Don't go to your grave without a graven image!

It appears that Osama bin Laden is still alive and making statements as logically elusive was the question of his recent mortal status:

"Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said.

"To the U.S. people, my talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster," he said. "I tell you: security is an important element of human life and free people do not give up their security."

"If Bush says we hate freedom, let him tell us why we didn't attack Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have dignified souls, like those of the 19 blessed ones," he said, referring to the 19 hijackers.

"We fought you because we are free .. and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours."

While I'm not up to interpreting those strange remarks, I do feel vindicated, because I had a big discussion with a good friend about bin Laden recently. While a lot of pundits I respect had declared the man dead, I never agreed with that, primarily because the demoralization that would create for his followers would, I think, have been discernible. It's tough to keep people quiet about a thing like the death of their highest and most exalted leader. There would have been "death chatter" somewhere. (Witness the recent news of Arafat's poor health, which (as Roger L. Simon notes) has created shock waves around the world.)

As to the absence of videos, it always struck me that bin Laden had more to lose than to gain from making another video. There's always some risk making a video when you're the most wanted (and most expensive) man in the world, because it has to go from person to person, and place to place, and with every link in the chain there's the possibility of being ratted out or someone spotting a clue. Add to that the possibility of having the enemy experts discern hidden details (such as location, or make and model of the camera), and absent a compelling reason, why bother? Better to keep 'em guessing!

Obviously, this time Osama thought it was important enough to trash Bush just before the election that he decided to take the risk. (Either that or the film was older, with the release timed for the election.)

Coming as this does on the heels of the "Azzam the American" video, it does appear that Al Qaida would like to influence the election. Whether they're using double reverse psychology remains to be seen.

posted by Eric on 10.29.04 at 05:33 PM


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Don't go to your grave without a graven image!:

» On Osama bin Laden's Newest Tape from The Moderate Voice
Terrorist Osama bin Laden resurfaced in a new video, looking healthier and rested as he issued more cryptic threats against the United States and taunted President George Bush -- all carefully timed right before Americans go to the polls in [Read More]
Tracked on October 30, 2004 1:56 AM


Eric, I well remember the conversation in question. I am moderately surprised that he could remain as quiet as he did for so many years. I honestly thought he was dead. Looking on the bright side, he must be powerfully motivated to break radio silence at this late date. Possibly we are doing something right? The election is the glaringly obvious correlation. Knowing your distrust of the obvious, what do you see as a possible alternative?

Humbly eating crow,


J. Case   ·  October 29, 2004 8:31 PM

"To the U.S. people, my talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster."

I'm so touched by his concern for our well-being -- after sending his 19 "blessed ones" to murder 3,000 of us. As for his definition of "freedom", consult George Orwell.

Bin Laden, Arafat, Castro. I bid them all a good day. In Hell.

Weird message.

To me, he seemed to be searching for justification for his rage using a lot of Bush family/corruption, Palestine/Lebanon rhetoric that, frankly, does not make much sense. His power rests on his ability to "shape" the anger and jealousy that impoverished Muslims have with regards to the West. "Western Civilization" has created incredible prosperity; their civilization has not.

It sounds chauvinistic and I suppose it is, but if it were otherwise, people from the Middle East and Western Asia would not be breaking down the doors trying to immigrate to Western Europe, the Pacific Rim and North America.

The point we are all missing is: How are we going to share the planet with people who hate the West because its system is a success and theirs is a failure? We are talking about a billion, plus, people in the case of the Muslim world.

This century is bringing us a lot of challenges. Globalization of the services industry, a sweltering rate of global inter-migration, the proliferation of weapons, especially nuclear weapons.

We need a radical, new vision for understanding and dealing with the world. This vision cannot include falling on our own sword, in the way we have in Iraq. We have to be smarter. The West is going to have to live with the East. There will be no "Victory." No New Imperialism will save us.

This is what this election is all about.

And the fact that George W. Bush is on first-name basis with members of the bin Laden family and the bin Saud family makes me want to drive off a cliff screaming. Are we really so stupid as to let this man be our president?

bink   ·  October 30, 2004 11:59 AM

I too thought bin Laden was dead.

The weirdest thing is how uninterested I am in the fact that he's not. I also couldn't care less what his tape says, one way or another.

yada yada blah blah - we're dealing with a bunch of raving, crazy killers. Yah, we knew that. So what? Let intelligence guys look at it to get all the info they can, certainly. But for me?

{yawn} I am bored by Osama and his ilk. Let's just keep killing as many as we can, as fast as we can, so we don't have to hear their pompous, blustering 'meeee! meeeee! pay attention to meeeeee!' anymore.

Persnickety   ·  October 31, 2004 4:57 AM

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