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Monday, November 01, 2004

Al Jazeera didn't give aWol much time to spin this!

The Arab TV network al Jazeera just released the rest of the transcript from Osama's latest video. OBL says the goal of his terror tactics is to bleed the US into bankruptcy, as he claims the mujahadeen of Afghanistan, of which he was a part, did to the Soviet Union.
He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.
As part of the "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan," bin Laden cited a British estimate that it cost al Qaeda about $500,000 to carry out the attacks of September 11, 2001, an amount that he said paled in comparison with the costs incurred by the United States.

"Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs," he said. "As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.
"It is true that this shows that al Qaeda has gained, but on the other hand it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something that anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced.

"And it all shows that the real loser is you," he said. "It is the American people and their economy."
As I said before, it is completely inappropriate for either campaign to use what OBL says as a reason to vote for their candidate. And these statements have been withheld, for some reason, for three days. Apparently a decision by al Jazeera, although reading the article it sounds as though anyone who saw the original video and could read Arabic would have gotten the whole story on Friday. A November surprise?

And despite my protestations that using the tape for political gain would be inappropriate, I have little doubt that both candidates will try it. Kerry would seem to have the better opportunity, since OBL seems to be saying that Bush has played right into his hands (which is pretty much what I think). The Bushies could only then respond that yes, the terrorist madman is saying this because he wants Americans to vote for Kerry--so vote for Bush. In a better world, both candidates would agree that OBL is an enemy of this country who has probably carefully calculated what he said to get a particular reaction. It's too bad that no one in the debates thought to ask this question of the candidates: "What if, in the week before the election, Osama bin Laden releases a tape saying or implying that he endorses your opponent. Would you see that as a positive or a negative for your campaign, and would you attempt to take advantage of it? Since bin Laden is a terrorist and a sworn enemy of this country, should we give any credence at all to anything he says?" If Kerry had the first chance to answer, I think he would have flat-out rejected the notion of using an Osama tape for political gain, and Bush would have had to agree. If Bush had answered first, anything might have happened, but Kerry might still have been able to corner him into agreeing that an OBL tape wouldn't be used politically (at least on content; I don't think either candidate would have given up using the tape as evidence of OBL's continued existence--Bush to scare us, Kerry to highlight Bush's incompetence). I guess I can't complain--that wasn't one of the questions that I suggested.