There’s been a lot of chatter lately about how close we’re getting to capturing Osama Bin Laden. The Marines are mounting a major offensive in eastern Afghanistan, caves are being raided, and various sources are making “noose is tightening” statements every couple of days.
I expect that if Bin Laden is captured, it will be a huge boost for Bush. It shouldn’t be.
By September 11, 2001, we already knew that Osama was behind the USS Cole bombing; since 9/11, it’s been clear that he is America’s number one enemy. We have also known (or at least suspected strongly) that since the fall of the Taliban, Bin Laden has been hiding out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan or western Pakistan. All of which raises the question, why now? Why not a year ago, or two years ago?
The answer is obvious: Iraq. There was a murderer loose in our town, but instead of chasing him down, we went and arrested the owner of a nearby sporting-goods store because we thought he might have guns in it that he might sell to the murderer.
And in the meantime, what’s the murderer been up to? The tally so far is 643 dead in Bali, Istanbul, Karbala, Baghdad, and now Madrid. If we catch Bin Laden tomorrow, it will be too late for those victims.
If, as Bush is fond of saying, his first duty is to keep the American people safe, then why are we only now closing in on the real threat?