Monday, September 15, 2008

Kim John Ill

Ok, I'm probably the 117th person to use that title, but it's too hard to pass up.

Speculation has reemerged in the most recent issue of The Economist that the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has fallen ill. The article is a quick read and provides a good synopsis of the reasons to speculate on Il's health, the lack of apparent successors to Il (he doesn't have a younger brother Raul), and the state of nuclear proliferation agreements.

Perhaps the most meaningless but most interesting tidbit is that Kim Jong Il has a son who is known only for his obsession with Eric Clapton. This can only be explained by the fact that if you say Pyongyang 5 times really fast, it sounds like the solo in White Room.

What I'm surprised we haven't heard more speculation on is the death of Osama bin Laden. We have only heard scratchy audio tapes of him in the past 2-3 years, with vague "kill the infidels" messages. I know each tape has been authenticated by audio tests, but isn't it possible that it could be someone who sounds nearly identical to bin Laden, or that they've reused audio from previous recordings?

Not to mention that most official messages from the top al Qaeda leadership recently has come from Ayman al-Zawahiri, historically al Qaeda's #2. Throw in the intelligence that bin Laden has had a history of kidney trouble, which is probably not easily treated in the caves of Warizistan, and bin Laden have yet again eluded capture... by dying.

Of course, it could be that al Qaeda deems it too risky to produce any communication from bin Laden, if he is indeed holed up in the caves along the Afghan-Pakistani border. More likely is that the U.S. will not even hint at his death without it being certain, as a "resurrected" bin Laden would be much worse press than declaring him dead would be good.

We may have another cluse soon, though. In 2004, bin Laden delivered a video message just prior to the U.S. presidential election. The absence of some kind of "Ha-ha" before Bush leaves office would only add to the reasons to believe he's dead.


Ryan said...

Dude, brilliant and funny. The White Room comment left me lmao. (i just discovered what that means.)

I couldn't agree more about Osama BL. I've wondered if he weren't dead for awhile too. It presents the interesting question, what if U.S. intelligence "knows" he's dead but can't prove it, i.e. no body, pictures, proof like that. Would they even try to convince the public?

Is Osama more valuable to our war machine alive than dead?

That's paranoid of me, I know. But, Schrodinger's box seems awfully big, containing most of Afghanistan and Pakistan and definitely Osama.

I just want to open the box.

Coovo said...

I always thought that once Osama died that Al Qaeda would hold him as a martyr for the cause and promote the fact that he had never been caught. Unless of course we blew him to pieces with one of big ass Uncle Sammy sized bombs during a cover op.

Another question could be what if the U.S. has absolutely no idea if he's alive or dead? Should they proclaim his death to flush him or a tape recording of him out? Possible, but then we look like idiots for having the wrong info, I mean intel, if he does so.

But I think he's alive because evil never dies. Castro's been knocking on death's door forever it seems. That's one guy who could be dead and we wouldn't know it.

But as W is flushed out of Office, I think he'd would find any reason he can to justify the war on terror and the death of Bin Laden would be such a reason.

Coovo said...

Forgot something: Schrodinger? Are you kidding me? Can you dumb it down for the sports guy here.

Seriously though, How can a box only big enough to fit a cat, fit all of Afghanistan and Pakistan. You should be glad I'm not on your defense committee. I'd swat you into the seats like Mutumbo.

Marty said...

laughing my ass off....that's what that means....just figured it out....go me

Roller said...

Interesting questions about bin Laden's life's value to the government. One could argue that certain government organizations wouldn't receive as much funding if bin Laden were dead, and thus would want him alive, but I don't agree with that.

bin Laden himself isn't really a threat anymore; he's just a symbol. He's never been the "mastermind" of the organization. While he's technicially the leader of al Qaeda, the strategy and administration has always been left in more capable hands. For the most part, bin Laden was the leader because he was rich and everyone else was poor. His money and his devotion to the cause created his status.

I suppose if he can still deliver audio/video messages, it does have some value for the organization in terms of morale and perhaps better donations, but if he were dead today al Qaeda wouldn't be lacking for some sort of leadership skills.

That's a long way of saying I think the terror threat wouldn't be diminished at all with a dead bin Laden.

Bush, for certain, wants him dead/captured.

I wonder if it wouldn't be more beneficial to al Qaeda to actually have bin Laden captured? Sure, the U.S. would have "gotten their man", but bin Laden would have so many opportunities to speak from the pulpit in the many months/years before his trial, and still become just as much of a martyr for the extremist world.