Something Else to Worry About


Pakistan's Daily Times has some speculations about the most recent tape attributed to bin Laden:

…the United States has, as expected, rejected the truce offered by OBL, saying that the US government does not negotiate or deal with "terrorists". Since this is standard US policy and well known, it is difficult to believe that Al Qaeda did not anticipate this response. Why then would OBL deem fit to offer a truce? The classical Islamic tradition of warfare is to offer a truce to the adversary before an armed conflict. This was meant to give the adversary a chance to avoid a conflict. If the other side accepted it, there would be no war; if it rejected the offer, the Muslim armies would have a reason to fight. The tradition is a crude reflection of today's legal-technical concept of jus ad bellum (the reason for war) under the United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the use of force.

Seen from this perspective, could it be that the operative part of Al Qaeda's message is not the truce offer but the warning that more attacks are forthcoming? Evidently, if Al Qaeda knows that it cannot engage the US because the latter will not talk to it then it is merely fulfilling a legal obligation before launching the next series of attacks.

Have a nice day.

As long as we're speculating, am I the only one wondering if the guy in the last couple of bin Laden tapes is really Osama? I know the speaker has been "confirmed" as OBL, but for all I know the same experts would "confirm" Rich Little as Ronald Reagan. Then again, for all I know the CIA has developed a virtually infallible voice recognition technology. Anyone care to fill in this ignorant observer about (a) how certain you really can be about this sort of vocal analysis, and (b) whether there are any independent voice-recognition shops out there that have either endorsed or disputed the belief that this is bin Laden?