Osama bin Laden (or an impersonator) has produced a tape, portions of which Al-Jazeera has played. Bin Laden claims that the absence of an attack on the U.S. homeland has not been due to American security measures but rather to the fact that “the operations need preparations.” He notes that operations are occurring in Baghdad, and warns that we “will see them” here in the U.S. when the preparations have been completed.
Bin Laden goes on to propose a truce that is “fair and long-term.” The terms don’t seem precisely clear, but they apparently have to do with us exiting Afghanistan and Iraq, which will give al Qaeda a chance to “build Iraq and Afghanistan,” while enabling the U.S. (in addition, presumably, to avoiding attack) to save billions of dollars that would otherwise go to “merchants of war.”
I believe the part about al Qaeda preparing to attack the U.S.
UPDATE: The CIA reportedly is saying that the voice on the tape is bin Laden’s. Here’s a translation of the text. Bin Laden clearly recognizes that the central front in his war is the battle for public opinion in the U.S. A key premise of the al Qaeda project is that the U.S. is a “weak horse” that, if attacked, will always back down. It hasn’t worked out that way under this president, but bin Laden thinks that, in aggressively attacking al Qaeda where it lives, Bush is out of step with his countrymen. Hence the urge to go over Bush’s head, Ronald Reagan style, and appeal to what he considers the true American spirit — cowardice.
He tried this just prior to the 2004 election. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. As I said, bin Laden recognizes the central location of his war. What he doesn’t understand is the terrain.
Hat tip: Thomas Joscelyn.
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