Tuesday, June 5, 2007

On Bin Laden and Political Debates

So, the news is spreading that Osama Bin Laden is alive- or so says Haji Mansour Dadullah. You can read the news report concerning the confirmation of OBL’s current livelihood HERE.

The news report talks of a letter that was sent from Bin Laden to this Taliban commander. While in the gym this morning, I saw this story being discussed on the campus news network. While I couldn’t hear the dialogue, I could read the ticker that was scrolling along the bottom of the screen. It said something that read roughly like this:

“Is Osama Bin Laden Alive?”

Upon considering this question, I came to my own question in opposition:

“Why should I care?”


This, ironically, is also the question that I use in reply to those naysayers that claim that the American effort in Afghanistan is completely lost because we have not yet located Bin Laden. I don’t even want to address in any sort of length just how short-sighted such a comment is. I am sure, with any critical thinking, you can see how a stable Afghanistan with a toppled and abandoned Taliban government is successful despite the fact that Bin Laden remains at large.

None of that, however, answers my original query about why I should care. Let’s go back to the news report as linked in the opening paragraph of this text. In the report, this Dadullah character explains in a very telling fashion exactly why Bin Laden remains hidden. These are his words, according to Al Jazeera:

"(Osama Bin Laden) prefers not to appear because if he appeared in the media or met people he might face danger.”

Exactly. Dadullah continues to claim that Bin Laden continues to order directives from his hidden lair, so to speak. I am calling Dadullah’s bluff on this one. However, he was correct in his assessment that any sort of publicity for Bin Laden would most certainly endanger him.

And that’s just the thing. Bin Laden is hand-tied. He may not be dead and we may not have captured him. It seems unlikely that we ever will given the landscape and human network that he has in the Afghani / Pakistani border region. But, again, I highly doubt that he is causing much harm. Bin Laden knows that showing his face would increase the morale of those that follow his cause greatly. But he can’t. In fact, there isn’t much that he can do.

So, again, I ask you, concerning Bin Laden’s well-being:

Why should I care?

And this brings me to my second topic: tonight’s debate amongst Republican presidential hopefuls.

I am pretty excited to see how it plays out. Well, I am as excited as one can be for such things. I expect it to be awfully predictable. I watched about half of the Democrats’ debate; I was nearly sickened by the constant back-patting that was passed between candidates. I say, “Be a Man- Go for the Throat!” I assume that any of these candidates would throw any of the others “under the rug” in private, yet they feel the need to show some sort of showmanship class in public. Oh well.

I have seen these debates broken down in various media outlets with a pretty tried and true method that I am going to follow below. I am presenting myself with a few questions about what I expect to see tonight. Enjoy my predictions and feel free to add your own.

Who has the most to lose?

I am going to have to go with Senator McCain on this one. I dearly love the guy and, for a long time, he was my choice for the Republican nominee. However, he is going to be walking into the lions’ den tonight. Nearly all the opposing candidates will likely gang up on his decision to sponsor the recent immigration bill that has angered much of McCain’s conservative base. I really don’t see how he can respond to a mob attack concerning this issue without alienating a large portion of his followers.

Who has the most to gain?

Mitt Romney and here is why: Given the number of debate participants, it seems unlikely that enough time will be focused on Governor Romney’s record to really expose his short comings. An example of a glaring shortcoming: His false story about being an avid lifetime hunter and his follow-up explanation that he meant “hunting” in the sense of chasing and killing small rodents. This detail may arise but I doubt these types of issues will gain any focus. Instead, Romney will be able to express his conservative agenda that he apparently has. He’s a smooth speaker and looks presentable on television. This debate should do little but help his chances.

What question do I most want to see posed?

I would love to hear each candidate explain how their campaigns would be altered by the presence of a running Fred Thompson. I fear this question because it presents an opportunity for the candidates to summarily bash an opponent while he’s not present. However, I think that any avenue that gets Thompson’s name into public light is ultimately a positive boon to his candidacy. Additionally, I genuinely want to know how the current hopefuls perceive Senator Thompson’s chances.

And that does it for today. I hope everyone enjoyed the lengthy update. I’ll be back soon!