“War, Lies, and Audiotape”

That’s the title of a revealing piece by Joe Conason in salon.com that links to a full translation of the bin Laden tape and points out sections that greatly reduce the credibility of Colin Powell’s interpretation.
Conason points out:
As I argue elsewhere, this tape is probably more than a signal for Islamist terrorism against the West; it is almost certainly a deliberate attempt to encourage war fever in the United States. Does anyone doubt that bin Laden prefers war to weapons inspections?
He ends with a reasonable and insightful request:
While I put together my survival kit of duct tape and canned soup, I hope an administration spokesman will explain why we are sending 150,000 troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein when we wouldn’t send in 5,000 to capture or kill bin Laden.
In the words of U.S. Senator Byrd from the Senate floor today:
In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as a well-intentioned peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come. Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant — these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good.
As I post this, Dubya is speaking in Jacksonville, Floriday, revving up the troops. “Jack is Back!” he is telling them, reminding them of their ongoing battle for “Enduring Freedom.” He is playing right into bin Laden’s hands, who will be ecastatic, no doubt, to see us launch ourselves into a full-scale war with Iraq.
(My thanks to b!X for continuing to point me to important news links while he focuses his weblogging on his local activist activities.)

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