Things have seemed, if not spiraling out of control, then at least heading very much in the wrong direction since the murder and desecration of four Americans in Fallujah over a month ago. And then add the chaos and bloodshed that has followed, and the American culpability in mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq.
But – going a long way to right the ship – after a day of dithering, today Bush issued a direct apology for the mistreatment, efforts are well under way to bring the guilty to justice, Rummy gets ceremonially grilled by Congress tomorrow, and most salubrious of all, just when we need him most, Osama bin Laden jumps into the breach to remind us why there’s a war on terror in the first place:
- An audio recording attributed to Osama bin Laden offered rewards in gold Thursday for the killing of top U.S. and U.N. officials in Iraq or of the citizens of any nation fighting there.
….”You know that America promised big rewards for those who kill mujahedeen (holy warriors),” the speaker said. “We in al-Qaida organization will guarantee, God willing, 10,000 grams of gold to whoever kills the occupier Bremer, or the American chief commander or his deputy in Iraq.”
He was referring to L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, and top military officials.
“For security reasons, the rewards will be given as soon as conditions permit, God willing,” the voice said. “As for those who die while killing an occupying solider, the great prize will be for us and for him when God grants him martyrdom, and the smaller prize (the gold) will be for his family.”
….The recording promised the same reward for the deaths of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi.
“The United Nations is nothing but a Zionists’ tool, even if it worked under the cover of providing humanitarian aid,” the voice said. “… Whoever kills Kofi Annan or the head of his commission in Iraq or a representative like Lakhdar Brahimi, he will be awarded the same prize of 10,000 grams of gold.”
The speaker promised a lesser prize – 1,000 grams of gold – to anyone killing a citizen of countries he called “the masters of the veto like Americans and Britons” – a reference to nations with veto power on the U.N. Security Council.
And he offered 500 grams of gold to anyone killing citizens of countries he called “slaves of the Security Council who are in Iraq, like Japan and Italy.”
The context indicated the rewards applied to citizens of those countries who are in Iraq.
With gold selling Thursday on London exchanges for $387.60 a troy ounce, 10,000 grams of gold was valued at $124,630, 1,000 grams at $12,463, and 500 grams at $6,231.
….The speaker urged Iraqis to fight a holy war against their U.S.-appointed Governing Council, which he called a “puppet” of the U.S.-led coalition and “a tool to pass their plans to the people and a way to show their hatred of religion.”
“Therefore, jihad (holy war) is obligatory for all Muslims in Iraq,” the speaker said. [AP]
Thank you, infected pustule of the desert, for reminding us that this IS the same war, for reminding all that no one is safe who does not suckle at the radical Islamist teat, for reminding us who the real bad guys are.