The general consensus appears to be that Osama Bin Laden's second videotaped statement will only serve to alienate potential followers in the
BinLaden's most recent tape didn't help him one bit. It hurt him. He was attacking Arab countries. He was attacking Muslim nations. He was attacking the United Nations, which has won a Nobel Peace Prize. So, his last tape, as propaganda, was pretty patently transparent.
Here's British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain, as quoted by the Western Daily Press on Nov. 5:
This is a contemptible statement. It is evidence of bin Laden's isolation and his desperation. With every move Osama bin Laden isolates himself from moderate Muslims around the world.
Here's U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as quoted in Le Figaro (English translation via Agence France-Presse, Nov. 5):
When Bin Laden says that democracy and human rights are only western products, I find that insulting for the peoples of the
Third Worldthat he claims to be defending. When a father discovers that his son has been tortured, when a woman finds out that her husband has been thrown into jail without reason, their reaction is the same wherever they may be. In the west or in the Third Worldthey shout out the same anger, cry the same tears.
And here's Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher at a meeting of the Arab League in
There is a war between bin Laden and the whole world.
All this would seem to suggest that Bin Laden's statement should be seen by as wide an audience as possible so that he will be recognized by an ever-growing majority of people around the world for the hateful lunatic he is. Having made a similar observation after Bin Laden's first video, Chatterbox is inclined to agree (provided, of course, that Bin Laden isn't sending secret messages). Trouble is, Chatterbox can't find a complete transcript in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or anywhere else. Nor can he find a complete videotape with a simultaneous translation. (Possibly he could get some help from the Al Jazeera Web site, but Chatterbox can't read Arabic.) Apparently, the Bush administration's plea to suppress Bin Laden's public utterances is being heeded widely, by both TV and print outlets. If the above-quoted reactions are correct—as Chatterbox believes them to be—then doesn't censoring Bin Laden undermine