Here are some thoughts on the premature death of Osama Bin Laden:
First, IRIS would like congratulate President Obama (we still hope he gets handily defeated in 2012), the US Military and Intelligence Services, and all the people from the present and past administrations that contributed to this wonderful event.
That said, there is still a lot to be learned. The following comments are meant to be purely constructive, and are not to be taken as complaints or accusations. While Bin Laden’s demise is a wonderful thing that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement.
So here goes:
* Dancing in the streets: Sorry, this just seems wrong or at least bad policy. When Muslims celebrate successful terror attacks that shows how bloodthirsty and yes, evil, they are. One can say that this is different because an evil killer got what he deserved. But the Muslims will have a hard time understanding the difference, especially as they apply the concept of collective guilt to whomever they don’t like, even civilians. So at the least this sends the wrong message, that it is ok to celebrate when someone gets killed. At the worst it is barbaric.
On the other hand, psychological momentum is very important in war and this really does throw it back in the enemy’s faces. The Americans might as well say it outright: You drew first blood, but we got you back. Who’s dancing now?
* Left-wingers beating their chests: It is a pleasure to see the peaceful Left crooning over the manhood of their guy who just had someone killed instead of bringing him to trial. What happened to due process? I am not complaining, just wondering how we can expand the list of bad guys that the Left are willing to kill instead of coddle…
* Swooning over Obama: The Leftists are just falling over themselves again about their hero. So cool despite the heavy burdens he bears (doesn’t hurt his golf game a bit apparently)! So gutsy a move! Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has any president made such a bold move! The news has been so bad for so long, but it’s alright again. He has got the magic back. They are back in love.
Gimme a break. Carter authorized the same kind of move during the hostage crisis in Iran, it just failed. Reagan stood up to the Soviets and invaded Granada and Panama. Both Bushes initiated actual wars. President Obama certainly deserves credit for some good decisions and good luck but that’s all.
One wonders how this man has such power to send tingles up the legs of the Left. Just like with his alleged supreme oratory skills (as long as there is a teleprompter). I never understood what the big deal was. He is a decent speaker but let’s not overdo it. Is the Left exercising the soft racism of low expectations here?
* Obama’s jump in the polls: Sure President Obama’s polling numbers will go up, and deservedly so. Long-term, not just short-term. He has shown a different face than he has before on foreign affairs. Eliminating Bin Laden doesn’t erase the bowing to foreign leaders, the apologies about American greatness, the capitulating to the Russians, the dropping the ball on Iran, or the throwing of allies like Great Britain, Poland and Israel under the bus. It doesn’t even come close to offsetting those mistakes. But it does create a more complicated picture, one where he can no longer be painted as someone who is ALWAYS a sissy who can’t defend American interests. Let’s hope he continues the new approach now that he sees how popular it is.
* Democracy at work: Can anyone believe that Obama’s self-interest wasn’t at work here, at least a little bit? The man of peace had a fugitive tracked and gunned down instead of arrested and read his rights. Surely the public’s desire to get Bin Laden played a part in his decisions. That is wonderful. That’s democracy — the people get their will done (some of the time) even between elections.
* Huge mistake to publicize it so soon: Why, why, why? The president just couldn’t contain himself. Couldn’t he have waited until the Intelligence services had a chance to go over all the goodies they acquired from Bin Laden’s lair before blabbing about what happened? Now every Al Quada creep in Bin Laden’s rolodex knows that the US has information on him and will act accordingly. A major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.
It could be that the president figured that the news would leak fast anyway so he might as well be the one to spread the word for maximum credit. Understandable, but sad.
* Why not capture him? Take it a step further: Why kill Bin Laden at all? He should have been captured alive no matter what the cost, brought to one of those secret CIA facilities overseas, and treated the most severe… um… enhanced interrogation techniques known to man. I am sure our Russian quasi-allies could have helped out a bit with that. How about the Chinese? They know a thing or two about tor… er.. EITs.
The man was a treasure trove of intelligence information and every last bit of it should have been wrung out of him. BEFORE his capture was announced.
Yes, capturing him would have complicated things. Gitmo, miranda rights, trial in the US, giving a murderer a platform to spout his views. But these were not insurmountable issues. Again, a major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.
* Don’t expect it to be “ok” for Israel to do the same now: If Israel would do the same thing tomorrow President Obama and the rest of the world would still condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms. Just like happened when Israel was conducting targeted assassinations during the Second Intifada. Even though those assassinated were just as evil as Bin Laden, even as the Americans were doing the exact same thing to less evil men, they still condemned Israel. And that when George W. Bush was president. He is a 100 times more pro-Israel than his successor.
Israel will still have to do what she needs to to protect herself. Despite the condemnations that are still sure to come.
* Bonus: Pakistan. Everyone is asking a lot of questions about Pakistan. Can’t wait to learn the answers. And hopefully to watch something be done about them.
So there you have it. A great and wonderful thing has been done, and again congratulations to all those who participated. The world is a better place. But let’s keep it in perspective and learn from it so that it can be done even better the next time around.