cover image Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

David Ray Griffin, . . Interlink/Olive Branch, $15 (102pp) ISBN 978-1-56656-783-1

In this cumbersome if intriguing extended essay, Griffin (The New Pearl Harbor ) argues that Osama bin Laden is dead and that the tapes attributed to him are fakes designed by the U.S. to maintain support for antiterror initiatives and the Iraq war. Griffin sifts through a mountain of circumstantial evidence including statements from such officials as former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who have both stated that bin Laden may have been killed shortly after September 11. Keeping him alive serves propaganda purposes, Griffin contends, and he meticulously, if not entirely convincingly, dissects each message, of bin Laden's messages, from December 2001 to October 2008, to reveal how these communications have been conveniently timed and constructed to suit the needs of the Bush administration (particularly when it came to linking al-Qaeda to Iraq), going so far as to suggest they were fabricated with voice morphing technology. Griffin's research is worthy of consideration, but as the war in Afghanistan intensifies, the question of whether or not Osama bin Laden remains alive becomes an afterthought as newer challenges emerge. (Aug.)