I’ve been reading a lot about Osama’s death, including a bunch of emails from friends who are wondering about peculiarities and anomalies in the story that Obama, his White House, and his lap dog press are releasing to the public. My thoughts:
Our questions and concerns about the details of this story are, of course, precisely what happens when a president repeatedly breaks trust with the American people. We’re all in “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” mode. That is, Obama’s ongoing dishonesty (and for the doubters his lies are easy to catch and high light thanks to videos), coupled with the way in which a digital age makes photos too easy to manipulate, makes us doubt the reality that White House offers us. I think Aesop touched upon this subject several thousand years ago, when he wrote “The boy who cried ‘Wolf.’” Once you gain a reputation for lying, you lose the ability to make even the truth believable.
For the time being, I’m going to believe
- That Osama is really dead;
- That our SEALS killed him with a neatly placed head shot;
- That he was right near a Pakistani military school, and within 100 miles of the capital, and that the Pakistan government has some ‘splaining to do;
- That Obama thinks his god-like powers brought this about, which they didn’t, although he gets full kudos for keeping the hunt on and for authorizing the hit;
- That what really mattered was information obtained during the Bush presidency from Gitmo prisoners (the ones Obama and his ilk didn’t believe would reveal useful information and that they wanted released), and doggedly pursued by our intelligence and military forces;
- That we could simply have buried the bastard without a full Muslim ceremony, since that ceremony, rather than separating us from the depravity Muslims routinely visit on their enemy’s dead, made us look like PC wusses; and
- That Osama’s death, while emotionally satisfying, is completely meaningless with regard to the future pursuit of our ongoing war against the Islamist extremism that is metastasizing just fine without a “leader” who has been AWOL for a decade.
One more thing: No one can accuse me of hypocrisy here in seeing Osama’s death as a satisfying just desserts for an evil man, but no big deal otherwise. I don’t know that I’ve ever blogged complaining about the failure to kill him or the necessity of having him dead. Once Osama vanished, I considered him a has-been.
Either we would get him or he would die a natural death but, in either event, I knew that, if there was a Hell, it would be his next address. The only way his death would have mattered in our ongoing existential war is if he’d been captured and killed (or captured, tried and executed), within the first year after 9/11. After that, his pursuit became an academic exercise, as al Qaeda had metastasized just fine without him.
UPDATE: “Someone,” said Bookworm, looking vaguely about her, “remarked that there was no indication that rigorous interrogation techniques were the first link in unraveling the chain that led to Osama’s demise. Here’s more information, which can either be read to mean that the talkers were softened up first, or that, after having been subject to enhanced interrogation, they suddenly and coincidentally started to start singing when asked ‘pretty please.’”
The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.
“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.
Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.
I’m not advocating torture as a routine instrument of information acquisition. I am saying, however, that in a war such as this one, against an enemy that desires our extinction or subjugation, and that places no limits on the tactics it will take to achieve those goals, those charged with protecting the nation should have all weapons in their arsenal. They should then be able to choose the appropriate tactic depending on the personality of the captive and/or the exigency of the situation.