Saturday, July 10, 2004


Corey Pein, in yesterday's CJR, discusses the newfound media interest in the surprise theory as a result of the TNR article by Ackerman, Judis, and Ansari. The story investigates claims that the Bush administration has been pressuring Pakistan to produce Bin Laden or some other high-level member of al Qaeda before the November election. Pein credits the story for reminding the press that bin Forgotten is out there. What's being done to find him? Why has he been so difficult to catch?

Pein talked to Gary Sick, a former member of Carter's national security council and an expert on Iran. Sick had earlier investigated whether the Reagan campaign used the Iran hostage situation to influence the 1980 election. He made a case for it in a 1991 NYT's op-ed. Pein notes, "Controversy ensued, and in the end, nothing was settled. Alas."

Does Sick think finding Bin Laden or one of the other big names will boost Bush? Pein concludes:

For what it's worth, Gary Sick doesn't put much stock in a sudden bin Laden capture. And he now believes the whole hostage thing in 1980 didn't do much to sway the election. He says voters aren't that stupid, and he believes they make up their minds based on impressions they develop over the long term.

That could be true. We may be about to find out.

We'd all like these bad guys to be rounded up, but it will not end the threat of terrorism. Many argue that the Iraq invasion has made the whole situation worse, and Americans are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the whole mess. Why didn't we capture Bin Laden when we had the chance? Now, it's too little, too late. Bush blew it, big time.