The Osama bin Laden video tape was big news in the final days of the campaign, and this news event was spun by the media so as not to benefit Bush. A Washington Post story by Dana Priest and Walter Pincus said that bin Laden had “injected himself into the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign, warning that American voters will be held accountable for electing any president who seeks to destroy al Qaeda and persecutes Muslims.” But near the end of the article, if you read that far, the authors cited evidence that bin Laden was on the defensive, and that Bush’s policies in Afghanistan and Iraq had put him there. Clearly, bin Laden wanted Bush’s defeat.
They quoted Juan Cole, a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the University of Michigan, as saying that bin Laden is probably “annoyed that Bush has portrayed him as an enemy of freedom.” They reported that “Cole said bin Laden may also be concerned about the recent election in Afghanistan and the backing the United States has gotten in Iraq for elections from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Shiite leader, and he may be ‘feeling pressure from the success of the electoral process.'”
Translation: the promotion of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq is working. The terrorists are losing. That was big news, and it was also good news. But because it benefited President Bush, the Post did not highlight that information in its story.
The Post noted that bin Laden, in his first videotaped address in three years, had mentioned the USA Patriot Act. He did more than mention it. Bin Laden joined John Kerry in opposing it. Bin Laden declared that Bush “moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom to his own country, and they called it the Patriot Act, under the disguise of fighting terrorism…” That is the same complaint made by the extreme left and radical Muslims in this country.
Taking a page from Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, bin Laden said that Bush “was more interested in listening to the child’s story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers.” That is the same old tired complaint made in Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. It has to do with Bush being in a Florida classroom when he got news about the initial strikes on 9/11. So it is likely that bin Laden saw and approved the Michael Moore movie. Perhaps the DVD of Fahrenheit 9/11 can be remade with a personal statement from bin Laden saying, “I am Osama bin Laden and I approve this message.”
A few days before that, the American member of al Qaeda who had threatened a new wave of terror attacks against the United States made a reference to the remarks of comedian Bill Maher about the cowardice of the United States launching cruise missiles compared with terrorist suicide attacks. On the September 17, 2001, episode of his ABC “Politically Incorrect” show, Maher had said, “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” Maher lost that show on ABC but then turned up on HBO with his own program. Osama bin Laden approved of his message as well.