Obama has changed his mind. Responding to a message from the terrorist leader, the President-elect said it is unnecessary to kill Osama bin Laden. According to Obama, al-Qaeda is on the run, and keeping them that way is more important than killing their top man.
And he’s right.al Qaeda, an Islamic terror group, is (allegedly) responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Osama bin Laden, the group’s leader, has been (allegedly) the subject of a 7+ year manhunt. An unsuccessful one.
Today, Barack Obama has dismissed the U.S. hunt as unimportant.
In 2001, George Bush vowed to get bin Laden “dead or alive”. While the invasion of Iraq has created an enlistment rush for the terrorist group, the fact that bin Laden, the purported focus of the U.S., remains free has given them status.
Yesterday’s news included bin Laden’s latest taunt. (The tape was audio, not video, so perhaps he’s having trouble booking Sarah Palin’s makeup artist.) bin Laden informed the United States that the fight will continue. The tape didn’t mention Obama by name, but the timing made it a definite challenge to the incoming President. And his reply was priceless.
Osama bin Laden has been evading American and coalition soldiers and the CIA (among others) for over seven years. Our inability to capture him has made us look like incompetents. It’s possible the decision to invade Iraq was heavily weighted by our desire to get the focus off of our lack of success in Afghanistan, which led to al Qaeda growing even more. (There was no al Qaeda group in Iraq prior to our invasion.)
Osama bin Laden has been more successful than he could have dreamed. He’s alive, he’s free, and business, so to speak, is booming. Given our own economic woes and the rising disagreements about American troops in Iraq, there must have seemed nowhere to go but up.
The 2009 campaign got off to a bad start.
Instead of the typical angry-American response, bin Laden found himself dismissed as “unimportant”, his organization was deemed to be “on the run”.
I don’t believe we’re going to quit looking for bin Laden. I do believe Obama just deprived him of his most effective recruiting tool: good old American bluster. Those were not the sound bites he was looking for.