April 11, 2006

A cautionary tale.

For those who think we should be able to just knock on the door to a cave and arrest Osama bin Ladin, this story out of Italy:

The Associated Press

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Italy's reputed No. 1 Mafia boss was arrested Tuesday at a farmhouse in the Sicilian countryside after frustrating investigators' efforts to catch him during more than 40 years on the run, the Interior Ministry said. [...]

Provenzano, on the run since 1963, has proven an elusive target.

Turncoats have told investigators in recent years that he avoided capture for so long by sleeping in different farmhouses across the island every few nights and by giving orders with handwritten notes, not trusting cell phone conversations for fear they are monitored by police.

Authorities were also hampered in their hunt for him because their last photo of Provenzano dated back nearly 50 years. However, personnel at a clinic in southern France where Provenzano is believed to have been treated for prostate problems under a false name a few years ago helped police to create a new composite sketch. [...]

FORTY years. On an ISLAND. Sure, Sicily's not the smallest place in the world (at 9,925 square miles, it's just a bit bigger than Maryland) but dadgummit, it's still an ISLAND. And it's not like there isn't a governmental presence on Sicily--it has police and military, and a population of 5,000,000 people. And it still took forty years to catch the guy.

So, the next time you hear someone say they guarantee if you vote for them that they'll make sure to catch Osama, it might be best to take that with a grain of salt.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 11, 2006 09:21 AM

Mind you, these are Italian government officials at work here...

Posted by: skinnydan at April 11, 2006 11:23 AM

True enough--I imagine there was a lot of looking the other way and bribery and such, but then again, there's probably a touch of that along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, as well.

In any event, sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don't.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 11, 2006 11:31 AM