Bin Laden Reappears

This will not be the leading story for the next three days. News shows, from what I can tell, have already started moving on, because there isn't much to report. If you're living under a rock, here is what I'm talking about:

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened the United States with attacks similar to September 11, 2001 and accused President George W Bush of "misleading" his people, in a video message aired on Friday just days ahead of the US presidential election.

In the video, broadcast by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television, Bin Laden also accused Bush of negligence during the September 11 attacks, further inflaming the already intense final struggle between Bush and his rival John Kerry to win the White House.

Bin Laden told the American people that their security is not in the hands of either Bush or his Democrat challenger in the November 2 presidential vote but depends on US policy.

"Despite the fact that we are into the fourth year after September 11, Bush is still misleading you and hiding the real reason from you, which means that the reasons to repeat what happened remain," said Bin Laden.

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or Al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any (presidential) mandate which does not play havoc with our security would automatically ensure its own security," he added.

Bin Laden appeared less menacing than before and this is the first time he's ever taken responsibility for 9/11. As well, this is also the first time he's offered a glimpse into why he hates America so much. Apparently he's none to happy that we're so close with Israel and how we've been treating the Palestines.

Nonetheless, here's how John Kerry reacted upon hearing about the tape:

In response to this tape from Osama bin Laden, let me make it clear, crystal clear. As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. They are barbarians. And I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes. Period.

Strong, decisive, non-partisan. Nothing wrong here. It should be noted that all sources indicate Kerry hadn't even seen the tape at the time. He knew of it, but not specifically what it covered. As for Bush, he took a pretty safe route as well:

Earlier today I was informed of the tape that is now being analyzed by America's intelligence community. Let me make this very clear: Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. I also want to say to the American people that we're at war with these terrorists and I am confident that we will prevail.

Again we have safe, calculated statements with nothing overly offensive. If I had to be critical I would say he stresses that he's confident we will prevail, as if John Kerry is any less confident. But the interesting part is how he mentions Kerry by name. Basically, he's calling on Kerry to respond in kind, which he did.

However, later in the day, speaking further, Kerry did make a pointed attack at Bush, saying he felt he could run a "better war on terror" than the President. Nothing harsh, just simple, campaign rhetoric. We are three days from an election, people. But, the Bush babies would have none of it. They had prepared a response:

President George W. Bush called Democratic rival John Kerry 's charges that Bush failed to catch or kill Osama bin Laden "especially shameful" given a new tape by the terrorist mastermind.

"Unfortunately my opponent tonight continued to say things he knows are not true, accusing our military of passing up a chance to get Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora," an Afghan stronghold, in 2001, Bush told cheering supporters here.

"As the commander in charge of that operation, (retired general) Tommy Franks has said: It's simply not the case," Bush said. "It is especially shameful in the light of a new tape from America's enemy."

Kerry has repeatedly accused Bush of overrelying on Afghan fighters to flush the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks from Tora Bora, enabling him to escape.

"If we'd ever known where Bin Laden was, we would have gotten him," said the president, who told a crowd of thousands that US intelligence placed bin Laden in several countries.

Speaking to reporters outside the campaign rally here, White House communications director Dan Bartlett said that the tape should not affect the way Bush campaigns but that Kerry should have marked a 12-hour truce.

"You would think that there would be a, maybe, 12 hours to let the American absorb what has just happened today," he said.

Prodded on why, if the tape ought not to affect the campaign, Kerry should have stopped criticizing the president, Bartlett revised his statement, saying that the problem was that Kerry's attack had been "discredited."
[ed:emphasis added]

However, unchallenged news reporting about the standoff and public remarks by Bush aides, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, also placed Al-Qaeda's mastermind in the remote bastion.

And Kerry aides point out that Franks, who frequently campaigns for Bush, ran the siege of Tora Bora.

Aha, so Bush can continue to campaign as usual but Kerry I suppose was expected to take the rest of the afternoon off and discuss the intricacies of his health care plan with his rally attendies? Not bloody likely. This is seriously about the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

The important thing in all of this is that we remember this doesn't change a thing in the election. At least, it doesn't turn anything against Kerry. If anything, this discredits Bush as he had long insisted they didn't know where Bin Laden was and that he could, possibly be dead. He's obviously alive and runs the only terrorist ring that continually threatens the safety of the United States and it's citizens. That fact alone should warn any fence-riding voters that Bush has made more than a few major mistakes, this one being the biggest.
you are cool...
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