Ah, he becomes legitimate!
In fact, what has caught the attention of the U.S. intelligence community is the strangely conciliatory nature of bin Laden's new message, according to some government officials and outside experts... These experts say bin Laden appears to be intensifying his campaign to "re-brand" himself in the minds of Muslims worldwide, and become known more as a political voice than a global terrorist... The U.S. official said "a political spinoff (of al-Qaida) is one of the greatest fears" of U.S. counter-terrorism authorities, in which bin Laden and the terror network follow the path of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hezbollah and members of the Irish Republican Army. Over the years, those groups evolved from having an emphasis on committing terrorism into broader organizations with influential, widely accepted political wings.
Okay, I'm confused and need some help. Is it just me, or has anyone else in this country noticed that there is no "War on Terror"?
Polls show Americans trust Bush more than Kerry on the issue of protecting the country from terrorism. Really! (They obviously ignore the fact that Kerry has actually killed someone face-to-face, while the closest Bush got to doing that was when he giggled it up as some born-again Christian woman was on the war to one of his Texas execution chambers.)
But other than that, when you think about it, what has Bush done in this so-called "War on Terror"?
He attacked Afghanistan? Big deal! Hell, if 9/11 had happened on Calvin Coolidge's watch, he'd have invaded Afghanistan during a break in one of his famous afternoon naps!
Bush invaded Iraq? Okay, if you insist on considering Iraq part of the "War on Terror," then you must admit to it being one hugely-botched battle at best, with terrorists now operating out of that country and doing things Saddam Hussein would never have allowed them to do. But in fact, Iraq, as has now been demonstrated, originally had nothing to do with the war on terror anyway, although probably now it does. Which leaves us with Afghanistan, where the Taliban still lives, and as Osama bin Laden possibly does, too.
(Okay, looking on the bright side, isn't it nice that Saddam was removed from power? Yes, but considering the subsequent blowback, celebrating Saddam's being gone is like calling the glass ten-percent full instead of ninety-percent empty. One can understand some Iraqis being happy about this, but it has certainly /not/ made the world safer.)
Is this war just a metaphor, like the "War on Poverty"? Apparently Bush doesn't think so, charging that anyone (i.e., Kerry) who thinks this war is just a metaphor is not fit to be president. (Lots of Bush's fellow Republicans have called it a metaphor, but that's okay, they're not candidates for the job.)
Can this war be won? Apparently Bush doesn't think it can be, not in the classic sense (although he had to later clarify that argument by inserting some flip-floppy ambiguity into it.)
Is it a law-enforcement matter? Bush says no, that's just "September 10th thinking," the sort of thing his opponent is guilty of. (You know, it seems this business of hunting down this war is like Twenty Questions, with no end in sight.)
But in truth, if it's not a metaphor; and it can't really be won in the usual sense; and it's not a law-enforcement thing; and if even Tommy Franks has told people Afghanistan is really more of a man-hunt than a war -- and as has been pointed out before, shortly after our invading Afghanistan, there were more American soldiers in Salt Lake City, protecting the Winter Olympics, than there were fighting our so-called war in Afghanistan -- then where is this war everyone's talking about?
Even Bush and his people admit that this "war" has produced absolutely no actual "war prisoners" as such that fall under Geneva Convention protections. Shouldn't that alone tell us something?
Look, I have ideas of war in my head. Take WWII; now that was a proper war! So was WWI and the Civil War and the War of 1812 and the War for Independence! Real wars you can see and smell, and run to join up with, or maybe run away from. Korea and Vietnam were called "police actions," but whatever you called them, they walked and talked like wars to me.
So if anyone tries to tell you that this is a war unlike others and it isn't between nations and that it doesn't take place in any one chunk of geography, but is in fact taking place in the slums of Hamburg and the jungles of Indonesia, and hundreds of other secret places where these vermin try to hide, and that it won't end with someone signing a peace treaty, and may not /ever/ end in the conventional sense, and is not fought only by soldiers with guns but also by prosecutors with subpoenas ... you see where this is going?
Tell them what they're describing is only "metaphorically" a war, but is really mostly just a law-enforcement issue that, like crime itself, will probably never end -- and certainly not the sort of thing to allow a president to lay claim to being a "wartime president". I'm sure future historians will someday compare the mass hysteria rampant in early 21st century America, as it fought its imaginary war, to the Salem witch burnings and communist-hunts during the McCarthy era.
It seems like such a classic case of emperor-wearing-no-clothes, and it seems that nobody wants to bring this up, so let me do it now:
I need everyone's undivided attention! Listen up! There IS no War on Terror!
I repeat: There IS no War on Terror! None! We have all been conned!
Anyone? Please feel free to convince me otherwise.