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CIA Should Probably Downplay Its Ridiculously Ineffective Hunt for bin Laden

CIA director Michael Hayden reported this week that Osama bin Laden appears to be less involved with al-Qaeda’s day-to-day operations, instead "putting a lot of energy into his own survival." Good investigative skills, Michael, now where the fuck is he? … Read More

By / November 14, 2008

CIA director Michael Hayden reported this week that Osama bin Laden appears to be less involved with al-Qaeda’s day-to-day operations, instead "putting a lot of energy into his own survival." Good investigative skills, Michael, now where the fuck is he? As America’s principal forum for political discourse, Saturday Night Live, noted a couple of weeks ago, "George W. Bush always finds his man, with one gigantic exception." Hayden reinforced that "[bin Laden's] capture remains the US government’s top priority."

The United States’ failure to apprehend a man who at this point has one of the most famous faces in the world is embarrassing–and possibly even more damaging to the country on a worldwide scale than the attacks on September 11th. Regardless of bin Laden’s apparently dwindling influence over al-Qaeda, the US made a whole hullabaloo about "smoking him out of his hole," and other such nonsense, only to see him evade them at every turn. What does it say to the rest of the world that America, formerly the biggest, baddest dude on the block, cannot track down a 50-year-old man who may or may not be schlepping around a dialysis machine?

After Abraham Lincoln was shot in 1865, his assailant, John Wilkes Booth, was tracked down and killed in less than two weeks. This was accomplished despite occurring in 1865, when there was no radar, metal detectors or even mechanical methods of transportation. Simply having a head start of a couple of hours gave Booth an enormous advantage, as both he and his pursuers were all traveling at the exact same speed — one horsepower. Fourteen decades later, with near-unlimited financial and technological resources, the country that is supposedly the most powerful in the world cannot find their target?

Even more embarrassing than the military’s failure to locate bin Laden is the government’s failure to convince the rest of the world that he is a bad guy. Despite offering a reward of $25,000,000 (plus an extra million from Bruce Willis), the US Government has been unable to convince any of bin Laden’s cohorts to turn him in. Think about that for a second: Some dude who is currently spending his life living in caves and running around Pakistan taking video of a decaying old man is unwilling to make as much money as A-Rod this year by simply making a phone call and reporting his boss.

Unbelievable.

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