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Friday, May 19, 2006

The terrorists have won

Both of them: Bin Laden and Bush. Jonathan Schwartz notes that based on information in the official 9/11 report, Osama had hoped that the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000 would provoke a violent response, but decided to pursue something larger when it didn't:
According to the report, after the Cole attack,

...Bin Ladin anticipated U.S. military retaliation. He ordered the evacuation of the al Qaeda's Kandahar airport compound and fled...

There was no American strike. In February 2001, a source reported that an individual whom he identified as the big instructor (probably a reference to bin Ladin) complained frequently that the United States had not yet attacked. According to the source, Bin Ladin wanted the United States to attack, and if it did not he would launch something bigger.

That's on page 191. It sources this claim to "Intelligence report, Terrorism Activities, Oct. 1, 2001" (Chapter 6, footnote 126).
Bin Laden wanted a war; Bush wanted to start one (well, more than one, actually). I guess 9/11 was win-win for these guys, if not for the 3000 killed that day and the hundreds of thousands who have died since then in the so-called "war on terror."

Jonathan points out that the enemies that Bush and bin Laden are really trying to defeat aren't each other. For bin Laden, it's other Islamic jihadist movements; for Bush it's the Democrats and anyone in this country who might want to stop his imperialist agenda (two quite separate groups).