What if the Killing of Bin Laden Is the Beginning of The Great American Retreat?
ML: "What more can we offer?"
JJA: "An end to all the violence out of Afghanistan. No more Predators, Hellfires, incursions..."
ML: "Which serves Obama's purposes as well, wouldn't it?"
JJA: "Just so. And, going back to the list of suspects, it might serve the interests of an important part of al-Qaeda. Like Zawahiri..."
ML: "I don't see that, sorry."
JJA: "My fault. I left out a couple of dots there. The war in Afghanistan is going badly for al-Qaeda. We've been slaughtering them for many many months, just read the military reports. So their recruitment is down, their fund-raising is down, their morale is down. Inevitably, this sort of thing produces divisions within the organization. Some of them want to fight on, others say let's cut our losses and focus on the opportunities elsewhere...the world is changing, after all..."
ML: "Like Egypt?"
JJA: "Like Egypt. Zawahiri's country, which is a lot more important to the future of the jihad..."
ML: "and Caliphate!"
JJA: "Well said, and Caliphate, than the backwater/hellhole that is Afghanistan."
ML: "I think I'm getting it. But bin Laden doesn't want to admit defeat in Afghanistan, and Egypt might appear too big for a small organization like al-Qaeda, and so there's an internal rift."
JJA: "Yes. Which gives bin Laden's enemies inside al-Qaeda a motive for betrayal, either on their own or via the Pakistanis who have been protecting them all these years."
ML: "So maybe it's a three-cushion shot?"
JJA: "Maybe. We agree to pull back, maybe even out. Al-Qaeda -- the anti-bin Laden part, anyway -- makes the same deal (they relocate to Cairo or Luxor). And all the Paks want is a guarantee from us concerning the operation."
ML: "Which is?"
JJA: "Which is that Osama is NOT going to be interrogated."
ML: "Right, of course! Because they don't want him to tell us about..."
JJA: "About THEM. And also about others, by the way. About Zawahiri, about the Saudi deals, about all the help AQ has gotten from Assad in Syria. It's quite a long list. All of them want him dead. None of them wants him interrogated, and least of all on a witness stand, be it military or civilian."
ML: "So that explains many things about the operation, doesn't it?"
JJA: "It explains why no Pakistani, not a soldier, not a cop, not even a curious citizen, ran over to see what was going on at the villa for three quarters of an hour, despite all the noise. It explains why there was no reaction whatsoever from the Paks when we invaded their air space and operated inside --well inside -- their borders for what was probably several hours. "
ML: "Yes, I've been trying to call attention to that."
JJA: "That's my boy! It wasn't totally a joint operation but we undoubtedly agreed on some rules. We would kill him -- apparently one of his daughters is now saying that we captured him without resistance and then executed him, which tracks with my view of things -- and they would give us time, and calm, at the villa."
ML: "And so all the chest-pounding about Pakistani duplicity is a deception."
JJA: "Of course it is. But there weren't many who were doubting it, were there?"
ML: "Nope. Everybody wanted to celebrate. My friend Toby over at the London Telegraph was one of the few exceptions."
JJA: "A Brit, not one of the American herd..."
ML: "Well thanks, Jim. Just one more thing if you are so inclined?"
JJA: "Pray tell."
ML: "If you happen to run into bin Laden..."
With that, the ouija board flamed out. But he gave us a hell of a tale, didn't he?