We’ve gone back and forth on the question whether Osama bin Laden is dead. Today, Matthew Heidt of Froggy Ruminations argues that bin Laden is an ex-terrorist:
You hadn’t heard? Well, I’m not breaking news, President Bush knows damn well that UBL has been dead for quite some time. But why would Bush keep it to himself? If he were to disclose his knowledge that UBL is dead he would blow John Kerry’s doors off in the election, and yet he remains silent. Why?
Maybe you’re wondering how I know he’s dead. Perhaps one of my SEAL buddies let me in on the secret? NO. I know because a publicity whore and grandstanding scumbag like UBL could not possibly resist the multitude of opportunites to inspire his cult members. His number 1, Zwahiri, has appeared on video or audio broadcasts every few months since 9/11. UBL has not been heard from since Tora Bora despite developments in the GWOT in Afghanistan and Iraq that make it unthinkable for him to have remained silent.
Zawahiri decided that it was better to just pretend that UBL was alive because there was no plausible martyr story to tell. UBL went out running for his life like a coward. He is dead.
By why not make it public? After all, this is the one thing that could ensure the President’s re-election. Because the President knows that making UBL a martyr would serve to further inspire his minions, and he realizes that preventing this from happening is more important than his re-election. Instead, UBL remains forever silent even as his recruits yearn to hear his voice. Eventually these cultists will realize themselves that UBL went out like a punk, not a martyr and that the AQ head shed has been lying to them for years. That realization combined with US combat boots knocking their teeth down their throats will go a long way to beating this cult into submission. But it is important to recognize that the President’s committment to killing terrorists supercedes his committment to his own re-election.
It is hard to see any other explanation for bin Laden’s three-year silence.