9-11, we gave one billion dollars to for support in the war on terror. At least that’s what the administration said it was for, and we know how solid the word of our President is.

And if you’re curious, the other two countries that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan were: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who President Bush vigorously defended in their controversial U.S. port takeover deal amid allegations of UAE complicity in funding terrorism; and Saudi Arabia, a dictatorial monarchy, also tied to funding terrorism, that the Bush family is good friends with and has conducted business with for several years.

For the past three years or so, several media outlets, including The New Yorker Magazine, the UK’s Guardian newspaper and dozens of TV, radio and web reports, have run stories about bin Laden being holed up in Pakistan, surrounded by a network of loyal supporters. He doesn’t use a cell or satellite phone, or any type of radio communications, for fear of being tracked by our military.

Yet, speaking of our military, we have no troops in Pakistan. There are occasional reports of paramilitary CIA agents and Delta Force soldiers descending into Pakistan to kill or capture you-know-who, but soon these operatives vanish. The same way a certain name has vanished from the mouths of our president and his administration.

MULLAH OMAR UPDATE: In an in-depth, excellent article in 2006 in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, titled The Return of the Taliban, a reporter spent about three months in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She claims, without being an eyewitness though, that Mullah Omar is training new Taliban members in Pakistan. Given the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, it’s probably true.

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