I have waited all week, through Sept. 11 remembrances and a major crossroads in the debate over the Iraq war, for someone to question why President Bush’s own national security adviser called Osama bin Laden “virtually impotent” last weekend on Fox News.

Frances Fragos Townsend said that while the government takes the tapes seriously, bin Laden’s messages were largely “threats and propaganda,” and that “this is about the best he can do. This is a man on a run, from a cave, who’s virtually impotent other than these tapes.”

Osama put out his videos, which call for martyrs and recruits against us, but should we take comfort in the fact that he didn’t announce an imminent attack? They don’t give us warnings, remember? Terrorism REQUIRES the element of surprise. Frances, the last time I checked we weren’t living in a war zone.

Poor Fred Thompson, trying to get his presidential campaign off the ground, in more ways than one, also found the topic of bin Laden confounding. He called him “more symbolism than anything else” last week, only to be slapped down by Sen. John McCain who — rightfully — called bin Laden a “deadly” threat. Thompson did some Nashvillian square dancing and dosied-doed back to bin Laden “ought to be captured and killed.” Uh-oh, that didn’t work either, so he came up with a third assessment in as many days, saying bin Laden would get his “due process.”

I know Democrats and Republicans generally don’t agree on the Iraq war, but after six years could all of us — particularly members of the GOP — find agreement on bin Laden?


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