Press reports herald the release of a new Osama Bib Laden tape. Among the words of “wisdom” from the perpetrator of 9/11, a warning to America that Afghanistan is unwinnable. We should remember this is from a guy who has been hiding in cave for some time now. A “fearless” leader who also predicted death and destruction would accompany US elections. It did not. That the US would fail in Iraq. We have not.
Since 2004, the head of al Qaeda’s man function seems to be to serve as an on-again, off-again talking head. Bin Laden’s videos are propaganda, pure and simple, designed to weaken U.S. resolve and foster recruiting and fund raising for al Qaeda. He has a personal stake in all of this. If the US holds out in Afghanistan, Pakistan will feel the pressure to eliminate the sanctuaries for the Taliban and al Qaeda once and for all…that would spell the end of Bin Laden. Not surprising he would like to see America fail.
That said, it is disappointing to hear US politicians parrot Bin Laden on the subject of Afghanistan, much the way they did during the troubled times in Iraq. Recently, Sen. Feinstein declared that she believed, “the mission should be time limited, that there should be no, well, we’ll let you know in a year and a half, depending on how we do[.]” That is exactly the wrong message to send to America’s enemies. Sending out signals that the US will cut and run in Afghanistan only makes the challenge of winning more difficult. As Heritage analyst Jim Philips recently wrote, victory requires firm leadership not, “half measures.”