Monday, February 27, 2006

where is bin laden?

The Washington Post's latest Sunday Outlook Section has some good essays on Osama Bin Laden. A brief summary from Slate's indispensable Today's Papers:

Ahmed Rashid affirms there that Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, where the government isn't doing enough to catch him. Besides offering a monetary reward, which they don't need since money is not scarce, officials aren't doing enough to convince Pashtuns to stop hiding him. Peter Bergen explains why it has been so difficult to catch Bin Laden and emphasizes that capturing him is still important, even if it's just for psychological reasons. He also theorizes that Bin Laden might not really be on the run, as is often speculated, but might, in fact, be hunkered down somewhere. John Brennan says that the United States is focusing too much on Bin Laden's strategy, which is terrorism, and not enough on his vision of global domination.
Some interesting sections from Brennan's article, which has some good points:

Bin Laden has also insidiously convinced us to use terminology that lends legitimacy to his activities. He has hijacked the term "jihad" to such an extent that U.S. and other Western officials regularly use the terms "jihadist" and "terrorist" interchangeably. In doing so, they unwittingly transfer the religious legitimacy inherent in the concept of jihad to murderous acts that are anything but holy. [...]

Leaders of Islamic countries, organizations and local communities have most of the burden, as well as the best chance, of steering Muslim hearts and minds away from bin Laden's world vision. Yet while most distance themselves from his terrorist acts, their penchant for engaging in fiery rhetoric castigating the West helps breed greater intolerance of non-Muslims. The wide disparity between the haves and have-nots in the Middle East also fuels the fires of Islamic activism.

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