Well,Osama Bin Laden is no more. Cornered in a US raid on his Pakistani compound, he refused the chance to surrender and was gunned down by Navy Seals. And while he richly deserved his fate, it behooves us to remember that the death of any person diminishes us as a whole, that all life is sacred, and the passing of any human being — especially in an act of violence, at the hands of another human being, in a deliberate fashion — is something to be mourned, not celebrated. < ![CDATA[Oh, who the hell am I kidding?
Over ten years in the making. He’s been largely irrelevant for most of a decade, but he was still an unresolved loose end that needed to be tied off. And we can never underestimate the psychological and symbolic value in offing the son-of-a-bitch.
But once the celebrations are over, we need to think long and hard about the circumstances that led to this joyous moment. And here are some of the things we need to consider:
Bin Laden’s “hideout” was just outside Pakistan’s capitol, across the street from a police station, and half a frigging mile from their “West Point” in a city filled with miltary retirees. And he was there for several years. How the hell can the Pakistanis say they didn’t know where he was? Pakistan has some serious ‘splainin’ to do, and their possession of nukes can only protect them from major scrutiny so well.
The key intelligence that eventually led to finding Bin Laden was the nickname of his favorite courier — and we got that from a Guantanamo detainee four years ago. It took four years to take that datum and get the real name, the real identity, and then find the individual in question. Then we had to follow him, figure out his base of operations (couriers, by definition, move around a lot, and figuring what’s a base and what’s a stopping point can be tricky), prove that the compound was Bin Laden’s, and then prove that Bin Laden was there took four years. So, once again, President Obama has (quietly) embraced a Bush policy or program, and ridden it to victory. Candidate Obama would be gravely disappointed in President Obama.
Bin Laden’s compound was designed to be safe — but had several features that made it stick out like a sore thumb. It was large, to give it defensive strength — but also made it the largest non-government facility in the area. It had very high walls to keep out prying eyes — but those large walls made people wonder what was behind them. They deliberately didn’t have phone or internet connections, to keep from being detected — but that made them a “black hole” that drew attention, much like Holmes’ famous dog that did not bark in the night.
For the second time, President Obama has personally authorized US Special Forces to capture or kill specific Muslim enemies of the United States — and that ended with the deaths of several Muslims. First was Somali pirates, now it was Bin Laden and his closest cronies. And in both cases, I wholeheartedly endorse the action and applaud Obama’s acting presidential. Now if he can only do it more consistently…
This was a victory in the war, but it was not THE victory. Bin Laden has been “out of the loop” for years, and Al Qaeda hasn’t pulled off anything really significant in nearly as long. Yeah, their “affiliates” have been busy, but they are the wannabes and the Jihadis-come-lately, not the guys who had such a string of victories over the US (1993 WTC bombing, USS Cole, African embassy bombings, 9/11).
Al Qaeda will now be desperate to reassert their power and relevance. They will most certainly fail, but they will be compelled to try — and the more spectacular, the better. And we will have to be very, very careful to detect and counter it.
Osama Bin Laden was denied his Muslim martyrhood. In the Islamist mode, a “martyr” is one who dies for his cause while killing others. Not a single American was killed — or even injured — in the attack. Oddly enough, his death is closer to the Christian definition of “martyr” — one who is killed for his beliefs without harming his killers — and I find that amusing. Further, the disposal of his body at sea means that there will be no shrine at his grave — the best they can have is the site of his death, and I suspect that building will be demolished in fairly short order. I recommend it be replaced with a dump, or a pig farm, or a school for girls, or something else he would find most offensive.
I sincerely doubt that Bin Laden’s body is actually in the ocean. I believe that Obama and his administration is lying about this — I wager that the corpse is on ice somewhere, awaiting or undergoing as complete and thorough examination as possible,. including DNA identification and seeing if we can figure out anything about where he’s been, what he’s been doing, and whatnot. Only after that is finished will it really be dumped in the drink. And I’m OK with that deception. Hell, they’d be fools if they didn’t do just that.
This was a very, very bad weekend for Donald Trump. First, he gets invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he gets cheap-shotted by Obama and everyone else in a venue where he’s not allowed to respond, but just sit there and take it. (This is Obama’s trademark dick move.) Then, on Sunday night, he has his “Celebrity Apprentice” show get bumped by Obama himself, announcing Bin Laden’s death. I doubt that was deliberate, but it certainly looks like Trump was getting under Obama’s infamously thin skin — and Obama hit back.
So, Bin Laden’s dead. Chalk one up for the good guys. But that don’t mean it’s over, not by a long shot.