It?s known that Osama bin-Laden has a serious case of kidneydisease and has had dialysis machines shipped to his varioushideouts. Now in his article ?Dust Bin? in the June 29, 2002issue of the English magazine ?The Spectator,? Mark Steyn, aBrit living in New Hampshire, says Osama is dead but it?sbetter for both sides to pretend he?s alive.
Pakistan television regularly releases videos of bin-Laden,but none of them have any information that gives a clueabout the date they were taken. Al-Qaeda officials makeannouncements, like the one by Suleiman Abu Ghaith, whosaid, ??Sheikh Osama bin Laden ...is in good and prosperoushealth and all what is being rumored about his illness andinjury in Tora Bora has no truth.?
Steyn says, ?I think I?d want something a little moredate-specific if a new Osama video turned up. You can?texpect him to hold up that morning?s paper as it would givea little too much away?but at the very least I?d expect himto cite not just his usual ancient grievances (Andalucia in1492, etc.) but also some more recent ones?say, the SaudiWorld Cup team?s Mossad-engineered 8?0 humiliation.?
Steyn believes bin-Laden must be dead because otherwise histerrorist team would give us plenty of information to provehe?s alive, since it would make the U.S. war in Afghanistanlook like a failure. If he?s not dead already, he may bedying in some secret hideaway. It?s known that he hadseveral doubles, in order to deceive his enemies. He mayhave used healthy lookalikes because it would have beenobvious to anyone who saw the real Osama that he was neardeath.
Steyn writes, ?Where did he go? The alleged experts seeminclined to favor either the Greater Kandahar area or thePakistani tribal lands. Supposedly, he?s trimmed his beard,and is receiving dialysis from machines supplied by rogueelements of the ISI, Pakistan?s intelligence services, whilewaiting for a doctor to be flown in to perform a kidneytransplant. I doubt it.?
Steyn has noticed that his followers seem to disagree onwhere he?s hiding. ?Hamid Karzai says he?s in Pakistan.General Musharraf says he?s in Afghanistan. From this we candeduce the general rule that, whatever country you happen tobe in charge of, you?d rather Osama were in someone else?s.?Steyn points out that, after we toppled the Taliban inAfghanistan, no political leader wants us to think thatbin-Laden is living in his country. If he was in a nearbyArab state, it?s likely he would be ejected, so as to avoidU.S. retaliation. No one has forgotten what happened in Iranafter we allowed the Shah to enter the U.S. for medicaltreatment, so it?s unlikely he?s being treated in a foreignhospital.
Since most of the 911 terrorists were Saudis, yet the U.S.still considers Saudi Arabia our friend, Steyn believesthat, ? If Osama is alive, Saudi Arabia?s his most likelylocation. That would explain why the Americans haven?t foundhim in any of the places they?ve looked for him: they?rechoosing not to look in Saudi.?
He adds, ?In any case, Washington is in no hurry topronounce him dead. In a celebrity culture, it?s useful tobe able to put a face to what would otherwise be a shadowymenace.? He thinks that if it was known that bin-Laden isdead, the U.S. would get much less European support for ourfight against al-Qaeda. ?Thus, for Bush, at home and abroad,it is politically necessary for Osama to remain alive untilthe invasion of Iraq is underway.?
Steyn isn?t impressed by the bin-Laden videos. ?Your averagerun-of-the-mill schoolgirl suicide bomber can make afarewell video.? He reminds us that the killers of WallStreet Journal reporter Daniel Pearl were able to make avideo of his murder and release it to the media. ?If DanielPearl?s murderers can get access to a professional studioand editing facilities, surely?al-Qaeda?s leadership can. Ifthey could have, they would have?if not Osama, thenal-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar or any of the other hotshotswho?ve been silent these last six months. They can?t all berecuperating from kidney transplants. One or other wouldhave turned up to crow on 11 March (the semi-anniversary) orsome other significant date.?
Steyn thinks it?s to the advantage of both the U.S. andal-Qaeda to maintain the fiction that bin-Laden is stillalive. It makes the terrorists look like they?ve beaten theGoliath of the West. The remnants of al-Qaeda, scattered andweakened, are probably delighted that the U.S. hasn?t seenthrough their undated videos and exaggerated pronouncements.
If Osama bin-Laden is still alive, then al-Qaeda is stillorganized and still threatens the West. This gives the U.S.an excuse to take out Saddam Hussein.
But until he sees some clear evidence, Steyn isn?t buyingit. He?s sure bin-Laden is dead.
Let?s hope the FBI knows it too. Why did they fail topredict 911? To find out, read ?The Bureau: The SecretHistory of the FBI? by Ronald Kessler,click here.
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