Over the weekend we finally got a good translation of Usama bin Laden's (search) tape, which suddenly appeared on the air on Friday. Back on Friday, it sounded like gibberish. Now, it's a bit more clear.
Usama was trying to make a deal with Americans, along these lines: If you vote against Bush, we will not attack you. So, if Ohio votes for Kerry, Usama will not attack. If Flordia votes for Bush, Usama will attack.
By the way, why did Usama attack us in the first place? Because of what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians, he says.
Let's see: Who was it that walked away from the Clinton peace talks and decided to make war on the other party? Was it Ehud Barak (search), the Israeli leader? No, it was Yasser Arafat (search). He rejected the Palestinian state — it wasn't enough land — and he went home to send out teenage suicide bombers. The Israelis — by democratic process — picked Ariel Sharon to fight back. The rest is history.
Usama doesn't like the situation because his people are losing in a stupid war they initiated and now can't escape.
Usama also cites the 1982 U.S. involvement in Lebanon (search). Oh, so we're supposed to believe he had harbored his resentment for 19 years and then struck? Something tells me that is fairly self-serving, especially since the U.S. left Lebanon after a terror attack that killed nearly 250 Marines.
In the end, though, he offers a truce to anyone who chooses a truce. In his view, Kerry is the truce and Bush is the choice for more war on Al Qaeda. That's unfair to Kerry, of course — he has offered no truce to Al Qaeda.
But it also is a hint that maybe Usama is afraid of Bush. It's true that the U.S. has spent vastly more money waging war on Al Qaeda and it's co-terrorist, Saddam. But money isn't the issue, is it? The issue is whether Usama is winning.
And to me, that tape makes him look less like a victor and more like someone searching for a port in the storm.
That's My Word.
Watch John Gibson weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on "The Big Story" and send your comments to: email@example.com