04/20/04 — Bin Laden: He has not finished killing Americans

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Bin Laden: He has not finished killing Americans

A recorded message from Osama bin Laden reiterated something that most Americans already knew: We will never have peace and security in this country as long as he is at large.

In the tape, bin Laden offered a truce to European nations that would eschew war against Muslims. Apparently he sought to drive a wedge between the United States and its European allies.

All of them, even the ones who have not been our zealous supporters, turned him down. That’s the good news.

The bad news is this: It is obvious from what bin Laden said that as long as the United States remains an ally of Israel, we will be at war with him and his al-Qaida organization. And we cannot turn our backs on Israel.

Bin Laden said he would take revenge on America for Israel’s killing two weeks ago of Sheik Amed Yassin, leader of the Palestinian terrorist group called Hamas. Never mind that the United States was not involved in the decision to kill Yassin, and that our State Department even expressed disappointment in the decision.

To bin Laden and other militant Muslims, that doesn’t matter. They need little excuse to kill Americans.

Bin Laden has waged a ruthless terror campaign against us for more than 10 years through al-Qaida, a network of Muslim fanatics who are willing to die to kill Christian or Jewish “heathens.”

As so many of our enemies have been, bin Laden is a former ally. The United States assisted him and others who fought to get the Soviet invaders out of Afghanistan. Bin Laden, though he is the son of a fabulously wealthy Saudi businessman, has family ties in Afghanistan. It is thought that, since a U.S.-led coalition drove the Taliban out of power there, bin Laden has been hiding in that country’s mountains.

In 1984, while fighting the Soviets, he formed a group that espoused a harsh, fundamentalist form of Islam. After the Gulf War in 1991, he was inflamed by the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, his home country and the site of Islam’s holiest places, Mecca and Medina.

It is hard to understand how our mere presence there could cause such outrage. But no one can explain a maniac, and bin Laden’s hatred for us obviously has turned maniacal. Starting with the first bombs in the basement of the World Trade Center, his operatives launched a half-dozen deadly attacks against us in places like Mogadishu, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Yemen. Finally, after the 9/11 attacks, the United States resolved to put him out of business.

We Americans need to face the fact that more of us will be killed before we get the job done. As last week’s tape indicated, he will kill Americans as long as he has the power to do so.

Published in Editorials on April 20, 2004 11:02 AM