Six Years Later

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 12:11 pm

I read this over at Brad DeLong’s blog, and I share in his sentiment:

If you had asked me six years ago what the odds were that Osama bin Laden would still be living out his alloted lifespan in the fall of 2007, I would have said that the odds were zero.

No matter how feckless, incompetent, and stupid George W. Bush and his administration are, I would have said, nobody would let an Osama bin Laden kill 3000 Americans in an act of terrorism and survive.

Silly me.

Six years gone, and Osama bin Laden is still hiding in his ditch, making videos that taunt the greatest military power the world has ever seen. At the same time, Gen. David Petraeus is up on Capitol Hill trying to explain how he plans on salvaging the catastrophe in Iraq. It’s depressing beyond words.

I wrote something about September 11th last year; sadly, things haven’t changed much since then.

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10 Responses to “Six Years Later”

  1. KenP Says:

    OK, no problem with your view. I’ll share parts of it. But…

    Brad DeLong??????

    Talk about vodoo economics? Well, the other extreme is the activist economist. And he epitomizes the saying, “Figures don’t lie; but, lairs figure.”

  2. KenP Says:

    How are you on trivia today?

    The infamous Oliver North appeared before the US Senate.
    He was being drilled by a senator; ‘Did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?’

    Ollie replied, ‘Yes, I did, Sir.’

    The senator continued, trying to get a laugh out of the audience, ‘Isn’t that just a little excessive?’

    ‘No, sir,’ continued Ollie.

    ‘No? And why not?’ the senator asked.

    ‘Because the lives of my family and I were threatened, sir.’

    ‘Threatened? By whom?’ the senator questioned.

    ‘By a terrorist, sir’ Ollie answered.

    ‘Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you that much?’

    ‘His name is Osama bin Laden, sir’ Ollie replied.

    At this point the senator tried to repeat the name, but couldn’t pronounce it, which most people back then probably couldn’t. A couple of people laughed at the attempt. Then the senator continued. Why are you so afraid of this man?’ the senator asked.

    ‘Because, sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of’, North answered.

    ‘And what do you recommend we do about him?’ asked the senator.

    ‘Well, sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.’

    The senator disagreed with this approach, and that was all that was shown of the clip.

    OK, who was that senator?

  3. KenP Says:


    Spoiler follows…

    He invented the Internet.

  4. KenP Says:

    I remember the above. I don’t remember this one. But, neither to I condemn Clinton and Christopher. You think that might be a significant difference here? (P.S. What did you think of the ad in the NYT trashing Petreaus before he could even testify?)

    Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986.
    The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called ‘political prisoners.’

    However, the Israelis would not release any prisoners with blood on their hands.

    The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, ‘insisted’ that all such prisoners be released.

    Thus Mohammad Atta was freed.

    Eventually, he thanked the U.S. for helping him to obtain his freedom by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center.

    This was reported by many of the American Television networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified.

    It was censored in the U.S. from all later reports.

    It wasn’t GWB’s administration that allowed a convicted terrorist to drop in for flying lessons. And, I won’t condemn BC for that either. Big world out there.

  5. Gene Says:

    I agree with your calling Oliver North “infamous”–a guy who sells weapons to Iran and then lies under oath to Congress should indeed be considered infamous. Instead he has his own show on Fox News. Oh, the troubled times we live in…

    If North thought back then that bin Laden was such a threat that he should invest $60,000 on a home security system, should the United States not have taken a more active approach in apprehending/killing bin Laden after his organization murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11?

    I don’t know how you come to call Brad DeLong a “voodoo economist”. Nor do I know what an “activist economist” is. DeLong regularly posts comments and critiques of his work from other economists, writers and bloggers, so I hardly think that he cooks the books in order to justify his work.

  6. Gene Says:

    You’ve confused Mohammad Atta, the 9/11 hijacker, with Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta, the man who bombed the bus in 1986. To quote from the latter’s entry in Wikipedia:

    “…it was initially thought that Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta was one of the hijackers on board the first plane to hit the World Trade Center.[2] This led to the harsh questioning of US immigration authorities and the intelligence community, because it was felt that they had failed to stop a known terrorist from entering the country under his true name. However his identity was confused with the Egyptian militant leader Mohammed Atta who was actually on board the flight.[2]

    Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta’s current whereabouts are unknown.”

    The 9/11 Atta was Egyptian and would’ve been 18 in 1986, while the Atta who bombed the bus in the West Bank was Jordanian and 32 at the time at that attack.

  7. Daddy Says:


    You also might want to check your memory about the North/Iran/Nicaragua trial.

    Disputed and refuted in the past elections, this email hogwash caught on like wildfire amongst the sheepish masses so eager to hit “Forward” in their email, and quick to wax politically poetic to their equally mistaken and easily misled friends.

    Nary a mention of either Osama, or Gore in the actual proceedings.

    Couple this with your Atta whiff, and you’ve got what my right-wing bowling friends refer to as a Republican Turkey.

    This shit is tired.

  8. KenP Says:

    I think North is an interesting comparison and I am sad that the second info wasn’t up to evident snuff and mentioned I hadn’t been aware of it before being sent it by someone.

    But your North comment is interesting. I’m sure Mr. North considers himself a great American and in your class. His flaw seems to be the rightness of his cause overshadowing prudence. It seems to be often the case when one joins a bandwagon. That is a situation many are placing themselves in these days. It lends itself to allowing item like the Atta mistake above making it into many minds without research. People seem to reject the middle ground whether eastern liberal or born again. I have rejected both for a long time but respect many good people that make up both camps.

    I met Professor DeLong in the web setting. I am banned there. I posted nothing more than a different set of statistics that said something entirely different. I don’t even recall the exact situation but I do referencing a full dataset instead of the short term one used by Delong. He was on one of his rants at the time and didn’t enjoy seeing the data reference on his site and deleted in and the possiblity I’d ever access his site again.

    Activist or social economist use economics for a tool for social change. Harvard has several. Our local University of Chicago has none to my knowledge. Social economists are less stringent in their data samples to say the least. I’m hardly an economics wizz but when I can challenge the noted Berkley professors works, it doesn’t say much for the work.

    He mentioned Obama as a counterpoint to Republican stupidity. Mr. Obama my give him the gratification GWB has failed to provide. That is true as Senator Obama is on record for invading Pakistan if that is what it takes. Doesn’t seem far removed from others crossing borders with troops to make the world a safer placed, does it?

    GWB lost his glamor. When he had it, his current critics were on his bandwagon. Those that dissented from making war in the senate can be counted on one hand — using one finger really if you want to pick one.

    So here we are in a cockup beyond all doubt. We’ve as many dead there as at the world trade center and not much to show for it. So, should we cut and run? More important, can we? With Iran operating in the country with impunity and seeking more control in the area, that doesn’t bode well. Is the best outcome we can hope for in withdrawing the fragmentation of the country and a powerful Iran that could make inroads in other countries — including Afghanistan and an already problem riddled Pakistan? Remembering that Pakistan already has the bomb that Iran seems set upon to have.

    We’ve never been a country with great world views. But, with one exception, we’ve finished what we started. In most of the past our failures were do to disinterest in anything more than ourselves. When we deviated from that and screwed up like here, we at least had the decency to try to do what was right for people like the Filipinos. We just didn’t throw up our hands and leave the people on a path to their distruction.

    The opponent mix against the Iraq situation glows over GWB loss of faith in the US allies. How much worse do we make it by cutting and running? Would anybody out there trust our word and ask our help where needed?

    Yup, Ollies an infamous dude. And others with their narrow views and righteous self-interest are starting to compete for the honor.

    Like your mother told you, “You make a mess; you clean it up,”

  9. KenP Says:

    BTW, I watched the North exchange as it happened — I’m that old. It was a hell of an item in the papers. He was spending government money like a profligate to protect his home. That was years ago and it may not have happened with those eyes and tees crossed but it darn well happened. I thought him a gung ho jerk then and now. But, gung ho jerks of all stripes can get part of it right. That is the real problem we face.

    To return to the topic at the start: George didn’t get OBL. That indisputable. Who has a better solution today? We have the same structures in place that missed it before and there isn’t a party or group out there that is going to change that. Politics is broken and we continue to be partisan twits. Roman pushed its troubles off on the other guy and that didn’t work out well.

  10. Gene Says:

    You wrote, “George didn’t get OBL. Who has a better solution today?” With the passage of time, coming up with a better solution–any solution–is far less likely. And I’m not even talking about the unnecessary disaster that is Iraq. That’s why all this talk about draw-downs and withdrawals are totally ludicrous. Bush isn’t going to end the war in Iraq, because that would be admitting that he made a strategic error of historical proportions. Which he simply isn’t going to do, no matter the consequences for our military and the Iraqi people.

    The fact that Bush hasn’t started each of his last 6 State of the Union addresses by saying, “We haven’t yet captured or killed Osama bin Laden–this is unacceptable, and here are the steps my Administration will take in the coming year to bring about that result.” Instead we had Bush saying, “So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him. … And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.” He should’ve been impeached that very day.

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