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Bin Laden is just a Google search away

I’m not sure why critics say that the government isn’t serious about the war on terror. We are spending $128 billion this year in Iraq and Afghanistan in a proactive effort to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.

It goes without saying that the most important thing is to get Osama bin Laden, hence our stepped up presence in Afghanistan. And just to prove how serious we are about getting him, last week the State Department released an updated image of what bin Laden might look like today. The picture shows an older, grayer version of the al-Qaeda leader, with a shorter beard.

The FBI noted that it had used “cutting edge” technology to develop the image. Unfortunately, it turns out that “cutting edge” means a web browser, Google Images and panorama stitching software. On Saturday, the agency made the embarrassing admission that its forensic artist found an image of a Spanish politician and merged it with a decade-old bin Laden picture and presto – now we know what we're looking for! Obviously, you have to account for potential changes in beard and hair, so if you see someone who looks vaguely Spanish or Arab or both, with short or long hair, a short or long beard, maybe fifty-ish, give a holler.

This leads to a number of questions. First of all, where does one apply to be a forensic artist for the FBI? I’m less interested for myself than for my 11-year-old daughter, who is really good at Google Images searches and Photoshop.

Second, if we are going to dummy up a random guy and call him bin Laden, can we try to find someone other than an elected official who has been outspoken about U.S. policies? Honestly, this is very North Korea of us; around the world, people are shaking their heads and wondering how stupid we think they are.

But most important, if we are going to send 100,000 young people into Afghanistan to fight on our behalf, can our intelligence apparatus throw just the tiniest bit of additional resources into a serious bin Laden effort?

Many of us voted for the new president partially out of disgust that the old president got us into two wars without demonstrating much interest in going after bin Laden. I’m unenthusiastic about the efficacy of the current Afghanistan surge, and frankly it’s hard to get fully on board when the FBI and State Department are so unbelievably ham-handed about the person who started the war in the first place.

By Kevin Huffman  | January 18, 2010; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  Huffman  | Tags:  Kevin Huffman  
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Comments

While revenge can be satisfying, it is sometimes observes that it is a dish best served cold.

Waging endless war in south Asia to find and kill OBL is just foolish. The safe haven argument is bogus, as most know. Plots can be hatched from just about anywhere. So the basic reason we wage war against the Pashtun is because OBL was physically located there at the time of 9/11? Alternatively, if he had been somewhere else, we would invade there?

And besides, if we did find and kill OBL, he would become more powerful in martyrdom than if he were to remain a fugitive hiding in a tenth century moonscape. Most intelligent people also know that al-Qaeda is an idea and a concept, far more than a cohesive organization that can be "decapitated" to some positive result. All these high tech assassinations do more harm than good, at least in my opinion.

Oh well, we remain captive to our illusions and furies. And I guess, so it will remain.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | January 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

ALL VERY GOOD POINTS. IT IS MOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE HOW A BUREAU ANALYST WOULD PICK A COMMUNIST SPANISH POLITICIAN'S FACE TO REMAKE AN OLDER UBL-AND I THOUGHT, THAT IT DIDN'T LOOK ANYTHING, AND I MEAN ANYTHING! LIKE AN OLDER UBL WOULD LOOK!

I THINK YOUR 11 YEAR OLD COULD HAVE DONE A MUCH BETTER JOB-AND THAT SHOULD GIVE EVERYONE GREAT PAUSE AS TO WHAT REALLY GOES ON IN THE BUREAU'S BEHEMOTH ORGANIZATION-THE RIGHT HAND CLEARLY DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE LEFT HAND IS DOING!

Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 18, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree that killing Bin Laden will add greatly to his ability to influence the wannabe martyrs, so there is an interest in not killing him for that reason.

Another good reason not to kill him - our politicians can wave his face around our population and a sufficient number of the fearful voters will agree to anything the government wants just to get him.

He's not good as a bloody shirt if he's already dead.

patriot act? Sure, just protect me and my family. Borrow more money from the chinese to pay for more military equipment and deployments? Sure, so I can feel safe on the toilet in the morning, spend my grandchildren's education money.

So why kill this guy, he's far more useful alive than dead.

Posted by: barferio | January 18, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how inept our intelligence services are in adapting technology that is nearly obsolete by the time they get around to it. At least the FBI field offices can talk to each other now...

Posted by: SageThrasher | January 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Ever looking to be optomistic I had hope for Huffman when I read the column title included the words Osama bin Laden. I should have known better when the next word was Google.

Huffmann managed to turn the search for bin Laden into an unfunny joke. No information, no history, no insight, no reason to read Huffman.

Posted by: chucky-el | January 18, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I’m not sure why critics say that the government isn’t serious about the war on terror.

well, those critics are MOSTLY repuglitarded

and back when we had a repuglitarded President, that repuglitarded President told us "HE JUST DOESN'T THINK ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN MUCH ANY MORE"

if you had any brains, or a SINGLE HONEST BONE IN YOUR BODY, you might have mentioned that

you might have discussed the invasion of Iraq, which had NOTHING TO DO WITH FIGHTING TERRORISM AT ALL

you might have discussed how george bush abandoned the fight against terror, to fight a country that had NOTHING TO DO WITH TERRORISM

but then, you would have to point out that the critics are A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES

you would have to discuss how the repuglitarded party decided to allow terrorism to florish under george w bush, and tried to gain politically from terrorism, without actually doing anything

if you want to discuss how "Our Government isn't serious about terrorism", you would have to admit that the repuglitarded party made a PACT with Osama Bin Laded, and how the repuglitarded party COMMITTED TREASON AGAINST AMERICA, by using terrorists to further their political agenda

but that just wouldn't do, would it, mr huffman

anything that doesn't lead to phony charges againt Barack Obama is not allowed to be spoken

how else could you write about terror and fail to menton Osama Bin Laden

or IRAQ

nothing like sticking your head in the sand and blaming Obama, is there

but what the hell

you're paid to trash America and Barack Obama

you ain't paid to tell the truth

keep cashing those checks

you're a paid liar, but at least your kide get to eat

and then you can teach them how to lie too

and live in the hell hole your lies have created

Posted by: nada65931 | January 18, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Bin Laden is the dead nemesis of a bankrupt Government. Have Americans' always been so stupid about everything, forever? September 11th was a false flag operation. USA! USA!

Posted by: BornAgainAmerican | January 18, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If the Bush Administration really had wanted to find bin Laden, I don't know why Bush didn't just simply ask bin Laden's family - with whom the Bushes have been close for a long time.

I agree with the other poster above - bin Laden is more useful alive than dead. He's an absolute boon for the defense contractors too. Imagine, if bin Laden were caught, we'd no doubt scale back in Afghanistan. That means fewer drones, fewer missiles, less combat equipment in general.

Peace is bad for business.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 18, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Bush regime loved bin-Laden and not only because their daddys were close. It was a two-way love that proped up both power-mad leaders. The policies of bankrupting the nation for corporate America were cheered by those who were manipulated by ribbons.

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Posted by: dfdhdfhtrhjethgjtyjgf | January 18, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama has been working at a 7-11 in Annandale for the last 8 years.

Posted by: rag91354 | January 18, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I swear I did NOT mean to say Obama (I just read an article about his pole numbers). I honestly intended to write "Osama." Really!

Posted by: rag91354 | January 18, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for Senator McCain to reveal the secret of where Osama bin Laden is. Maybe that could be his important "return" to a post-partisan world, as a Maverick who truly can support a duly elected President and Commander in Chief.

Posted by: daturne1 | January 19, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

"[A]bout the person who started the war in the first place", that's not true -- http://www.twf.org/911.html.

Posted by: twforg | January 19, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

The Xmas Day Terrorist Lost penis in Attack

Crying and wailing in his native Nigerian language the cowardly terrorist bemoans his missing burnt and crispy manhood. The translator looks ahead motionlessly, speaking in a monotone voice. " do not tell them I have castrated myself, noo! do not tell them I have burned my area for chidren making flat."

This amazing story about the true extent of the terrorist injuries is just emerging from the US prison holding this mutilated terrorist. The horrific chemical burns are the result of his underwear bomb designed in Yemen, that deployed frying his scrotum and penis into a bubbly gooey mess. His US government assigned doctor/psyciatrist team has suggested that his only chance for normalcy before his expected execution would be to salvage the remaining tissue into a vagina.

The most likely fix is going to simply be a strawlike apendage to facilitate urination, said an anonymous doctor source.

Most terrorism experts agreed with the US effort to downplay, almost cover up the self castration because then the news would only highlight the poor bomb making, and the poor penisless terrorist. Instead the American people now know the extent of the terror threat and are willing to make sacrifices for safety and security.

Islamist experts worldwide acknowledge that self castration pretty much excludes that believer from reaching Islamic Heaven. So this failed terrorist also has failed his religion in such a horrific way that he will never rise above his current hellish existence.

Posted by: IntellegenceChief | January 25, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

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