Does Bush Already Know Bin Laden Is Dead?
Remember Bush's Freudian slip yesterday in his appearance with Musharraf, when he said "if" we find Bin Laden, and then he corrected himself to say "when"? (Both the Times and the Post have now scrubbed the quote from their web stories) We now may know why.
Bin Laden may have died in late August, in Waziristan, from typhoid, just before the Bush Administration encouraged Musharraf to negotiate truces with the local tribesmen that in effect removed the pressure from Al Qaeda.
The Reuters story today has the somewhat humorous dismissal of this possibility by a western diplomat in Saudi Arabia, on the grounds that if the Saudi intelligence services had this information as speculated, they would have given that information immediately to the Bush Administration rather than the French intelligence service. The French government has yet to deny that their intelligence service has in fact received this information from the Saudis.
So we heard one tough speech from Bush earlier that resurrected Bin Laden just in time for another election. Then suddenly, about the time this information could have made its way secretly to the Americans from the Saudis, Bush stops talking about Bin Laden when he realizes he may never get the guy now and claim credit for doing so. And then yesterday, the slip about "if" we get him.