Big, Bad Bogeyman Can Still Boogie

November 5, 2009

Instead of George Jr.’s arrogant rant: “I want justice,” he said after a meeting at the Pentagon, where 188 people were killed last Tuesday when an airliner crashed into the building. “And there’s an old poster out West that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ “
We should follow Andy Borowitz’s reporting:

In a bold new strategy designed to locate the world’s most wanted man, the United States today dispatched a team of paparazzi to find Osama bin Laden.
“If these people can find George Clooney when he’s vacationing on Lake Como, they can find Osama,” one intelligence insider said.

(Illustration found here).

In the face of Dick Cheney’s insanely-ironic blast last month that President Obama was “dithering” on Afghanistan, dickhead and George Jr. more than dithered in December 2001 in letting Osama and his boys slip out of the east Afghan mountains of  Tora Bora and flee to Pakistan, a move directly connected and a root-cause of the shit-mess now in the Af-Pak region.
Read a good, comprehensive report on the entire Tora Bora muck-up here.

Late to the game: US military/intelligence — pushed by the Bush White House — total dithered in adapting to the new (though very, very ancient) method of “asymmetrical warfare” (although Don Rumsfeld called for a study [pdf] of such tactics and strategy in 2002), which all insurgency/guerrilla groups practice and continue to this very day, and instead relied on a pure power, “shock and awe,” style, something akin to randomly swinging around a large shovel to combat a mosquito in a crowded theater lobby.
Most-likely scenario — the mosquito will vanish amidst the carnage inflicted on all those innocent-bystander theater patrons.

And Osama has been a weird, terror-like guy a long time.
One of his sons, Omar, has penned a ‘Dearest Mommy’-type memoir that paints a picture of a crazy person from the get-go — war against the infidal above all things, even from being a daddy.
From Time magazine’s review of “Growing Up bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World” (St. Martin’s Press):

The younger bin Laden fled Afghanistan only when it become clear that Osama was planning a massive attack on the U.S., but he still couldn’t accept that his father was responsible for 9/11 until months later, when he heard the familiar voice on audiotape claiming credit for the attacks.
“That was the moment to set aside the dream I had indulged, feverishly hoping the world was wrong and it was not my father who brought about that horrible day,” he writes. “This knowledge drives me into the blackest hole.”

Still, ever the dutiful Saudi son, Omar couldn’t bring himself to break with his family until the day that his father asked his sons to volunteer for suicide missions.
When Omar protested, Osama replied, “You hold no more a place in my heart than any man or boy in the entire country. This is true for all my sons.” Omar writes, “I finally knew exactly where I stood.
My father hated his enemies more than he loved his sons.”

Another view inside the infamous bin Laden family can be found here, which concluded: One F.B.I. analyst summed up the bureau’s assessment this way: there were “millions” of bin Ladens “running around” and “99.999999 percent of them are of the non-evil variety.”

Osama bin Laden, however (apparently the .01 of the “evil variety”), has become the most-wanted person on the planet and just about everybody on the planet can recognize his mug — and the group he founded, al-Qaeda, is now listed along with Nazis and child rapists as bad, bad bogeymen of history.
Bill Moyers Journal has a good history on Osama and al-Qaeda in campaigns against the West, and especially the US, culminating with those attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
And nowadays, despite all the manpower, firepower, unmanned drones and satellite images, Osama is still at large, causing some to question whether the guy’s still alive (read this), although a lot of horrific shit is still taking place in al-Qaeda’s name.
In Iraq, the group claimed responsibility for the horrific car bombing a couple of weeks ago in Baghdad, which killed 160 people and wounded more than 500, and this despite all kinds of smack-down operations.
This analysis last week from CNN‘s veteran war reporter Michael Ware:

While al Qaeda in Iraq has been gutted from within, principally by Sunni insurgents turning on them and assassinating them over recent years, the network still exists.
Al Qaeda, an organization built with the expectation of loss, has endured and will continue to do so until Iraq’s slated January election and beyond.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is not the network it once was, it’s not able to deliver multiple suicide bombings on an almost daily basis.
When I was last in Baghdad nationalist insurgents told me there were but a handful of operational al Qaeda cells in the city.
Nonetheless, they warned five committed al Qaeda members can “wreak havoc.”

Yes indeed.

From Al Jazeera English:

The reality is that, whilst direct al-Qaeda actions have been seriously restricted, the organisation has franchised from Somalia to Indonesia and North Africa.
In Afghanistan, it directs or collaborates in Taliban attacks.
Al-Qaeda is mercurial and, like a virus, mutates and adapts.

Also at the link is an most-excellent video on the subject.

In Afghanistan, the US appears to have driven out the group, as top dog Gen. Stan McNasty (oops,sorry) McChrystal told reporters in September: “I do not see indications of a large al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan now.”
So why does the US then continue its presence there?

Matthew Hoh has been in the news lately — he’s the US State Department official who resigned in September in protest over the Afghan war strategy — and this week he was on CNN to discuss the issue, which also included some words about al-Qaeda.

Crooks and Liars had this partial transcript:

ZAKARIA: Do you think  –  the top military brass have all endorsed General McChrystal’s report and request. Do you think that down on the ground there is a very different feeling?
HOH: Oh, yes. Yes, there is. I think on the ground  –  and the perspective is that, what is the strategic value of what we’re doing here. Why are we doing this? What are we getting out of it?
It’s not going to defeat al Qaeda. It’s not going to — if you take our two goals as being the defeat of al Qaeda, and then, because of its nuclear weapons and because of the relationship with India, the stabilization of the government in Islamabad, 60,000 troops taking 50, 60 dead a month in this country, and how many wounded and killing how many Afghans, as well, it doesn’t accomplish either of those goals.
ZAKARIA: Why doesn’t it defeat al Qaeda?
HOH: My belief is that, after 2001, al Qaeda evolved. They became, as I like to say, an ideological cloud. It exists on the Internet. They don’t need a safe haven in Afghanistan. They’ve got safe havens in five, six, seven other countries.

In this respect, should the US invade and occupy those “five, six, seven other countries” where Osama’s boys have been operating?
One would hope the obvious is apparent — the fight in Afghanistan, no matter how long and cruel, will not yield Osama bin Laden or any of his boys: Asked whether he would give up bin Laden, Mullah Omar explained in a September 21, 2001, interview with the Voice of America that “We cannot do that. If we did, it means we are not Muslims . . . that Islam is finished. If we were afraid of attack, we could have surrendered him the last time we were threatened and attacked. So America can hit us again.”

The moral: When trying to kill a mosquito, much less anything as vaporous and crazy as an ideological cloud, don’t use a big shovel in a small, crowded room.

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