Monday, August 22, 2005

Osama Yo Mama! How you been?

It has generally been my modus operandi to give my perspective on events that are actively being covered in the press. Issues that, for good or for bad, are getting a lot of coverage. I try to discuss both the topic and the quality of the coverage. My idea for today is to write something a bit different, and cover something that is not getting nearly enough press and talk about why it is being overlooked.

Osama bin Laden! Anyone remember this half man, half pig (oh yeah, that was a direct stab at his fanatical style of Islam, baby!)? So, how do I know that Osama has all but disappeared from the press? Well, aside from the fact that I am a famous know-it-all, I decided to do a word search on Yahoo! News. I searched under the term “Osama bin Laden”. I came up with an incredible 19 news articles. I find this to be outrageous considering that Yahoo! News regularly includes articles from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, in addition to every major newspaper in the United States and a good number of fairly random news sources. So how does this rate as compared with other celebrity evil-doers? Well, Saddam Hussein rates 93 articles and “Karl Rove” rates a measly 6 articles. (but this is another outrageous topic for another day). Meanwhile, Michael Jackson, public enemy number one that he is, rates 2,816 news articles and “Carrot Top” the most likely of all terrorist suspects (if for no other then his comedy routine could be argued to be torture under the Geneva Convention) rates 71 articles.

So, how can it be that Iraq is the frontline in the war on terror and yet Osama bin Laden is all but forgotten? At what point did we decide to shift our focus from the war on Al Qaeda to Iraq, which has never had any relationship whatsoever with the terrorist super group? It is my belief that this is clearly a result of the capable skills of Paul Wolfowitz, and his ability to shift the focus of world attention and unity to the non-issue of Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz worked in the first Bush administration during the Gulf War. He and his neo-conservative compatriots had eagerly lobbied then President H.W. Bush to take down Saddam Hussein. The neo-con doctrine of pre-emption, they claimed, gave the U.S. the right to impose democracy on the world and use force if necessary to achieve that end. Basically, carry a big stick and use it at our sole discretion. I don’t know what neighborhood you grew up in, but where I come from, we call that a bully. So, we stopped short of taking down Al Qaeda’s leaders and turned our target sights on Iraq, a place that was run by a sociopath with a napoleon complex, but was no harbor for terrorist.

Alas, that was Iraq, the 2003 model. Iraq the 2005 model is the frontline of the war on terror. Like the jealous lover who is convinced that his partner is up to no good and the jealousy in turn drives the lover into the arms of another. The terror problems in Iraq are entirely our own making. We fucked it up (sorry mom). We saw it coming, any idiot could have predicted what was coming. Anyone who has paid attention to the Middle East during the last 40 years could have predicted that insurgents would flood from far and wide into Iraq to fight what they perceive as the next in a long series of Crusades. To Muslims this battle is being fought on two fronts, in Palestine by the Israelis and in the wider region by the United States. They don’t separate these two, they see no distinction, nor should they.

The administration sold us this cockamamie story which was not supported by any evidence except for the kind of intelligence that really doesn’t make you feel very good inside. It is the kind of evidence you wouldn’t place much faith in when betting the kids’ college fund at the sports book at Caesar’s Palace. So why on Earth would you send American’s to die in Iraq? I know this has all been said many times, but I wonder how we could take our eyes off the ball just as it was crossing the plate. We were in Afghanistan, we had world opinion on our side, the Taliban were scrambling into the mountains like antelope fleeing a Lion, and Osama bin Laden was on the run. Some evidence supports the case that we had Al Qaeda’s top leadership surrounded at Tora Bora and yet we failed to catch him.

Remember Osama bin Laden! Don’t lose focus on him. I don’t mean Osama the swine, I mean Osama the movement, the terror movement, Osama the poster child in fanatical eyes who resists the imperial crusaders. This is the war on terror, not the side show that is going on in Iraq.

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