Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Omar bin Laden's quest

This is one of the most interesting stories of the year so far.

Let's just say this whole thing requires a willing suspension of disbelief. Hopefully O'Reilly will get the body language lady on this one.

Notice his much older British wife got her two cents worth, including the creation of a strawman by directly equating the IRA with al Qaeda. Lauer didn't take the bunny trail, which would say the IRA only wanted freedom for the Irish people and not a global Irish caliphate. Nevertheless, this kind of olive branchiness will no doubt appeal to many around the war-weary world. Give peace a chance, brother.

Problem is, when examined with a logical microscope these things tend to fall apart. How do we know he's not an agent? Omar talked about finding "middle ground"--exactly what would that entail? NATO leaving Afghanistan if UBL promised to stand down the Taliban? Wwithdrawal from Iraq based on the promise of a cease-fire as we leave? Some kind of encroachment of Israel or perhaps political changes in Europe? An Islamic nuclear weapon for Iran to balance the west? It's hard to find middle ground with a determined despot who's made his worldwide goals very clear.

Politically speaking, it'll be interesting to see how the Democrats might respond to this since they've made clear their desire to bring UBL to justice with extreme prejudice if necessary, adding numerous jabs at Bush for losing him at Tora Bora. Chances are they'll be forced into consensus with the Republicans for political reasons, although such might go counter to the "change" movement currently being pursued.

Oddly, I agree with Omar and wife that killing or bringing the Sheikh to justice would only produce a replacement-- we've already seen that in Iraq. Kind of makes the loss of bin Laden a little easier to understand. There's much we don't know.

But bottom line, the west has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. There's no reason that principle shouldn't apply to their emissaries, even if they come disguised in a Trojan horse wrapped in corn rows and a black leather jacket.

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