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Mark Steyn- Dust bin: Osama bin Laden is dead
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 06/29/2002 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 06/27/2002 6:50:15 AM PDT by Pokey78

Osama bin Laden is dead, says Mark Steyn, but it suits the Bush administration for the Eurosophists to believe he is alive

New Hampshire

He’s back! Or he will be. Any day now. Just you wait. ‘I want to assure Muslims,’ said bigshot Islamofascist Suleiman Abu Ghaith the other day, ‘that Sheikh Osama bin Laden in good and prosperous health and all what is being rumoured about his illness and injury in Tora Bora has no truth.’ He’s tanned, rested, and ready to rumble. ‘America,’ warned Suleiman, ‘must prepare itself and fasten its seatbelt.’
Wow. These guys don’t just slash the throats of stewardesses, they memorise their lines. And it seems they’ve made sure that Osama, like your tray table, is stowed and, like your seat back, is in an upright position. Or so our friend Suleiman claims. If it is Suleiman. His words were on an audiotape delivered to al-Jazeera, and al-Jazeera claims to have identified the voice as that of Suleiman, the baby-faced al-Qa’eda sidekick who briefly became a famous face on the news bulletins last September and early October and has apparently survived the rumours of his own demise in December. I think I’d want something a little more date-specific if a new Osama video turned up. You can’t expect him to hold up that morning’s paper as it would give a little too much away — the Peshawar Bugle, the Baghdad Sycophant, the Tehran Fundamentalist — but at the very least I’d expect him to cite not just his usual ancient grievances (Andalucia in 1492, etc.) but also some more recent ones — say, the Saudi World Cup team’s Mossad-engineered 8–0 humiliation.

I said in the Sunday Telegraph a couple of weeks ago that Osama was ‘deceased’ and in the Daily Telegraph back in March that he was a few specks of DNA somewhere in the Hindu Kush. Everyone else seems to think he’s alive and well. Recently, several hundred of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry exhumed every corpse in an al-Qa’eda cemetery near Kandahar and, failing to find a body with a very long beard and a very short penis, concluded that Osama had gotten away. (He had at one point ten lookalikes to confuse the Americans, but, of course, even the most convincing doppelgänger would be unlikely to match Osama’s unusual deficiencies in the trouser department.)

Where did he go? The alleged experts seem inclined to favour either the Greater Kandahar area or the Pakistani tribal lands. Supposedly, he’s trimmed his beard, and is receiving dialysis from machines supplied by rogue elements of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence services, while waiting for a doctor to be flown in to perform a kidney transplant. I doubt it. On the Afghan side of the border, while the Taleban’s top execs have melted back into a not unsympathetic general population, the foreign occupiers — Osama and his Arabs and other miscellaneous hirelings — remain very unpopular. In the Pakistani badlands, meanwhile, he could perhaps rely on the fact that the $25 million bounty on his head is too large to have any meaning to your average Baluchistani villager, unschooled in such matters as exchange rates. But those duplicitous ISI guys are another matter, and I wouldn’t trust any doctor they ushered into the room.

Oh, well. Hamid Karzai says he’s in Pakistan. General Musharraf says he’s in Afghanistan. From this we can deduce the general rule that, whatever country you happen to be in charge of, you’d rather Osama were in someone else’s. The obvious question for those who say the weirdbeard is getting dialysis treatment in Iraq or Iran is: why would Saddam and the ayatollahs feel differently from Karzai and Musharraf? Are they that fond of the old terrorist mastermind? The evidence suggests that both regimes are trying to avoid attracting Washington’s attention in the hope that this whole unfortunate axis-of-evil business will just fade away. Booking him into the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer General Hospital’s Renal Ward would be like pasting a big ol’ target on your forehead. The Iranians, in particular, would be aware of a potential historical symmetry: it was Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow the exiled Shah into the US for medical treatment that provoked the American Embassy siege.

Conceivably, the Saudis are cocky enough to figure that they could get away with it. They’ve funnelled money to Osama, they’ve supplied most of his manpower, their man in London — our old friend Ambassador Algosaibi — says he’d like to be a suicide bomber if only he weren’t so old and out of shape — and yet ‘Crown Prince’ Abdullah still gets invited to Crawford to pal around on the President’s ranch. The House of Saud could be forgiven for concluding that they can do anything they like and the White House will still hail them as a ‘staunch ally’. If Osama is alive, Saudi Arabia’s his most likely location. That would explain why the Americans haven’t found him in any of the places they’ve looked for him: they’re choosing not to look in Saudi.

In any case, Washington is in no hurry to pronounce him dead. In a celebrity culture, it’s useful to be able to put a face to what would otherwise be a shadowy menace. The Chinese get away with a ton of stuff just because they eschew the Colonel Gaddafi pillbox hat and the Saddamite turtleneck and Village People moustache and run their tyranny with a bunch of boring interchangeable guys in specs and cheap lounge suits. Osama’s generated websites and bumper stickers and T-shirts and song parodies, and announcing that you’d found his DNA in the rubble of a daisy-cuttered cave would only prompt even more Americans to tune out of the war. Likewise, it’s the open-endedness of the Bush crusade (whoops) that rattles the Europeans: if Osama were dead, the Eurosophists would be saying, ‘C’mon, you got your man, you had your revenge, now declare victory and go home.’ With the guy directly responsible out of the way, the European inclination to render terrorism as an impersonal abstraction born of ‘desperation’ and ‘hopelessness’ would be unstoppable. Thus, for Bush, at home and abroad, it is politically necessary for Osama to remain alive until the invasion of Iraq is underway. If I were choreographing this war, some conclusively distinguishing characteristics would turn up around 11 September.

Nonetheless, he’s already stiff, he’s six feet under, he’s bin Laiden to rest, he’s in paradise being pleasured by those 72 virgins and wondering if they’re tittering about his shortcomings. The alleged Suleiman insists that Osama, his Number Two Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and ‘98 per cent of the leadership of al-Qa’eda are safe and are running their affairs perfectly’. But, in that case, where are they? Holed up in the hills far from a video camera? Unlikely. Your average run-of-the-mill schoolgirl suicide bomber can make a farewell video. Ah, say the clever-clogs, but suppose he’s been injured and can’t appear on camera. Come off it. The killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl filmed his decapitation and then had his final moments plus the severed, swinging head augmented with news footage and music and captions, and widely circulated via the Internet. It is a vile and disgusting video, but it is technically accomplished. No matter how badly injured Osama’s arms or legs are, they could have filmed his head up tight like Pearl’s, and broken up the film with other material. They could have slapped on some pancake and dunked his beard in a vat of industrial-strength Grecian. If Daniel Pearl’s murderers can get access to a professional studio and editing facilities, surely ‘98 per cent’ of al-Qa’eda’s leadership can. If they could have, they would have — if not Osama, then al-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar or any of the other hotshots who’ve been silent these last six months. They can’t all be recuperating from kidney transplants. One or other would have turned up to crow on 11 March (the semi-anniversary) or some other significant date.

Here’s what we know about al-Qa’eda: the Number One and Two guys haven’t been heard from since December; Number Three, Mohammed Atef, is dead; Number Four, Abu Zubaydah, is in US custody; so are hundreds of others, 80 per cent of them Saudis captured in Afghanistan. Not all Osama’s lieutenants are dead or in detention, but intelligence reports have spotted surviving individual members of his elite personal bodyguard in various spots around the globe, which would appear to suggest that they’ve been reassigned to other duties: there’s no point being a bodyguard when the body’s no longer in a state worth guarding.

Al-Qa’eda has always been a decentralised organisation, but under a snooty all-Arab officer class. Now the misfit conscripts have been promoted way beyond their natural ability: the network’s dependent on incompetent street punks like Jose Padilla, the ‘dirty bomb’ guy captured in Chicago, and Richard Reid, the damp squib of a shoebomber, purely because they travel on respectable passports. The alleged Suleiman Abu Ghaith had nothing to boast of in his audio statement except the attack on a synagogue in Tunisia that killed 14 German tourists. ‘This operation was carried out by al-Qa’eda network,’ he said proudly. ‘A youth could not see his brothers in Palestine butchered and murdered ...while he saw Jews cavorting in Djerba.’ But that’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it? Some ‘network’: it can kill barely any more people than a novice schoolgirl suicide-bomber acting out of Cherie Blairite desperation.

Go back to that video of Tiny bin Laden and the big-time sheikh yakking on about what a great day 11 September was and rolling around with laughter because some of the boys didn’t know it was a suicide mission until they boarded the plane. It’s clear the so-called evil genius never expected the Twin Towers to collapse. He just got lucky. His pa may know about construction, but Junior’s just a peculiarly advanced model of the useless idiot son —a criticism routinely made of Bush but actually far more applicable to Osama, who took his dad’s fortune and literally threw it down a hole in the ground. Despite the best efforts of the Independent’s graphics department, the caves of Tora Bora proved to be not some state-of-the-art Blofeldian labyrinth but just ...caves. The anthrax attacks, which the FBI persists in attributing to domestic sources, seem to me to be almost certainly al-Qa’eda, both because they ceased around the time Osama and co. disappeared from view, and because of their ineffectiveness. It was National Review’s Jonah Goldberg who suggested that al-Qa’eda’s operatives in Florida had been instructed to send anthrax to the American media and were boneheadedly literal enough simply to look up ‘American Media’ in the phone book, it being the name of the publishers of the National Enquirer. Similarly, instructed to attack American airlines, they attacked ‘American Airlines’.

Now I could be wrong and Suleiman could be right. Maybe Osama’s fit as a fiddle and ready to take out Disney World or the Rockefeller Center. Americans are worried about terrorist attacks on Fourth of July parades. Gays are worried that he’ll target Gay Pride parades, which have traditionally been very lightly policed. Perhaps al-Qa’eda have plans to fly crop-dusters into the infidel sodomites. Perhaps it’ll be a flop, like the shoe-bombing and the anthrax and the dirty nuke. Or perhaps the idiots will get lucky again. An idiot with a nuke or chemical weapons could get very lucky.

But the real story here is not 11 September, or the attack on the USS Cole, or the embassy bombings in Africa, or even Oklahoma City, which seems more and more likely to have had a radical Islamic component. These events are separated by months, years, but in-between the splashy headline-grabbers the real work goes on day after day in the Saudi-funded madrasahs radicalising Muslims in South Asia, Pakistan, the Balkans, Western Europe and America. The President’s speech on Monday was, among other things, a colossal rebuff to ‘Crown Prince’ Abdullah’s fictional Saudi peace plan and may or may not signal a full-scale re-evaluation of America’s long-turned blind eye to Saudi misdeeds. Is Osama dead? Yes. Is American cosseting of the House of Saud dead? That’s far harder to say.

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist
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1 posted on 06/27/2002 6:50:15 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...
Ping for the MSPL.
2 posted on 06/27/2002 6:51:21 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Osama "BEEN" (past tense) Laden <|:)~
3 posted on 06/27/2002 6:51:50 AM PDT by martin_fierro
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping, Pokey.


4 posted on 06/27/2002 6:52:34 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: Pokey78
5 posted on 06/27/2002 6:53:17 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: Pokey78; AuntB; nunya bidness; GrandmaC; Washington_minuteman; buffyt; Grampa Dave; blackie; ...

Mark Steyn MEGA PING!!

6 posted on 06/27/2002 6:53:49 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: Pokey78


7 posted on 06/27/2002 6:57:24 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: Pokey78
Osama (if he were alive, which he's not) could hold up a copy of the International Herald Tribune, which is available everywhere in Europe & I bet the rest of the world too, though maybe a few days late.

Steyn is right - we're keeping OBL 'alive' for political reasons.

He's in Iraq. Let's get him!

Oops, got away. He's in Iran. Let's get him!

Oops, got away. He's in ... (repeat as necessary)

8 posted on 06/27/2002 6:59:52 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: Pokey78
My favorite. He's the best. I love the snide remarks about his penis size.
9 posted on 06/27/2002 7:01:10 AM PDT by Aggie Mama
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To: Twodees
Mark Steyn ping!

Yes, I did read your reply to me re: Steyn on the Mencken thread the other day.
I just got overwhelmed with other replies & have been busy working on the NC Chapter of FR.

I have read Steyn before, but will pay closer attention to him now.
(I always read Florence King first because her column is on the inside last page od National Review)


10 posted on 06/27/2002 7:02:05 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
of National Review.
11 posted on 06/27/2002 7:02:43 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: nina0113
Yep. That was a theory very popular here during the operation in Tora Bora...
12 posted on 06/27/2002 7:02:51 AM PDT by eureka!
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To: Pokey78
failing to find a body with a very long beard and a very short penis, concluded that Osama had gotten away.

Perhaps the most .. er .. cutting Steyn line I've ever read.

13 posted on 06/27/2002 7:05:14 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg
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To: Pokey78
good lord...what a interminable screed. talk about saying very little with a whole lot of words.
14 posted on 06/27/2002 7:09:37 AM PDT by galt-jw
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To: nina0113
It would be really stupid for Bush to come out say he's dead and then suddenly have him pop up... We would be the laughing stock of the world. It isn't worth the risk especially without having any hard evidence one way or the other. Bush has stated clearly that we simply don't know if he is alive or dead. I believe he doesn't know. How could he without a body?

I do think bin Laden is dead. I don't think he could remain quiet this long with the ego he has. The problem is, I could be wrong.

15 posted on 06/27/2002 7:12:17 AM PDT by DB
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
It looks like a Borg ship. Hard to imagine that the Star Trek guys modeled the Borg after the take no prisioners Muslim assimilation fanatics.
16 posted on 06/27/2002 7:15:04 AM PDT by battlecry
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To: dennisw
Is American cosseting of the House of Saud dead? That’s far harder to say.

A dead House of Saud beats a dead Osama in my book.

17 posted on 06/27/2002 7:16:27 AM PDT by happygrl
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To: martin_fierro
Osama Bin Moldy!
18 posted on 06/27/2002 7:18:59 AM PDT by jdogbearhunter
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To: JohnHuang2
I still say he's dead and in a freezer in Cheney's cave. And I see nothing wrong with hiding his body for a while.
19 posted on 06/27/2002 7:23:53 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Pokey78; OKCSubmariner; Fred Mertz
or even Oklahoma City, which seems more and more likely to have had a radical Islamic component.

This thought is popping up in more and more mainstream publications.

20 posted on 06/27/2002 7:31:11 AM PDT by aristeides
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