January 21, 2004

Words Not Uttered in the SOTU: Osama Bin Laden

Objectionable Content reminds us:

Objectionable Content: Words Not Heard in the President's State of the Union Address: Osama Bin Laden

Posted by DeLong at January 21, 2004 05:37 PM | TrackBack


Osama Bin Forgotten, it appears....

I was struck by the lack of any reference to the upcoming Roe v Wade anniversary.

In a speech otherwise dedicated to high-fiving his base, this was odd.... One reference to PBA, anf that was it.

But at least our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is still over.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 21, 2004 07:41 PM


Other words not uttered:

Moon. Mars.

Guess the focus groups didn't like that enough.

Posted by: Balta on January 21, 2004 08:26 PM


Interests Converge for Qadafi and Bush
by Meteor Blades
Wed Jan 21st, 2004 at 05:41:45 GMT

The Bush Administration is already making campaign fodder out of its apparent success at getting Moammar al-Qadafi to end his country’s doomed-from-the-beginning efforts to build nuclear weapons.

See how effective our Iraq policy has been, the administration line goes. Qadafi, so it is said, saw the handwriting on the wall when Baghdad fell and has come groveling to the minions of George Bush to take away his not-yet-weapons of mass destruction. The idea is that in this way the dictator wouldn’t become the Administration’s next target on the Axis of Evil list.

In fact, Libya was barely a blip on the neocon radar.

Qadafi is a monster all right. My wife showed up on a spring day in 1982 on the campus of Al Fatah University in Tripoli, where she taught English for three years, to discover the bodies of dissenters hanging from lampposts. My stepchildren, born in the U.S. but raised in Libya for most of their lives, can tell horrific stories about Libyans who disappeared forever when they were kidnapped to fight in Qadafi’s imperialist schemes in Chad or Sudan. Expatriate foes of the regime have been hunted and murdered as far away as Colorado.

Amnesty International has the lowdown, and, truth be told, its report merely touches the surface. The two major Libyan resistance Web sites - both, of course, based outside the country - can be accessed here in English and Arabic and here in Arabic only.

No fool, Qadafi knew his grandiose ambitions outside Libya were finished long before George Bush started rattling the saber at Baghdad. The colonel began, in his sly way, to mend international fences and ensure his own political survival before Bush even showed up in the White House.

Given Qadafi’s fears about fundamentalism, it was no surprise to long-time observers that he was one of the first world leaders to back the U.S. retaliation against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The trial of his terrorist henchmen in the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing and the victim compensation package boosted Qadafi further out of the crosshairs.

So now, what we have, in effect, is a fortuitous convergence of interests between Bush and Qadafi. Bush gets to look tough at home and Qadafi gets to look moderate abroad, helping both to stay in power.

The partisanship of this affair already stinks from here to Tripoli:
Gadhafi meeting set

Weldon will lead historic mission to Libyan capital

By Hans Nichols

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) will lead a historic congressional delegation to Tripoli this weekend to hold talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.

He and other members of Congress will also visit one of the unconventional weapons sites that Libya has agreed to open to international inspectors.

The touchdown of Weldon’s five-member bipartisan delegation aboard a U.S. Navy plane in Tripoli Sunday morning will mark the first official visit to Libya by American elected representatives since relations were severed in 1979.

Weldon, who serves as vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the symbolism of a U.S. military craft entering Libyan airspace “significant,” noting the 1986 nighttime bombing by F-111 Aardvarks ordered by President Reagan.

He plans to arrive with Gadhafi’s son, Saif Islam, the heir apparent, who played a key role in arranging the meeting. …

The Weldon-led trip may eclipse another planned congressional visit to the North African nation by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House International Relations Committee. Lantos, who had been planning his own trip for over a year and was working in conjunction with the Bush administration, was scheduled to leave Friday evening on a commercial flight, on a trip that had been sanctioned by the departments of State and Treasury, said a Lantos aide. …

But it looked unlikely yesterday that Lantos would arrive before the Weldon group. Lantos has tentatively rescheduled his trip for later in February. …

The aide dismissed any suggestion that there’s a race between Weldon and Lantos as to who gets to Libya.

But another congressional aide speculated that Weldon, with his forceful personality and extensive if unorthodox foreign contacts, was able to ensure that he and his delegation would be the first to meet Gadhafi.
There’s another convergence of interests, too. Libyan oil. There are 29.5 billion barrels of proven reserves, and a good portion of the country remains seismically unexplored. Libya can pump 1.4 million barrels a day, making it Africa’s largest producer and a major supplier to Spain, Italy, Malta, Germany, and France. In the New Venture 2000 survey of 76 global oil companies, Libya came up the No. 1 preferred location for exploration and production.

Qadafi, who diverts much of Libya’s $12 billion in annual oil revenue to personal use and schemes like the Great Manmade River Project, is eager for those companies – Halliburton included – to rebuild the sanctions-damaged oil infrastructure so that he’ll have more money to divert and spend on the secret police who are found everywhere in Libyan society.

During the upcoming campaign, every time you hear mention of the administration’s “success” in bringing Qadafi to heel, you can be sure that Libyan democracy and human rights are far from the minds of Bush and his cronies, just as they were in Iraq.


Posted by: Cros Strees on January 21, 2004 10:44 PM


Osama bin Laden? Wasn't he that guy they suspected of being behind 9/11, before they figured out it was Saddam?

Posted by: rea on January 22, 2004 05:25 AM


The only explanation I can think of that ties all these threads together: Osama is protecting Saddam's weapons of mass destruction on Mars.

Posted by: Jim Harris on January 22, 2004 05:57 AM


Rumor in financial markets that Osama's been captured.

Posted by: abo on January 22, 2004 07:09 AM


Rumor in financial markets that ecomony's been recovered.

Posted by: bianco on January 22, 2004 08:01 AM


OBL? Yeah, he was behind 9/11. Until they found that the oil reserves in the Caspian basin were far smaller than estimated, and the Afghanistan pipeline fell through. (See: Oil & Gas Journal) After that they figured out Iraq, with all those proven reserves, was really behind 9/11.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by: Conspiracies-r-us on January 22, 2004 09:18 AM


At least Bush did not try to assert, even by innuendo, a connection between 9/11 and Saddam.
However, Cheney was on NPR this morning reasserting a connection to the '93 Towers attack.

Posted by: Bob H on January 22, 2004 10:48 AM


Jesus, Bob H, that's the canard that will not die. An Arab resident of Bloomington, Indiana is questioned and released by the FBI after the 1993 attack, and flees to Iraq, where he lives in freedom until 1996, when he is arrested by the mukbarhat and imprisoned, apparently with the intent of extraditing him to the United States in return for some favore or another. He retains an American lawyer. Then, in March of 2003, during the chaos of the invasion, he escapes or otherwise disappears. This is the connection?

Excuse me, and I'm not flaming you, but what will it take for Richard Cheney to admit to either lying outright or to having merely been grossly, horribly, patently wrong about the reasons he publicly gave for invading Iraq? Did the interviewer ask him for evidence, and hammer him for the lack of it?

Posted by: Brian C.B. on January 22, 2004 11:11 AM


My personal worst-case assumption is that Osama Bin Laden was caught a while ago, but the US Administration is keeping him to trot out right before the presidential election.

Posted by: clew on January 22, 2004 01:50 PM


Does that make the best case scenario Osama is free, and waiting until late October to release uncontrovertable video evidence of his continuing survival? Personally, I think the worst case scenario would have something to do with Osama being in a position to plan continuing operations. If we have him, and are sitting on him, that is a Good Thing in the general scheme of things, even if it is bad (and wrong) politically. At least he wouldn't be out there blowing folks up.

Posted by: rvman on January 22, 2004 07:42 PM


Good point, rvman. Okay, third-worst case. Absolutely worst case is that the Admin has him and is sitting on him in case they need to frame him for a future attack.

Posted by: clew on January 22, 2004 10:11 PM


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