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Weakness

The most interesting thing about the Osama tape is the reference to My Pet Goat. That business was, even when Michael Moore did it, closer to being a joke than a serious argument. So now Osama's cracking jokes at our expense. He's not afraid, he's not injured, he's not on the run, he doesn't worry that the courier that delivers his videotapes might betray him, or that the local government wherever he is is going to find him. He's sitting -- wounds healed, shura council reconstituted, ideological network growing -- and he's laughing at us.

Capturing OBL is not the be-all and end-all of the war on terrorism, but if you want to know what kind of weakness invites the wolves in for supper, then you saw it right there on video. A man plots and organizes the slaughter of thousands of Americans and three years later there he is, distributing his latest threats and boasts over a global satellite network. Laughing at us. At all of us. And all because the president couldn't be bothered to nab him.

October 30, 2004 | Permalink

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» No change from War Liberal
In my opinion, the comedy stylings of Osama bin Laden aren't going to effect the election. Why? Because he released it on Friday! "Take Out The Trash Day!" Everyone knows that's when you release stories you want buried. If Osama... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 30, 2004 12:26:10 PM

» Silly Matthew Yglesias from Explananda
Silly Matthew Yglesias thinks that the fact that OBL is still around to taunt Bush is a sign of weakness: The most interesting thing about the Osama tape is the reference to My Pet Goat. That business was, even when... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 30, 2004 1:23:15 PM

» Score! for Yglesias from The Liferaft of Love
...he mocked us, what with his "Bush talked about a goat while 50,000 people suffered." [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 30, 2004 4:01:34 PM

» Peering Into the Snarky Soul of Osama from A Cry for Help
Osama bin Laden, not dead despite the president's assertion that we'd get him, dead or alive, released a new tape recently to laugh in our collective faces. Amazingly enough, the mastermind behind the murder of 3,000 Americans in the worst... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 31, 2004 9:58:43 AM

» OBL Analyzed from Three Guys
Matt Yglesias has two great posts on the tape as well, addressing how we're not trying hard to find him and how he seems to be mocking us as a result... [Read More]

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Comments

The "if we hate freedom, why didn't we attack Sweden" line is also a wicked-clever burn.

Posted by: Ai Zhanke | Oct 30, 2004 12:27:48 PM

Usama's latest video demonstrates how little the Iraq campaign has to do with fighting terrorism. It brings home the point that nothing has been done to bring to justice those who were directly responsible for the death of thousands of our fellow citizens. It exposes the lack of wisdom and leadership the administration has in dealing with these criminals.

Posted by: Tony | Oct 30, 2004 12:31:12 PM

Lighten up, Tony. We all know that, say something funny.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 30, 2004 12:34:46 PM

I'm sure it's been said before but I have neither the time nor the discipline to search through all comments. The guy on that video only looks like Osama Bin Laden in the beard. His eyes and nose don't look like him. I don't think this is OBL.

Posted by: Hugh Hermanos | Oct 30, 2004 12:40:21 PM

Okay. Everyone is only looking at a part of the "pet goat" quote, whereas Osama (I think) is actually telling a story. I was all over this at Obsidian Wings, but ignored, perhaps rightfully. But the complete section:

"We had agreed with the (the Sept. 11) overall commander Mohammed Atta, may God rest his soul, to carry out all operations in 20 minutes before Bush and his administration take notice.

"It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces (Bush) would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers. This had given us three times the time needed to carry out the operations, thanks be to God... " ...Osama bin Laden

1) He implies very strongly that Bush administration had no specific prior knowledge. That may not be news to us Americans, but internationally it may significant.

2) Osama is saying and implying that the original plan called for all events to occur simultaneously, within twenty minutes, but when they saw that Bush was not available for a shoot-down order, they changed the targets of the second two planes.

I went back and studied the timelines of the four planes, the work over at ObsWi, but the evidence does not contradict this.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 30, 2004 12:43:23 PM

Or he's simply impling that, while they planned for the attacks to be simultanious, it wasn't working out that way, and thank goodness for them the US couldn't respond rapidly because Bush was precocupied.

And if he actually believes that the whole government freezes up when ever the President takes a leak, this may have some implications about THEIR command structure, which explain why they've been so ineffectual while Bin Laden's been hiding.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Oct 30, 2004 12:55:53 PM

"Or he's simply impling that, while they planned for the attacks to be simultanious, it wasn't working out that way"

Indeed. A good thought, that the hijackers of Amer 77 and UN 93 were slower that planned. The 500 mile u-turns of those two planes are interesting tho, because:

"And if he actually believes that the whole government freezes up"

The opposite. The statement implies that Atta/KSM/Osama expected a much better rapid response than the US was capable of. (9/11 report, section "Four Planes", the President has no blame, the structures were not available)

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 30, 2004 1:14:37 PM

I posted something very similar at just about the same time at Needlenose:

http://www.needlenose.com/node/view/697

It also notes that leaving hundreds of tons of HMX, RDX, and heaven knows what else unguarded at Al Qaqaa probably did a fair amount to embolden the anti-American forces in Iraq.

Posted by: Swopa | Oct 30, 2004 1:17:36 PM

"He's sitting -- wounds healed, shura council reconstituted, ideological network growing -- and he's laughing at us."

And, apparantly reading "The Pet Goat". From his comment about the goat "butting" - he knew the plot of the book. The book is about a little girl who is ordered by her parents to get rid of her pet goat for eating everything in it's path. The goat goes on to save the day by butting a burgler attempting to steal their car.

Posted by: sofia | Oct 30, 2004 1:20:48 PM

Matt's post should be the words coming out of Kerry's mouth. That, and running the video of Dumb Leader saying "To be honest with you ... I'm not that concerned about him."

Posted by: poputonian | Oct 30, 2004 1:42:19 PM

Laughing at us?

If the tape followed (or, God forbid is a precursor to) a major domestic attack, then yes, your shrill litany above is valid. Absent carnage, it loses a lot of the dramatic heft, no?

Furthermore, "the President couldn't be bothered" to capture bin Laden? You're too smart to write something so blindingly absurd. Even if we acknolwedge that Bush is an IQ point away from a three-toed sloth (unless they're really smart, I don't know) he knows "capture/kill bin Laden = good."

Posted by: Gregory Scoblete | Oct 30, 2004 2:07:48 PM

he knows "capture/kill bin Laden = good."

He may also know that "having an evil enemy = better". One doesn't need extremely high IQ to understand this concept either.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 30, 2004 2:13:38 PM

Osama is alive and well, probably because he's not operating in Iraq. And never has.

Posted by: Dot | Oct 30, 2004 2:17:28 PM

The prollem is that yomama's a really good hider.

Posted by: George W. Bush | Oct 30, 2004 2:18:03 PM

I hope to God the Dems manage to get the word out. This shouldn't help Bush, but it probably will unless something is done.

In real-world terms, rather than "perception", does this change anything. I can't see how. We're right where we were before. Osama's still doing about what we knew he was.

Posted by: Zizka | Oct 30, 2004 2:37:30 PM

abb1: He may also know that "having an evil enemy = better".

Well, yes, but ideally, what would GWB rather have three days before the election? Osama cackling on video from his cave, or Osama in chains in US custody?

Posted by: next big thing | Oct 30, 2004 3:05:02 PM

when they saw that Bush was not available for a shoot-down order, they changed the targets

I don't understand this. The hijackers weren't tuned into CNN in the cockpits watching Bush's every move, saying "Hey look, he's still sitting there...let's change course!" It's likely the Washington flight may have changed targets from the Capitol to the Pentagon late in the game, but other than that things went pretty much as planned, except for UA03 delayed on takeoff, IIRC. I think you are reading too much into Osama'a smoke-blowing.

Posted by: TomF | Oct 30, 2004 3:09:19 PM

It sounds like Osama has gotten his hands on a pirated F 9/11, or been reading the liberal blogs.

Posted by: Bob H | Oct 30, 2004 3:34:11 PM

I think this is funny and was glad I remembered it before I let my emotions (mostly rage) get me down this morning. All the spin about OBL's intentions - surely supporting Kerry so Bush will be elected...actually demonstrating Bush's incompetence so Kerry will be elected...reminded me of the scene from PRINCESS BRIDE with Wesley and (as I now know) Vizzini over the cup of poison! And, then, wouldn't you know when I got to checking out WONKETTE (some days a most difficult chore)...she had a link to part of that conversation on her site. GO LOOK...it's perfect. Back to SPIN CITY!

Posted by: Dancer | Oct 30, 2004 3:35:34 PM

Bob McManus said, Osama is saying and implying that the original plan called for all events to occur simultaneously, within twenty minutes, but when they saw that Bush was not available for a shoot-down order, they changed the targets of the second two planes.

That would imply that some al qaeda agents knew what was going on with Bush etc, and that they could communicate with the guys in the planes. Those communication links are worth tracking down if they haven't been already.

More likely he was saying that they tried to get everything to happen in 20 minutes and failed, and our own incompetence let 3 attacks succeed anyway.

It's true he implied that the Bush administration had no advance knowledge of the date and time of the attack, but I wouldn't take bin Ladin's word for anything.

Posted by: J Thomas | Oct 30, 2004 7:28:42 PM

Re: OBLs comments about The Pet Goat, that information and video was available all over the internet long before Michael Moore immortalized it in F9/11. So the right-winger's attacks renewed on Moore are simply convenient political mud-slinging, as usual.

Posted by: Stephen Anderson | Oct 30, 2004 8:34:38 PM

On the subject of the neglect of Osama bin, the article to read is Peter Berger's piece in the Atlantic. Interesting tidbit from it: after Tora Bora, the U.S. pulled the spy aircraft away from the Afghan Pakistani border. They were too busy with Iraq. They have recommenced only this year.

This makes sense if you think, as Bush and his people do, that Osama made a lucky shot, but is basically a distraction. Which is just another way of saying that the people running the war on terrorism really are not sold on the idea that terrorism is that important.

Is this some kind of Straussian mindbending thing?

Posted by: roger | Oct 30, 2004 11:49:59 PM

C'mon Matt. Just becuase someone says brave words and can compose himself to look confident and breezy long enough to record a tape doesn't mean he's feeling safe and cozy.

Don't take Osama at his word and then disbelieve Bush's confident rantings about the situation in Iraq. If anything, Osama is a better BSer.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Oct 31, 2004 4:46:28 AM

Bumpersticker in LAX:

Osama still has his job --
-- what about you?

Posted by: Sky-Ho | Oct 31, 2004 8:12:57 AM

From a media perspective, we didnt get the entire video. just a few phrases repeated.

Osama needs better distribution, i see him going to sirius or XM soon.

How many people died from other violence on september 11? Never forget what?

Posted by: Odog | Nov 1, 2004 2:51:53 AM

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