Sunday, October 31, 2004

You Can't Fault A Guy For Having Goals

Once you've pulled off the largest terrorist attack in history, starred in a large number of direct-to-video short films, and perfected your survivalist skills, what else are you to do? Duh, start your political career.

Not that he wasn't plenty political already, but:

[Experts] said Bin Laden appeared 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 official said "a political spinoff [of Al Qaeda] is one of the greatest fears" of U.S. counter-terrorism authorities, with Bin Laden and his network following the path of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hezbollah and the Irish Republican Army. Over the years, those organizations evolved from violent militant groups into broader organizations with influential, widely accepted political wings. . . .

"He has injected a political element into his work and has tried to appeal almost on an intellectual level," said Cressey, now a counter-terrorism consultant. "He's saying, 'I'm here and you better factor me into your calculations, political and otherwise.' "

"If people are concerned that he is evolving into more of a political figure, to a certain extent he already has," Cressey said. U.S. authorities, he added, "should be concerned if [Bin Laden's] message resonates with a broader portion of the Muslim world than his narrower messages of the past, in that he was declaring war. And only time will tell if that's the case."

Lee Strickland, who recently retired after 30 years at the CIA, said Bin Laden already had made inroads in some respects.

"He and his organization have matured and become more subtle and more effective in delivering their message and their policy," Strickland said.

In his most recent tape, Bin Laden "shows a great sophistication in thinking, in planning and in communication. It makes him much more dangerous," Strickland said."
Like a faulty innoculation, we've only served to make him stronger, it seems. Not great news. I'd think there's already plenty of evidence pointing to a new nationalism-sans-nation among those who "hate us because we're free." At any rate - at least the guy is endeavoring to be legit, right?

(Save the hate mail, please).

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