Osama bin Laden has apparently released a new tape, estimated to have been made in December:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 19 - Breaking more than a year's silence, Osama bin Laden warned Americans in an audiotape released on Thursday that Al Qaeda was planning more attacks on the United States, but he offered a "long truce" on undefined terms.
A truce? Because he is winning and wants to let us catch our breath? [Gregory Djerejian reflects at length].
In related news the manufactured outrage du jour is pretty thin soup - Crooks and Liars has a clip of Chris Matthews comparing Osama to Michael Moore (NOT the other way around), and Peter Daou is agitated.
First, let's extend the transcript a bit to minimize any confusion - Chris Matthews begins by reading this from Bin Laden's statement:
There is no defect in this solution [a proposed truce] other than preventing the flow of hundreds of billions to the influential people and war merchants in America, who supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars.
Matthews then says, roughly, "I mean he sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore. Do you think that sells in America, that this war is being fought for the Daddy Warbucks?"
And let's go to Mr. Daou for a reaction:
DEMAND AN APOLOGY: "Bin Laden sounds like Clint Eastwood" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Ron Silver" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Rush Limbaugh" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bill O'Reilly"-- "Bin Laden sounds like Mel Gibson" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bruce Willis" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Michelle Malkin"... Imagine the outrage on the right and in the press (but I repeat myself) if a major media figure spat out those words.
Well, if Mr. Daou can find examples of any of those figures suggesting that the war on terror is being driven by the "war merchants", then the comparison would be apt. Good luck.
On the other hand, Matthews' extrapolation of Moore's world view does not grab me as out of bounds - for example, a sympathetic reviewer assures us that Fahrenheit 9/11 promoted the Afghanistan oil pipeline theory and the Saudi-Bush connections, and a bit of poking around Michael Moore's website suggests he is more concerned than, say, Clint Eastwood with the profiteering possibilities of the war.
Well - if Osama has chosen to adopt Michael Moore's rhetoric, it would not be the first time. Bin Laden also made a reference to "The Pet Goat" after Moore popularized that Florida classroom incident in his film.
And why the fuss, anyway? Moore bashes Bush, Osama bashes Bush - surely the rhetoric might overlap at times, and if Osama is aping Moore, why should that be an outrage to Moore?
Let's put it another way - here is an extended passage form the Bin Laden statement. I suspect that I could find similar sentiments throughout the editorial pages of this country, not to mention the blogosphere.
Here we go - Osama as aspiring Kos diarist:
In fact, reports indicate that the defeat and devastating failure of the ill-omened plan of the four - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz - and the announcement of this defeat and working it out, is only a matter of time, which is to some extent linked to the awareness of the American people of the magnitude of this tragedy.
The wise ones know that Bush has no plan to achieve his alleged victory in Iraq.
If you compare the small number of the dead when Bush made that false and stupid show-like announcement from an aircraft carrier on the end of the major operations, to many times as much as this number of the killed and injured, who fell in the minor operations, you will know the truth in what I am saying, and that Bush and his administration do not have neither the desire nor the will to withdraw from Iraq for their own dubious reasons.
To go back to where I started, I say that the results of the poll satisfy sane people and that Bush's objection to them is false.
Reality testifies that the war against America and its allies has not remained confined to Iraq, as he claims.
In fact, Iraq has become a point of attraction and recruitment of qualified resources.
Is Osama really out of the anti-Bush mainstream with this? And why would he be - to the extent his audience is the West (rather than, for example, followers in the Muslim world), he is surely savvy enough to strike notes that will resonate with Western anti-war people.
MORE: Another look at the power of the war merchants in "Why We Fight". It's hard to argue that Osama is utterly alone on this point.
CARLSON: The war in Iraq is creating more terrorists than it`s killing. It`s just a war about oil and Halliburton. Sounds awfully familiar. When did Osama bin Laden start getting talking points from the DNC?
Here to discuss the new bin Laden tape, among other things, from Air America Radio, it`s Rachel Maddow, shaking her head preemptively. We haven`t even started talking yet, and already you`re going like that.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: I was sitting -- I read the speech, right. I paid attention to this all day. I was sitting upstairs right outside your office, and I was kind of writing out arguments and things that I wanted to talk about.And then on the television, in the corner of my eye, there`s you sitting there, smiling through Joe Scarborough...
MADDOW: ... showing Osama, Howard Dean, Osama, John Kerry, Osama, Ted Kennedy. I`m honestly mad at you.
CARLSON: Didn`t it blow your -- didn`t it below your mind?
MADDOW: That`s your take.
CARLSON: Isn`t it uncanny? It`s incredible. Every single talking point. And as I said to Joe, I am in no way comparing the moral -- I am not -- I am not comparing...
MADDOW: I am not comparing this. He uses talking points from the DNC.
CARLSON: It`s incredible.
MADDOW: There`s no comparison.
CARLSON: It`s incredible. You could go through the whole list. I literally expected him to say Hillary in 2008 in the end. I mean, every single line I`ve heard it before. Where is he getting this? How does he get the "New York Times" in his cave is my question.
MADDOW: Here`s my question.
MADDOW: Osama bin Laden, the whole mastermind behind 9/11...
MADDOW: ... the guy who attacked us and killed thousands of Americans, does another videotape, threatens America.
MADDOW: On MSNBC, with Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson, that`s an occasion to pile on Ted Kennedy. What are you talking about?
CARLSON: It`s interesting. He doesn`t actually...
MADDOW: He threatens the American people.CARLSON: Well, he`s Osama bin Laden.MADDOW: Yes.
CARLSON: He`s behind 9/11. He`s a bad guy. We`re not ignoring that.
MADDOW: Let`s go get Howard Dean.
CARLSON: The substance of this was not really about his threats. Actually, it was much more complicated than that. I`ve read, I think, every public communique he`s come out with, and they`re always about the crusaders and the Jews and about how Israel is evil and we`re evil and we`re going to kill you all.This was not about that, actually. He was making a political case. You read the whole thing.
CARLSON: It was about how the war in Iraq is doomed because the American people don`t support it. And the war in Iraq was waged in the first place because the warmongers and Halliburton and the crazed neo-cons were behind it. And they, you know, changed Bush`s mind and got him to support.
MADDOW: That`s like...
CARLSON: Do you recognize that argument?MADDOW: No.
CARLSON: I do.
So do I.
STILL MORE: Get mad at Joe Scarborough and Kellyanne Conway, who is, Joe tells us, "a Republican Party strategist and the president of the Polling Company":
SCARBOROUGH: If you look at a lot of the things that Osama bin Laden said, it sounds like an awful lot like what we hear from a lot of the president`s political enemies domestically.
CONWAY: Well, indeed. Joe, if you held a piece of tissue paper between some of the comments that bin Laden said today and some of the comments that the president`s detractors say, it would be very difficult to stick more than a piece of tissue paper between them. There`s not much of a difference.
...SCARBOROUGH: Of some of those comments, and saying that the president lied to get us in the war, lied to get us in there because of oil. Again, it sounds too much not only like what a lot of Democratic senators have been saying, but also what one or two movie-makers have been saying over the past several years.
Hey, just bury MSNBC with emails! And someone might want to check the other networks as well - either the MSNBC chaps are staggeringly original, or they were, collectively, stating the obvious.
UPDATE 2: Ted Barlow deserves an answer, but right now my intentions are better than my time menagement.