An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service
January 23, 2006
The aptly named nut graph of his audiotape - he hasn't put out a video since the fall of 2004 - says, "You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security and we will give you the same treatment."
And this happy thought comes after he offered the United States a truce wherein we both have security and stability and work together to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bush administration wasn't buying. "We don't negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business," said presidential spokesman Scott McClellan. Vice President Cheney was a tad harsher: "I think you have to destroy them."
The tape, whose authenticity the CIA verifies, is said to be of poor quality, suggesting it was produced under difficult conditions, and bin Laden's voice is thin, suggesting he may have his own problems.
Bin Laden addresses himself to the United States, but the timing, coming right after a drone strike killed four of his top operatives, indicates he hopes to show his followers that he is alive and in charge. Some say he fears being eclipsed by his No. 2, Awman Zawahiri, increasingly the face and voice of al Qaeda, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is doing real fighting in Iraq and not hiding in a cave remote from the battle.
This tape is a little redolent of Hitler holed up in his bunker, ordering up nonexistent divisions and mapping out grandiose battle plans. Bin Laden insists the mujahideen are increasing in numbers and strength and the war is going so badly for the United States that its soldiers will soon commit suicide rather than fight it.
He says that further attacks within the United States are "under preparation." That may be vainglorious boasting, but no one doubts that bin Laden would attack us again in a second - if he could.
Distributed to subscribers by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com
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