Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Evil Osama

The New York Post reports today that, back in 2002, Osama bin Laden attempted to buy tons of cocaine from the boys in Colombia, with the intention of poisoning it and then distributing it to consumers in America.

The evil plot failed when the Colombian drug lords bin Laden approached decided it would be bad for their business - and, possibly, for their own health . . . ¶Although the drug lords would have reaped millions of dollars in profits by selling the cocaine to bin Laden, they knew that if his plan succeeded it might effectively destroy the market for their coke in America for years, sources said. ¶But that was only one reason they declined bin Laden's offer. ¶The other was their fear of retaliation from the U.S. government once its citizens started to die from the drugs, according to sources.

I'm fond of the New York Post, generally—it does publish the only decent crossword puzzle in the City, and Cindy Adams is a hoot—but every now and again, its editorial slant seems a bit cockeyed. Does a scheme to sell poison—which is what cocaine is—that's been adulterated with poison to crooks—which is what coke users are—rise to the level of an "evil plot"? I think not. Mr. bin Laden's proposal might not earn him another Nobel Prize, but there is such a thing as caveat emptor. Dopers have always entered the marketplace with knowledge of a substantial risk that what they were buying might be adulterated stuff.

But leaving that aside, am I wrong to smell something fishy in this simple tale? Are we to believe that Mr. bin Laden, a man of principles (however alien to our own) yet, at the same time, the shrewdest of operators, would approach men who have no principle apart from their purse and bluntly propose a scheme that was directly contrary to the latter's financial interests? I'm afraid I have to give him credit for more intelligence than that. If there's a kernel of truth to this story—if it's more than Administration propaganda—that truth must be more complex than the New York Post's story suggests.


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