Monday, May 2, 2011

President Obama and Osama bin Laden

The internet was ripe with indignation and stupidity today (even more so than usual). People seem to have a hard time knowing how to deal with the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of President Obama. Yup, our un-American Muslim President did what our freedom-lovin' cowboy couldn't do. And people are losing their minds over it. It would actually be quite entertaining if it wasn't pissing me the hell off.

Here's the thing, President Obama can't simultaneously be solely responsible for the economy and yet get no credit for killing Osama bin Laden. It just doesn't make any sense. But just for the sake of fun, let's look at some of the comments people have made about President Obama:

Dick Cheney:
“The administration clearly deserves credit for the success of the operation,” Cheney told ABC News, adding that getting Bin Laden’s has long been "the ultimate goal, the ultimate objective" of the US counterterrorism program.
Karl Rove:
"I think the tools that President Bush put into place—GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
"I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice."
Bush torture architect John Yoo:
"Without the tough decisions taken by President Bush and his national security team, the United States could not have found and killed bin Laden. It is the continuity of policies in the war on terror that has brought success, not the misguided effort of the last two years to disavow them."
Rush Limbaugh:
If [Obama] was a shoo-in for reelection, Osama bin Laden would still be alive today. There would have been no need to undertake the mission.
Washington Times Brett Decker:
Mr. Obama called his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, to tell him the news. This was only fitting as it was Mr. Bush's policies that took the fight to the enemy and didn't back down despite opposition from timid politicians such as then-Sen. Barack Obama. Bin Laden's death is more Mr. Bush's victory than Mr. Obama's because American forces wouldn't even be fighting in South Asia had Democratic doves had their way.
Michelle Malkin:
Leftists are swarming Twitter to chastise any conservatives who dare give any credit to President Bush for his resolve and role in leading the post-9/11 counterrorism/national security response to the worst attack on American soil. Meanwhile, Democrat hacks are burning the midnight oil making this All About Obama.
And these are the people who even mentioned president Obama. Several people (including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann), couldn't even do that.


Here's a roundup of some interesting article I've read today. Alternative blog title: I read the crap so you don't have to!

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

The Osama bin Laden Trail Shows Waterboarding Didn’t Work:
In other words, while the CIA may have learned the courier’s nickname earlier, they didn’t learn his true name until “four years ago”–so late 2006 at the earliest. And they didn’t learn where the courier operated until around 2009.

From these dates we can conclude that either KSM shielded the courier’s identity entirely until close to 2007, or he told his interrogators that there was a courier who might be protecting bin Laden early in his detention but they were never able to force him to give the courier’s true name or his location, at least not until three or four years after the waterboarding of KSM ended. That’s either a sign of the rank incompetence of KSM’s interrogators (that is, that they missed the significance of a courier protecting OBL), or a sign he was able to withstand whatever treatment they used with him.
If Cantor Really Wants to go There:
In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden. In September 2006, Bush told Fred Barnes, one of his most sycophantic media allies, that an "emphasis on bin Laden doesn't fit with the administration's strategy for combating terrorism." And don't even get me started on Bush's failed strategy that allowed bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.
I'm happy to extend plenty of credit to all kinds of officials throughout the government, but crediting Bush's "vigilance" on bin Laden is deeply silly.
And of course the memorable video of former President Bush just six months after 9/11:

Bush: Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. We haven't heard from him in a long time. The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. He's just a person who's been marginalized.... I don't know where he is. I really just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.
Killing of bin Laden: What are the consequences:
But beyond the emotional fulfillment that comes from vengeance and retributive justice, there are two points worth considering. The first is the question of what, if anything, is going to change as a result of the two bullets in Osama bin Laden's head? Are we going to fight fewer wars or end the ones we've started? Are we going to see a restoration of some of the civil liberties which have been eroded at the altar of this scary Villain Mastermind? Is the War on Terror over? Are we Safer now?

Those are rhetorical questions. None of those things will happen. If anything, I can much more easily envision the reverse. Whenever America uses violence in a way that makes its citizens cheer, beam with nationalistic pride, and rally around their leader, more violence is typically guaranteed. Futile decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may temporarily dampen the nationalistic enthusiasm for war, but two shots to the head of Osama bin Laden -- and the We are Great and Good proclamations it engenders -- can easily rejuvenate that war love. One can already detect the stench of that in how Pakistan is being talked about: did they harbor bin Laden as it seems and, if so, what price should they pay? We're feeling good and strong about ourselves again -- and righteous -- and that's often the fertile ground for more, not less, aggression.
Flashback: The Right-Wing Attack On Obama's "Crazy," "Frightening" Pakistan Terrorism Policy:
According to the Washington Post, the "surgical" special forces operation that resulted in the terrorist leader's death was authorized by President Obama last Friday after months of intelligence gathering, and was carried out early Monday morning (local time) as a small force of elite American troops descended on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. According to the Post, the U.S. "did not share any intelligence with foreign governments, including Pakistan's."

The operation was very similar to what then-candidate Obama said he would do in an August 1, 2007, speech: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." At the time, however, Obama's position on Pakistan was attacked and mocked by right-wing commentators who claimed Obama had threatened to invade the country.

Teacher who vowed not to shave until bin Laden was caught or killed finally shaves:
A teacher who vowed nearly 10 years ago not to cut his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven dead said he cried Sunday night upon hearing of the terrorist's death.

"I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn't get it off fast enough," said Gary Weddle, 50, who lives in East Wenatchee but teaches middle school science in Ephrata.


  1. I have been looking forward to reading your thoughts on this! I have my own blog post percolating in my head.

  2. I guess I'd ask Limbaugh if that's why Bush never got BinLaden...

  3. I don't know what's more infuriating. The fact that people are all 'Obama didn't kill Osama. The Navy SEALs did and it was an order carried through from President Bush.' -- yet we wanna give Obama all the credit for the state of the economy, despite the wars that Bush declared costing us trillions of dollars and contributing to the nosedive the budget took after Clinton left office.


    The fact that people wanna blame to Bush or Obama for anything and everything, completely ignoring the hundreds of members of Congress and Senate that they continually vote back into office every 2 years that are making shitty decisions.

  4. Sarahbear said it perfectly:
    "The fact that people wanna blame to Bush or Obama for anything and everything, completely ignoring the hundreds of members of Congress and Senate that they continually vote back into office every 2 years that are making shitty decisions."

    While I don't give Obama or Bush credit for getting Osama, I don't blame Obama or Bush for the current state of our economy or any other issues this country is having. Everything that's done is most certainly a group effort.


What's on your mind?