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October 29, 2004

al Qaeda's Campaign Consultants Must Be Furious

You'll have to take me at my word that I don't think it matters one way or another, but I'm not convinced that this is bin Laden. The nose is a little different (although the tape's blurry), but more strikingly, he looks too, well, bin Ladenesque. The guy's been in hiding for years, knowing that the United States is after him, knowing that we pulled Saddam from his rat hole, and he takes the precaution of what... growing his beard a bit and losing some weight? I'm not defending any heavily vested opinions, here, but al Qaeda's had an awfully long time to dig up a look-alike.

Whether it's bin Laden or not, though, al Qaeda's got a mixed message to resolve. After all, we Americans — quaking at the thrice-uttered "guilty" — are still absorbing this:

The magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about September 11th. ... After decades of American tyranny and oppression, now it's your turn to die. Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood, matching drop for drop the blood of America's victims," the man, calling himself "Azzam the American," says on the tape.

And now the head guy himself (or a reasonable facsimile) comes out of hiding with what sounds almost like an apology:

It never occurred to us that he, the commander in chief of the country, would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone, because he thought listening to a child discussing her goats was more important. ...

I want to talk to you about the reasons behind these events. And yet I — and I'll be honest with you, that the moment that we took the decision — let me say to you that God only knows that we never thought about attacking the towers.

So are Americans all "guilty, guilty, guilty" and doomed to a bloody "magnitude and ferocity," or did 9/11 take more lives than intended because Bush forgot his superhero cape back at the ranch?

Posted by Justin Katz at October 29, 2004 11:02 PM
Middle East

From perusing the blogosphere today, I see that an awful lot of commentators think the Osama tape is going to put Bush over the top in the election. On the one hand, I'm not sure I agree with that. On the other hand, I said as long ago as January that I thought Bush would win decisively, and in August that this whole "the country is evenly divided" storyline is hogwash.

Posted by: ELC at October 30, 2004 7:38 PM