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What Truce?

Man, these OBL excerpts are frustrating:

We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars.

And then it ends. Would it have killed al-Jazeera to run the portion of the tape where Osama said something about the terms of his truce? The people want to know!

UPDATE: Also, come on, nobody gave the Bush campaign billions of dollars. That's off by a couple orders of magnitude.

January 19, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

He wants reasonable campaign finance reform. Seemed obvious.

Posted by: ogged | Jan 19, 2006 5:00:51 PM

According to MEMRI, bin Laden wasn't offering a truce, but rather saying that if we offered a fair one to him, he'd uphold it. (link)

I would surmise from this that he didn't include any terms because he didn't actually offer a truce.

Posted by: Al | Jan 19, 2006 5:48:08 PM

you assume he meant direct campaign contributions. if you include all the PACs, 513s, and investment in bush-related companies, his statement might hold...

it's too bad he didn't offer a truce--then we could negotiate with the terrorists.

Posted by: alex | Jan 19, 2006 5:51:08 PM

Also, come on, nobody gave the Bush campaign billions of dollars. That's off by a couple orders of magnitude.

HUNDREDS of billions!? Holy crap!

Posted by: Al | Jan 19, 2006 5:57:11 PM

Whatever bin Laden really means, Bush Administration officials will inevitably say that bin Laden's openness to a truce means that he is raising a white flag of surrender, i.e., OBL's statement is evidence that the Administration's hardline attitude toward terrorist groups, and the Iraq War, have severely weakened al-Queda.

Is there any truth to such a claim?

Posted by: Daniel, Esq. | Jan 19, 2006 6:16:31 PM

Obviously, the offer of a truce is intended as a trap for liberals to walk into so that conservatives can pillory them for wanting to negotiate with terrorists, etc. Karl Rove is probably behind it somehow.

Posted by: Blar | Jan 19, 2006 7:55:31 PM

"UPDATE: Also, come on, nobody gave the Bush campaign billions of dollars. That's off by a couple orders of magnitude."

It's not off by nearly that much.

Forces supporting the GOP, much like forces supporting the Dems, spent around $500 million in the '04 cycle. That means Osama is only off by a factor of four or so, which is less than a single order of magnitude.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 19, 2006 7:55:36 PM

He was obviously using the British defnition of billion Matt. Jeez, broaden your horizons!

Posted by: Rob | Jan 19, 2006 8:03:22 PM

That means Osama is only off by a factor of four or so, which is less than a single order of magnitude.

Why are foreigners some much better educated than Americans today?

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 19, 2006 8:11:36 PM

Now that I've gotten to hear more of it and about it, all I can think of is the "me me me" thing. The Osama tape and t-shirt market numbers must be tanking and really worrisome. He's saying: it's all because of me. I am still the one! I am the numero uno and the be-all and end-all always right messenger of Allah. I told Fahd they shoulda used my jihadis to get that infidel Saddam instead of letting those dirty western feel on holy soil, and I was right. By the way, Zarqawi is nobody. It's all because of me....

Posted by: artappraiser | Jan 19, 2006 8:16:01 PM

"Now that I've gotten to hear more of it and about it, all I can think of is the "me me me" thing. The Osama tape and t-shirt market numbers must be tanking and really worrisome. He's saying: it's all because of me. I am still the one"

I don't think it's just megalomania.

Establishing a cult of personality around Osama makes good sense for his cause. Lacking a traditional state or secure infrastructure, the only thing the jihadis have to leverage is publicity.

The cult of Osama provides the jihadis with an organizing principle.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 19, 2006 9:46:45 PM

I interpreted OBL as saying that there were certain entities that gave the Bush campaign billions of dollars each, which was why I thought he was off by a couple orders of magnitude. If he's saying that there are certain entities that gave the Bush campaign billions of dollars collectively then, yes, he's only off by a factor of around five ("billions" means more than one billion, Petey, so four's a no-go).

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jan 19, 2006 11:21:15 PM

Petey

_The cult of Osama provides the jihadis with an organizing principle_

Yes of course, no kidding. Sorry if my sarcasm wasn't clear enough. :-) What I was implying is that has he had been losing control of that and is he trying to get it back? I just hadn't sensed this "dear leader" thing in previous communiques, not for a while. And some CW has been that he was glad to be letting go, letting it morph in a thousand jihadi directions. Don't get that impression here, this is the head honcho speaking. He even uses the equivalent of the royal we, I don't know how that could be twisted in translation, it's clearly there. In offering truce, he's arrogantly saying he's the big fixer and in charge of Iraq and Afghanistan, that if the U.S. left, "we" could take over. (Oh yeah, all the Shiites just gonna roll over because it's allah speaking through Osama.)

Posted by: artappraiser | Jan 20, 2006 12:03:24 AM

"he's arrogantly saying he's the big fixer and in charge of Iraq and Afghanistan, that if the U.S. left, "we" could take over. (Oh yeah, all the Shiites just gonna roll over because it's allah speaking through Osama.)"

Of course, that's been the jihadis' primary target all along.

Punching the US is just a means toward the end of effecting regime change in the Islamic world.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 20, 2006 1:25:33 AM

Petey is correct, Matt, you have your orders of magnitude mixed up. 300-500 million is within one order of magnitude of "billions." Even if you insist that the plural intends a meaning of 2 billion or more, you are still within one order of magnitude.

I'd suggest a second update.

Posted by: Nash | Jan 20, 2006 8:41:08 AM

("billions" means more than one billion, Petey, so four's a no-go)

A thought: If petey said Matt had 1.3 billion dollars, would it be incorrect for someone else to say "I heard Matt had billions of dollars"?

How about if it was 1.9 billion dollars?
Or 1.5?

Even if you insist on all the way out to a flat 2.0 billion, petey's "four" is not a no-go, Matt.

Posted by: Nash | Jan 20, 2006 9:03:29 AM

Was OBL including soft money and astroturf operations? I think we should be told.

Posted by: otto | Jan 20, 2006 12:31:53 PM

Another complicating factor is that for many people outside the US, a "billion" = a million million, while in US usage a "billion" is a thousand million. Is there any way of knowing which one Bin Laden might have meant?

Posted by: ot | Jan 20, 2006 9:13:49 PM

I think that Matt was right to say a "couple orders of magnitude," since there's the question of how much of that money came from merchants of war. While merchants of war are among the major GOP contributors, there are also merchants of oil, merchants of overpriced health insurance, and merchants of me-too pharmaceuticals.

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