OSAMA bin Laden will become "an Elvis Presley of the
East" because he will never be caught, a retired American rear admiral warned
Eugene Carroll, who writes on national security, said that the coalition's war
in Afghanistan could perpetuate the problem of amorphous terrorist networks
springing up across the world.
Military action directed against bin Laden in Afghanistan should have had clear
military aims, Mr Carroll said.
Instead, the only achievement of the US-led war against terrorism had been to
add to bin Laden's image as a demi-god figure who cannot be killed.
Mr Carroll said in a BBC radio interview that the campaign had served only to
"prove to the fanatics and the people who share his views that the greatest
power on earth could not reach him".
"I think the most probable outcome is that he will not be found. We will never
know for certain what happened to Osama bin Laden," he said.
"I don't mean to trivialise it, but he's going to become the Elvis Presley of
"There will be sightings of Osama bin Laden, there will be even films
appearing, but we will not be certain what his condition or location is, and
that is understandable because I believe he is determined not to be taken
American forces have been searching caves in the mountainous Tora Bora region
of eastern Afghanistan, where bin Laden's fighters made their last stand.
However, for the past few weeks there have been no indications that bin Laden
is in Tora Bora, or indeed if he has fled Afghanistan or been killed, according
to US officials.
Mr Carroll said that the fact that bin Laden cannot be found would act as a
source of inspiration to his supporters, and he warned of the consequences of
the campaign in Afghanistan.
"Getting Osama bin Laden, destroying al Qaeda in Afghanistan, is not a victory,
it doesn't end terrorism," said Mr Carroll.
"In fact the very actions we have taken may intensify and perpetuate the causes
of terrorism," he added.
However Mr Carroll noted that the latest video depicting bin Laden showed him
looking grey, gaunt, and clearly affected by the "extreme pressure" exerted by
the United States since September 11.
Later, Peter Hain, the Europe minister, told the same programme that the
coalition was determined to find bin Laden.
"We are determined to find him and hunt him down because he must be found and
his al Qaida network's capability to wage terrorist attacks eliminated.
"That is our objective."
Copyright 2001 theherald.co.uk