November 2, 2004


Bin Laden says he wants to bankrupt America (DONNA BRYSON, November 2, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

Osama bin Laden said he is trying to bankrupt the United States through its war on terror, a strategy he says felled the Soviet Union two decades ago in Afghanistan, according to a translation by al-Jazeera television of his full, videotaped statement.

Dream on, so far we've burned through the annual snack budget of college students, College Students Spend $200 Billion Per Year (Harris Interactive, July 29, 2002).

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2004 10:42 AM

The only reason Osama isn't hooked up to the dialysis machine at Gitmo right about now is the money the Bush family gets from the Saudis. The desert brigands protect him and his family so he won't be touched. I don't expect a President Kerry to be any better.

He's such a down-at-the-heels terrorist that had he not been able to take advantage of a novice president following a totally feckless 8 year administration, following 4 years of that bought-and-paid-for stooge Old Bush, he'd be little more than a bad comedy routine.

Posted by: Bart at November 2, 2004 10:56 AM

I thought the Jewish cabal wanted him alive so they could prolong the Zionist war on Islam.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2004 11:00 AM

Where exactly does Osama think he's going to get the resources to "bankrupt" the US? Is he forgetting that he and his mujaheddin buddies were being financed by US in Afghanistan? Who has the resources to finance him now?

Posted by: Brandon at November 2, 2004 11:27 AM

Bankrupting us? That's amusing. The economic output of his whole "umma" is roughly the size of Nokia of Finland, minus oil wealth. Also, it should be pointed out that Ronald Reagan bankrupted the USSR, not OBL.

If Oil is used as a "weapon," all that will make us do is put up a bunch of nuke plants and speed us towards hydrogen fuel cells (You need to the nuke plants to make electricity to make the hydrogen).

Posted by: AML at November 2, 2004 11:42 AM

It's been many, many times that much.

Not enough to bankrupt us, yet, although if the contest lasts generations -- as I believe the Muslims are prepared to do -- it'll add up.

I understand you don't travel, Orrin, but try going to an airport and looking around.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 2, 2004 11:44 AM


Airports look like the CCC without shovels--thought you believed that brought prosperity?

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2004 11:51 AM

Two summers ago we visited friends in Brooklyn and speant a (very hot) day walking from Central Part to the Brooklyn Bridge. The time at Ground Zero was very poignant, but the biggest impression of the day was what a tiny dent 9/11 had made.

Posted by: Peter B at November 2, 2004 11:58 AM

I keep saying it over at my place, and I'll say it again here. Osama is now officially the terrorist version of Baby Jessica, stuck at the bottom of a well, crying plaintively for help.

To which I reply, don't worry Baby Osama, we're coming soon to pull you out of that hole.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at November 2, 2004 12:23 PM

Harry, I used to travel 3-4 times a year (if you had a week's training to do you'd schedule it for someplace nice.) Now we go local or online. Corporations have definitely tightened down on air travel since 9/11, but in the long run that's what corporations do, they squeeze costs. This was one cost that was ripe for a squeezing, and 9/11 and the post-9/11 hassles just gave everybody the same idea at the same time.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 2, 2004 12:44 PM


You are completely correct, the economic (not accounting, but economic) costs are up in the low trillions, by now, mostly due to the 5,000 dead, 20,000 wounded and maimed, and 200,000 deployed, but also due to property damage and on-going security costs.

However, it's unlikely that this struggle will last more than ONE generation, at a high-intensity level, and another $ 10 trillion in total costs, both actual expenses and opportunity costs, will not be that much of a burden to America.

We spent much, much more in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War...
This is cheap, as such struggles go.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 2, 2004 1:36 PM

>If Oil is used as a "weapon," all that will
>make us do is put up a bunch of nuke plants and
>speed us towards hydrogen fuel cells...

There's a simpler and more direct solution.

Remember those bumper stickers from the late Seventies?


Posted by: Ken at November 2, 2004 2:28 PM

It'll go on for generations and centuries unless we get serious about identifying the enemy

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 2, 2004 9:57 PM

Secularism remains a more dangerous enemy than Islam.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2004 10:02 PM

The "enemy" is self-destructing.

How many Americans are worried about getting scalped by the Natives anymore ?

In sixty years they'll be us, or be nothing, and they won't be attacking us much longer.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 3, 2004 6:34 AM