Away in Montreal this weekend, I awoke on Saturday to read Osama's pre-election little rant. When I had heard about it on Friday, I thought, "October Suprise!" But the real surprise was that the video was treated so... so... so... calmly by the candidates and the media. No one blew it out of proportion. It was just silly ol' Osama, doing his thing. (Of course, I've been away from the blogosphere for the weekend, so I don't know what's going on here.)
Good on everyone... But the video is not dismissible. It's absolutely fascinating. I encourage you to read the full transcript and discover for yourself how strange and surreal Dirty ObL's video is. He references the Bush-reading-to-children scene in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. He throws in a casual reference to Sweden and how he has no plans to strike there. Then there are references to interviews he granted to Time and Robert Fisk in days gone by... The Fisk bit gets particularly odd:
[Fisk] is one of your compatriots and co-religionists and I consider him to be neutral. So are the pretenders of freedom at the White House and the channels controlled by them able to run an interview with him? So that he may relay to the American people what he has understood from us to be the reasons for our fight against you?Is Osama bin Laden asking the American networks to interview Fisk, so he can represent the terrorists' side of the story?
ObL also an interesting line that makes it difficult to see how people thought he and Saddam ever had anything in common: "[W]e [the bid Laden brigrade] have found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents." Bush and Saddam: birds of a feather, says ObL.
But this could just be part of his scheme to co-opt all of the talking points from root-causeions and those opposed to Bush. Iraqi sanctions, Palestine, the Patriot Act, ballooning deficit... It's all there. I hope no one is falling for the ruse. ObL'll say anything. Remember when he used to blame 9/11 on the CIA and the Jews?
Anyway, all in all, an extremely interesting document, whose multi-layered meaning I will leave to others to dissect. Effect on the election, however: little to none, I suspect.