For the second time in a year, a terrified American public has received the reassuring news that Adam Gadahn, a.k.a. “Goat Boy,” is dead. Probably. As far as we know. Seeing as how we haven't heard much from him lately and he likes to harangue his former countrymen with annoying lectures about U.S. imperialism and the merits of al-Qaeda's feudal interpretation of Islam.
Yesterday, England's Daily Telegraph added a few more mysterious details to a story that first appeared earlier this year suggesting that Gadahn, one of the most sought-after al-Qaeda figures and the only American charged with treason since what the Ruskies call the Great Patriotic War, is now an ex-parroter of jihadi progaganda.
Gadahn, in case you've forgotten–and our apologies for reminding you–is the former Orange County resident who grew up on a goat farm with no inside toilet, raised by an ex-hippie, born-again Christian dad whose greatest claim to fame is his seminal 1968 psychedelic album Beat of the Earth. After leaving the farm, Gadahn flirted with satanism and death metal before converting to Islam and allegedly falling under the sway of local Muslim radical Khalil Deek, who, like Gadahn, escaped to Pakistan in the mid-to-late 1990s and disappeared.
Unlike Deek, who was arrested by Pakistani authorities in December 1999 and sent to prison in Jordan for helping stage an unsuccessful terrorist attack there before apparently cooperating with authorities and being flown back to Pakistan, Gadahn kept quiet until after 9/11. Three years later, he appeared in a series of videos broadcast on Al Jazeera, wearing a hooded turban, calling himself “Azzam the American,” and warning Americans of future terrorist attacks.
We're still waiting for the other shoe to drop. As the Weekly reported two years ago, the same unnamed government officials that claim Gadahn is a goner–killed either by U.S. airstrikes or by his own terrorist colleagues who presumably were jealous at his fame–also say Deek is dead and that he also was snuffed out by counterterrorist forces or jihadists angry that he talked while behind bars.
Seeing as how the U.S. government has failed to find Osama bin Laden in the seven years since 9/11, it's hardly reassuring that we keep capturing or killing what creativity-challenged anonymous government officials insist on calling “top lieutenants” of al-Qaeda. (How many top lieutenants do these guys have, by the way?)
But what's really inane is that our war on al-Qaeda is apparently so anemic that now we have to kill the same terrorists twice.