It is unbelievable that the CIA is seriously searching for Osama bin Laden. He cannot hide for thirteen years. The CIA closely works with Afghan mujahedeen, who are Osama’s close friends and would readily betray him to the Americans for a quick profit. Osama’s CFO defected to the Saudis, and his chief buyer, Abu Hajir, is in US custody. The US knows everything it might want to know about bin Laden. Osama is not a hermit, but actively communicates with many people in several countries. He should logically have been betrayed and hunted down long ago.

Clinton refused to pursue Osama’s extradition, fearing insufficient evidence to indict him in America. There is not even any hard evidence linking Osama to 9/11. America cannot afford to jail Osama because numerous terrorists will blackmail America into releasing him; they will target US interests abroad and kidnap Americans to exchange for Osama. Osama in an American prison would become too much a symbol for Muslims. It might not be so; Muslims might turn away from the humiliated leader, as they substantially abandoned the Blind Sheikh before him. But the risks for America are unwarrantedly high, and the Americans would never attempt a show trial of Osama, except perhaps as a pre-election stunt. The US Administration prefers to keep Osama as blame-for-everything national security threat. All the videos of Osama that have surfaced after 2001 are either forgeries or show signs of heavy editing, suggesting that Osama exists by now in virtual reality only. It is easy to deal with the Muslim mentality. Osama, if captured, should be castrated, packed into pigskins, and drowned in filth. That would preclude the accounts of his martyrdom. At any rate, his survival is much worse in PR terms than his mythologized death could ever be.

Osama, if alive and reasonably well, is not particularly dangerous. He can stage a mass attack or two, but is unable to lead a mass insurrection. Muslim crowds would join him if he were speaking in Cairo, but not hiding in Afghan mountains. Media have inflated Osama-the-strategic-nobody into Osama-the-legend, an image welcomed by Muslims and the West alike.

Capture Osama Bin Laden?