Crying Wolf

Each time a new videotape from Osama bin Laden emerges, as one did yesterday, it ends up embarrassing the Bush Administration because the Administration has adopted a tactic of planting stories in the media that bin Laden is dead, which are then conclusively disproven each time a new tape appears. Every since 9/11, the Administration has repeatedly whipped up speculation that Osama bin Laden is dead in order to induce the public into becoming distracted (and scared) by the Evil Ones, and to give the appearance that Commander-in-Chief George Bush is protecting us all by slaying the Big Bad Wolf.

How many times have we heard the Administration or its close allies plant stories in the media indicating or strongly implying that bin Laden is dead - only for the stories to be proven entirely false? Let us count Michael Ledeen, National Review, January 9, 2006

And, 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.

Christian Science Monitor, 12/21/2005

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday that he doubts Osama bin Laden is in any position to command the worldwide operations of Al Qaeda. The BBC reports that Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters on a flight to Pakistan that bin Laden could still be hiding along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, but it was hard to know since the terrorist leader had not been heard from in more than a year.

Pakistani Ausuf - October 24, 2005

The Pakistani newspaper 'Ausaf' which is based in the city of Multan in the Punjab Province is reporting that Osama bin Laden died last June in a village near Kandahar in Afghanistan. According to the newspaper report, Bin Laden was campaigning at Bamiyan, fell very ill, returned to Kandahar where he died and was buried in the Shada graveyard in the shadow of a mountain.

National Review -April 30, 2005

Was chatting with Jim Robbins. He keeps hearing this morning that the president might have some OBL news tonight? A new Islamist website is reporting that bin Laden is dead...and Musharraf has for the first time said that OBL is in his country..

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World Tribune - 10/16/02

TEL AVIV Osama Bin Laden appears to be dead but his colleagues have decided that Al Qaida and its insurgency campaign against the United States will continue, Israeli intelligence sources said.

CBS News - 7/17/2002
FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson said Wednesday he believes Osama bin Laden is dead — the first time a senior U.S. law enforcement official has publicly given an opinion on the al Qaeda leader's status..

CNN - January 19, 2002

Pakistan's president says he thinks Osama bin Laden is most likely dead because the suspected terrorist has been unable to get treatment for his kidney disease. "I think now, frankly, he is dead for the reason he is a ... kidney patient," Gen. Pervez Musharraf said on Friday in an interview with CNN.

And this is all independent of the countless times the Administration has claimed that Al Qaeda’s "number two" or "number three" officials were killed by the U.S. military, only for those stories to be exposed as being completely false..

How many times has the Bush Administration made claims or encouraged speculation generally over the last several years only to be completely wrong? Add to all of these false Al Qaeda stories all of the games they played with Tom Ridge’s "color alerts" and all of the times they scared people out of their wits based on absolutely nothing. And then there is the whole WMD humiliation, which needs no description..

We can just mourn the impact all of these shenanigans on the credibility of the U.S. Government both among Americans and in the world. We really are at the point where a rational person simply disregards news reports that come from this Administration because of how many times those reports have just been totally false and baseless..

It really is the Boy who Cried Wolf Syndrome, and we’re seeing it manifest with our claims that Iran is an imminent danger and everywhere else. Nobody believes the U.S. anymore, not even -- perhaps especially not -- Americans. What rational person would?

--posted by Glenn Greenwald


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