November 1, 2004
Osama Bin Laden made an appearance on videotape last Friday, causing a stir with media pundits attempting to divine his intentions. Some say he was endorsing Kerry, pointing to his mockery of Bush, yet one can also argue that it's reverse psychology and he actually wants Bush to win.
Frankly, who cares whom he appears to favor? Is there any voter in his right mind who will base his vote on a Bin Laden endorsement? And don't you think Bin Laden knows this? The only obvious purpose of his appearance is to call the world's attention to himself, and assure his followers that he's still around.
When I first saw the videotape, my immediate reaction was why is he still out there? In spite of all George W. Bush's "dead or alive" macho rhetoric, not only is Bin Laden still alive, he looks healthy and well. Kirsten Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle, two of the 9/11 widows released this statement:
We cried when we saw the tape on Friday of Osama Bin Laden. He's tanned and healthy. He does not look desperate or scared. He does not look like a man on the run.
Why can't he, indeed?
Because Mr. Bush is all tough talk but can't deliver results. He seems not to care Bin Laden is still at large. Instead of doggedly pursuing Bin Laden after he got away in Tora Bora, Bush devoted the most resources and manpower to toppling Saddam Hussein in what turned out to be an unjustified preemptive war. In a presidential briefing in 2002 he even said, "and, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
Meanwhile, Republican operatives are treating the Bin Laden videotape like a jackpot:
One Bush/Cheney campaign official said, "we want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days...anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us." A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush." He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.What better proof that they are capitalizing on our fears? Yet in spite of his incompetent failures in catching Bin Laden, they want the electorate to vote for Bush. NYT's Maureen Dowd, said it best:
The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years.
• Image from chinadaily.com.
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