Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts on Bin Laden

I am not going to spend a lot of time bloviating about the extermination of Bin Laden. Everything that can be said has been said multiple times already ... but there are a few things I just need to say (and besides ... these are MY electrons!)


I watched the news live as this was happening, and saw Obama's address to the country. I will give him credit for an excellent speech. I acknowledge his skillful handling of the situation. I acknowledge that he made a difficult decision, and he made the right one. This is probably the one and only time I will ever be proud of him as our President.

The only problem I had with his speech was his constant 'I, ME, MY' ... but this is normal for him, and expected.

It was a class move for Obama to call President Bush (who was out eating at a Dallas eatery with his wife) and inform him of the action. I would loved to have heard that conversation! It was also a class move to allow President Bush to prepare a statement for immediate release upon the death announcement. (I wonder if Obama, or Hillary for that matter, called Slick Willy before the announcement.)

It was a class move by President Bush to be low key in his statement, and lack of live comments since. This was Obama's moment, even though W played a big part in it.

The next step Obama needs to take (but will not) is to publicly recognize the groundwork that was laid years ago by the Bush Administration that directly led to this moment. Will he recognize that the intel that led to his moment in the sun came from enhanced interrogations that took place at Gitmo - hell no, he won't.

Military Intelligence:

I am impressed with the plan for dealing with this animal after his extermination. I am sure this was thought out long in advance. Gather evidence, take his carcass away, and quickly dispose of it where no one can find it. It's all done and over with before the public (and especially the Muslim world) know it had happened. Perfect.

40 SEALs would seem like overkill to some, but it was appropriate. Even as a non-military person, it is obvious to me you want to go in with overwhelming force to accomplish the mission and minimize (or prevent) casualties on your side. Even the loss of one of the helicopters at the landing site was planned for as a contingency and dealt with efficiently.

I question the amount of information we are being given access too, and how fast. I know the public wants to know every detail (myself included), but some of the things I've heard could prove to put personnel in danger of retribution, and close off future sources of intel. I'm not sure the public's need to know trumps (sorry , no pun intended) OPSEC.

The hints of the intel gathered from Bin Laden's compound are tantalizing. Documents, hard drives, phones, etc. The potential gold mine of information contained in them could lead to wholesale trackdowns of a great deal of Al Qaeda leadership. We can only hope ...


Those on the hard right are already screaming that this was justification for enhanced interrogation, the left was wrong to oppose it, and we should use it more. While I agree on that, I find it tasteless to bring it up as a major talking point so soon. 'I told you so' should have come a little later on down the road.

I've heard very little from the hard left about such interrogations and Gitmo in the aftermath. It will be interesting to hear how they counter the cat calls from the right.

How long will it be before the ACLU announces its outrage that Osama wasn't arrested and given his Miranda rights, instead of being executed on the spot? Will Holder and his DoJ launch an investigation into this gross violation of Bin Laden's civil rights?

It wasn't an hour after the announcement that political pundits were analyzing what it would mean for Obama's reelection chances. Republican whiners and mainstream media have been declaring Obama now unbeatable in 2012. Well, a history lesson is in order: President Bush 41 won the most decisive war in our nation's history, and enjoyed 90% approval ratings in the aftermath of Desert Storm. A bit over a year later, he lost reelection to an unknown Governor from Arkansas. Killing one man, even Bin Laden, won't be decisive for Obama's hopes in 2012.

Our government is going to have to tap dance around Pakistan for a while. It is clear to the world that they, or at least a large faction of them, were active in hiding the animal. A million dollar compound built for him in 2005, in a city dominated by an Army base - it would take a true idiot to believe that factions in the Pakistan government and military were not directly involved in shielding him. However, we can't call them out on it too loudly, or we risk losing the cooperation we do get. It is also clear that Pakistan's government isn't exactly thrilled at a US military operation taking place inside of their border.

I truly hope that Bin Laden realized an American was killing him before his brain exploded.

One thing I do know ... Bin Laden is lying in a pile of fish shit at the bottom of the ocean, where he belongs.

Update 5/8 - Juan Williams is a middle of the road liberal who regularly appears on Fox News and elsewhere as a political commentator.This is the same Juan Williams who was fired by NPR for not being liberal enough.

On one of Fox News' Sunday evening shows, Williams was involved in a roundtable discussion with some other commentators. The subject was how Republicans were trying to take too much credit for the Osama resolution for President Bush. Williams was livid, defending Obama. IN the heat of the moment, he lamented that Obama was not getting enough credit for the 'murder of Osama Bin Laden'. YES, he said the MURDER of Bin Laden. You could hear the gasps from the other commentators.

I think this was a slip fo the tongue from him, he's usually not nearly this off the wall. However, for it to have been said, he has to be thinking it. So, Juan must believe that Bin Laden should have been arrested, placed in handcuffs, read his Miranda rights, and brought back here for a civilian trial in NYC, run by Holder's DoJ.

I'm sorry Mr. Williams - you have lost all credibility. Fox News should fire your ass.

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