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Whatever happened to Osama bin Laden?

Remember him? He was the guy who masterminded the attacks that brought down the World Trade Center, smashed the Pentagon and killed more than 3,000 people here. Because he was hiding in Afghanistan, under the protection of the Taliban government there, we went to war. Funny, but we haven't heard too much about that war lately, either.

The last time President George W. Bush mentioned bin Laden's name in a public address was in June of last year. That's when the focus of America's "War on Terror" shifted to a new bogeyman, Saddam Hussein.

Forgive us for being cynical, but we're reminded of the late 1980s, when Bush's daddy announced the declaration of America's "War on Drugs." Remember that? It really worked out well, because now you can't get drugs anymore.


There is no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had anything to do with the attacks on Washington and New York. There is no evidence that the country is in possession of the so-called "weapons of mass destruction" that we're basing the coming war on.

But there's plenty of evidence that American, British and Dutch oil companies -- including British Petroleum, Amoco and Shell -- are currently negotiating among themselves to divvy up the vast Iraqi oil fields once the inevitable American victory has occurred.

In the meantime, we in America are no safer than we were in 2001, prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. Osama bin Laden may be out there and he may not. It doesn't seem to matter anymore to our leaders in Washington, who have now begun running television commercials linking casual drug use with support of terrorism.

Al Qaeda is certainly still out there, still accepting money and support from our "allies" in Saudi Arabia and still quietly planning their next outrage in the United States.

We suspect they can't wait for the United States to commit its best troops, fighter pilots and naval might to what is certain to be a long-term occupation of an oil-rich desert half a world away.

Because every trained soldier on duty over there means one less trained soldier defending our homeland. Every ship and aircraft carrier deployed to the Gulf of Arabia means one fewer patrolling America's coasts.

And our real enemies must just love that.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com January 28 2003