October 19, 2004

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Someone got to B.D. via this Google search today (too lazy to click through? The search: "bin laden has not been heard from since").

Well, since when? Since May 7th of this year when an (unauthenticated) audiotape emerged purporting to be UBL offering gold in return for Jerry Bremer's assasination. Pretty piddling fare for Osama, no? Reduced to offering grams of gold for the head of a mere American proconsul? Note that was about half a year ago.

Before that, there was that "truce" offer--ostensibly for the benefit of those baddies in 'New' Europe--back on April 15th (also, as far as I can tell, unauthenticated). And on January 4 of this year, another audiotape purporting to be Bin Laden aired on al-Jazeera. Interestingly, that was the first audio in which, according to the Guardian (ed. note: Did I just write that phrase straight-faced?], "the voice introduces itself as Osama bin Laden at the beginning of the tape." This raises my suspicion a little. After all, why must the great Sheikh explain it is He who is doing the speaking? Still, ostensibly, at least some analysts judged the audio to likely be authentic. But other reports I've seen are more cautious about confirming its authenticity [ed. note: The Beeb vs. CBS!?! I link, you decide!]

The last video (rather than audio) tape? You have to go back to October 19th, 2003--about a year ago. But there is no voiceover, no attempt to evidence the date of the footage, and UBL appears "healthy" (in sharp contrast to a gaunt-looking UBL in December of '01)

Before then? A video on September 11, 2003. But there is no real time voice on this video either:

The tape shows a figure believed to be Bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida network, dressed in Afghan-style robes and walking in rocky mountainous terrain, apparently accompanied by his chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri. It was aired on the Arab television network al-Jazeera.

The men do not address the camera. But on a soundtrack accompanying the tape Zawahiri is heard exhorting fighters in Iraq to rise up against the occupying forces and "devour the Americans". He names the US president, George Bush, and Tony Blair as the "top criminals".

Funny, just two weeks later, Zawahiri releases a tape. Solo. Why not do a joint audio since, just a couple weeks back, they were strolling through the mountains together?

Next, check out this timeline. Note that al-Qaeda released three tapes between December '02 and April '03.

None featured UBL! Why?

After that, there was the November '03 audio tape, again purporting to be UBL's voice, that claimed responsibility for Bali etc. But, Swiss scientists deem it likely a fake.

Next, continuing in reverse chronological order? A tape where al-Qaeda formally take responsibility for 9/11--on Sept 10 2002. Again, it's supposed to be UBL--but note, per the Guardian: "There was nothing to indicate that the sound-only recording attributed to Bin Laden had been made since the war in Afghanistan."

On June 23rd of '02, al-Q spokesman Abu Ghaith informs us UBL is alive. Why does he need to so proclaim? Why doesn't UBL tell us himself?

Other videos? April 15th, 2002 (again, no speaking; no confirmation this is post Afghanistan).

Folks, bottom line: we have to go all the way back to December 26th 2001 to see a video of UBL that really seems to get close to passing a smell test evidencing that's he actually, you know, alive (and he didn't look too smashing in it either).

Now, does anyone seriously believe that UBL wouldn't, if he were alive, be doing his very damnedest to release a tape, soonest, rubbing Bush's nose in it for not having caught him--dead or alive? Just as a little pre-election present, say, maybe to give the opposition a little assist in hyping the disingenous Tora Bora meme? Doubtless, he would, no? Unless, of course, he's dead. Which, I'm beginning to feel pretty comfortable concluding, may well be the happy reality as we sit here today.

What gives me a little pause? Well, here's one thing. This recent Lally Weymouth interview of Pervez Musharraf. After all, wouldn't the good general be one of the best positioned people, on the planet, to have a pretty good feel for whether UBL is dead or not?

Weymouth: Do you think Osama bin Laden can be captured? We don't know where he is. Is he alive?

Musharraf: Most likely, almost certainly. [emphasis added]

But then why, in this
interview
, did Musharraf say: "I think now, frankly, he is dead for the reason he is a ... kidney patient."

What happened between Lally Weymouth's interview (UBL "almost certainly" alive and the old 2002 interview: "I think now, frankly, he is dead...")?

Well, I don't know, of course. But let me go out on a limb--Musharraf notwithstanding. I think Osama bin Laden is dead. And, if so, you might as well chalk that up, of course, on the positive side of the ledger vis-a-vis Bush's prosecution of the war on terror during his first term. Oh, be sure to think about that the next time you hear hysterical chiming-ons about all those myriad missed opportunities at Tora Bora and such.

Is all the above speculative, circumstantial, merely musings from the 'over here'? Yes, of course. But isn't it all pretty plausible and/or convincing? Sure, I'll have a huge amount of egg on my face should a convincing audio or video of him pop up in the next weeks and months. But, I gotta think, smart money would be betting he's dead rather than alive hunkered down in a back alley in Karachi.

(Um, guess Karl Rove is going to have to come up with a different October surprise...)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Particularly if you are in agreement with my argument above--well, don't become too persuaded until you go read Dan Darling's near magisterial counter-argument here!

Teaser (but be sure to go read his entire post): Dan thinks UBL is sheltering in Iran. I'm skeptical--but Dan's done his homework.

MORE: Don't miss what this B.D. commenter has to say.

Posted by Gregory at October 19, 2004 11:42 PM
Comments

You know, between 2002 and 2004, Pervez may have been coached in how he was supposed to answer the question properly. Between those periods, Musharraf became far more...compliant, so I think it is possible. I am assuming that most people in the west don't want to give Osama his martyrdom as the reason for possibly being less than forthcoming about it.

Posted by: Eric Rock at October 20, 2004 02:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gregory:

Mussharaf has reason to keep UBL on life support...he needs the specter of UBL to maintain his revenue stream from Washington. How many billions have the Americans sent to Mussharaf in the name of fighting terrorism and UBL? Would the U.S. Government continue this funding if UBL were known to be dead? The political reality of our nation is such that funding will continue until results are realized in the form of UBL's corpse. Mussharaf will do anything he can to keep that from happening...

I am a fervent supporter of the GWOT, but I don't think we should be naive enough to assume that people like General Mussharaf are doing anything other than looking out for their own interests.

Keep blogging!

Posted by: Kevin Tryon at October 20, 2004 02:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've long considered him dead, too. "Pushing up poppies" is how I put it.

Musharraf needs a living, breathing, fire-breathing Osama to be spooking his region much more than Bush or Kerry do. So he's taking the truth of the missing whereabouts and... twisting that truth to keep his hold on power, his command of the military, and his slightly-more-than-marginally pro-Western government in power. He's doing the old "different me/different audience" thing that so many politicians do.

But yes, Osama is dead as a rock. He's too much of a publicity whore for this not to be the case.

Posted by: jon at October 20, 2004 02:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yglesias has the theory that it would be in Musharraf's best interest to have secretly killed bin Laden. If he's done so we may never know for sure. (http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2004/10/dead_alive_or_d.html)

Posted by: Jacob at October 20, 2004 02:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree that bin Laden has been dead for some time. One of the things that we need to take into consideration is how we determine that someone is indeed dead. If one goes to the FBI's website, for example, it will still list the late and unlamented Muhammed Atef. We know that this creep was toasted in an airstrike in mid November 2001. Since the FBI does not have forensic evidence to prove that he is 100% Francisco Franco like dead, he is still listed as being at large.

Posted by: Rich DiNardo at October 20, 2004 02:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree with the publicity whore comment. I read somewhere that someone who knows him well, possibly a biographer, said that like many charismatic leaders he is above all else an egomaniac. It was inconceivable to this person that he could lie low for all this time; it just isn't in him to do it.

Posted by: murray at October 20, 2004 02:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Now, does anyone seriously believe that UBL wouldn't, if he were alive, be doing his very damnedest to release a tape

Yes, I do. I don't think that we fully understand bin Laden's mindset. Maybe he doesn't care about personal publicity, as long as the cause is advancing... who knows. But I don't think we can simply assume that he is a publicity whore, that may just be a western concept that we understand but doesn't apply to him.

Posted by: Al at October 20, 2004 02:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Osama pigLaden is NOT dead. He's 'sleeping.' Tomorow he will be meeting with his 43rd virgin, or is it his 43rd raisin?

Posted by: brightwinger at October 20, 2004 02:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So, if OBL is indeed an ex-terrorist, it bears investigating to see if any large ($25M or more) sums were paid by the DoD to private individuals...

Keep up the good work, Gregory...

Posted by: Allan at October 20, 2004 02:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think he's been dead since Tora Bora and our guys know it. I think they are keeping it mum because it can be useful for baiting traps to get the remaining terrorists to expose themselves.

Posted by: Reid at October 20, 2004 02:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe the October Surprise is that Osama's been dead for years, and oh-by-the-way we found his DNA smeared inside a cave-wall as proof.

The Bush Administration could say that they've been sitting on this for awhile for intellefegence reasons. At least, what better way to take the martyr's wind out of his sails than to let Al-Qaeda lie to the true believers about Osama's condition and then yank the rug out from under them? It'll be hard for the people who've been pretending that he's alive to call him a great martyr after that, since it proves he wasn't enough of a martyr to get the praise when he actually died.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 20, 2004 02:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

While it is quite possible that I just wasn't paying attention can someone educate me on this. For all the talk about UBL being a media whore, I can't remember seeing or hearing much of him before 9-11. Maybe he is quiet because he is planning.

Posted by: John at October 20, 2004 02:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Personally, I don't care whether UBL is alive or dead as long as he is unable to act freely on his hatred.

And John, you may not have heard of him before 9-11, but if I recall correctly he was at the top of the US FBI's Most Wanted List at the time.

Posted by: Paul at October 20, 2004 03:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bin Laden bin dead for some time.

As Kevin Tryon pointed out, there is Musharraf's need for a constant revenue stream to think of. The Pakistani armed forces are only now realizing the cash cow that they have stumbled across. Why mess up a good thing, especially when the Americans are playing footsie with the Indians?

Oh, and for God's sake, the last thing anyone wants to do is martyr the narcissitic Sheikh. After all, do we really want to put up with Birkenstock Lefties wearing Usama t-shirts instead of a passe Che?

Be Seeing You,

Chris

Posted by: section9 at October 20, 2004 03:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"For all the talk about UBL being a media whore, I can't remember seeing or hearing much of him before 9-11."

John: Sorry, but I think you were just a little out of it. OBL was actually interviewed by one of the top three (CBS, ABC, NBC, can't remember) US news agencies. He made tapes about even fairly minor things. Between Khobar and the WTC, he made several tapes. He hasn't made one in almost three years though.

He was a camera whore. As well, he isn't a planner. He is the cheerleader, figure-head representative, not the planner of AQ. If he isn't making movies, he is out of action, in essence, whether he is dead or not.

Posted by: Eric Rock at October 20, 2004 03:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think he is dead, The U.S. thinks he is dead, Musharraf thinks he is dead but none of us has any proof he is dead. Therefore, everyone must act as though he is alive to protect against the public disgrace of pronouncing him dead and then having him resurface at the most inopportune moment. Immagine if Bush said he was dead and he resurfaced on November 1st. Bye-Bye Bush. It is not all political, it is smart. Keeping the allusion of his existance allows many possible counter terrorism opportunties. What if the CIA created a fake Osama and used him to lure out cells around the world. Just a thought. Cheers.

Posted by: J. Green at October 20, 2004 03:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For me the question is a conundrum - for the reasons stated in this post, I also think it is very likely that ubl is dead. But what I don't understand is why we have heard so little about this from the Adminstration directly. Perhaps its silence is due to uncertainty - after all they later thought they had killed Saddam at least a couple of times during the bombing of Bagdad.

One possible clue to ubl's status would be to try to find out if any distribution has been made of his wealth. I believe that Saudi Arabia has an established inheritance procedure that is always followed so as to make sure that family members are provided for. But how would someone go about looking for this? I don't know.

Posted by: max at October 20, 2004 03:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've had this feeling for a while as well, largely on the lack of video evidence, but then heard Richard Miniter today on an interview, and he says that he interviewed two Iranians who swore that they personally saw UBL in Iran on 10/25/03. Apparently he covers this in his book "Shadow Wars" which is a very favorable account of how Bush is winning the War on Terror, and not some Democratic attack piece, so I'm a little less sure now. Has anyone read this book?

Posted by: HoustonF at October 20, 2004 03:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Musharraf and the US could have multiple unconfirmed reports that Osama succumbed to kidney disease and was buried a la Ghengis Kahn Š in a secret location Š see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2940782.stm

Musharraf must find US economic and military support helpful and would like to prolong it, but heÕs probably got few secrets from the US. While the Taliban and al Qaeda remnants continue to use Pakistan as a sanctuary of sorts, the US will continue to support raids and maneuvers in the area. DonÕt forget that the US does have an interest in keeping PakistanÕs nukes under close scrutiny and may use any excuse Š including the hunt for OBL Š to keep some nasty guys with guns in the neighborhood.

Posted by: The Kid at October 20, 2004 03:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Shortly after the video with OBL looking like death, one of his sons was interviewed by Arab TV. Contained in his comments was something to the effect that the soil of Afghanistan will never give up his father. I had a strange feeling about that comment when I heard it but it was never repeated anywhere. Having only heard it once, I dismissed it figuring I was engaging in wishful thinking and had misunderstood what he really meant to say. After reading all the facts laid out in the timeline, I think HE'S A GONER!

Posted by: Maggie at October 20, 2004 03:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

as someone who follows south asian issues very carefully, i don't think you should read so much into every comment musharraf makes about whether or not bin laden is still alive. not only is he not the most trustworthy fellow around, but his statements are based primarily on domestic concerns that he faces. even more importantly, he's just saying whatever comes into his head, it's not like he's backing up his comments with any real information, it's just speculation on his part. please realize that prominant political figures in south asia are not quite as careful about what they say.

Posted by: sanjay at October 20, 2004 03:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

HoustonF: I'm currently reading "Shadow Wars" (@ page 125 now) and while Miniter definetly knows his stuff on operating procedures and strategic analysis I think his intel vetting system needs some work. You have to consider that he definetly has his own opinion on what all the intel he sees means and I'm not sure he's good enough at screening out bad intel if it supports his broader thesis. I'm not saying he's not good at what he does, but I am saying that he works in intel and that is not a field that allows for much in the way of certainty. In fact, he writes about that at length in the book. Bottom line: Take his sources and opinions with a pinch or two of salt. And buy his book and read it. It's very good, if you're willing to leaven it with some doubt.

Posted by: The Apologist at October 20, 2004 03:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Speculation on what you or I might do if we were Bin Laden founders on the fact that it is inconceivable that either of us would be. Therefore we cannot credibly say that Bin Laden would not hide out for five or ten years, letting his trail grow cold and planning his next wondrous feat of savagery which will startle the Zionist-American world. It is certainly in him to plot slowly and deliberately, on a time scale that has nothing to do with ours.

To me the more convincing evidence than his absence are the attempts to make him appear to be alive. If he were alive and biding his time out of the public eye, he'd bloody well BE out of the public eye-- not be in it just enough, in dubious enough circumstances, to raise doubts. The obvious fakery is more revealing than anything else-- this string of "I was just talking to Osama-- so sorry you just missed him!" messages is the most compelling evidence that he's permanently unavailable for anything better.

Posted by: Mike G at October 20, 2004 03:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm skeptical that OBL's alive because of the lack of video, but there is another explanation: he's changed his appearance.

That would explain why he doesn't want to be videotaped. It would also explain why he would be willing to make audiotapes.

Posted by: Les Jones at October 20, 2004 03:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I was never one who saw Bush using bin Laden as an October surprise. I thought Bush would have used him as a September surprise. September you ask??

Yes, when OBL did not decend from the rafters in a titanium cage wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm W's Bitch" and the Republican National Convention I figured either we didn't have him or he was dead.

Posted by: Publius Rex at October 20, 2004 04:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I heard that OBL's remains were gathered at Tora Bora by a CIA black ops group who sewed them up in the carcass of a pig then threw the whole stinking mess into a sewage lagoon just outside of Kandahar. It's all being kept under wraps to save the CIA agents involved from being charged with offering up an indignity to the dead pig.

Posted by: Arty at October 20, 2004 04:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bin Laden must be dead because he's not trying to win the election for Kerry.

Stupidest. Argument. Ever.

Posted by: harry at October 20, 2004 04:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Since 2001, he has had as many live interviews as a dead man. Until he can hold a live press briefing where he is answering questions, he is losing or dead. If he cannot communicate with his jihadis or the media then he is losing or dead. Posturing before a tape recorder does not count. A man who cannot commicate with his troops is not much of a leader.

Posted by: Merv Benson at October 20, 2004 04:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems probable, given everything we (and by that I mean laymen) know about this guy, to presume he is dead. As to how, or when the event happened we may never know and, all things considered, it is entirely possible that neither Musharraf nor the U.S. can confirm his death any time soon.

That said, there are counter-vailing arguments, primarily bin Laden under-estimating the effect 9/11 would have on the U.S. and the war it would launch. It too is possible the guy has gone deep underground, simply for survival's sake.

Regardless, his role seemingly has been greatly reduced and, irrespective of what the most cynical think about the Bush Administration's efforts in the WOT, the Administration surely deserves credit for this. Not that they'll get much, if any, from that crowd.

Posted by: Tim at October 20, 2004 04:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

T'was the night before Ramadan
and all through the caves,
Osama bin Laden hunkered down
with his slaves

His beard was all nasty
and crawling with lice,
he said to Abdullah,
them infidels ain't nice!

They bomb us for breakfast
which we don't get to eat,
it makes me so nervous I
pee on my feet!

I think we bit off more
than we can chew
oh hell here comes another
daisy cutter or two!

Abdullah said Osama
you silly asshole,
why did you shaft Bush with
your feeble little pole?

Those Yankees are dangerous
blood-thirsty old boys
they whack our pee pees
with their awful war toys.

Osama said Abdullah
it will come to pass,
Allah will save my
skinny stinking ass!

I'll live to fight infidels
another glorious day
and I'll have my camel
for a roll in the hay!

Posted by: Perow at October 20, 2004 04:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John Miller -- ABC -- was taken into the mountains to interview UBL way back when (pre 9/11 -- remember then?). It was a big deal also because one of the guys who arranged it also took in either a sat phone for UBL -- or batteries for one he had. Like aiding the enemy ...

And where were you when the discussion about the Sudanese handing over UBL to the US during the Clinton years when he (UBL) was making ugly in the Sudan? He wasn't a nobody then.

He was repeatedly tied to terrorism. I have an old pre 9/11 (pre 2001) Newsweek kicking around with an article on how our intelligence is not doing so well wrt terrorism. and by george ... UBL is one of the guys on the cover.

One thing I am foggy on is his connection to the blind sheik who we jailed for the first WTC bomb. I think there is a connection there ... I am thinking that was UBL's work also.

My question is what happened to all his wives and kids? As I recall one of the videos was a wedding of one of UBL's sons. I think I recall seeing that son in another video as if he were in training for a high level position in the UBL theocracy.

And I can't even imagine that you could find out inheritance info from Saudi Arabia. Ha!

Posted by: JAL at October 20, 2004 04:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I believe Osama is hiding out in Iran.

Iran must had him over at once or face serious consequences.

Posted by: M. Simon at October 20, 2004 04:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

He probably was liquified in Tora Bora, but if not; where would one plug in a dialysis machine in the middle of nowhere?

Posted by: D.G. at October 20, 2004 04:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We've had US intelligence announce that he's alive. Even Colin Powell said he's alive not too long ago. This is being based on US intelligence.

Bin Laden is on the run right now. I just don't think he has the time to make his precious home videos anymore.

Posted by: Joseph B at October 20, 2004 04:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think that UBL is dead, and has been for quite some time. But paradoxically enough, making this the official line would not be in the interest of either the Bush Administration or the remaining hierarchy of Al Queda. For the folks in Al Queda, UBL is needed as a symbol. If they confirmed that he was dead what remains of that organization might fracture, and the upper echelons would lose their power. As to the Bush Administration, uncontravertable proof of his death would give certain elements of his political opposition a basis to argue that we have "won" the war on terror, and its time to forget this silly post 911 business and return to the goal of turning the US into a European style welfare state.

Posted by: Tcobb at October 20, 2004 05:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe I should learn how to spell "incontrovertible ." Sorry about that.

Posted by: Tcobb at October 20, 2004 05:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've never heard any American politician taunt OBL and say "come out come out wherever you are." The days of the General Pershing types who would just totally lay the smack down are over. Can you imagine Teddy Roosevelt NOT verbally barbcueing the wacko OBL? I think he's dead but maybe the think tanks in D.C. believe he's better off "alive."

Posted by: Mojave Mark at October 20, 2004 05:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, I'll add my two cents worth.

I think it more likely than not that Osama bin Laden is dead, and I think that assessment can be reasonably made based on the lack of time-marked video.

It doesn't depend on him being a media whore, and it has nothing to do with him being on the run so much that he can't make a video (but can make audio) tapes. They can make video tapse -- we have see such tapes with Ayman al-Zawahiri in them. Just no Osama. At least not in tapes that can be conclusively determined to be post - Afghanistan. Audio tapes are not as effective as video tapes. The leader needs to be seen and heard by the troops. He needs to be seen addressing them and exhorting them onward for the greater glory of the cause. But no such tapes. Instead we get audio.

From this, it seems likely that Osama is dead. Ayman al-Zawahiri is now the face of the cause, but the troops won't respond to him. It is Osama who inspries. Over time, this will begin to tell on the terrorists -- visuals are powerful, and they could use some bucking up right now.

Bill M

Posted by: Bill M at October 20, 2004 05:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"This is being based on US intelligence."

Oh, well, I guess that settles it.

Posted by: Molon Labe at October 20, 2004 05:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bin Laden is dead and the administration knows it. But they won't reveal it because there is a certain segment of the West, including many European leaders and prominent Democrats and their Presidential candidate, that, upon hearing the news, will dust off their hands and say, "Whew, glad that the war's over now! Let's get back to what we were doing on 9/10." And al Qaeda is certainly not going to deflate the legend of bin Laden.

Furthermore, I also believe that certain well-connected members of the Kerry campaign also know this, which would make Kerry's "Bush took his eye off the ball" statements an utterly condemnable political tactic. And this is the reason, in my opinion, Tommy Franks decided to actively support Bush.

By the way I originally discussed this, except the Kerry and Franks parts obviously, about a year and a half ago when I still posted to my blog (http://crankyhermit.blogspot.com/2003_02_09_crankyhermit_archive.html#89033716)

Posted by: CH at October 20, 2004 05:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmmm.

Some background on "kidney disease" which is otherwise known as renal failure. I've got renal failure my condition is almost total. I currently undergo hemodialysis 3 times a week for 4.5 hours per session. This procedure requires absolute sterility at all times as every drop of blood in the body will spend considerable time outside the body being cleaned by a machine.

Basically some sterile plastic tubing with two large needles, 14 gauge or about the size of a roofing nail, are used to pierce a large vein. The blood is drawn out of one tube, through an artificial kidney and then pumped back through the other tube. The "kidney" cleans the blood by using long bundles of special tubes that effect a form of osmosis. Toxins and excess fluid is removed during this process.

Short answer is that it's painful and very debilitating. After a session you're weak, shaky and a little unsettled. You'll have pockets of excess fluid, that the machine hasn't been able to remove, that will now be affected by gravity and start shifting. During the process you're generally lying down. Afterwards the process of standing up can be fairly involved.

The primary problems for a renal patient is excess fluid, potassium, phosporous, salt and toxins. These five things are of primary importance for a renal patient. Excess fluid will increase the blood pressure and add additional pressure on the heart and might induce heart failure. A major problem since all renal patients are constantly thirsty. It's not all that uncommon for a renal patient to basically drink themselves to death. Potassium is a problem because it can interfere with the heart's functions and it isn't being cleaned out by the kidneys. Too much potassium and the heart starts beating arythmically and gets worse from there. Enough potassium and the heart simply stops. If you wanted to kill Bin Laden all you'd have to do is convince him to eat a couple mangos, or a few bananas or try some really good guacamole. All high in potassium.

Phosporous is another problem as it also is no longer removed from the blood by the now misfunctioning kidneys. Phosporous will bind to calcium and the most commonly available source of calcium is the bones. So excess phosporous will result in a form of osteo. This is where much of the calcium in the bones has been leeched out and they become extremely brittle. Salt will increase thirst, increase blood pressure and is just plain a bad idea. Residual toxins in the blood are simply something that has to be dealt with. A major problem with renal patients is that all toxins accumulate until cleaned by dialysis. So if someone exerted himself with heavy labor, like travelling over difficult terrain, then resting doesn't do anything. However tired or spent you feel remains that way until your next dialysis session. Exert yourself too much and the toxins build up until there is internal organ failure or the brain becomes poisoned.

An example would be the one time I helped a good friend of mine prepare her kitchen, on a saturday, for Easter. I offered to scrub and shine a small tile floor about 4' x 5'. It took me about 2 hours to do and was a little strenuous as I scrubbed on my hands and knees.
0 - 30 minutes: not bad, going strong.
31 - 60 minutes: getting tired, slowing down.
61 - 90 minutes: really tired, barely creeping along.
91 - 120 minutes: completely exhausted. I had to be helped to a couch.

I did that on a saturday morning. It wasn't until the following thursday morning that I felt even remotely human. That's after two full dialysis sessions on that monday and wednesday.

...

There is another form of dialysis called peritoneal dialsys where the internal "sack" that contains the body's organs is used to filter the toxins out of the blood. It's a little easier on the body in that it is done every night rather than just 3 times a week. This technique requires the insertion of a small catheter tube into the lower abdomen. During the treatment, which can last for several (7-10) hours fluid is pumped into and out of the abdomen. Clean sterile fluid is pumped into the abdomen and, once that fluid has done it's job, toxin filled fluid is pumped out.

The thing to keep in mind is that in all cases everything has to be sterile. This stuff isn't something you can do in the woods. Even in a cave I'd expect them to pitch a large tent to ensure some level of sterility during the treatment. Infections are common and it's not hard for an infection to become deadly serious. Even without infections the sheer volume of highly specialized supplies would require constant resupply. A single dialysis session would require:

50+ gallons of sterile water (to carry the bicarbonate solution through the artificial kidney)
1000 units of heparin
sterile packed plastic tubing
needles, caps and misc.
Epogen (to restore red blood cell production)
liquid iron (to aid in the formation of red blood cells)

That's regardless of which type of dialsys used.

...

Frankly. UBL is dead. I've been on dialysis for about 3+ years. I think I went on dialsys about 6 months prior to 9/11 and it's been really tough since then. I've had about 3 really serious blood infections and about 6-7 less serious. By really serious I mean "almost dead". By less serious I mean "1-2 weeks in a hospital". And I live in New Jersey, not in some cave in Afghanistan.

I hope that helped someone understand. If UBL did have a kidney problem, then it most definitely killed him. Unless he got a transplant. That would do a great deal to mitigate the renal failure. He'd still have to take anti-rejection drugs daily.

IMHO. He's dead.

Posted by: ed at October 20, 2004 05:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmm.

I forgot to add the actual dialysis machine. If the technique is peritoneal dialysis then the machine will be able the size of a large microwave. If the technique is hemodialysis then the machine is about the size of a small soda machine. About 5' tall, 2.5' wide and 2' thick. All machines vary in size but that's approximately true.

And of course the steady supply of power in the appropriate voltages. Any problems with power outages or spikes will make the treatment difficult or even impossible.

Posted by: ed at October 20, 2004 06:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" I just don't think he has the time to make his precious home videos anymore."


Seriously, doesnt have time to blow 8 minutes and send the Dow Jones spiralling 200 points? Unlikely. There are 2 plausible explanations, first that OBL is dead, second that he is remarkably disciplined and awaiting some critical moment to announce his return ala Lord Voldamort. Possible but unlikely, considering he could be captured or killed any second.

Lets look at things from the other pov. What would happen if either Bush or Kerry announced OBL likely dead? Quite simply the other candidate would roast his opponent for it relentlessly. No body, no claim of death, simple as that.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at October 20, 2004 06:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Operationally he has been dead since Tora Bora.

Symbolically he's got another ten years regardless of his physical state.

Biologically, pushing up poppies is my bet.

Posted by: Jay Currie at October 20, 2004 06:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Is there a doctor in the house?

What is the expected lifespan of a person of Bin LadenÕs age with advanced kidney disease, who has limited access to medical care and is subject to the daily stress of living in caves, etc.?

I suspect that if we didnÕt kill him, his kidneys did (although my fantasy is that shortly after seeing the fire from one of our missiles, he was burning in the fires of hell).

Posted by: Mark R. at October 20, 2004 06:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I also believe he is dead. Our intelligence services know this as well as the major players in the GWOT.

Musharraf is the key to this whole thing. A nuclear armed fundementalist Pakistan is the last thing we need. Somehow, this plays out to Musharraf's hand. He is trying to roll back fanaticism in his country, and the enemy could use all the help it could get from a rousing speech by the Sheik. The ISI helped create bin Laden, they needed to be neutralized, and I think that's the reason why the Sheik's demise has not been trumpeted from the towers.

While they await their beloved bin Laden, events overtake them. Led by U.S. intelligence. The tradeoff is simple: your life and your continued rule, our game.

Posted by: Squatch at October 20, 2004 06:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks for the rean failure primer Ed. Good luck.

Usama is an icon. Dead or alive.

Al Qaida is a loose confederation of anti-civilizational forces whose ideology is our enemy. Usama was the CEO of Al Qaida and considering the vaporous nature of these barbarians he can perform his duties dead or alive. Consider that Mohammed and Ali still serve as CEO of their followers after centuries in a grave.

Usama is irrelevant in our GWOT. He would be a liability in custody and a martyr in death. Tis best that he fade quietly into oblivion. Let's concentrate on discovering, harrassing and killing the living Al Qaida barbarians (and their fellow travellers).

I have thought that Usama has been dead for some time. He seemed to really enjoy taunting the West on video. I hope it hurt when he died. And I get this mental image of him staring at a pile of dark-eyed raisins and asking allah how he is supposed to have coitus with dried fruit. Poor Usama.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at October 20, 2004 06:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks for the rean failure primer Ed. Good luck.

Usama is an icon. Dead or alive.

Al Qaida is a loose confederation of anti-civilizational forces whose ideology is our enemy. Usama was the CEO of Al Qaida and considering the vaporous nature of these barbarians he can perform his duties dead or alive. Consider that Mohammed and Ali still serve as CEO of their followers after centuries in a grave.

Usama is irrelevant in our GWOT. He would be a liability in custody and a martyr in death. Tis best that he fade quietly into oblivion. Let's concentrate on discovering, harrassing and killing the living Al Qaida barbarians (and their fellow travellers).

I have thought that Usama has been dead for some time. He seemed to really enjoy taunting the West on video. I hope it hurt when he died. And I get this mental image of him staring at a pile of dark-eyed raisins and asking allah how he is supposed to have coitus with dried fruit. Poor Usama.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at October 20, 2004 06:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree he is almost certainly dead. I suspect that before he died he gave orders to have his body vaporized in order to deprive the US of the big propaganda victory that displaying his corpse would have been.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at October 20, 2004 07:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A few weeks ago, Sylvia Brown, appeared on the Montel Williams show and announced to the world the Usama Bin Laden was dead. How much more proof do we need?

Posted by: Sergeant Mac at October 20, 2004 07:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That murdering glory-hog has been in Hell getting real intimate with Hitler since three months after 9-11.

Bush and Blair won't say the obvious for the fear, the day after they declare bin Laden dead, he'll pop up with his tongue out.

Frank

Posted by: Frank Warner at October 20, 2004 07:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks for the compliments Greg, but did ya have to spoil the surprise ;)

Posted by: Dan Darling at October 20, 2004 08:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems that if bin Ladin is really dead he would be deified as a martyr by the Islamofascists and their New Left adherents. As far as I'm concerned, he's still alive somewhere in Baluchistan.

Given all that, the real target should and must be al Zwahiri. He is the real brains behind al Queda. Getting this guy, just like getting Khaled Sheik Mohammed will go a long way towards bringing the war against terrorism to a close.

Posted by: Chuck at October 20, 2004 08:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

He's dead. There's no meglamanican/narcissist alive who wouldn't be rubbin' Dubya's nose in the fact that he hasn't been caught after three years. If he is alive, he'd have a huge PR coup for evading the best of the best the US military and intelligence community have to offer.

He's dead.

By the way, keeping him alive is in our best interests. It keeps the Jihadi's in other lands guessing and fantasizing that he's alive. If it were know he were dead we'd then have to deal with every two bit virgin seeker desiring to fill the leadership vacuum.

But, he's dead. And, despite what Swiftie Kerry says, he's probably worm food in Tora Bora.

Posted by: Tom Devine at October 20, 2004 08:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

FYI, this article has been circulating around. Yeah, it reads like lefty screed, probably a preemptive strike to prepare expectations if the remote possibility of OBL capture to be announced prior to the election.

Bin Laden is in China

This confirms Gordon Thomas, a journalist with contacts in the most important intelligence services. The terrorist had reached an agreement with China, which now negotiates its surrender with Bush. It is his greatest electoral trick.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7077.htm

Posted by: TrueGrit at October 20, 2004 11:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

UBL is probably dead. And I think if almost anyone other than GWB were president we'd know that now. But this president is more concerned with winning the GWOT than winning re-election. And for now, it serves the purposes of the GWOT to have UBL's status questionable.

Imagine how many of these Islamofacist must be sitting in various places in the world waiting for some signal from UBL before they go into action. Imagine that they must be wondering why their support checks haven't arrived recently. Imagine that they are having this same debate amoung themselves. Imagine them wondering if tonight is the night that they'll come to the attention of some representatives of the US government and get an early start on their martyrdom.

Posted by: Dave at October 20, 2004 11:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

TrueGrit, until I visited 'informationclearinghouse.info' I never knew that both Bushes, father and son regularly dine with the devil or that they planned on invading and permanently occupying Iraq as long as 10 years ago to build a permanent base for their global empire. And I thought it was just about the oil. Makes you look at 9/11 in a different light doesn't it?

Posted by: jauntily at October 20, 2004 12:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I thought it was just me! I've been saying all along that his bones were moldering under a million tons of rock up in Tora Bora.

Posted by: tom at October 20, 2004 12:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

From the AP 20 Oct 2004:
"The top American commander in Afghanistan said yesterday he has no evidence that Osama bin Laden is in day-to-day control of al Qaeda but suggested that the long-absent terrorist leader is alive.
"Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, speaking to reporters during a visit to the Pentagon, talked mostly about a lack of evidence about bin Laden's whereabouts, health and current role in the al Qaeda network. He remains a critical target, however, Gen. Barno said.
"Still, "I don't see any indications that he is in day-to-day command and control, as it were, of the al Qaeda organization or the other terrorist groups that work with him, certainly in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area," Gen. Barno said.
"Gen. Barno suggested that bin Laden's death would be difficult to conceal from intelligence services, even if he died in a secret place, because his associates would talk about it. Recent communications from al Qaeda's top echelon have come from bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, as videotaped messages."

Posted by: The Kid at October 20, 2004 01:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You think there might be a 3rd reason? Is it beyond reason the OBL was captured early, and underwent some ... extensive questioning ... that precluded a later public perp walk?

Posted by: Kristian at October 20, 2004 01:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

About a year ago I read an article by Mark Bowden (author of "Black Hawk Down") where it was mentioned when a high value person is captured it is usually kept in secret so as to trap the other members of the organization. Coupling this with the fact that CIA said that those audio tapes were authentic while Swiss denied that makes me think that we have UBL (or had and he died) in custody.

Posted by: IR at October 20, 2004 02:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

UBL is dead but there is only one way to know for sure.
If George W comes out and says UBL is dead. If a REAL video tape does not surface quickly. then UBL is dead. He will make a tape just to show up W. this is also a good way to catch UBL since he will make the tape quickly and might make a mistake.

Posted by: usama's dead at October 20, 2004 03:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's not in Osama's interest to be considered dead. Nothing in his character or m.o. or described strategy favors stealth and secrecy. In fact, he revels in taunts and insults, like his open letter to DefSec Wm Perry in 1996, or his comments about the "strong horse and the weak horse."

If Osama were alive he would certainly eliminate any doubt of it.

Posted by: lex at October 20, 2004 03:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have a friend who was stationed in Germany during the Cold War. He remembers the old Soviet Union Newspaper Pravda reporting that their current leader has a slight case of the flu or a cold and has canceled all his appointments for the next few days while he rests. All the American forces would immediately go on high alert.

Two days later Pravda would announce that the Chairman has unexpectedly past away.

I suspect that Osama bin Laden has a cold and has just canceled his appointments in order to rest for a few days.

Posted by: David at October 20, 2004 05:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have felt for a long time that OBL is cave temperature. I saw a compeling arguement about this in the blogosphere about 4 months ago giving December 5, 2001 as his death date. There was a major airstike that day including perhaps a MOAB and/or air-fuel devices. Then there was the infamous truce, but that might have been to either destroy the body or get it out.

Posted by: David at October 20, 2004 05:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, to be completely accurate, there has been authenticated video tape evidence of UBL being alive since September 11th. Shortly after the attacks, soldiers found a tape of UBL talking with another sheik about the attacks. They discussed their delight in seeing the twin towers falling. Someone check my facts on that, but it definitely exists and it was definitely recorded after 9/11.

However, that tape doesn't change the fact that I believe UBL is now dead.

Posted by: CJ at October 20, 2004 05:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We'll know for sure by Nov 2nd. If there is no terrorist attack here, and no credit claimed, he's dead.

Posted by: Mark at October 20, 2004 05:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Simply put, those who assert that OBL is or ever was a figurehead are wrong. Go read the 9/11 report and the descriptions of the back and forth between KSM and OBL over the 9/11 attacks. Go read any book on Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was a savvy leader who made major strategic decisions as well as a slew of smaller decisions. He's no dummy.

Posted by: praktike at October 20, 2004 05:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Musharraf might be in a better position to know whether OSB is dead or alive, but the greater question is whether we can trust him to tell the truth.

Remember, Pakistan is the only country that borders on the landlocked nation of Afganistan that is not landlocked itself. Well aside from Iran, whose current government wouldn't lift their pinkie to help the US. Musharraf used the tactical advantage his country provides as leverage in his cold (and sometimes hot) war with India over the fate of Kashmir.

Remember that shortly after 9/11, terrorists linked to Kashmir seperatist groups (who Pakistan have funded for years) launched assasinated members of the Indian parliament. India and Pakistan almost went to war over the incident (justifiably so, in India's case), and our presence in Afganistan was a major factor in convincing Bush to broker a deal between the two countries -- a deal that probably saved Musharraf's hide.

Musharraf knows that once there is definitive proof that OSB is dead, our interest in Afganistan will be reduced somewhat -- not to the extent that we would consider pulling out, but perhaps to the extent we would consider running the risk of severing our ties to Pakistan and siding with India outright (which Bush gave some indication he intended to do, pre 9/11). Therefore, he has every reason to pretend OSB is alive, and to allow dissemination of false or misleading intelligence that confirms this.

Posted by: Sean at October 20, 2004 06:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Imagine if UBL would be dead and how would Kerry and the Democrats spin it?
- They would say there is no proof - where is the body?, just a another trick by the Republicans.
- If the Republicans have a photo, the Democrats would say it is a trick that anybody can fake a photo.
- If it is proven UBL is dead, Kerry would say that Bush has known this for X months and has purposefully been lying to us about the threat of terrorism and that Kerry was correct in saying that terrorism should and is a nuisance. And we no longer need a "war" president like Bush.
-Kerry would say that with bin Laden dead their is no reason to have US troops in Iraq because alQueda is basically decapitated, destroyed.
Remember what is good for the U.S. is bad for the democrats.
How else would Kerry spin UBL being dead?

Posted by: Znoot at October 20, 2004 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

SPEAKING of DNA. This story showed up around Feb 27 2002 and kinda went away quickly. Maybe they realized that he was more useful to us "missing" than dead.

U.S. approaches bin Laden family for DNA samples.

Posted by: Jeemy at October 20, 2004 07:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've been thinking on this, and it occurs to me that [I]Ayman al-Zawahri[/I] may want to keep the illusion of Bin Laden going. After all, he's not exactly as much as an inspiring leader, and, this way, he can constantly say 'the might Bin Laden orders thus', while it's actually [I]him[/I] that's trying to run Al Qeada.

As for the US, we're laying odds that Bin Laden has been dead since Tora Bora, and it makes sense. Trouble is, we have to be 100 percent sure about this. If Bush, or one of his aides, were to say 'we believe he's gone' and then he were to pop up - even as a completely unsubstantiated audio tape recorded in a George Soros bathroom, with a French accent, and mis-pronounced his own name, it would be a political disaster for Bush just because of the spectre that would be raised.

Posted by: Neale Davidson at October 20, 2004 07:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Two possibilities...

UBL has "gone to ground", so as to create a sort of bogey-man specter that keeps him inside our heads wondering as to his whereabouts or continued viability.

UBL is entombed at Tora Bora, or some other desolate place.

Odds are it's the latter, or else he's in custody. The man loved the sound of his own voice too much to become a ghost.

If UBL is still alive, a simple videotape of him reading to us from the funny papers of last Monday's Hindustan Times or Dawn would suffice, and suffice to rub our noses in it as well.

--furious

Posted by: furious_a at October 20, 2004 09:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

President Bush stated some time ago, 'I not worried about Osama'. Because he thinks he is dead?

Islam must be running out of virgins by now.

Posted by: Bob at October 20, 2004 11:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

[quote] It's not all that uncommon for a renal patient to basically drink themselves to death.[/quote]


It all makes sense now...Ted Kennedy has renal disease!

Posted by: heartlesspimp at October 20, 2004 11:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey Brightwing,
Check your spelling. That's vermin, not virgin, twit.

Posted by: Icarus at October 21, 2004 02:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We've talked a lot about "renal failure" (keep your chin up Ed!!!), and kidney disease in general. Do we have any documented proof that Osama in fact suffered from this?

I believe I had heard some time ago that he was a diabetic. Diabetics sometimes suffer renal problems, so this could be a natural follow-on for the bastard. But, he could also be a diabetic who has the disease under control (whether Type I or Type II could make a difference). He almost certainly isn't eating a lot of sugary foods, and he would probably be getting lots of exercise (being chased by the Special Forces can do that to you).

I guess I'm just wondering how accurate the renal failure/ kidney disease thing is. If he was suffering from renal failure, then the bastard is dead unless he has managed to get to a country that will allow him to receive the kind of care he would need.

As I said way above, I think it is most likely that he is dead. If so, good riddence!

Posted by: Bill M at October 21, 2004 02:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why would Zarqawi be sending cd's to UBL, if UBL were dead?

If UBL is alive and in Iran, perhaps the Mullahs are preventing him from releasing any more tapes.

It also seems probable, that couriers or others would have seen UBL in the meantime and have been captured. Any word of that?

Posted by: Jabba the Tutt at October 21, 2004 04:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Osama is dead and W. knows it. Here is why:

Etiher W. thinks OBL is dead, or W. thinks he might be alive. Which makes more sense given W.'s actions after Tora Bora?

If OBL is alive, then W. would hunt him down, anywhere at any cost.

If OBL is dead, then W. would either decare victory and go home, or use the spector of OBL to continue the GWOT. Continuing the GWOT would mean, say, going to Iraq to a) place the world's strongest military in the backyard of every mid east nation to force Lybia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia etc. to work with us, b) eliminate potential WMD's, c) show any aspiring jihadists that Al Quaeda are big losers, d) spread democracy and free the Iraqi people, e) influence world oil supply to break OPEC and eliminate much of the terrorist funding.

Given that W. does not seem to be hunting OBL "anywhere at any cost," I'd bet W. knows he's dead or captured. It's the only way W. would know that OBL would be inoperable for so long.

Wadya think?

Posted by: Bill B. at October 21, 2004 06:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

if he was alive hed have a blog by now, no?

Posted by: ron at October 21, 2004 02:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bill

Continuing the GWOT would mean going to Iraq to force Libya, Saudi and Iran to work with us.

The Iranians are laughing so hard at the strategic and tactical blunders that they're endorsing Bush for election. From Teheran it looks like Bush is working for the Iranians.


Eliminate potential WMD's?

None found so far. However, invading Iraq has resulted in the theft and dispersal of previously UN tagged and monitored nuclear equipment to who knows where. Resounding failure on that score.

Show that AQ are resounding losers?

Well, given the endless terrorist alerts in the US and the ever-increasing pace, range and scope of terrorist attacks globally, AQ and affiliates seem to be doing just fine.

Spread democracy and free the Iraqi people?

No elections in Iraq yet. Numerous local initiatives to hold elections in 2003 quashed by CPA. That elections are being mooted for January at all is because Sistani has insisted upon them as a pre-condition for continued Shi'a cooperation with the occupation. If,and when, elections are held in Iraq, Shi'a dominated government will emerge.

Influence world oil supply to break OPEC..

Oil price has doubled since 2002. OPEC, Iran, Venezuela etc laughing all the way to the bank. Iraqi exports at about 50% of pre-war levels. OPEC seems to be in a pretty robust position thanks to the blunders. Now if someone could persuade Dubya to start bombing Iran.....

Posted by: dan at October 21, 2004 03:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gee Dan, think you might be a bush-hating, rhetoric-spewing, unabashed Kerry supporter? I'm amazed at how much you ignore what actually is going on in Iraq right now. Of COURSE Iran is happy that we rid Iraq of Hussien, a brief course in Recent MidEast History 101 would explain THAT pretty well.

What I really like how you both that both claim that there were not WMDs to invade over, but that it's Bush's fault that we've lost them, too - and they could be in terrorist hands.

I'm sorry that you feel that keeping Hussien in power was the more 'humanitarian' move. I'm also guessing that you're not an Iraqi.

Posted by: Neale Davidson at October 21, 2004 08:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gee Neale, you think you might be a kerry-hating, rhetoric-spewing, unabashed bush supporter? I'm amazed how much you ignore what is going on in Iraq and Iran right now. OF COURSE Iran is happy that we spent 2 years chasing phantom WMDs in Iraq instead of pressuring Iran on their own nuclear program.

What I really like is how you misrepresent what Dan wrote, since he didn't claim Iraqi WMDs could be in terrorist hands, but that UN tagged and monitored nuclear equipment could be.

I'm sorry that you feel that killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians was the more 'humanitarian' move. I'm also guessing that you're not an Iraqi.

Posted by: russ at October 21, 2004 09:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Surely UBL is cave temperature since there is no evidence of any recently built schools, roads, or other altruistic public works projects of his.

Posted by: jnlfink at October 22, 2004 12:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neale

I think you missed the point.

The Iranians are laughing because Bush has (1) removed one of the obstacles to the extension of their strategic influence in the region (2) done it in such a ham-fisted way so as to extend Iran's freedom of action with regards to its nuclear programme whilst checkmating the possibility of US military countermeasures (3) promised a democratic process in Iraq that will inevitably benefit Iran at the expense of the US (4) doubled the value of their oil exports (5) Shorn up the Iranian regime's domestic position (6) Damaged US credibility globally (7) raised the cost of military measures that the US could have used against Iran to a politically unacceptable level.

I could probably go on.

BTW I don't particularly support Kerry, I just recognise that Bush and his administration have played a lousy strategic game that fundamentally fails to correctly identify the nature of the threat it is facing and how to deal with it. And have then gone on to implement a bad policy in the dumbest manner possible.

Posted by: dan at October 22, 2004 10:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I thought I would weigh in with my theory. Or I should say conclusions drawn from the chess game played out in Afghan and Iraq. There has been much made out of President Bush removing Special Forces and military units from Afghanistan to wage war in Iraq. Seems to me that tactically he was informed that likelihood is that OBL is MIST. This would have required a mass movement of assets out of Afghanistan (which occurred). What do you think?

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