The constant attacks over flip-flopping and inconsistencies during the course of the election were enough to make even the most dedicated political junkies queasy - insults, negative ads, and fabricated articles made it difficult to stay focused on policy issues.
However, over the course of the last 11 years, one man determined to set policy in America has been very consistent. His name is Osama bin Laden.
The connections and documents surrounding the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Embassy bombings in 1998, the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, the devastating attacks in 2001, and the Madrid Bombing in March do not take a CBS specialist to analyze and interpret.
Behind each one of those murders was a clear message: America and its allies will be destroyed. Period. There were never discrepancies, never twitches or irregularities or inconsistencies. Osama and his followers would use all resources in their power, and even those that were not - like human emotions and fear - to direct the course of not just the Middle East, but the entire world.
For eight years, Al-Qaeda succeeded. Their increasingly horrific attacks were mourned and then overlooked. World leaders hoped that by taking a passive approach, the terrorists would simply give up.
Perhaps it was the economic and technological boom of the 1990s that overshadowed these attacks; perhaps it was just bad leadership and bad policy. Despite where the blame lies, Al-Qaeda did everything but give up; in fact, each attack grew in its intensity.
Trying to figure out just how far it could go, Al-Qaeda kept pressing the world’s metaphorical buttons.
On September 11, 2001, it pressed the wrong one.
The constant references to that day have numbed the reality of it. 9/11 comes up in speech daily, reports and media coverage never end, and all foreign policy analysis mentions the day in some context. But try and blank out three years of press coverage and remember just how horrific that day really was.
Osama bin Laden proclaimed his message loudly: America will be destroyed. There were no exclusions or clauses in the proclamation exempting certain groups or people. All of America needed not be defined. However, out of the dust and the ash arouse a new nation; leaders were born and a spirit was refreshed. America, for a split second took a breath remembering why it was founded and what it stood for, and then unleashed its wrath.
The terrorists quickly learned that the United States would not be swayed by faceless cowards. Yet they did not give up hope; they moved their bombs around the world to a Bali nightclub in 2002 and a Spanish subway earlier this year.
But there again, the terrorists made another miscalculation. Even though the Spanish may have succumbed to the pressure by rethinking their following election, this has only strengthened America’s resolve to succeed.
And America has succeeded.
In three years, three-quarters of Al-Qaeda’s members have been destroyed. Libya has disarmed, Afghanis have voted, and Iraqis will soon follow suit.
And yet the pessimists and those who hate America for what it is continually focus on the setbacks - mainly, where is Osama bin Laden? Where has Osama bin hidin’? Yet these pessimists do not understand that the real Osama died long ago, and only a remnant of flesh and bones remain, which is clearly evident in his latest tape release.
His body and mind are exhausted and weak, and his message no longer claims victory, but rather pleads for compromise. Consider this first statement:
“And in that regard, I say to you that security is an important pillar of human life, and that free people do not compromise their security.”
WHAT? Is this an advertisement for the Bush campaign? Maybe it’s just me, but I thought Osama was out to kill the United States, not defend its actions. Osama then goes on to reference Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 by making jabs at Bush reading the story of the goat that fateful morning. Not only can he no longer come up with his own insults, but his strategy to influence our election was a homemade video - not a massive attack.
While he may have felt confident in Spain, Osama has been taught not to mess with America. He then concludes with his most amazing statement yet:
“Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.”
HELLO! That certainly was not the policy in 2001. “The Infidels must be destroyed,” must have been either edited out or mistranslated.
Or maybe the US and our allies are winning after all. His desire for deconstruction has begun to crumble under humanity’s desire for progress. His repressive lifestyle is being choked by the surging tide of freedom. And as long as Osama continues to feed off hate, he will continue to be overcome by our society built on love. America rose to the challenge three years ago.
Osama’s last minute desperate scare-tactic proves that the United States is winning the War on Terror.