Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What Does Capturing Bin Laden Mean To The Bush Administration? Not As Much As In 2001, Or During The Election Campaign

From Newsweek's interview with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice:

Q Tell us about Osama bin Laden and how important you think his personal capture would be. How thrilled are you going to be if you all leave office in ’09 and he’s still in a cave and the President’s in Crawford?

RICE: Well, look, I would like nothing better to get the phone call that says we captured Osama bin Laden. I mean, in a sense, I think it’s, you know, it’s a kind of issue of closure about-I was at the September 11 commemoration on Sunday and the one thing that did occur to me as I was talking to families as they came through is that, you know, I wish that there were more closure for what happened to us because what happened was that that launched a long war against terrorism, it launched a war to root out something that had been growing for a long time, and we’re more at the beginning of that than at the end of it. And so I think in that sense it’s very important. And perhaps in terms of a kind of spiritual presence, philosophical presence in their movement, maybe it has—it probably has—but in terms of the operation itself, I’ve always argued, and I argued from the very beginning, and in fact, the fact that the President argues, reflected in his September 20 speech, we decided in that speech he’d only mention bin Laden once because nobody wanted to give the impression that this was about a single person. This is about, first of all, a network of organizations that have to be broken down. But it’s also that it’s now spawned an ideology of hatred, an ideology of extremism that has to be dealt with. And that’s why it’s a long struggle.

***

Is that all capturing Osama bin Laden means? Closure?

It's just a reflection of the evolution this administration has undertaken in how it talks about bin Laden -- and the fact that four years later, bin Laden is still at large.

Compare Rice's answer to what President Bush said on the night of Sept. 11, 2001:

"The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to findthose responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between theterrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

But within a few months of Sept. 11, President Bush began offering the spin that bin Laden wasn't as important as stopping the greater terrorist movement -- a justification for the Iraq War that was soon to come.

From a March 13, 2002, press conference:

Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --

BUSH: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. ... So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.

By last year, Bush was resigned to the idea that we may not capture bin Laden. Speaking to Tim Russert on the Feb. 8, 2004 edition of Meet the Press, Bush said:

"I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice, may be the best way to put it. I know we are on the hunt, and Osama bin Laden is a cold-blooded killer, and he represents the nature of the enemy that we face. "

***

No doubt, it's an embarrassment to the administration, especially when Al Qaeda strikes, as it did this summer in London and in Egypt. You could almost draw a matrix -- the frequency of administration references to bin Laden has declined as the number of Al Qaeda attacks has risen.

In fact, the one time that Bush really has changed his tone on bin Laden was when it mattered most -- during the 2004 presidential race. A new matrix formed -- the frequency of administration references to bin Laden increased the longer Democrat John Kerry kept the race close.

Bush, during the third presidential debate, Bush took a defiant tone:

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations. Of course we're worried about Osama bin Laden. We're on the hunt after Osama bin Laden. We're using every asset at our disposal to get Osama bin Laden.

But now, capturing bin Laden would bring "closure." Sad.

10 Comments:

Anonymous daninthemoon said...

If they turn him up now, I'm gonna feel it's too little too late. Too many have died in Iraq

12:06 PM  
Anonymous yellowcanine said...

Bin Laden who? "Ich bin forgotten", says Osama.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous peace frog said...

What does capturing Bin Laden mean to Bush Administration?

Not a goddamn thing. They NEVER intended to capture him, bin Laden's family is an important part of the Bush family crime cartel. They would NEVER offend their partners by imprisoning one of their own.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

bin Laden means nothing to the corrupt Bush administration until he needs to be captured. Of course, then there will be that whole messy business of proving that he had anything to do with the September 11 attacks* and making sure that nothing can be traced back to the Bushes, their political cronies, backers or benefactors, and that could take some doing.

My prediction is that bin Laden will never be captured alive. And despite all of his family's public pronouncements about their deeply religious beliefs and the afterlife, they don't want Osama shuffling off his mortal coil one minute before his body actually fails him.

*Yeah, yeah, I know, conventional wisdom and all that -- but it's one thing to know something in your heart, and quite another to prove it in a court of law. Besides, what evidence have YOU seen that bin Laden was behind the hijackers, not just supportive of what they did?

12:07 PM  
Anonymous mountainman said...

It shines the light on the lie that the Iraq war is about 9/11.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another one of the Bush gross incompetencies and failures that occurs right before our eyes, but is not right before our eyes.
By that I mean the conservative-dominated MSM still affords unquestioning credibility to these clowns and rarely places their words or actions in any historical context whatsoever. As with Bin Laden, the words are rarely matched to the actual deeds.
And so, the Bush Administration is allowed to bumble and fumble time and time and time again causing the gradual disintegration of America.
We, my friends, are in a very dark dark dark, frightening cave FOR THREE AND A HALF MORE YEARS! with the only beams of light the indictment of Rove unraveling even bigger crimes and the Democratic take-over of Congress next year.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, jabbs ... You used to have some people on here that actually wished to discuss issues. Now it seems that the Kossacks and Atrioidiots have invaded. The comments on this post alone are enough to make rational thinkers simply move on to another site. Congrats. Hope this was what you were shooting for.

J.D.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes i agree. i used to post here to discuss issues. but when i see that the basic posters here are so far off course as to make any reasonable discussion fruitless, i too have moved on. Its too bad. First the site got spammed; now the posts are more ridiculous than ever.

and i say that as someone who likely agrees with many of davids points. however, the commentary is so pathetic and utterly stupid, it undermines what was otherwise a good blog. We have now joined the assinine conservative blogs, just from a different slant. Enjoy!

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can barely tolerate these bloggers who shoot arrows at the commentary, without providing any examples, specific or otherwise, Why do you feel the commentary is so "off course," or "utterly stupid?"
Don't talk through your butthole. Provide some examples, which is less than much of the commentary you are apparantely bitching about has done. It seems to me you are more offended that some one could be so justifiably outraged at what the Bush Administration has "accomplished."

8:16 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I'm confused. Are you blaming JABBS for the people who post comments?

What exactly would you have JABBS do? Not take comments? Delete all comments that sound a certain way?

What an absurd complaint.

11:39 AM  

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