Bring It On, Girly Man

by digby


Seemingly taunting Osama bin Laden, President Bush's homeland security adviser said Sunday the fugitive al-Qaida leader is "virtually impotent" beyond his ability to hide away and spread anti-American propaganda.

The provocative characterization came just days after bin Laden attracted international attention with the release of a video in which he ridicules President Bush about the Iraq war and reminds the world that he not been captured.

Ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, White House aide Frances Fragos Townsend made a clear attempt to diminish the influence -- or the perception -- of the man who masterminded those attacks.

"This is about the best he can do," Townsend said of bin Laden. "This is a man on a run, from a cave, who's virtually impotent other than these tapes."

In appearance on two Sunday talk shows, she used the "virtually impotent" reference both times, suggesting the language was chosen with careful purpose.

"We know that al-Qaida is still determined to attack, and we take it seriously," Townsend said. "But this tape appears to be nothing more than threats. It's propaganda on their part."

Townsend was considerably more direct than even Bush in rebuking bin Laden. The president responded to bin Laden's tape last week by saying it was a reminder that the world is dangerous and that Iraq is part of the war against extremists. He never identified bin Laden by name.

The consensus of the nation's top intelligence analysts is that bin Laden's terrorist network is anything but impotent.


Taunting bin Laden as "virtually impotent" would likely not provoke him to respond, because his strategy of attacks involves lengthy planning that would not be derailed by a single comment, said Sanderson, a senior fellow at CSIS. But such a comment could prove incendiary to like-minded followers of bin Laden who see themselves as a "vanguard of a global assault on the United States," he said.

"A provocation like that," he said, "is not helpful."

I assume they thought this was very clever, having a blond American woman insult bin Laden's manhood. (She might as well have held her thumb and forefinger up like she was measuring an inch while she said it.) I'll bet Bush snorted and snickered all afternoon. But sadly, it's probably true that some of bin Laden's followers are just as insecure about their manhood as Townsend's boss is and some poor schmoe in Afghanistan or Iraq or somewhere else willpay the ultimate price for her little taunt.

Hey, if she's lucky, maybe some al Qaeda type will lose it before Tuesday and give The Man Called Petreaus a big boost for his testimony by blowing up a bunch of people. This sophisticated marketing plan of theirs is killer.