I've been thinking for a while now that OBL just may have gone off to his 72 virgins, and that's not entirely attributable to wishful thinking. Consider that:
- It's been some time since a video with OBL has surfaced
- The guy hasn't been in the best of health, and has been living under less-than ideal conditions
Having OBL in a perpetual state of "whereabouts unknown" might be preferable to him dying at the hands of the infidels or being in the hands of the infidels. Think about it for a second. If we nabbed him or killed him, what's to be gained operationally from letting the world know about it? Sure...politically, Bush would gain immeasurably. He might even be able to break through the 50% mark in the opinion polls. But what does that do for him? Make him more likely to win his next election? Yes, it might help the GOP's cause this November and in the 2008 general election, but I think the Bush administration knows that the Dems are doing all the GOP needs it to do to ensure the Dems stay out of the picture.
Let's say we had OBL on a slab and announced it to the world. What would happen? The Islamopsychos would be in a frenzy of revenge, wreaking havoc throughout the world.
If we had him in shackles and announced it to the world, we could reasonably expect a global epidemic of hostage-taking, with threats to kill innocent men, women and children until OBL was released.
Then, too, there's the matter of succession. As long as the world believes OBL to be alive but slinking from cave to cave, he's still the spiritual head of al Quaeda. He won't be replaced by one who's under less pressure and thus able to operate more effectively. Let's face it...as putrid as Ayman al Zawahiri is, he doesn't have that special panache that OBL has with the head-lopping crowd.
So, while I take all rumors of Bin Laden's death with a boulder of salt, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.