Thursday, February 26, 2004

US commandos 'closing in' on bin Laden?

The Sunday Telegraph reports thatUS commandos are 'closing in' on bin Laden. Commandos of Force 121 are being tranferred to Afghanistan, presumably to ready for extraction of a surrounded Ossama bin and other leadership elements of Al Qaida.

It seems far too early to spring the caputure of bin Laden as an October Surprise. The timing is not maximally advantageous to the Administration, which is one of the reasons I think there may be actual substance behind this report. The real wild card will be the political effect if bin Laden is not taken alive. There will be extended coverage of his humiliation and trial if he is taken alive. But if the Telegraph's sources are correct, then bin Laden has taken measures to ensure that he is not taken alive and that his body cannot be recovered. With no evidence of bin Laden's capture or death, will people even accept that he is dead? Al Qaida would certainly not confirm it. Might bin Laden find a sort of perverse immortality as a result of his destruction?

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