Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where In The World Is Osama bin Laden?

We don't care. Not even the Bush administration really cares:

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has closed a unit that for a decade was charged with looking for Osama bin Laden and his senior lieutenants, The New York Times reported.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts were reassigned within the CIA Counter-terrorist Centre, intelligence officials told the newspaper.

The officials said that the move reflected the view that al-Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, as well as a growing concern about groups inspired by al-Qaeda that had started to carry out attacks independent of bin Laden and Ayman alZawahiri, his second in command.

This move may make sense, or it may not. But what doesn't make sense is the way bin Laden has been used as the embodiment of All Evil for publicity purposes, but only when it benefited the local political calculations of the Republican party. Really, Americans deserve better than that.

Then there is the whole question why al-Qaeda now has so many copy-cats, and the role that Bush's foreign policies have had in making them popular among certain factions.