Islamic websites yesterday posted a "last warning" warning by Rakan Ben Williams, who describes himself as an "al-Qaida undercover soldier" in the U.S., threatening two major operations designed to bring Americans "to your knees."Yup. That'd do it to me. Go and take a peek at the article from MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, for the direct translation. There's too many things in there worth a mention, and I don't want to pull a Protein Wisdom-esque move and copy/paste the whole thing here. I'll wait while you read it, so go ahead and take your time. (Not like I have much choice but to wait. At this point in time, I'm just text on a screen to you, so it's not like I'm actually sitting in your monitor and smoking a virtual cigarette while you get done with that.)
Done? Good. Because I've been afraid of something like this happening for quite a long time now. Just as I said in this comment over on Mr. Avenger's blog, my biggest problem with the invasion of Iraq was that it took attention away from Public Enemy Number One: OBL himself.
Regardless of the varied denials by various Bush administration officials, the basic effect of putting troops into Iraq was the reduction of the troop strength available for the manhunt. Without enough boots on the ground and eyes in the skies, it should be relative child's play to evade the downgraded dragnet. And, should al Queda succeed in their plans, there will be only two places to lay the blame for it happening: Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush.
Osama gets it for, basically, authorizing the thing in the first place. Bush gets it for, basically, being oblivious enough to reality so as to allow Osama the ability to live to the point where he could authorize it, particularly after the "Dead Or Alive" speech.
For complete disclosure, I include myself as one of those who stood up and cheered the President for that speech. And for me, the subsequent misadventures and mistakes relating to the complete disregard for his promise, made to the entire country and not simply his own party, have been one of the most serious betrayals of public trust that any sitting president has ever performed. He has sunk down to the level of Richard Nixon in that regard, and not simply because of that Associated Press poll that was released last Friday. The only difference between the two, much to the chagrin of the people that run the site linked in this sentence, is that Bush has not actually done anything that is actually impeachable. (Damn.)
So if/when/until this ball actually opens, all we can do is hope that this little announcement is actually a hoax, simply one of those loose threads leading to a false lead, rather than the real McCoy. And pray that the people in charge will get their collective heads out by doing something that should have been this nation's highest priority three years ago, namely Osama bin Laden: Dead Or Alive, instead of Regime Change Made Easy.
(Now, if you could please close this window? It's a little drafty in here, and I'm having trouble lighting my cigarette. If you need me, I'll be sitting on your hard drive while working on your taxes.)