A few weeks ago the Big Question every day in our news was: Where is Osama bin Laden?

Now entire days go by with not a single mention of the most despised terrorist in world history.

So, where is he?

Many have opinions. Still in Afghanistan, say some. Others opine he is next door in Pakistan, protected by the very same ISI faction that helped launch the Taliban six years ago. Pakistan’s pro-American president thinks the Al Qaeda leader has died from kidney failure.

The US military has quietly explored Yemen, Somalia and the Sudan for Osama.

Vice President Cheney believes he is still alive.

But one very likely hiding place for this mass murderer which gets scant mention is Baluchistan.

Where – and what – is Baluchistan, you ask?

The Baluch are a family of tribes of “tall, thin” Muslims who live in a swath of land reaching from Southeastern Pakistan, Southern Afghanistan and over to Southwestern Iran. Drug-running, smuggling and other illegal activities are a mainstay of the Baluch.

Tehran has no control over this ‘wild’ region of Iran. It is so wild there that it has been compared to the surface of the moon. Others say “it is the closest thing on Earth to Mars.”

One expert said Baluchistan “is a country with so little water that its dates are the worst of dates, and the inhabitants are the most warlike of men.”

Could you imagine a more perfect hiding place for Osama bin Laden? His height would not cause him to stand out. His corrupt business practices – which definitely include drug running and money laundering – would make him attractive to the Baluch.

And, best of all, no government controls it – and the USA ignores it!

Much has been made of Iran’s desire to join our Coalition. Ha! Colin Powell was almost giddy in October at the prospect of a rapprochement with Tehran.

But two nights ago the President included Iran – along with Iraq and North Korea – in the “Axis of Evil.”

The Iranian government is thoroughly involved with exporting terror – and is reportedly already trying to destabilize the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul.

Why no one has considered Iran as a temporary hiding place for Osama is beyond me. It seems most logical.

And let us all remember that the so-called War on Terror will not be won as long as Osama bin Laden remains alive and on the loose.

Reader Comments can be sent to: JohnLeBout@JohnLeBout.com.


President Bush’s State of the Union just ended. Here is a quick analysis:

One hundred years ago the Germans were on the verge of invading Venezuela. Teddy Roosevelt was President. He threatened – and backed off Kaiser Wilhelm - without the American people, media or Congress ever even knowing about it!

TR did not believe in bluster; he believed in his now oft- repeated maxim: “Speak softly and carry a Big Stick.”

Both George Bushes have blustered and threatened Iraq – and have allowed the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein to stay in power.

G.W.’s words tonight were powerful. But how many times have we heard similar condemnations of Saddam and yet he is still in power!

It would be better if we did not talk all the time – and then just attacked and removed Saddam’s regime, family and Ba’ath Party once and for all.

For those who say that the President needs to rally support for an ultimate attack on Iraq, the facts show just the opposite: over 85% of the American people already favor a war to remove Saddam. It is as if the people are way ahead of the government, not the other way around.

And forget convincing our so-called Coalition Partners. They are wimps who want not part of a Final War against Iraq.

The other typically Bush Family maneuver was the President’s reaching out and praising the liberals such as Teddy Kennedy.

What a sad spectacle to see a supposed-Conservative Republican kiss a Kennedy’s ring – especially this Kennedy!

If the Bush Team believes the way to success is by adopting the Left’s agenda and then – as he did in Texas – claim success for himself, they are woefully wrong. A President is judged in history by many things. One of them is whether or not he achieved what he set out to do. G.W. Bush wanted to be another Reagan. Guess what? Reagan abhorred Teddy Kennedy.

True, all this White House cares about is not repeating the mistakes of the Father Bush. That means paying attention to the economic recession – and then getting re-elected in 2004. That means not squandering the high poll ratings (almost as high as Father Bush in August of ’91 when he had a 91% rating) as his father did.

Who could believe that a mere year and a half after winning the Gulf War (although in retrospect we did not win because Saddam is more of a threat than ever before) Bush I only received 37% of the vote?

Bush II is determined that that will not happen to him

One other note: did you notice which Time Man of the Year candidate was never even mentioned in tonight’s speech?

Osama bin Laden!

Why not?

Because we cannot find him – and most Americans do not consider the so-called War on Terror a success until we kill or capture bin Laden.

So, yes, lots of applause and nice-sounding talk tonight.

But the proof is in the pudding.

And it’s still in the oven.


The E’s have it!

Enron, Executive Privilege and the Economy are now dominating the news.

Let us examine how they are all related:

1) Enron is a ‘business scandal’ which threatens to become a political scandal. The left-leaning so-called ‘mainstream media’ and the Democrats up on the Hill hope they can somehow link this amoral corporate disaster to the Bush Administration. Partisans like Rep. Henry Waxman and Senator Joe Lieberman are flogging the story every day.

And last week’s suicide of Enron’s former Vice-Chairman, J. Clifford Baxter, is yet another ‘peg’ upon which this Axis – Media and Democrats – can hang this story.

Much to their chagrin, however, there is not one public piece of evidence showing that the Bush Administration did anything wrong.

Yes, many Bush Administration figures – from G.W. Bush himself on down - knew Enron executives or made money from Enron. So what? It is a crime to know someone who goes on to act horribly?

Perhaps it is an indication of bad judgement, but it is not the material of scandal.

Which leads us to the second E: Vice President Cheney’s insistence on invoking Executive Privilege regarding his Energy Policy Task Force last year.

His appearances yesterday on all the TV Talking Head Sunday Shows indicated a strong effort by the White House to fight hard not to release documents, meeting notes and minutes of those Task Force meetings in which Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay was a major participant.

Whenever a White House invokes Executive Privilege it looks like they are hiding something. That is simply the result – 30 years later – of misuse of this privilege by the Nixon White House during the Watergate scandal.

This Bush White House is cocky right now – with good reason. They have astronomically high poll ratings and can thus shrug off a little needling in the press. However, even GOP senators are grumbling about the Cheney Stonewall. Why create a political problem – Enron and the GOP – if there is none?

Prediction: the heat will increase and the Bush political team will over-rule Cheney and force the release of all these disputed materials.

This will happen especially if the economy continues to deteriorate and becomes more and more the major issue dominating the political world. Already worries about the economy nudge out the War on Terror in the latest Wall Street Journal and NY Times/CBS polls. If more layoffs and bankruptcies occur – with no discernable upswing in the economic indicators – a sourness is bound to creep into the collective American psyche.

That sourness can spell doom to incumbents running for re-election this year. The GOP wants to hold onto the House and try to win back the Senate. Republicans do not want distractions that feed into this sourness.

A nasty fight over Enron and Executive Privilege is exactly what these Republican candidates do not need in 2002.

Politically it would be much better if the White House released each and every document, note, email and mention of Enron in one fell swoop. Be done with it – once and for all!

By refusing to do this they are only keeping the Enron Scandal alive as a potential issue that can hurt GOP candidates this fall.

The ultimate fear, of course, is that there is something in those disputed notes/meetings that will indeed link the Bush White House more directly to Enron. If that happens then we will have yet another full-fledged political scandal inside Washington – a scandal that can only haunt the GOP for months and years to come.

Note to readers: I am presently in the process of creating an email response device so you can email me your Reader Comments. For now, please send comments to: johnlebout@johnlebout.com. I try to respond personally to each one. I am also updating my archives and trying to create a link to all my past columns. I ask your patience, please.


In all the coverage of John 'Taliban' Walker - Johnny Walker Red, as someone cleverly called him - no one in the media has mentioned the huge use of opiates - hashish and heroin - in Afghanistan. Only in the initial coverage of the capture of Walker there were reports that Walker was 'high' on hashish.

In fact, the so-called 'mainstream media' has been woefully short on coverage of the huge drug use in that region of the world - and on the possibility that Afghan soldiers - on both sides - are often under the influnce of drugs when they go on their murderous rampages.

Drug use seems to be "off-limits" to the mainstream media. Even in the OJ Simpson case there was little talk of Simpson's alleged purchase that night of "crystal meth" - a type of 'speed' that would escape the bloodstream quickly and could have explained a sudden "mood change."

If Walker was high on hash when he gave media interviews after his capture, you can be certain that his civilian lawyers will use that as a key element in his defense. In fact, they may use excessive drug use to plead some sort of mental disability.

It has also been forgotten that, right after his capture, Walker-Lingh disclosed a leg wound and was promptly treated with a morphine drip. Any competent lawyer will argue that Johnnie Walker 'Red' was not competent to give interviews to CNN - or to the US military - while morphine was coarsing through his veins.

Furthermore, withdrawal from this narcotic also can be used to discredit any "confession" he may have made or signed.

The bigger picture, however, is that this "poor fellow", as President Bush called him, is a 20-year old adult who chose to join the enemy forces and fight against the USA. Many of the US troops killed on the USS Cole last year were younger - 18 or 19. No one said they were "too young" to make a rational decision to fight for America. Similary, Walker-Lindh chose to fight against the United States of America.

This decision is the product of the 1960's counter-culture of his two wayward, leftist, PC liberal parents. These two disciples of 'Marin County Morals' have produced the personifaction of all that is wrong with the New Left. In their way of warped thinking, there is no right or wrong; no good or bad. Just grey areas. This 'invented ambiguity' is their crutch to justify their amoral behavior: free love, illegal drugs, no civic responsibility and a me-first attitude.

It is not too strong to say that this disastrous movement which exploded in the Vietnam era has produced a generation who despise traditional values - and often believe every bad event on the Planet Earth "has to be America's fault." In sum, they "hate America."

The so-called mainstream media shies away from a discussion of the prevalence of drug use in the Afghan-Pakistan region - the 'Golden Crescent" - because these media people "came of age" during the drug culture's heyday of the 1960's - and, frankly - they see nothing wrong with drug use.

Just yesterday Robert Altman, the famous movie director, who hates G.W. Bush so much that he said "there is nothing in this government I like," admited that he smokes a joint "every night."

Why should we be subjected to the views of people like this?

Illegal drugs are just that - illegal - and users are breaking the law. Period! And yet they seem to have some sort of X-tra Credibility!

Already today Mr. Brosnahan, Walker-Lindh's attorney, has gone out of his way to proclaim that "John loves America."

Well, his behavior says something else. He "Hates America" - and American laws, values and traditions.

That is his biggest crime.