Bin Laden Likens U.S. to Saddam in Reposted Message

From Associated Press

Los Angeles Times

February 20, 2006

Osama bin Laden vowed never to be captured alive and said the U.S. military had become as "barbaric" as Saddam Hussein in an audiotape reposted on a militant Islamic Web site after first being broadcast last month.

In the tape posted to the Web site today, bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but also said his al-Qaida terror network would soon launch a fresh attack on American soil. The tape was initially broadcast Jan. 19 on Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite channel.

Islamic militant Web forums often repost messages from al-Qaida leaders to ensure sympathizers can see them. U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that last month's tape was of bin Laden -- making it his first message in more than a year.

"I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," bin Laden said, in the 11-minute, 26-second tape.

In drawing the comparison to American military behavior in Iraq to that of Saddam, he said:

"The jihad (holy war) is ongoing, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the U.S. Army and its agents (which has reached) a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality."

Bin Laden also denied Bush administration assertions that it was better to fight terrorists in Iraq than on U.S. soil.

"The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies," he said.

The last audiotape purported to be from bin Laden was broadcast in December 2004 by Al-Jazeera. In that recording, he endorsed Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq and called for a boycott of Iraqi elections.