For what seems to be the 463rd time, we pose the question, is Osama dead? Little Green Footballs has the following, via Michael Ledeen:
According to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December. The al-Qaeda leader died of kidney failure and was buried in Iran, where he had spent most of his time since the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Iranians who reported this note that this year’s message in conjunction with the Muslim Haj came from his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for the first time.
Well, he has been awful quiet lately; with no statements released since December 27th, 2004, when he appointed Abu Musab al Zarqawi as al Qaeda's man in Iraq. Peter Brookes also reports today:
OSAMA bin Laden hasn't made a single peep publicly in over a year — his longest absence since 9/11. The ghoul's eerie silence is both disturbing — and odd — for the leader of a global terrorist organization hellbent on changing world order.
So what is Public Enemy No. 1 up to? Osama's glaring absence from the world stage means one of three things: a) We've been closing in on him and he's gone deeper underground; b) He's lulling us into complacency while planning another big terrorist strike, or c) He's dead.
It's very possible that Osama, a fugitive on the run and under continuing pressure by U.S. forces, has gone incommunicado along the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border. He may have also fled into safe haven in neighboring Iran — or even left the region completely.
By lowering his profile, Osama may also be trying to lull us into complacency four-plus years after 9/11, while he plans the next big attack. "Out of sight, out of mind" could lead to America dropping its guard; complacency is as big a threat to our security as Osama and al Qaeda.
It's also possible that Osama has gone "belly up." Although there is disagreement about whether Osama has kidney problems, few consider him a picture of health. Hanging out in caves for four years probably hasn't improved his condition —physical or mental.
Maybe I've seen too many slasher flicks, but I won't believe this monster is dead until they roll his worm-rotted corpse out onto al-Jazeera. I agree with Brookes; four years of spelunking in the frigid Afghani-Paki badlands is tough on the strongest man's constitution; and Osama was an oft-infirm older man.
Still...dare we hope; dare we dream?
LGF here: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=18811_Osama_Bin_Dead&only
Peter Brookes here: http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/61215.htm