Sergei Borisov: What kind of bin Laden does America need?

Immediately after the terrorist attacks on the USA, President Bush said America would get bin Laden, “whether alive or dead.” But it was clear from the very start that America did not need bin Laden alive. By now, many officials in the USA, have come to a tacit consensus on how to deal with the “terrorist No. 1.” The Washington Times says in this connection that such a consensus may mean the following. The US land forces will not come into a direct clash with bin Laden. Those forces will try to eliminate him from the air, although several days’ bombardments have not succeeded in reaching the desirable result. US air forces say they have dropped bombs on the Taliban’s several command posts. But the Taliban says no one of the commanding officers was hurt during those raids. The point is that a living bin Laden (if Americans manage to catch him) will create a great deal of problems for the country’s security. His followers will do their best to release him. And in doing so, terrorists are sure to come to extremes, and CIA, FBI and other related services must have properly figured this out. So, bin Laden’s elimination from the air would be, from the Americans’ point of view, the most favourable outcome of the battle with the USA’s chief enemy. But even more favourable for the Americans would be bin Laden’s elimination by the others – the USA does not want to incur extra anger from the Moslems. Americans think they could get rid of Osama using his own bodyguards. Even most allegiant of them may kill their boss to prevent him from falling into the hands of infidels – bin Laden himself has allegedly issued such an order, so one has only to create a relevant situation. The danger is that Osama may become a martyr for the world’s Moslem community, which seems exactly what he is striving to achieve. A dispute is going on in the US administration over how the USA is best to proceed. The majority thinks bin Laden should be physically eliminated. A living terrorist in the hands of the US justice would be a severe headache for politicians. The Justice Department would have to disclose sources used and methods employed by the intelligence. And this could play into the hands of other terrorists. Besides, you will have to find an unbiased jury, which is next to impossible. As Americans decide on how best to deal with Osama, the latter must be quietly siting in one of his numerous bunkers. It looks like the public is being prepared to accept the idea that the No.1 terrorist may not be tracked down shortly, if ever. US satellites are carefully examining Afghanistan’s surface. There are many caves there, where America’s worst enemy may be hiding. But Osama himself still remains inaccessible.

Sergei Borisov

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