What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.

By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.

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If the Administration has a videotape with what amounts to a confession by Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks, you might think that it would broadcast the video far and wide. Today's Washington Post quotes senior government officials claiming that they have just such a videotape, retrieved from Jalalabad, showing Mr. bin Laden using "language that indicated he was familiar with the planning of the attacks". On NBC's Meet the Press today, Dick Cheney confirmed the story and described the video to Tim Russert this way:

It's pretty clear, as described to me, that he does in fact display significant knowledge of what happened and there's no doubt about his responsibility for the attack on September 11th.
Mr. Cheney also proposed a reason for not releasing the videotape:
We've not been eager to give the guy any extra television time than he could obtain for himself.
The wisdom of the original policy may itself be open to question, but even if you believe that censoring Mr. bin Laden is a good idea in general, it would seem that a televised confession is something that the U.S. would want to publicize widely. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the White House P.R. operation headed by Karen Hughes wants to release the tape, but is concerned that Arab audiences would not find it believable if the tape was known to have come from Washington.

Fair enough, this is certainly a reasonable concern. It may have made sense to slip the video quietly to Pakistan for initial publication, or mail it anonymously to Al Jazeera, or something like that. But then why was the story leaked to the Washington Post?

Karen Hughes
Ms. Hughes is a skilled propagandist, a worthy opponent for Mr. Bin Laden, so perhaps she has engineered the leak as part of a Machiavellian plot to confuse the enemy. She also has a history of using leaks in battle against internal enemies in the Administration, but it's hard to imagine that she would allow petty squabbles to influence her handling of such a critical national security matter.

In any case, now that the story is out, there seems to be no reason to delay the release of the incriminating portions of the tape, at least. Much of the world lacks faith in the Administration's assertions of culpability by Mr. bin Laden, and any substantiation could be helpful.


July      8th - July     14th, 2002
July      1st - July      7th, 2002
June     24th - June     30th, 2002
June      3rd - June      9th, 2002
May      20th - May      26th, 2002
May      13th - May      19th, 2002
May       6th - May      12th, 2002
April    22nd - April    28th, 2002
April     1st - April     7th, 2002
March    25th - March    31st, 2002
March    18th - March    24th, 2002
March    11th - March    17th, 2002
March     4th - March    10th, 2002
February 25th - March     3rd, 2002
February 18th - February 24th, 2002
February  4th - February 10th, 2002
January  28th - February  3rd, 2002
January  21th - January  27th, 2002
January   6th - January  13th, 2002
December 10th - December 16th, 2001
December  3rd - December  9th, 2001
November 26th - December  2nd, 2001
November 19th - November 25th, 2001
November 11th - November 18th, 2001
November  4th - November 10th, 2001
October  11th - November  3rd, 2001

Busy, busy, busy.

What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


The floggings will cease when morale improves.
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