Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, November 01, 2004
He doesn't make the trains run on time, he hasn't collectivised agriculture, but still the appeasement-minded of the left and right boost the standing of the death-cultist bin Laden. It's the 1930s reaction, but to a celebrity killer rather than a head of state.

Bin Laden has only to send out a scratchy videotape to his media mouthpiece Al Jazeera and Henny Herald grants him the role of a voice for the underprivileged, religiously classified.

John Kerry allows him to define the ground for the Presidential election contest.

"Let me make this very clear. Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country," he [Bush] said, adding, "I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this." But Kerry saw no problem with enlisting bin Laden as a campaign emblem, and criticises President Bush for failing to capture the cave-dwelling criminal.

There is, of course, no evidence to justify any of this. On the contrary, the clear evidence is bin Laden's inability to make "overt threats of an attack on US interests".

That means he can only exert influence with the willing assistance of al Jazeera, the less partisan media and opportunistic politicians.

The Guardian was a reliable megaphone for the megalomaniac;
It could either remind voters of Mr Bush's leadership in the "war on terror", or of his failure to capture the man synonymous with that war. Perhaps, some speculate, Bin Laden has managed to see - and be inspired by - Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, with its footage of Mr Bush's slow performance on the day
forgetting how like George Bush was the British hero Sir Francis Drake receiving news of the arrival of the Spanish Armada.

The Beeb is much more cautious, just reporting the confidence of the Arabic press that the terrorist icon has struck the killer blow against Bush.

In any case, the really informed commentator knows that bin Laden is in China.