Where is Osama?

Bob Herbert asks the question. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. To be honest I thought there would be an October surprise, but I think it’s too late for that now. And here, I don’t mean the question literally, I mean it in a more abstract way. I came of age at the end of the Cold War, so I never had to go through drills of hiding under my desk, but there was no doubt we were at war. You couldn’t go a day without hearing something about the Soviet Union and/or one of its leaders on the news. This War on Terror(ism) does not get the same type of coverage.

This war maybe “a different type of war,” but the group we are war with is identified, as are its main leaders. Shouldn’t we be hearing about them everyday? Our successes? I was recently called to task, and rightly so, for not being specific about failed DOJ cases, and few come to mind:

  1. Yaser Hamdi (I seem to recall that a US citizen cannot be coerced by the gov’t into giving up his citizenship, and it strikes me that’s what happened here. Anybody know what I’m talking about?)
  2. Detroit Sleeper Cell
  3. Brandon Mayfield (2, 3)
  4. James Yee (2) (Yes, I know this isn’t a DOJ case, but I’m working to establish a larger pattern in the gov’t in general)

Terrorism Cases That Weren’t (but it doesn’t mean they weren’t guilty of something)

  1. Lackawanna Six (2, 3)
  2. Portland Seven

José Padilla’s case is still pending, but I don’t know how much traction the gov’t will get with him. While I don’t expect us to know about every plot foiled, or every terrorist arrested, it would be nice if the gov’t could point to actual cases where they are making a difference if they are going to announce any.

However, I’m more concerned that as a populace we don’t know much about our enemies. Even the news cycle reports predominately on Iraq. We see that AQ sympathizers are operating all over the world, but we don’t hear of them. We know that Bush chose to let Zarqawi live, and have him execute several Americans, but we don’t hear about that in the news. There are players in the world, there are countries in the world, that we hear nothing about. This ignorance, domestic politics aside, is weakening the US because as Americans the only thing we know about our enemy is that they look different than what an American is supposed to look like.

Why don’t we have an Osama watch? Not that people have to call in everyday, but a summation on the news about what we know of OBL and his whereabouts. Why do we only hear about terrorism in reference to spectacular arrests (but not about the less than spectacular cases) or when the alert level changes.