As much as I love debating with people who have different opinions than mine, I gotta tell ya, McG, you're living in a fantasy world. Seriously.
I do not think I agree with any of your points.
1. A free and democratic Iraq will send a much more powerful message to the Muslim world than the US tucking tail and leaving. That's simply not going to happen.
A 'free and democratic Iraq' is what isn't going to happen. Do you seriously believe that the situation isn't going to deteriorate into civil war? You'd be disagreeing with the CIA on that one (not that that seems to matter anymore to proponents of this war). Face the facts, there is a large and determined force in Iraq that will keep stability from happening. Because they are so inter-mixed with the population (a significant amount of whome support them), we cannot kill them by any means other than the bloodiest, most life-disrupting invasions of cities, i.e. Fallujah. The longer Iraq drags on in this mess, the more it costs us, both in terms of finances, soldier's lives, and respect internationally.
If you really forsee a bunch of Iraqis walking around on safe streets a year from now, you're living in a completely fabricated fantasy.
2. Unless the UN decides to step in and create an independent military force, we have no choice but to rely on the governments such as Pakistan regardless of Osama's approval rates. Musharraf and Karzai both know which side of their toast is buttered. They walk very tight ropes in their countries. Once Iraq has been freed from the Islamic militants, other Muslims will see freedom as a choice and will turn on the remaining militant Islamic terrorists.
Since Iraq really is showing no signs of being freed from the Islaamic militants and setting up said democracy, what you are proposing is spurious at best.
We DO need to set up an international, UN-led force on this one, as relying on the gov'ts (which you say we have 'no choice' but to do; obviously, we do have other choices) isn't working.
3. Concession to terrorists do not work. Never have, never will.
Perhaps you should read a little more carefully what I wrote:
3. Convince the Muslim people to give him up. Unfortunately, we have to actually start making concessions to the region in order to do this, and I think you all know how likely that's going to be under this administration.
We need to be making concessions to the region as a whole, who we have screwed over for about 70 years now, with the exception of the royal families which we both put in place and support through our ceaseless drive for oil.
The MUSLIM PEOPLE are different than the terrorists!!!!! You need to realize this fact. Right now, they AREN'T giving up the terrorists, because while they might disagree with their methods, they certainly don't disagree with their intents. We need to convince the masses of Muslims that the US is better for them than the terrorists, and we aren't going to do that without making concessions. Don't let silly pride stand in the way of rational thought....
4. Other governments are as impotent as the US and the UN to go running through the mountains of Afghanistan/Pakistan looking for Osama.
Not when we get enough of them grouped together. Unfortunately, that takes 'diplomacy,' which we don't really use these days.
My answer to the Osama problem:
Offer a richer reward promising the safety of theose that turn Osama over as well as their families.
This is ridiculous, another fantasy world idea. How exactly are you going to protect their families in the middle of Pakistan from assasins? Uproot them and move them to AMerica? They don't WANT to do that, and even if they did, we STILL wouldn't be able to guarantee their protection, especially in the long run.
As for the money, there's already a 25 million bounty on his head. How high does it need to go to get people to give him up?
Hire mercenaries to infiltrate al Qaeda and off Osama
Yeah, I'm sure Osama didn't think of this one at all. Don't make the mistake of believing AQ is stupid; they've shown over and over again that they are quite intelligent.
Start bribing village leaders and people in the villages.
You don't have enough money to do so, as money does no good to a dead man. Once again, you have no way of protecting these people from AQ and a populace which supports AQ.
Create more effective interrogations techniques of known associates.
Ah, torture. Somehow I'm not surprised that we've come down to this.
You really should take a step back and have an objective look at the situation, McG; unless we make drastic changes, we aren't going to catch the number one threat to our safety at home and success in the Middle East. Your suggestions are, frankly, a little ridiculous... except for the torture part, which by reading some of the news this week, it seems we've gotten on top of already.