Osama Bin Laden: Terrorist and Political Pundit

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In his latest public statement, Osama bin Laden (or someone purporting to be him) wades pretty deep into U.S. domestic politics, according to a transcript of his remarks obtained by ABC News:

He says to the American people, “you made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld…”

“You permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you — with your full knowledge and consent — to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then you claim to be innocent! The innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th — were I to claim such a thing.”

Bin Laden says President Bush’s words echo “neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle.”

“People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there.”

Now, here’s the thing. Both sides of Iraq debate may be tempted to use bin Laden’s words to some perverse advantage. Bush Administration supporters (and, in fairness, no one has exploited bin Laden’s statements quite like the Bush Administration) will try to extract some measure of satisfaction that if bin Laden is against us, we must be doing the right thing. Iraq War opponents might be tempted to note that bin Laden is calling out the Democrats for not stopping the war. Whatever. Bin Laden is a crazy, evil man. No one should take any pleasure in trying to exploit his rantings for their own partisan purposes. The only legitimate political point to be made is why is this guy still free to spout such noxious rhetoric six years after the September 11 attacks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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