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Here's the 9-11 lesson a President dare not forget:
Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over

In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir - the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime - told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country". ...
President George Bush rejected as "non-negotiable" an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden. ... "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty".

Damn you W!  As I read that Guardian article from October 14, 2001, I want to cry.  There was our opportunity!  Military force and the threat of it did everything they were supposed to.  Even if we weren't sure to get bin Laden, we had the Taliban offering to extradite him and ready to involve other countries.  But by the time you were done refusing, and talking about our jihad "crusade", and how evidence doesn't matter -- certain we'd kill enough people to get bin Laden ourselves -- everything was lost.

Yup - that's the Taliban in the most stressful of times, appealing to evidence, due process, and the rule of law while my president, tumbling from the highest moral ground, behaves like a tyrant and a bully.

George Junior, only you could turn the Taliban into fucking Atticus and Scout Finch.  

You have set it up so if I want to be fair and make peace, I owe a gigantic, sincere, humble apology to people who throw acid into little girls' faces when they catch them going to school.  What if such an apology could be the first, critical step to saving 100,000 lives?

I don't know how to make that apology.  Instead I'll talk about "evil" like my favorite moron while I accept my prize, and I'll spend at least four years of my life covering up war crimes and pretending or praying I'm so good at it that really we'll be safer.  That's when I come closest to hating you, Junior.

I'm delighted to see the responses to my comments on how we treat Muslims and Muslim Americans, at my press conference yesterday.  I may be back at the top of my game.

Fortunately, by then I'd found a gentler way of saying what I had posted earlier: that dehumanizing people that way is the lowest and dumbest form of profiling:

We are violently occupying Afghanistan because Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, who has now taken credit for the attacks, was once based in Afghanistan -- back when the 9-11 conspirators began their planning in Hamburg and extensive flight training in Arizona, Florida and California -- and because to us, the people who violently attacked us on 9-11 look exactly like Afghani and Iraqi Muslims.

Remember Susan Smith, who drowned her children and called the South Carolina police to report they had been kidnapped by a black man?  A black man was arrested within hours.  We got him.  If Smith’s ex-lover had not phoned authorities to alert them about his recent correspondence breaking up with Smith -- "I don't want to be responsible for anyone else’s children" -- that black man would have been executed by now.

That’s kind of the situation the Afghani people are in today -- except no boyfriend has phoned.  Thousands and thousands dead in Afghanistan for 9 years, and not one of them had anything to do with 9-11, but it doesn’t matter.  

We got em.

As I said at the press conference, if we treat Muslims like criminals and terrorists, we're the problem.  It's almost always unfair and stupid to generalize.  And it goes wider and deeper than I could say.  Out of a billion Muslims, there may a thousand who think a violent overseas attack on the US would be justified enough to vote for it, fund it, or do anything to make it happen -- one in a million.

Of course, for Americans supporting violent overseas attacks on Muslims, it's more like half.

Originally posted to Not Barack Obama on Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 11:16 PM PDT.

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