BUSH CAMPAIGN EVENT APPARENTLY A FRAUD
Those rumors of the imminent capture of al-Qaeda's #2 were a lot of malarkey:
Terror Group Unlikely Harboring Al-Zawahri
The hunt for terrorists on Pakistan's frontier appears to be narrowing on an Uzbek terror group that once trained in Afghanistan, but experts said it was unlikely to be sheltering al-Qaida commander Ayman al-Zawahri.
The Pakistani army said Saturday that amid an offensive in South Waziristan, they have intercepted radio conversations mostly in Uzbek and Chechen.
The region is the last believed refuge of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU, which seeks to overthrow the secular government of the former Soviet republic....
[Ahmed] Rashid [author of Taliban] said Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri don't use non-Arabs to protect them — making it unlikely that al-Zawahri is in the area, as Pakistani officials had earlier claimed.
Instead, Rashid said it was more likely that the "high-value" target Pakistanis said they are pursuing is Tahir Yuldash, the 30-something political leader of the IMU....
I expressed skepticism about this siege a couple of days ago. I don't think I expressed enough skepticism. I think this was a fraud from the word go -- either Pakistan was fooling the world about the possible "high-value target" or Pakistan and the Bushies were doing it in sync. Either way, Pakistan clearly agreed to coordinate this with a flightsuit-filled week in the Bush campaign, a week of macho talk about Iraq and 9/11 and so on, and I bet the Bushies think it was a net gain for them in either case. And it sure was for Musharraf, who lost a few troops and is going to get lots of neat U.S. weapons.