Bin Laden is alive and able to release an audiotape that threatens to attack our homeland.
President Bush and his Administration continue to carryout their illegal NSA surveillance program telling us that it is necessary because the threat is real. The Bush Administration offers the bin Laden audiotape as further justification for why they need the NSA surveillance program.
Two quick thoughts:
1. KICK OUT TARGETS IN NSA PROGRAM--END OF STORY; END OF DEBATE
Before 9/11 (and contrary to certain Bush Administration officials' public statements), we were carrying out similar surveillance on at least some of the 19 hijackers who were living inside our country as al Qaeda sleeper cells. However, the hijackers were neither detained nor deported prior to committing the 9/11 attacks. Result: 3000 people were killed.
Now we find the Bush Administration carrying out illegal surveillance on U.S. citizens who are allegedly receiving phone calls from al Qaeda. We are told that these individuals are so dangerous and so in the midst of plotting attacks against us, there is simply no time for the Bush Administration to adhere to the law and secure judicial approval (even 72 hours after the fact) for their surveillance.
One would assume that the targets of the NSA program would be defined by the Bush Administration as "al Qaeda sleeper cells living inside the United States." One would also assume, then, that the Bush Administration's justification for ignoring U.S. constitutional law, if it is valid, would mean that these individuals are currently in the process of planning, preparing, or committing terrorist attacks against this country in the near future. In essence, the targets are so bad, so dangerous, so lethal that there is simply no time to follow the law--a law that is set up in a manner to facilitate such surveillance; and a law that rarely requires the secret court to turn down any requests to carryout such surveillance.
So, why is President Bush letting these sleeper cells stay here? Why is President Bush giving them any opportunity to carryout their plans of attack? Doesn't he understand how dire the situation is? Surely, he must.
Even prior to the release of bin Laden's recent audiotape threatening an imminent attack, I could not understand why these "highly dangerous sleeper cells" were permitted by President Bush to remain inside the United States to even receive such ongoing phone calls from al Qaeda. If they are that bad and dangerous--so bad in fact that President Bush doesn't even have enough time to notify anyone--then they must really be on the verge of committing a terrorist act, right? So, why are they still here? Bin Laden's audiotape just makes the question burn even more in my mind. Have we not learned any lessons from 9/11 about letting the line out too long on surveillance of sleeper cells?
I want to know why President Bush does not attach "enemy combatant status" to such individuals and kick them the heck out of our country NOW...before they can perpetrate another 9/11. End of story.
(I do not condone the use of "enemy combatant status" by the Bush Administration to detain individuals indefinately and without probable cause. I believe it is wrong. But, I don't think President Bush should be breaking the law with regard to the NSA surveillance program, either. Not when there are other ways/tools at his disposal to avoid ongoing illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens. Kicking these sleeper cells out of our country via enemy combatant status would: end any and all threats posed by these individuals; end the need for any ongoing illegal surveillance of them OR other citizens of this country by President Bush; and potentially save thousands of lives if another attack is prevented.)
2. BIN LADEN'S TAPE
First, if the NSA program is so top-dog then why did the President learn about bin Laden's audiotape at the very same time as the rest of America? I would have hoped that the NSA program might have discovered it and briefed the President about it well before CNN.
Second, why is bin Laden still alive and able to produce an audiotape wherein he pontificates about U.S. foreign policies in Iraq, U.S. poll numbers, and offers a truce in Iraq and Afghanistan? He doesn't sound like a man desperate and on the run. He sounds more in command and control of his terrorist troops now than he did immediately after 9/11.
Third, why does the Bush Administration downplay the importance of bin Laden? He murdered my husband and 3000 others. I don't care whether he is the number one guy for al Qaeda or the 50th guy, he killed 3000 people on our homeland soil. He is a criminal. He is a terrorist. And, he needs to be brought to justice. Why doesn't President Bush get that?
It is offensive that individuals like the President and Vice President have the audacity to comment that bin Laden is no longer significant or important to them. He is a murderer of 3000 innocent people and will always be paramount in the minds of those whose loved ones were killed by him. Just as he remains paramount in the minds of those who follow him. He should remain a priority in our President's mind. Bin Laden's capture would send both a symbolic and concrete message to the world that President Bush is a man of his word in bringing all terrorists to justice.
It was determined after 9/11 that the enemy who attacked us on 9/11 was named: Osama Bin Laden. He was the leader of a group named: al Qaeda. And they trained in a place named: Afghanistan. A named face, a named group, a named place. A named enemy.
I am real sorry that President Bush and his Administration left unfinished business in Afghanistan prior to starting the war in Iraq. I am real sorry that President Bush and his Administration decided to start a war in Iraq--a place that had nothing to do with 9/11, al Qaeda, or bin Laden. I am real sorry that the war in Iraq has increased and "morphed" other enemies (namely the insurgency) against the United States.
But, Osama Bin Laden is the man responsible for 9/11. He is the murderer of 3000. And he should be captured and brought to justice however difficult that might prove to be for President Bush who continues to pursue the many new "nameless," "faceless," and apparently "stateless" enemies that threaten Americans today--enemies, many of whom, were created by President Bush's bad foreign policy choices in Iraq and the Middle East post-9/11.
Please know this President Bush: the capture of an enemy of any other name, does not suffice for your promise to capture Osama bin Laden.