Friday, November 14, 2008

So What About that Bin Ladin Guy?

Apparently, he's been pretty effectively marginilized:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced to devote much of his energy to his own security, while his Al-Qaeda terror network remains resilient, CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a speech on Thursday.
"He is putting a lot of energy into his own survival, a lot of energy into his own security. In fact, he appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he nominally heads," said Hayden, referring to the Al-Qaeda network.
He suggested that bin Laden was hiding somewhere in the remote Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, where he said Al-Qaeda has regrouped and bolstered its organization.
Hayden described "the sheer challenge of surveying every square mile of that inhospitable and dangerous region," and said "part of the explanation for his survival lies in the fact that he has worked to avoid detection."

The article is a mix of good and bad news, but the important thing to note, which I've said for years, is that taking out Bin Ladin will do virtually nothing in the fight against terrorism. He's been hiding for years, devoting all of his resources to running from the reaper....constantly looking behind to make sure we haven't caught up with him. He has little, if any, real role in the operations, or even the propeganda, of the organization. Yet, they are doing fine without him. Even rebuilding.

Bin Ladin is mostly a figurehead. Yet we've gotten it into our heads that this guy is the be all, end all of terrorism. Finding and killing him would be a huge moral victory for us. But it would also do little to stop terrorism. We were all a twitter when we killed Zarquawi, about how this would be a huge blow to al Quida. And it was...for a day or two. Then they sent in the Egyptian al Masri, and redoubled their efforts. The reality of our fight is complex...but people want simple answers. So we've told everybody that Osama Bin Ladin IS al Quida. It's not even remotely true.

We'd do better getting rid of Zawahiri, al Masri, or al Iraqi. But that's complex, and messy...and people don't have the time or patience for all that.

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