As some public figures insist that Osama bin Laden is isolated and impotent, the al- Qaeda founder has issued another video statement on the anniversary of September 11th.
But the damage has been done and bin Laden, 50, with the latest tape, continues to deliver blows against the West. He has become the Che Guevara of the early 21st Century.
The damage, of course, was the devastating September 11th terrorist attacks, and the other attacks as well that were lesser in scale if not ferocity. Bin Laden’s direct control of the organization may have been weakened since 9/11. Al-Qaeda was planned from the beginning to continue even without Bin Laden, opening more autonomous franchises in other countries around the world. The one thing bin Laden can and has done is deliver an occasional propaganda blow.
He may be in hiding in the Pakistani-Afghanistan border area, but it seems he can smuggle tapes out once in awhile. His latest tape with topical references prove that he remains alive.
Those tapes themselves are very powerful because Bin Laden has become a living monument and these show that he continues to live despite all of our efforts to destroy him. He may be marginalized as a tactical commander, but he remains visible. At least according to his own schedule. It’s the nature of guerrilla warfare that the weaker party can pick and choose the moments it wants to make itself known.
Naturally, even should he die, whatever the circumstances, he becomes an instant martyr to his ruthless cause. Many people feel that since this is unavoidable, then the sooner the better. Even those opposed to war in Iraq or Afghanistan will in most cases approve the death of the bloodthirsty bin Laden, especially if at American hands. The victims of 9/11 demand bin Laden’s death.
THE HUNT CONTINUES
Although little is seen of the activity, there is no doubt that, as Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, told a Senate committee, getting rid of bin Laden and his inner circle “is our number one priority.”
Special Forces teams are undoubtedly pursuing low-profile searches through the remote tribal reason in Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.
The FBI continues to list Osama bin Laden as the most wanted terrorist offering a $25 million reward for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Osama Bin Laden, supplemented by an additional $2 million from the Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association. The FBI states in their wanted poster they want bin Laden for murder of and conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals outside the United States and for attack on a federal facility resulting in death.
The total bounty for Osama’s head is $50 million. The size of the reward indicates Western desire to get bin Laden, even if the bounty is unlikely ever to be claimed.
Whatever the status of bin Laden, it’s believed that al-Qaeda is bigger than ever, however altered from its original form, a change anticipated by its founders. It’s obvious that Iraq has given al-Qaeda a focal point although it can be argued that’s not a bad thing.
German and Danish authorities have most recently broken up al-Qaeda-backed bomb plots. Other plots are discovered around the world with Al-Qaeda ties. Without Iraq, how many more might there be, President Bush asks? Or does war in Iraq increase al-Qaeda’s threat, as some believe.