Oh, well, if OSAMA says so....
CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden appeared for the first time in three years in a video Friday released ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, telling Americans they should convert to Islam if they want the war in Iraq to end.
The 30-minute video was obtained by the SITE Institute, a Washington-based group that monitors terrorist messages. American officials said the U.S. government had obtained a copy earlier and intelligence agencies were studying the video to determine whether it was authentic and looking for clues about bin Laden's health.
In the video, a short excerpt of which was broadcast to the Arab world by Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden wears a white robe, a white circular cap and a beige cloak seated behind a table while reading an address to the American people from papers in front of him.
His trimmed beard is shorter than in his last video, in 2004, and is fully black — apparently dyed, since in past videos it was mostly gray. He speaks softly, as he usually does, and has dark bags under his eyes, but his appearance dispelled rumors that he had died.
The footage gives a rare look at the al-Qaida leader, who has likely avoided appearing in videos as a security measure. His emergence comes at a time when terrorism experts believe his terror network is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.
Bin Laden makes no overt threats and does not directly call for attacks, according to the transcript, which was first posted by ABC News on its Web site.
Instead, he addresses Americans, lecturing them on the failures of their leaders to stop the war in Iraq despite growing public opposition in the U.S.
"There are two solutions to stopping it. One is from our side, and it is to escalate the fighting and killing against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out," bin Laden said.
"The second solution is from your side. I invite you to embrace Islam," he said.
One result of that, bin Laden said, would be an end to the Iraq war. He said "warmongering owners of the major corporations" would rush to appease voters who showed they are looking for an alternative, "and this alternative is Islam."