May 8, 2011

Team Obama's Odd Ineptness

The Administration of George W. Bush made us used to a federal government that messed up frequently in the real world, but showed impressive marketing skills and message discipline in the world of spin. This past week has shown us, strangely, an Obama Administration succeeding very nicely in the real world, but then delivering a long series of disabling shots to its own collective foot.

While the military execution was pretty damn good -- kill bin Laden, spare most of the women and all of the children, grab records, evade the Pakistani Air Force -- it's pretty clear that the politicians didn't think through what their responsibilities would be afterwards.

At least the politicians didn't impose a bunch of regulations on the SEALs -- say, first ask bin Laden to surrender in Arabic, Pashto, English, and International Sign Language -- that might have endangered the mission. But they didn't seem to ask themselves what kind of questions they were inevitably going to get asked afterwards, so they ended up improvising contradictorily with lots of now obviously risible inventions. 

A reader writes:
McCain painted Obama as a celebrity, happy to hear applause. He did little in his first 2 years to change that opinion. 
Ideally, Obama would have said little about bin Laden, leaving us with the impression he gives orders like this all day long. That would make him look really powerful. That would earn back a lot of the voters he had in 2008, but lost in the interim. 
Instead his aides said too much about the raid, much of which they are revising. He's waffling on providing a picture of a dead Osama, leading some 9/11 families to demand a photo. In contrast to the strong confident president we saw Sunday night, we are learning he kept his generals waiting. 
The contrast between Obama, and the victorious Seal Team is striking. We know a lot about what Obama did, but we may never learn about the Seal Team members until too it's late. 
The American people gave him a great chance to reinvent himself, and what did he do? He reinstalled the fake greek columns.

The strong, silent approach would have been the best choice:

Osama bin Laden, the man behind 9/11, is dead. Last night, American forces raided his compound deep inside Pakistan and killed him. Vengeance is ours. Good night and God bless America.

But, Team Obama couldn't resist chatting up a storm.

Getting facts wrong is unavoidable. I, for example, accepted the Google Maps identification of the wrong compound in Abbottabad. (Sorry, Mr. Anonymous Rich Pakistani!) But, by now, I think we can start to figure out the non-random reasons behind all the changes in story.

The White House politicians never seemed to think through the contrast between what they were doing -- sending men to, more or less, execute a mass murderer -- and their desire to make this the grand kickoff of Campaign 2012 by making it seem like Obama was totally involved minute by minute. 

Notice the contradiction? The idea of the President watching the daring raid on bin Laden from the Situation Room sounds cool . And the idea of the President cold-bloodedly ordering the execution of the man that ordered the murder of 3,000 Americans also sounds cool. 

What doesn't sound cool, however, is the idea of the President watching his lethal order being carried out on live video feed. That's kind of creepy.

That may explain why we were suddenly told that, in the grand tradition of Rosemary Woods, the President somehow didn't see the key 20 to 25 minutes of video feed when bin Laden was killed.

If so, the real mistake was in not thinking things through during the months that evidence was accumulating that they had found bin Laden.

There were also all the usual Obama constituencies of NPR subscribers and Euroweenies who give Obama Nobel Prizes (he still hasn't won the Nobel for Literature). Thus, this story on Death Penalty News:
The death of bin Laden was not an "execution" and does not call into question Europe's opposition to the death penalty, the European Commission said today. 
In the wake of a statement from Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso welcoming his death as a "major achievement" which ensured his crimes did not go unpunished, a spokeswoman insisted the EU's underlying values of justice were not called into question. ... "This in no way questions the basic principles and values we have always supported ... this was not the execution of a death sentence, it was something completely different. We continue to be against the death penalty."

My guess would be that the White House gave the SEALs trigger-pullers lawyerly instructions that technically gave Obama an out from having precisely ordered OBL's death -- e.g., if bin Laden surrenders in a particularly cowardly method that his entire life, which you've got to admit does show courage, makes unlikely, well, then you don't have to shoot him. (Or, maybe they really didn't expect the SEALs to shoot him.)

The first sign that the White House hadn't thought things through was the quick announcement that they had dumped the body in the ocean. When I first heard that I couldn't believe they would botch the aftermath so badly, so I blogged that they should bury OBL on completely secure Diego Garcia.

Presumably, in all the years Obama had been publicly advocating this type of raid (and give him credit for doing that), neither he nor his brain trust had thought much about what to do with bin Laden's body.

There were a couple of obvious interacting issues: after years of the world being told by American and Pakistani government officials that bin Laden was holed up, perhaps in a cave, in remote Waziristan, he turned out to be living in a three story house near the Pakistan Military Academy. Clearly, somebody official hasn't been truthful. The very location of the raid, Abbottabad, meant that there would be lots of questions from disillusioned people. This meant that OBL's body would be important as evidence that they really got him.

The instructions to the SEALs, you'll notice, were therefore sensible in this situation: take bin Laden's body and leave the other bodies. So, they thought it through that far.

But, it appears they hadn't thought much about what state OBL's corpse would be in, either from illness or bullets, facts that pictures or an autopsy would reveal. So, the initial stories out of the White House made it sound like OBL had gone down like Tony Montana in Scarface, guns blazing. Those then had to be walked back.

A commenter calling himself "Incompetence in Chief" (I think he or she chooses a catchy new name each time, a practice which I would recommend to other commenters rather than generic "Anonymous") writes:
People claimed that Bush and his people were dumb as dirt, but the Obama team's main job was handing the messaging of this raid. This WH has more serially inept than anything I can recall for any POTUS.

Here's the famous picture released by the White House:

Now look at it again. 

What a terrible picture. The President looks insignificant, hunched-over, not in control, like the least important person in the photo. The military man is sitting in what should be the President's chair: the big one with the high back. Which chair would President Reagan have sat in?

And that's the one photo the White House picked out of however many the White House's full time professional photographer took.

Obama's body language looks pretty depressed. The word "power" repeatedly comes up in Dreams from My Father, but Obama's experience of exercising power has been mostly at the cancelling-somebody's-grant level. This is what real President-level power looks like: killing people. And the Obama in this picture looks like he's just realizing what that means. (When it was over, he made his usual speech about how "I" did this and "I" ordered that.)

The commenter continues:
Now I'm trying to decide how much each of the following factors explain Obama's team total incompetence: 
1) They are inherently dumb as dirt (relative for such a high profile operation) and promoted way beyond their abilities 
2) They have the clever sillies - basically intelligent but made stupid by anti-reality PC dogma and their lack of natural curiosity to explore obvious inconsistence of PC 
3) They've grown incredibly lazy and arrogant knowing the Pravda MSM will parrot their obvious lies and errors without question or comment, enough to brainwash 51% of the electorate. 
4) They have little to no experience dealing with the real - have never had to make an arguement, sell an idea or meet minimum standards of logic/facts outside the echo chamber of likeminded ideologues.  
5) They are rank amatuers in all this business. One sign of their novice ignorance - they are sending out many conflicting and illogical stories trying to be all things to all people never thinking that this would cause a problem.

Good questions.

I would lean toward #3. How many tough questions has Obama been asked over the years? His campaign staff didn't even ask him any tough questions about Rev. Wright. Through sheer luck (I presume), Rev. Wright happened to be out of the country on a cruise when this long-looming scandal finally surfaced, so the Rev. wasn't around to respond to Obama's gassy Philadelphia race speech.

What Obama didn't realize was just how interesting Navy SEALs shooting bin Laden would be, and how, therefore, the press, for once, wouldn't be able to stop itself asking questions. Americans have been well trained over the decades to not be interested in Rev. Wright-type stuff, to accept whatever explanation Obama stayed up all night to dream up. But we can't help being really, really interested in this kind of action movie stuff.

So, Obama's instinct was that this event would be like most of the others in his life: he and his people would get to talk all they want, but nobody else would ask any tough questions about everything they said.

Still, the most obvious comparison is to Bush, who was completely clueless, apparently, that OBL was living in Greater Islamabad from 2003 onward. By that standard Obama looks awfully good.

102 comments:

KenK said...

You used Obama for Osama in one of the paragraphs and that's an Air Force general in the big chair.

Anonymous said...

That's how basketball players sit on the bench during a game.

Obama looks like a bench warmer.

dearieme said...

I recognise some of the Executive Committee, but who's that IT guy sitting in the corner?

dearieme said...

"Getting facts wrong is unavoidable" particularly if that is one's intention.

Anonymous said...

Definitely #3. If you aren't going to get called on 911, you aren't going to get called on anything.

By the way, I notice now that you know all about Gladio! So why then no deep state?

For a good discussion by an academic with top-notch contacts in Europe and the States see "Swedish Geopolitics: From Rudolf Kjellen to a Swedish Dual State" by Ola Tunander in the journal Geopolitics.

Tim Howells

Mr. Anon said...

"Getting facts wrong is unavoidable. I, for example, accepted the Google Maps identification of the wrong compound in Abbottabad. (Sorry, Mr. Anonymous Rich Pakistani!)"

You inadvertantly revealed too much, Steve. Now they'll have to find a new hiding place for Tony Rezko.

Anonymous said...

Where's the big war room that we see in the movies? They're sitting in a closet.

L. Ron Maiden said...

Steve, I enjoy reading this blog, but your posts on Obama are occasionally embarrassing. Your instinctual distaste for the man gets in the way sometimes. "The most obvious comparison" for an administration that succeeded very nicely in the real world but lacked after-the-fact message discipline is George W. Bush? What?

(You know, through a kind of chiasmus you can compare McClellan to Grant, too!)

All of these initial inconsistencies won't matter at all come 2012.

Electorally and, really, geopolitically, the fate of Osama's body is of no consequence whatsoever. (And, by the way, it's not inconceivable that we will lose or hand over control of Diego Garcia within the next 50 years.)

Pundits turn incidents that strike them as misguided into huge PR blunders without so much as a whiff of evidence. To quote Andrew Gelman: ‎"I analyze survey data for a living. If I were to go around making up numbers about the atomic weight of potassium or international trade, people would rightly ask what I know about chemistry or economics. But when people start spreading false statements about public opinion, they're believed without question--even by a science writer who prides himself on defying conventional wisdom."

During the 2008 campaign, Obama explicitly made this kind of raid a part of his campaign platform. The Republicans saw Obama's willingness to make DEVGRU-style incursions into Pakistan as evidence of his foreign-policy naivety. They were wrong; he was right. Give him some sort of credit, please.

Anonymous said...

Wow, we killed Osama bin Laden and ... Rezko jokes.

Silver said...

What a terrible picture. The President looks insignificant, hunched-over, not in control, like the least important person in the photo. The military man is sitting in what should be the President's chair: the big one with the high back. Which chair would President Reagan have sat in?

You know what the photo says to me? "Token." I wasn't even sure it was Obama when I first saw that photo. But being the only black man there I figured it had to be him.

I know you like to portray Obama as being Mr. Confidence, and maybe he is, when it comes down to him feeling at ease with being black around a bunch of whites, but perhaps his first instinct is to defer to his betters (by which, please, I don't just mean "whites") whenever Something Serious is going down.

Anonymous said...

"And the Obama in this picture looks like he's just realizing what that means."

For my part I'm glad when a President feels the weight of ordering men into dangerous missions to kill people. Makes me trust him more.

Anonymous said...

I think military public affairs has been broken for awhile, and you're right that it shows the Obama administration hasn't fixed something that has been broken since at least Jessica Lynch/Pat Tillman, but --

I don't think you've successfully spun the President that killed Bin Laden by employing the tactics he promised in his presidential campaign as incompetent. I think you'll have to keep fishing. I'm no liberal or progressive, I don't even want President Obama for a second term, and I'm impressived with this achievement. I credit President Obama more than the Navy Seals, I think this success legitimately has his fingerprints all over it, just like his victory in the Democrat primaries and the 2008 election.

The guy is a great strategist, one of the greatest of our time, it seems to me. Like I generally do when I'm critical of your posts, I encourage you to heckle in the direction of a technocratic ratchet up, not merely a racial ratchet in the direction of the majority.

Hopefully Anonymous
http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com

Anonymous said...

Obama's lack of decisiveness is probably a good thing. If he were a strong decision maker and leader, his Democratic congress likely would've already passed an amnesty.

Wes who takes government money to post said...

I think numbers 3 thru 5 are the best answers. And yes, Obama looks like some hanger-on in that picture, as if he is a mere front man ... or yes ... a token!

But I'll be damned if this doesn't make Bush & Co. look pretty stupid. Almost 8 long years and a trillion buck and they couldn't pull this off. Of course, I think they could have pulled it off but went on other adventures. But history will probably just make them look stupid.

Anonymous said...

Maiden: "Electorally and, really, geopolitically, the fate of Osama's body is of no consequence whatsoever. (And, by the way, it's not inconceivable that we will lose or hand over control of Diego Garcia within the next 50 years.)"

Then why not leave the carcass with the other bodies in the compound? Perhaps they wanted to bring back an ear for the Oval Office sideboard.
Re DG, if that is the case, who cares, or will care in 50 years, that the bones of some Arab lie beneath the ground? Not the incoming Chinese.
Gilbert Pinfold

Chicago said...

That's what happens when you've got a group of people whose first instinct is to lie and spin automatically. They're trying to figure out what the facts should be rather than what they really are.
The last three presidents have really set records for lies, spin and disinformation.

Anonymous said...

A few of the comments in this thread are correct.

Back in 2008 he said he would focus military operations on finding bin Laden, and that's what he did. As someone else said, he probably looks that way in the photo due to the gravity of the situation. Would you think he was a better President if he was preening for the camera and shoving the General who's running the operation out of the big chair?

I think it proves he's not as consumed with his on ego if he didn't mind being photographed in that position.

Your model for good public delivery is Bush co.? Really?

I'm on the fence over Barry, but I think he always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. The GOP should be wary of him.

M.G. Miles said...

I credit President Obama more than the Navy Seals, I think this success legitimately has his fingerprints all over it.

I don't disagree he's a gifted strategist, but what do you think of the reports leaking out now that he was dragged into this one a bit against his will? There's been this one (totally unsourced), and today John Batchelor's reporting:

Larry Johnson, No Quarter, reports that Panetta, HRC and Gates forced the attack, that the first window was February and POTUS cancelled at the behest of his shadow Val Jarrett. Concern about Moslem reaction.

Just rumors, but...? If it is true, 'concern about Moslem reaction' seems a puzzling one when international jihadis sympathetic to Ben Laden have killed exponentially more Muslims in the world than any other religious group.

Master of the Public Religion said...

Consider this: The White House PR about this event is incompetent as a matter of official affairs and majesty of state, but is effective toward winning the next political election and worldwide public opinion.

Just as half the population may believe unconventional weapons were found after the Iraq War, half the population will believe Bin Laden was killed while resisting amidst a firefight.

For the people who pay closer attention, those in the Obama base will see him in the Situation Room picture as a vulnerable person who is not responsible for an execution, and who needs enthusiastic electioneering and voting, once again as the underdog against the Republicans and Old White Men.

anony-mouse said...

Er, the 'completely clueless' Bush forced OBL out of Afghanistan (where he had been doing whatever he wanted and going wherever he wanted) and into a home which someone here suggested might really have been a prison, and which he apparently never left for 5 years.

headache said...

I'd also guess No.3. Unfortunately the long-term perception of the public is going to be primarily shaped by the MSM, the very people you cannot rely on for the truth.

Chris Anderson said...

Conspiracy- minded people tend to explain this kind of bungling as a hidden primary mission, well-executed, covered up by a public-consumption mission, poorly executed. Thus:

1. The Fed/Treasury/SEC's primary mission is not a smoothly-running financial market but rather to shovel taxpayer money into the hands of big bankers. The meltdown of 2008 therefore looks bad on it's public face, but--mission accomplished!

2. FEMA's primary mission is not disaster relief but rather preparing concentration camps and martial-law plans for the coming world government. This one used to a favorite but has receded since the 1990's. Still, the post-Katrina events fit that narrative.

3. The Army's primary mission is not defense of the country but jobs-and-benefits program for competent-above-a-minimum-standard minorities. That rather neatly explains both Maj. Hasan, Gen. Casey's exceedingly strange statement afterward, and the media's lack of interest in either.

Not saying the above are true so much as entertaining to puzzle out. The same line of thinking invites us to consider what the real reason behind getting bin Laden was, aside from 911 revenge and weakening al Queda. And that's where last weeks bungling of the story practically begs us to do just that.

Anonymous said...

Typically Good article .... but I am tired of the HBD analysis of "Obama in Situation Room as Beta Due to Sitting on Side Couch. Vince Lombardi or John Wayne would never sit like that ...."

Bush did not care one iota for Vengeance. Obama said he would kill or capture UBL and Obama made good on his promise.

I don't care what couch Obama sat on, he got the job done. A job the true Beta Bush ignored.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what happened and I don't believe that most others do either. But if this were in fact an action movie the plot would go this way.

Osama is the head of an international terrorist organization - sort of like Blofeld and Spectre. But he's lost a step. He's old and sick and has lost the confidence of many key players. Sollozzo tells Tom Hagen that the Godfather is slipping.

So "Number 2" decides to eliminate him. Rather than upset the old man's followers by a direct assassination he decides to have others do it for him. He leaks the hideout to the Obama administration. The SEALs arrive and perform their duty. The cause has a new martyr.

I've seen this movie. So have you. I've never seen the movie where after ten years of cross filing and correlating data they suddenly figure out where the bad guy had been hiding. The bad guy is always betrayed. He's never found by "good solid police work".

If this were the movies, Obama would be a witting or unwitting accomplice in a succession scenario and the terrorists would now be stronger for the change.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Wow. So this is how a group people who live in a closet assess large political events.

James B. Shearer said...

Some more possibilities.

Many of Obama's political advisors thought the mission was a crazy gamble, had advised against it, were fearing a Desert One type fiasco and were unprepared for success.

A variant of the above, Obama's advisors thought he was too indecisive to pull the trigger and were caught by surprise when he did.

More generally most of the planning effort was devoted to worst case scenarios. For example suppose Pakistan not only knew OBL was there but some of the nearby Pakistani military units were specifically tasked with defending that compound.

Or a tendency to see OBL as larger than life, a supervillain, dangerous to the end, willing and able to go down fighting. So perhaps the question of what to do if the Seals encountered a sick, confused, unarmed, old man wandering around in his pajamas did not receive sufficient consideration.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Anon says:

The guy is a great strategist, one of the greatest of our time, it seems to me. Like I generally do when I'm critical of your posts, I encourage you to heckle in the direction of a technocratic ratchet up, not merely a racial ratchet in the direction of the majority.


Dude, the guy is our first affirmative action president, which I guess is an achievement all on its own, who has been given a helping hand all along.

It is not he who is the strategist, but his minders. Figure out who they are and then you know who to target.

Kylie said...

"Pundits turn incidents that strike them as misguided into huge PR blunders without so much as a whiff of evidence."

True but irrelevant. The repeated and varied stories coming out of the White House regarding Osama's demise have been taken all together as a PR blunder (even if the precise magnitude is debatable) by the media generally as well as the conservative blogosphere.

Raid Account, Hastily Told, Proves Fluid

"Give him some sort of credit, please."

He did. Repeatedly. Not only in this blog entry but for the past week.

"Your instinctual distaste for the man gets in the way sometimes."

I think in this context "instinctive" would be better than "instinctual".

Thripshaw said...

US Government Kills Osama, Token Black Included in Photo-Op
(AP) As the heads of the US national security team sweated over the details of a daring raid on the compound of Osama Bin Laden, another team was simultaneously sweating over other details . As they started taking photographs for official release, the White House Propaganda Unit realized that everyone in the situation room was white! An aide was dispatched to find a person of color, preferably African-American to be included in the photo. Rushing through the corridors of power, no faces of color were to be found, so the aide went out back to find a gardener. He grabbed the first black man he saw (holding a golf club, not a weedwacker as was initially reported) and rushed him to the situation room.
After the release of the photo, many Americans wondered who the anonymous Black man sitting uncomfortably hunched over next to Joe Biden was. Further investigation has revealed that he is actually the President of the United States, and is ironically named Obama. (snip)

Kylie said...

"'And the Obama in this picture looks like he's just realizing what that means.'

For my part I'm glad when a President feels the weight of ordering men into dangerous missions to kill people. Makes me trust him more."


You miss Steve's point. It's not a question of what but of when. Obama just realizing at the actual time of the killing exactly what it means to order men to kill people is a bit late. He's had well over two years to come to such a realization. Or don't you think that sort of mission deserves a spare thought or two before it's actually implemented?

Camlost said...

So, Obama's instinct was that this event would be like most of the others in his life: he and his people would get to talk all they want, but nobody else would ask any tough questions about everything they said.


Exactly.

I wonder when we'll start to get more information on the Gates/Panetta/Clinton faction working to circumvent Valerie Jarrett's attempts to dissuade Obama from the mission.

Anonymous said...

Your list is good--probably all come into play.

The easiest and most effective thing for the WH to have done when asked for the specifics of the raid was to have done what the Bush admin did--refer questions about specifics to DOD spokeperson.

That way one story would have come out--a coherent narrative, and you can bet that narrative would have been controlled by Gates and CIA's Panetta.

Now, to Panetta. It's all over DC that it was Panetta that pulled the strings and dragged a recalcitrant Obama to the "right" conclusion, that it was folly to bomb the "mansion" and that it was too dangerous to wait any longer to do *something.*

Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to what's "all over DC" unless it conformed to what we know from past Obama foot-dragging and flip flops and non-decisions (consider his history of voting "present" and his non-history of legislative battles and accomplishments, his relief at being able to hand over the whole mess of the health care bill to Pelosi and Reid so that in case it failed, he didn't.


That Panetta went on the record after the raid that the pics of OBL would be released, followed by Obama's nixing of it, I think speaks to the distrust between the two.

The Prez was in a pickle--do nothing and risk a leak that tells the American people that Obama let OBL get off the hook when he knew where he was; bomb the place and have no proof you really got him while allowing Pakistan to look like an aggrieved ally; send in the SEALS and risk a Jimmy Carter helos-in-a-dust-storm fiasco.

This military op was much better planned than the one under Carter.

Panetta? Obama? Well, in the end, it's the Pres that makes the call, but I am of the mind that he realized you can never, ever really trust the higher-ups in DOD or CIA to keep their mouths shut if they want to show the world how wishy-washy you are behind closed doors.

What choice did he have? None, thankfully.

none of the above said...

Steve,

I think the Bush administration was actually much better than the Obama administration at message discipline and propaganda, but also that they were helped a great deal by the post-9/11 wave of patriotic stupidity on the part of the MSM. It's a pity that wasn't combined with better decisionmaking in other areas, but you can't have everything.

A second distinction worth noting: Obama has been, in general, more deferential to the decisions and opinions of the intelligence services and military than Bush was. The Bush administration famously told generals and economists to shut up when they started pointing out how expensive the Iraq invasion was going to be, apparently overruled a lot of the CIA and State experts on Iraqi WMDs, etc. Bush and company were very willing to impose decisions on them, in ways that Obama has not been. (Think about telecom immunity, torture photos, torture prosecutions, prosecutions for whistleblowers/leakers, extra troops in Afghanistan, more drone strikes, etc.) One way to interpret this is that Obama has simply not felt competent to overrule the area experts that warned him of dire consequences. (Another possibility is that he was afraid of a damaging political fight with those folks, and preferred giving in on his principles to making enemies of the CIA, NSA, and DOD, and then finding out what interesting dirt those guys had dug up on him.)

And it's worth noting that Bush's overriding of the area experts didn't work out too well. Iraq really was much harder and more expensive than the Bush administration sold it as being, for example.

Anonymous said...

Obama is like Bush in that he is a figurehead who plays no role whatsoever in making any actual decisions.

Auntie Analogue said...

"What doesn't sound cool, however, is the idea of the President watching his lethal order being carried out on live video feed. That's kind of creepy."


Are you kidding? If FDR and Admiral Halsey had live video to have watched the 1943 P-38 mission that shot down Yammamoto, do you really expect they'd have chosen to not watch it?


Forget burying O.B. Laden on Diego Garcia. His corpse should have been sent through a wood chipper, the bits collected into a 55 gallon drum and then, on opening day of the new Freedom Tower, sent to the waste recycling plant via the first flushes of the Freedom Towers brand spanking new toilets. THAT would have been an usurpassable wartime propaganda tour de force.

airtommy said...

In the photo Obama looks exactly how he should look. He's not running the op because he's not a military guy (like Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc). He's not running the IT presentation for the photo-op because he's the POTUS, not the IT-OTUS. He's respectfully watching his chosen subordinates do their job.

There is absolutely nothing to read into this photo. Nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

If this is all about avenging 9/11, what about Kalid Sheik Mohammad? His nephew pulled off the bombing of the world trade center in 1993. 9/11 was his plan. He also claims to have killed the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and yet for the past eight years he remains alive and untried in Guantanamo. I have been waiting for someone to remember any of this.

Anonymous said...

"Still, the most obvious comparison is to Bush, who was completely clueless, apparently, that OBL was living in Greater Islamabad from 2003 onward. By that standard Obama looks awfully good."

Bush didn't know, and Obama didn't know until recently when the CIA caught a lucky break, found out and told him. Bush was a disaster, but how does this really reflect well on Obama?

Anonymous said...

"The military man is sitting in what should be the President's chair: the big one with the high back. Which chair would President Reagan have sat in?"

You're over-analyzing this. They got him. That's all I care about.

RS said...

L. Ron, public opinon surveys don't equate to studying the mass of potassium atoms. They're far less precise. People will partly just say what they know they are supposed to say.

I'm sure Steve has read a ton of articles and comments from the public, and I think those data, in the right hands, are about as interesting as a corpus of survey results.

TGGP said...

Phil Giraldi finally chimes in @TAC. He had also mentioned the OBL killing at antiwar.com, but even there gave more focus to Libya.

Anonymous said...

I see smut on Hillary's laptop, and the keyboard is covered with a picture of a bear wearing glasses. Am I just sleep deprived, or are they screwing with us?

RS said...

As for the praise of Obama - OK. Just don't forget how Bush II/ his people developed a lot of this intel about the courier, and not by total blind luck but by cross checking different people's stories and being a little bit strategic.

Believe me, I couldn't be more hostile overall to George Bush. The country was still going down the tubes faster and faster under his leadership, so why should I be interested in his accomplishments in any emotional or normative way? I'm not; I'm merely stating the facts, basically just because I've been a curious and pedantic little soul for many a year.

Certainly, it's not categorically impossible that Obama and his team have done some things a good deal better than Bush did. But it's hard to tell that with any certainty from one single event, whose roots lie in intel gathered by Bush.

Anonymous said...

I honestly can't get over how bad that photo is - and not just because of how powerless and peevish Obama looks, although that doesn't exactly help.

He doesn't have to sit in the main chair. He would have looked good standing behind with his hands on the back of the chair, subtly invading the general's space and making it clear that the armed forces were working at his behest.

He also needs to take off the fleece jacket and look a little tired and crumpled. Preferably not wearing a vest underneath his shirt.

There are too many people in too small a room. If you're going to do that, then where people are in relation to the President and how close they are to the front becomes way too important. It also makes the photo confusing - I had to search for Obama.

The people peeking in at the back are (allegedly) important members of the team. They look like interns who snuck in and have no real idea what's going on.

Clinton and Biden might be the only politicos who look half way decent and appropriate. This photo is a badly done shambles. The fact that this is the picture the WH chose to release - if they didn't want propaganda, they wouldn't release anything - is disturbing because they genuinely think it sends a good message.

Anonymous said...

OT: does this qualify as "deep state"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWXXRlhDlb4

Anonymous said...

"Electorally and, really, geopolitically, the fate of Osama's body is of no consequence whatsoever. (And, by the way, it's not inconceivable that we will lose or hand over control of Diego Garcia within the next 50 years.)"

Who cares.

Look, the point is, the excuses offered for dumping the body at sea were completely nonsensical. They got everything wrong - Muslims don't bury bodies at sea if they can help it, so if they were trying to be PC, they flubbed it (PC liberals really don't know much about Islam, quelle surprise); they might as well have kept the body for a week, allowed third party examination, and removed all doubt. Muslim outrage was not going to be any greater for it.

Likewise the lame excuse about not creating a shrine reveals their ignorance. Osama was a Wahhabi. Wahhabis consider grave shrines to be idolatrous. The idea that a bunch of Wahhabis would turn Osama's grave into a shrine is beyond ludicrous. Osama would have chosen an unmarked grave - so an unmarked grave on Diego Garcia would have done just as well as anywhere else. I doubt many non-Wahhabi Muslims would want to turn Osama's grave into a shrine since Wahhabis think that they aren't even real Muslims, but the place where Osama was killed would make as good a shrine as any. In reality the "no shrine" excuse is just another lame excuse and rationalization aimed at the gullible American public; it isn't he real reason why any of this went down the way it did.

Whiskey said...

Obama was not that daring or competent. He got lucky, in that the competent people -- the SEALs and the CIA unit hunting Bin Laden and the Defense folks assisting him worked through the network, year by year by year. An alias is hunted down to a name. The name to an identity. The identity to a location. That location to Osama bin Laden's Safe House. Tedious, years-long work requiring only the sign off from Obama upon which he dithered for 16 hours or six months depending on the version.

Anonymous said...

"For my part I'm glad when a President feels the weight of ordering men into dangerous missions to kill people."

Knocking the photo is just piling on. He looks like a teenage boy in that picture, not someone feeling the weight of the world. Brig. General Webb is exactly where he needs to be. Obama is right next to him. Not a bad spot, that, though not the best spot for the photo op.

Bruce said...

Steve,

Did you notice that none of the participants has his/her notebook/laptop turned on? Ramzpaul satirically pointed this out on his latest video blog.

-Bruce

clancy & co. said...

And now for something entirely different. Check out Dr. Steve Piecezenik (model for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan in Patriot Games) on this subject. http://www.stevepieczenik.com/home.html. Dr. Piecezenik briefly met OBL in the 90s, in Afghanistan, and said he was near death with Marfan's syndrome. Dr. Piecezenik worked with most U.S. presidents going back to the late 60s, indirectly with Kissinger, and was an advisor to the CIA. He's also written novels about it all. He particularly warns against the extreme narcissism of recent presidents, the fact they are civilians and have no feeling or awareness of the costs that military men (and women) make; the current one being an extreme case. He does not believe B.O. is capable of speaking without lying.
Basically Bin Laden has been dead and on ice for years. He predicted back in 2002 that they'd bring him back to life and kill him more publicly when expedient. Seems to have panned out that way. They knew Obama's position was getting desperate and desperate circumstances require desperate remedies.
Fascinating to hear it from a man who has actually been one of the people to plan this kind of stuff.

Whiskey said...

Obama's team (and himself) are incompetent because they cannot see two moves ahead. OK, bin Laden is dead. Hooray! In the meantime, what will they do regarding inevitable more terror attacks from Zawahari and Al-Awlaki and others? Are they willing to abandon their hard-Left Ideology?

Obama pulled a self-inflicted wound to the foot, by continuing the prosecution of CIA interrogators under Holder (and telling 9/11 Family member Debra Burlingame that he would not tell Holder to cool it and walked away angrily). Thus, ***ANY*** attack on the US that is in any way MAJOR, will be blamed by Obama/Holder's witch-hunt against the CIA, which was defending itself from ... waterboarding KSM and other scum that led to ... Osama bin Laden. The Republican Commercials write themselves. This is obvious and foreseeable. The smart move being to fire Holder and award the CIA interrogators medals and give them raises. Then there is the prosecution under Obama of other Navy SEALs for "slapping" a jihadi after Obama ordered bin Laden shot. The smart move is to step in and give the SEALs medals, a raise, and kill the court-martial.

Then there is Pakistan. The Republican raise will be to dump aid to Pakistan. Obama now has to defend ... people who hid bin Laden. He has to offer a credible alternative to either cutting and running and leaving Afghanistan/Pakistan invulnerable to any follow-on raids like the one that nailed bin Laden and is his one big success, without basically giving Zawahari and Mullah Omar American money.

These are obvious political questions Obama cannot deal with because "I actually believe my own bull-shit."

Whiskey said...

BTW that picture makes Obama's domination by Valerie Jarrett and his harpy wife Michelle look accurate. Obama looks scared, irrelevant, and out of his depth. He had to be pulled off the Golf Course (shamefully) to watch the operation. Stupid.

Whiskey said...

I'll point out that Obama is the guy who dictated ... LIBYA (a giant screw up from start to well, now) against Gates, Panetta, and the rest. Is Libya a triumph of strategy or even tactics? No, it is a giant mess conveniently swept aside (for the moment) by bin Laden's killing.

BUT, again in a month the public will have forgotten about bin Laden's death, EXCEPT that they will demand a "solution" for Libya and Khadaffi (already cartoons are pointing that out). The danger for Obama is that everyone will WANT a SEAL raid on Khadaffi, and of course like Saddam that will not be in the cards. Khadaffi will be in deep bunkers, or moving around a lot, with lots of conventional forces able to overwhelm SEALs (and on the look-out for stealth helicopters by low-tech listening networks). Stealth helicopters are low noise, not no-noise. So as Libya becomes a greater and greater mess, more atrocities, more Khadaffi triumphs, more mass refugees in Europe tipping it over NOW to Muslim domination (which makes angry or afraid Whites in this country -- a taste of Mexican domination and nowhere to run to as Whites become minorities here in the USA) ... well the more Obama looks weak, impotent, and clueless for not using SEALs to just "solve the mess." [Which btw they cannot, it was a one-time deal requiring absolute surprise.]

elvisd said...

Steve, I enjoy the way you write: intelligent, but simple and clear. Please don't start using franco/latinate BS like "risible". Pretty soon you'll be on your way to "expedite", "ameliorate", and the rest of the wonk lexicon.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, has Obama brought the SEALs up on charges yet the way you confidently predicted he would? Oh, wait, he went and congratulated them all individually. God, you're stupid.

Severn said...

"The most obvious comparison" for an administration that succeeded very nicely in the real world but lacked after-the-fact message discipline is George W. Bush?

Let's be serious for just a second. The "administration" didn't do jack. All the parts of the vast American war state/national security apparatus run along just fine regardless of whichever idiots are currently in the White House.

The "administration" did not track down or kill Bin Laden. It's major contribution was to not halt the operation - by all accounts even this required the intervention of Obama's handlers.

Truth said...

"Blogger Whiskey said...

Obama was not that daring or competent. He got lucky, in that the competent people -- the SEALs and the CIA unit hunting Bin Laden and the Defense folks assisting him worked through the network,"

Wait a minute, Sport, you've been saying the CIA was incompetent for years now...

James Kabala said...

I think Obama actually looks more intent than anything else. His expression strikes me as appropriate for the occasion. Hillary has the worst expression (why did she put her hand over her mouth?) and Gates probably has the best.

As for the big chair, there should probably have been only equal-sized chairs in the room to begin with. The general should not look as if he outranks Obama, but I think Obama in the big chair would look awkward - too reminiscent of a royal throne and/or Captain Kirk.

Truth said...

Hey guys:

I've been kind of busy lately, saving the economy and the world, and all that, but as a man of the people I appreciate the discourse here. This is a free country I lead, and I would like you to encourage anything else that comes into your mediocre little minds, but while you're talking, do me a favor and TELL ME HOW MY AZZ TASTES!

Sincerely:

Barry

beowulf said...

It would have been better if Obama had just gone about his ordinary day and simply been updated regularly by the Pentagon (as FDR was while the Battle off Samar raged).

And afterwards Obama could have issued a brief statement, announcing OBL was dead and that this was the greatest day for the Navy since the Battle off Samar (if you don't know what I'm talking about following the links) and said nothing else.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWxcLabPfik
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_off_Samar

Wes said...

Steve and others ... Chris Matthews (whom I despise) made a comment that Presidents need to be cold-blooded in order to carry out their jobs. Is there any serious research on Presidential personality types? Are they in fact more Machiavellian?

Rev. Right said...

"an Obama Administration succeeding very nicely in the real world, but then delivering a long series of disabling shots to its own collective foot."

Maybe the competence on display was not the adminstration's but the military's, and the clumsy attempts by Obama's people to take credit for something they knew nothing about are more the rule than the exception.

Tax Man said...

Most people do not realize how incompetent the government has become in recent years. I am a tax lawyer and have seen a dramatic decline in the ability of IRS employees to assess taxes. I am talking about a lack of understanding of basic tax concepts from agents who have been assigned complex cases. I have also experienced a breakdown in internal communication between different parts of the IRS.

You can say: who cares, it's the government. But the IRS feeds the belly of the beast and if the IRS can't assess, it can't collect. We still haven't reached the point where the government can simply confiscate your assets.

I can't even imagine how incompetent much of the rest of the government is that has no real mission, but some kind of collapse will probably take place soon than many think possible.

Anonymous said...

Our Pravda media should be asking: Who is Valerie Jarett? Obama has said, "I trust her completely." Shouldn't there be the same level of curiousity that the media had about Karl Rove? But of course not, Pravda doesn't interrogate the Kremlin.

Best,

Scales Fall

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of koolaid drinkers here. Had to read to the bottom to get a reality-based comment.

Isteve commenters appear to be the same crowd who slurped it down when Mohammed Atta's intact passport was miraculously lifted from the layer of ash (concrete pulverized to powdered form) that covered the street below WTC.

And, of course, the guy who found the passport and handed it over was never identified or seen again.

WAKEY WAKEY EGGS & BAKEY

Anonymous said...

Leon Panetta sure gets a lot of good press all of a sudden. Maybe Obama is putting him out front to fire if there's any heat off this hit.

>closet

Cameras shrink rooms. That's probably a nice big comfortable space.

Anonymous said...

...in that white house photo the group are actually sitting at a satellite briefing given by Soros Axelrod and Geffen et al on the how and why and the who what when where regarding the upcoming playing of 'the Osama bin Laden Card'...

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of the guy, but no doubt Obama comes off as extremely presidential in the 60 minutes interview

Ace said...

KenK doesn't think Air Force generals are military men. My guess is that Ken was in the Navy.

Len said...

Maybe I'm thinking too much about all this, but doesn't it strike you that there's another possibility still? What about the possibility that Obama and Co are deliberately trying to stir up confusion and paranoia, just so that when they clear up the confusion by releasing the pictures, he can make the "conspiracy theorists" look like a bunch of dummies?

This whole thing just reminds me too much of his birth certificate. I had always thought that the idea he was born in another country was pretty dumb, but I admit that I started to become suspicious about the whole thing, just because he was acting so weird about it. Then he finally brings it out, and it turns out that there's nothing worth hiding on it in the first place.

So why did he do that? Obviously, if he didn't want people to be suspicious, he could have released it years ago. But instead, he hides it and obfuscates and lets the paranoia ferment and crazy theories proliferate. Then one day he finally produces it and says "See? There's nothing here! You're nothing but a bunch of paranoid, psychotic racists!". I can't help but think he did it that way on purpose.

So likewise, is it really hard to believe that the pictures of Osama wouldn't show anything unusual at all? That maybe Obama is behaving so suspiciously with the "burial at sea" story and the refusal to show the pictures because he wants his detractors to start coming up with crazy stories to explain his strange behavior? That way, maybe a year from now, he can bring out the photos, or even admit that Osama's body was autopsied and put into deep freeze somewhere, just so he can make his enemies look crazy and paranoid?

I don't know, obviously. But if it's true, there's something deeply wrong with this guy. Playing games with his birth certificate is one thing, since it was pretty much just a distraction all along. But if he's screwing around like this with the guy who killed 3,000 Americans, that's pretty disgusting.

The Bourne Peristalsis said...

As a kid I remember hearing Kennedy-Johnson-era braggadocio about our satellites photographing the labels on packs of Pall Malls from 500 miles up or whatever; I'm now much more inclined to believe in a CIA staffed by sociology majors from William & Mary or Georgetown who, in between meeting with AIPAC and pounding donuts, derive their material for the intra-office memos from auto-translated Facebook groups. On the off chance Barack loses next year the Hillary-originated line regarding known military genius Panetta's black bag operation will be exhumed, but most everything else about this raid will be long forgotten by then.

At this moment we are attempting to read significance into the routine eructations of the permanent-campaign mentality and the executive branch's crease-smoothing and ass-covering. Suppose the President acted on incomplete info (maybe a 33% U.S./66% ISI mixture) and authorized this daring/reckless raid, then suddenly looks rather good in the aftermath of the lucky break of the century. You people with seeming seriousness say you'd prefer a strong-silent-casual gentleman's reaction akin to some cartoon Princeton quarterback circa 1890. He'd have to be an idiot to behave this way. The media theme would quickly turn to the waning weeks of April--the inane birth-certificate squabble, followed with lame jokes at the correspondents' dinner (literally a scene from "The Sum of All Fears")--juxtaposed against the cross-firing machinations of a bloated White House establishment uncontained by the "aloof" Obama. It would be a complete pooch screw. No, the courtiers of the D.C. press as well as the American viewing audience need their regular fix of soap opera and POTUS gave them a well-above-adequate status-quo-serving potboiler. He understands that posing for dorky pictures in the Situation Closet comes with the job description.

Any "ineptness" and fumbled details will be ancient history before summer recess and I bet House members from Lockheed and Boeing go to hike foreign aid for Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

A quick read of this blog immediately reveals a conspiracy minded flake troll at work.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey: "that picture makes Obama's domination by Valerie Jarrett and his harpy wife Michelle look accurate. Obama looks scared, irrelevant, and out of his depth. He had to be pulled off the Golf Course (shamefully) to watch the operation. "

Nothing shameful about being on the golf course. in fact, a real man would have kept playing; taken a confirmation of the kill from a flunkey on a golf cart and then handed out large cigars among his playing group.

Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think Hillary's expression is the best. She looks as if she is trying to hide her facial expression which is contorted in horror. Oh dear me.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the photo is necessarily as bad as people think: iSteve is hardly the target audience.

What the photo says -- or tries to say -- is that Barry is the Facebook/Google president. Like Zuckerberg he can dominate without "pomp" to set him apart, on the basis of his smarts and willpower, wearing clothes that for a President are the equivalent of the Zuck hoodie.

Not saying I actually see Barry this way but that's what the photo is going for.

We're a long way from Reagan who refused to take off his jacket at his desk in the oval office out of respect for the office.

Whiskey said...

Most of the CIA is incompetent. Valerie Plame, anyone? Or the Station chief who got herself and about 8 others blown up "debriefing" a double agent who turned out to be triple-agent, in the hunt for bin Laden?

Nevertheless, the analyst teams put together to penetrate/follow bin Laden's network were pretty good, and got practice in Iraq too. They're more fusion Defense/CIA than straight out old school Scheuer CIA.

Whiskey said...

Obama needed to be in the Situation Room to act as final backup for the SEALs. Calling the Pakistani Defense Minister / Army Chief personally and telling him to lay off, the guys are ours. "Or Else." That's one of the jobs of President. Calling up people on the phone and threatening him.

Obama looked like a frightened man in the photo. On 60 Minutes he looked "neutral" between bin Laden's Islamic tradition and America. Not a good spot for a President to be. He's also stupid. Sure he "deflated" the Birther controversy, after getting to a point where only 38% of the nation believed he was born in the USA. No one is going to suddenly trust him now. Same with burial at sea. Act sneaky and people think you're hiding something.

Anonymous said...

I paid over $4.15/gal today, and I spotted another store in the strip mall near me that closed its doors. With each one that closes, the parking lots of the malls gather litter.

Counted three more houses in the neighborhood with lock boxes on them. The people two doors up the street from my house (Egyptians, actually) lost their house, moved out last week--the bank put up a sign on Friday.

The CA Teachers Association is planning an all-out rally, campaign beginning tomorrow. They want to tell us that they and "their kids" simply can't tolerate cuts.

I had to pay dues to that corrupt piece of crap for 35 years.

Bin Laden dead--great!
Everything else---a piece of sh*t.

Wes who works for CHAOS said...

Hillary shows a look of pure horror ... it can only be one thing ... she saw Bin Laden being killed and realized her dream of stepping down to challenge Obama in the primaries was over.

Anonymous said...

The idea that BHO is assured another term on the basis of this boost needs to be scrutinized. It is surely just projection of liberal fantasies. I remember seeing white Los Angelinos being pulled out of their cars on street corners in 1992 and thinking that the right would surely rule America for the next, ahem... thousand years. It turned out it was just me.
Gilbert Pinfold

DanJ said...

Nothing of concern in this photo. Obama and staff have walked into the room with the most up-to-date info on the situation. The general in the big chair is giving the presentation of sorts from his laptop, so it would be silly to have him move to a lesser seat.

Of course it would be flashier if Obama would, say, land on an aircraft carrier in a helicopter, dressed in SEAL garb, then he could give a speech, maybe a big banner that says "Mission Accomplished" or something, oh... wait a minute...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Tax Man: Most people do not realize how incompetent the government has become in recent years. I am a tax lawyer and have seen a dramatic decline in the ability of IRS employees to assess taxes. I am talking about a lack of understanding of basic tax concepts from agents who have been assigned complex cases. I have also experienced a breakdown in internal communication between different parts of the IRS... I can't even imagine how incompetent much of the rest of the government is that has no real mission, but some kind of collapse will probably take place soon than many think possible.

As things heat up for the 2012 election season, we haven't been talking about "big" topics as much here at iSteve [and sometimes Komment Kontrol frowns on the "big" posts], but, rest assured, pretty much all of us are aware of what the collapse in Causcasian [and Pacific Rim Asian] total fertility rates, back circa the eary 1970s, means for the future of civilization [if civilization even has a future - although the resolution of that question is largely up to us].

none of the above said...

Kaotic Wes:

Or she's watching OBLs wife get shot. Or she's watching/listening to a showdown between Pakistani and US planes that could ignite a shooting war. Or she's just seen that it's really OBL and now figures we'll be at war with Pakistan soon. Or....

The "analysis" of the photo in this thread would fit on a talking heads TV show. Its what people do when they need to fill air time and have nothing new to say.

Dahinda said...

My wife was an Obama fanatic during the last presidential election. I kept telling her that Obama was just a very articulate George Bush. The policies that Obama discussed during the election weren't much different than Bush's in foriegn policy, immigration, dealing with the banking crisis etc.. I think that she is finally starting to believe me!

Formerly.JP98 said...

I watched the 60 Minutes interview of Obama last night because my father-in-law was visiting and wanted to see it. He's my proxy for Joe 6-Pack. The whole thing has played very well with him -- both the take-down (of course) and Obama's show of displeasure with Pakistan and explanation of the burial at sea.

If this had happened a few months before Nov. 2012, it might have been enough to make my father-in-law vote for Obama. But as things are, I doubt it will make much of a difference by the time election day rolls around.

neil craig said...

Dumping the body is only incompetent if it was him. Otherwise it is the only thing to do.

Most conspiracy theorists are saying that he is still alive. I think it more probable that he was killed years ago, probably at Tora Bora but the "war on terror" required him to be treated as still alive to have a war against. I personally think ot was a high ranking al Qyaeda leader providing liason with Pakistani intelligence but not OBL.

Certainly everything the US has done since shooting whoever tends to support that belief.

AMac said...

Steve's reason #3 was

3) [Team Obama has] grown incredibly lazy and arrogant knowing the Pravda MSM will parrot their obvious lies and errors without question or comment...

Today, the staff of NPR's news show "Morning Edition" effectively rebutted that notion. In a hard-hitting analysis segment, journalist Cokie Roberts reviewed the circumstances around the raid, and how the White House's handling of its aftermath is affecting public opinion.

It turns out that Roberts and the show's anchor agree that Pres. Obama's actions have all been good. Super-fantastic, actually. In fact, there's really no way that any mortal could have improved upon his manly, decisive, adept, and compassionate performance. Now, it's simply up to the voters to do their job, and appreciate all of the excellence that the President has bestowed upon them.

Oh well, Steve. There's still reasons 1, 2, 4, and 5 to consider.

Has to be said...

To get a sense of how far out of the loop Obama and his people were, just look at the operation name: Geronimo. Can you imagine anyone in Obama's administration giving it this name or not changing it if they knew about it? This has "Bush cowboy swagger" written all over it.

Kylie said...

"Nothing shameful about being on the golf course. in fact, a real man would have kept playing; taken a confirmation of the kill from a flunkey on a golf cart and then handed out large cigars among his playing group."

Just goes to show how little I know about golf. I thought a real man would have waved away the flunky lest the dolt spoil his shot, taken a confirmation of the kill later back at the clubhouse, passed out cigars to his pals and then made sure the flunky was fired for potentially ruining his game.

In any case, seeing Obama hunched down anxiously while real men did their jobs was priceless. Even Hillary looks more commanding, though he does look like he outranks the girl in the back.

Anonymous said...

Expect a Nov 2012 surprise from Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Seems Obama was not the first to write myth-making books.

Plenty of "liberal" heroes seem to be created from whole cloth.

Rev. Right said...

Len said...
"Maybe I'm thinking too much about all this, but doesn't it strike you that there's another possibility still? What about the possibility that Obama and Co are deliberately trying to stir up confusion and paranoia, just so that when they clear up the confusion by releasing the pictures, he can make the "conspiracy theorists" look like a bunch of dummies?"


I always thought the same about the birth certificate issue, that he obviously either had it or, failing that, certainly had the resources to come up with a viable fake, and there was no above board reason for not just putting the issue to rest. The whole idea must have been to spring it as close to the 2012 election as possible, thus discrediting the birther movement and, by extension, all other inquiries into a remarkably obscured past.

Perhaps Trump forced his hand early. Perhaps the details and evidence of OBL's death are being deliberately obsured here to recreate another group that the Obamunists can focus ridicule on (deathers?) in order to keep hidden stories about Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Blogo, college trasncripts, who paid his tuition at Columbia and Harvard, who wrote his autobigraphy, Pakistani passports, you name it.

I think these guys are very adept at adjusting the flows of information to steer public perception and play a longer view game than their hapless bad-haircut opponents. Having the majority of the media actively assisiting you doesn't hurt. The democratic party has shown a remarkable discipline when it comes to staying on message, and I would not put it past this adminstration to have put election consequences ahead of any national security considerations when deciding how to handle this matter.

OhioStater said...

I think Obama is still chasing the bus, trying to become president rather than be president.

What's bizarre is Obama looked more presidential on his European campaign trip than he has at any point since.

I can see his national security team as an evenly divided Supreme Court with Obama like Sandra Day O'Connor the fifth vote.

He's a consensus builder, but consensus shifts.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door said...

Actually that picture is NOT Obama watching the SEAL mission;its Barry & Co. reading the latest iSteve blog! Who is the (relatively) pretty girl in the back? And look at Bill Daleys square mug;he sure doesnt have dads good looks. Sorry about the name,heh heh heh but you said get creative!

Anonymous said...

The SEALs were operating on Plan B after one of the two choppers was disabled. The unanswered (and mostly unasked) question is: what was Plan A?

none of the above said...

niel:

Or if there's something else they wanted to hide on the body. That could be the dialysis shunt in his chest, the missing fingernails from where he'd been tortured for information, the transplanted kidney in his body, the single bullethole from above the skull on the front from when he was executed, the "Obama 2008" tattoo on his bicep, etc.

It's also possible that Obama simply wanted to avoid a bruising political fight over a trial or a military tribunal, and so kept him on the hospital ship till the DNA test came back, then ordered him shot and tossed over the side. I don't suppose we'll ever know at this point.

David Davenport said...

The SEALs were operating on Plan B after one of the two choppers was disabled. The unanswered (and mostly unasked) question is: what was Plan A?

The SEALS and the Army aircrew stuck with Plan A. They had no need for Plan B.

One of the three modified H-60 Helicopters made a hard landing, but the helo came to rest in approximately the right spot and none of its passengers or aircrew were disabled. So they went ahead with Plan A.

Several more Army helicopters with more SEALS/soldiers/commandos and some spare payload capacity followed the first three helicopters. There may have also been some Apache attack helicopters with this group. This second set was the back-up, reserve component. You could call this Plan B. If Plan A was revealed to need reinforcements, they were available.

One of the reserve helicopters landed to pick up the fellows delivered by the disabled helicopter. No problem, except that our guys failed to destroy that helicopter's tail.

There was probably also a number of fixed wing American warplanes and support aircraft aircraft in the air near the Afghan/Pak border and some Predator or Reaper unmanned air vehicles orbiting around Abbottabad during the mission. I suppose that the warplanes would have crossed the border if they had been needed. I dunno whether to call that Plan C or part of Plan B.

David Davenport said...

A P.S. to my previous post: The planners of the Bin Laden raid probably planned to land a 4th helicopter after the shooting stopped, regardless of whether or not any of the first three helicopters were lost or disabled.

Why? The three modified Blackhawks probably had little payload capacity in reserve. The forth helo was probably neeeded to land forensic evidence specialists and to pick up Binny's body, as well as his computers, paper files, and so forth.

News accounts in fact say that the fourth helicopter was a CH-47 or MH-47 Chinook -- not at all stealthy and with at least 3X the payload of an ordinary Blackhawk. So, no PLan B needed.

... Actually I'm disappointed that they didn't take Bin Laden alive. Alive, Binny would have been very entertaining. He might have appealed to the Half Blood Prince for mercy, seeing BHO as a fellow Muhammedan.

nosegoose said...

David Davenport said:... Actually I'm disappointed that they didn't take Bin Laden alive. Alive, Binny would have been very entertaining. He might have appealed to the Half Blood Prince for mercy, seeing BHO as a fellow Muhammedan.

Actually you should be glad they did not take him alive. Otherwise your faith in the integrity of the US Forces and the GWAT/AQ meme would have been shattered, since most probably it was not Binny that they found and killed, but just some higher AQ operative. Binny has been dead for years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjtNiTm99e8&feature=related

Anonymous said...

The body dumping in the ocean, was pre-planned as part of the mission (the transport and all). You are criticizing a choice that was made in a deliberate, planned manner for being responsive. But it wasn't. Maybe it was wrong (and maybe it wasn't). Really the decision to try for the kill and then dump the body asap may have been smart ways of staying ahead of embarraseing follow on problems.

The briefings were poorly done, but then you just have to realize that for a guy like Rumsfeld who thinks of operations as a normal thing, that he has somefamiliarility with...that is just a different TV world to your typical never served Democrat like the President. And with the growing lack of military experience of the American public, it will less and less hurt him.

neil craig said...

The Blackhawk helicopters used have a maximum range of a bit over 300 miles (and substabntially less at high altitude as Abbotabad is. Therefore they could not have evacuated to the ocean but must have gone to Afghanistan. Therefore the story about burying the body at sea within a few hours cannot be truthful.

It wasn't Obama. I believe he had been killed years ago at Tora Bora but was claimed to be alive because governments always like to have a bogey man to keep us obedient. With UAVs taking out most of the Taliban leadership and a Presidential election coming up the story that he was still alive was becoming threadbare & had to be ended.

Ash said...

"Still, the most obvious comparison is to Bush, who was completely clueless, apparently, that OBL was living in Greater Islamabad from 2003 onward. By that standard Obama looks awfully good."

I realize that you're just trying to be fair by ending on this note, but obviously Bush was only as clueless on this subject as the vast intelligence network that served him and now serves Obama. Unless you have evidence that Obama improved that network, it seems reasonable to believe that it was luck that the network finally figured things out on Obama's watch. Beyond minor details, Obama did nothing that any of his predecessors would't have done in the same situation.