November 29, 2007

Give Up, And We'll Consider It A Deal

Osama bin Laden seems rather desperate to get the Western nations out of Afghanistan. In a new audio tape partially released by al-Jazeera, Osama tells Europeans that the American-led invasion of Afghanistan was unfair, because Mullah Omar's government didn't know about the 9/11 plot. Osama insists that he kept it very quiet:

Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden called on the Europeans to stop helping the United States in the war in Afghanistan, according to excerpts of a new audiotape broadcast Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.

Bin Laden said it was unjust for the United States to have invaded Afghanistan for sheltering him after the 9/11 attacks, saying he was the "only one responsible" for the deadly assaults on New York and Washington.

"The events of Manhattan were retaliation against the American-Israeli alliance's aggression against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and I am the only one responsible for it. The Afghan people and government knew nothing about it. America knows that," the al-Qaida leader said.

The message appeared to be another attempt by bin Laden to influence public opinion in the West. In 2004, he offered Europeans a truce if they stopped attacking Muslims, then later spoke of a truce with the United States. In both cases, al-Qaida then denounced the countries for not accepting its offers.

At the time, Osama claimed it as retaliation for "occupying" Saudi Arabia, but let's not quibble. He has once again admitted 9/11 as an al-Qaeda operation for whatever twisted reasons suit his purpose. At least that much should put to rest most of the lunatic-fringe truther conspiracies -- if the conspiracy lunatics had any rational thought at all.

Let's take him at face value on his claim of injustice, though. If he was correct, then he should have told Mullah Omar to extradite him and his AQ fanatics to the United States before the invasion. We offered Omar the opportunity to do that before we invaded Afghanistan, but Omar refused to surrender Osama or his henchmen, specifically because he said the US lacked proof of Osama's involvement. If Osama objected to an invasion that we specifically declared would remove Omar from power, perhaps he should have tapped Omar on the shoulder and said, "Hey, bud, I have something important to tell you ..."

To take this line of thought even further, we could declare the deal still open. Let Osama and his AQ nutcases deliver themselves to the American military for detention, completely and without any conditions, and we will help broker a political solution for Omar's survival. The Afghans appear willing to have some sort of reconciliation with the Taliban if they would stop trying to reinstall their dicatorship, and we could help find common ground, if any exists. But until Osama and the entire AQ network surrenders to us, then the war continues.

If Osama wants justice, let him take that deal. If Omar wants to survive this war, he could simply give up Osama, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the AQ lunatics. Until then, we offer Osama and Omar a healthy cup of shut the hell up.


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