According to news reports, the U.S. has picked up Osama bin Laden's voice on
a radio in or around the Tora Bora area, which means the noose is tightening
It also means that the roles are, for now at least, largely reversed:
Afghanistan only sees 10 hours of daylight at this time of year, so the U.S. has
14 hours of night fighting, and, as was said earlier, the U.S. owns the night:
with infrared goggles, and thermal imaging, and high-powered sniper rifles, bin
Laden's men are likely to be picked off by enemies who they can't see, much less
shoot back at. Day or night, bunker busters break through cave walls and Daisy Cutters suck the oxygen out of considerable areas.
In short, while there are still ways apparently for bin Laden to escape, the
chances of that happening are less every hour, and the steady terror of knowing
that one's death is at hand is bound to be on their minds. Here's hoping
that the tension and terror are very high indeed. Bin Laden and his men may
have, belatedly, realized that the U.S. is deadly when angered. On the
now-famous videotape, bin Laden crows that Islamic materials are being sold at
vastly higher rates in the U.S. after 9/11, but what he's too ignorant to
realize is that the sales are largely to "infidels" who are trying to
understand Islam better. It's just one more miscalculation in a series of
Nothing is going to bring back the slain in New York and Washington, but our
guess is that the death of bin Laden and his last followers in Afghanistan will
result in a grim satisfaction for many Americans. For others who are
tempted to follow in his footsteps, the U.S. has made clear their determination
and ability to settle the score. Afghanistan has always been considered an
impossible territory to conquer, being landlocked and with a difficult
geography. It defeated the British and the Russians, and bin Laden was
certain he would take down the U.S. as well. It doesn't look like things
will happen that way.
There's still the chance that Al Qaeda has more nastiness in mind for us, but
the organization, as it previously existed, is no more.
A survivor in New York published a column in Newsweek and said the following:
"Of everything bin Laden had to say, what bothered me most was his
praise for another Arab who had taunted Americans by saying 'If you are true
men, come down here and face us.' Well, bin Laden, weÂve accepted the
invitation. And where are you now? Hiding in a cave. You coward.'"