Osama bin Laden: Source Or Symbol ?by Doug Mataconis
Fred Thompson has only been in the Republican race a day and he’s already causing controversy:
ABC News’ Bret Hovell and Jennifer Parker report: Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., has only been an official Republican presidential candidate for a day. But his comments are already drawing fire from his GOP rivals.
“Bin Laden is more symbolism than anything else,” Thompson said while campaign in Iowa Friday. “I think it demonstrates to people once again that we’re in a global war.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., publicly disagreed with Thompson, arguing the al-Qaeda leader poses a significant threat to Americans.
“He’s more than a symbol,” McCain told ABC News when asked about Thompson’s comments. “He’s motivating and recruiting using the internet as we speak. He’s a threat. He’s a threat.”
McCain said bin Laden poses an enormous threat to Americans because of his ability to communicate, motivate and recruit people who are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S.
“It’s very important that we get him. I’ll get him,” McCain said.
I disagree with some of what Thompson says about the connection between Iraq and the War on Terror, but he does have a point here. Capturing and killing Osama bin Laden, both noble goals given the acts he has coordinated against Americans and others, is a noble goal, but, at this point, it seems clear that neither will entirely end terrorism as a threat.
But it’s easy to have a nice convenient target to point to, so it’s understandable why the other Republicans are reacting the way they do.