Friday, December 17, 2004

Osama, Meet Bernie

Arnaud de Borchgrave, Foreign Affairs Editor for the Washington Times, has spun a characteristically pessimistic view of the GWOT, explaining that all is going accordingly to Bin Laden's master plan:

"As Osama bin Laden surveys the international scene from his secret base in Pakistan, he has convinced himself the American empire can be defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia much the way his mujahideen guerrillas defeated the Soviet empire in Afghanistan. In his videotape released four days before the U.S. elections, bin Laden referred to the way the Afghan resistance had bankrupted the Soviet Union, which he used as a model for inflicting a similar fate on the United States."

De Borchgrave conveniently omits the history-shifting events of the Afghan elections (not to mention the rout of the Taliban), and conjures up the spectre of a newly trained and radicalized army infiltrating Europe:

"Osama bin Laden presumably knows why some 7,500 jihadis who fought against the United States in Iraq have been trickling back to their homes in the Muslim slums of Western Europe. They returned with new terrorist skills and the ability to form sleeper cells and/or encourage others to sign up for jihad."

And de Borchgrave adds polling data (!) to his thesis that Bin Ladin is poised to make a victorious return:

"In Pakistan as a whole, bin Laden scored a 66 percent approval rating. In the two provinces governed by the pro-al-Qaida, pro-Taliban coalition of six politico-religious parties, bin Laden's popularity rating as a freedom fighter climbs to above 80 percent."

Look, I'm as annoyed as anyone that this maniacal worm hasn't yet been thrown in Saddam's wood chipper, but de Borchgrave's got it all wrong. He finally betrays his real beef:

"The Bush administration's Israel-right-or-wrong policy has now been confirmed - for bin Laden to read in dozens of newspapers - by no less an authority than Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Bush 41."

Back to the canard that if we had just taken Arafat's side, all would be grand in the Muslim/West relationship. Arnaud, your credibility just went to zero.

Now back to Bin Laden. I hope we don't have Tom Ridge-types leading the effort to find him, but men who lead life just a little bit on the edge, like our illustrious former Homeland Security Chief nominee. I don't think Bernie would be too worried about the fine print in the Geneva convention. Osama, meet Bernie.