American intelligence analysts said today that they had concluded that the voice on an audiotape that emerged last week was indeed Osama bin Laden's, and that the tape was made quite recently.Like most, I was under the impression that if Osama hadn't popped up by this point, he was probably a smear of organic matter somewhere in a cave in Afghanistan. Hell, when and if they actually catch the guy, I'd be rather grateful if they kept him alive long enough to ask him how the hell he got out in the first place... best guess I have is that he was gone before the Americans even moved in, but maybe he sneaked past.
The authentication of the tape, while not unexpected, is quite significant in that it represents an official determination after almost a year of doubt that the terrorist leader is still alive.
Odds are he's somewhere in Pakistan, but if he were as much the supervillian as claimed, wouldn't he know that we were expecting him to be there and hang out, oh, at the French riviera recovering from his extensive cosmetic surgery? Disturbing thoughts.
More disturbing, actually, because it means that since the tape is genuine, and since it claims that there will be repercussions not just in the U.S. but around a good part of the western world as well, and since the credibility of his threats are pretty much hanging by a thread at this point, all signs would seem to point to some sort of coordinated attack on economic centers in about six different countries. Which would be hell to organize, but most of the countries in question don't have security as tight as the U.S. does at this point. I also wonder about those other two incidents in Moscow and Bali, although trying to boil down the Chechan conflict to radical Islam is a simplification that I don't support (nationalism has never exactly gone away, 9/11 notwithstanding) and it's dangerous to try to boil down every incident to one organization.
Looks like the United States military's famous ability to fight two simultaneous wars might well be tested after all.