Free Markets, Free People

Osama bin Laden

About spiking the bin Laden football

This does an adequate job of saying what needs to be said:

 

 

“Unseemly” describes it best. But when the rest of your record is so abysmal, unseemly is all you have. 

As for the rest of it:

The truth is that getting bin Laden was the top counterterrorism objective for U.S. intelligence since well before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This administration built on work pain­stakingly pursued for many years before Obama was elected — and without this work, Obama administration officials never would have been in a position to authorize the strike on Abbottabad, Pakistan, that resulted in bin Laden’s overdue death.

Most reasonable people have already figured that out despite the “look I did it” claims of Obama.  Critics can trash Mitt  Romney all they want, but he was right – even Jimmy Carter would have made the call Obama made.  And, had the operation gone wrong, despite what Bill Clinton says, the target would never have been known (until possibly, much, much later).  America would have simply believed that one of hundreds of special operations that were conducted monthly, had gone south.  It is war.  It happens.

And, of course, what was the concern from Clinton?  Politics, of course.  Nothing more, nothing less.

“Gutsy”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: Joe Biden bumper sticker edition

You have to love this guy:

"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,"

Of course, Osama bin Laden would be dead and GM “alive” if Chauncey Gardiner had been president (or VP for that matter … oh, wait).

But don’t tell Joe that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Biden–Osama Bin Laden raid the “most audacious plan” in 500 years

From the Vice President at a fundraiser in New Jersey, these quotes have come out of pool reports:

You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.

With all due respect to our SEAL brethren, I only had to go back a few decades to the Son Tay raid.  So I’ll write the VP’s remark off as the typical hubris and hyperbole of politics and the usual historic ignorance (see Rutherford B. Hayes) this crew displays fairly routinely(“D-day? No biggie”).  No real surprise there.

But, then this – and by the way, this is what all the hubris and hyperbole were leading up too:

Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president?

That’s right … politics.  This is an attempt to equate saying “yes” to the raid while sitting in a room in DC to the courage necessary to execute the raid.  That supposedly risking your political future is akin to actually risking your life in the raid.  This is an attempt to frame a decision that really wasn’t very tough at all into an agonizing, courageous and risky choice.

No-go.

Moving on:

This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.

Two points.  “This guy” didn’t risk anything.  My guess is had the raid failed, we’d never have heard about it in terms of an attempt to get ‘bin Laden’.  In fact, we’d likely have only heard of it as an attempt to get a “high level” al Qaeda operative, if that.  And, there was no real decision to be made and most Americans know it.  The only bad choice he could have made was to not go after him, learn later he was there and have that information go public.

THEN he’d have been a one-term president.  THEN he would have actually risked something.

Oh and finally:

“Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” he said, according to the pool report. “Think about it.”

I have.  Trust me.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Irony

Yes there are still people in this world that just don’t get it.  The irony, of course, is their target:

A Spanish lawyer has formally accused Barack Obama of crimes against humanity for ordering the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Apparently “lawfare” was how this should have been prosecuted:

Daniel Fiol lodged a written complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing the US president of breaching the Geneva Convention.

[…]

In his written complaint, the Majorca-based lawyer said bin Laden should have been "pursued, arrested, tried and convicted" on behalf of "the victims of some terrible and appalling atrocities". The killing of bin Laden was even worse as it took place in foreign territory, Pakistan, without the permission of that government, he said.

So here we are with another “ war criminal president” on our hands.  How does it feel, lefties, to have your agent for “hope and change” accused of being a “war criminal?”

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Lawfare v. Warfare: Bin Laden family uses a little “Alinsky” on US and Obama

One of the “Rules for Radicals” that Saul Alinsky touted was:

"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

In a piece published by the New York Times, the “bin Laden family” condemns the attack on their father and demands that there be a reckoning:

If OBL has been killed in that operation as President of United States has claimed then we are just in questioning as per media reports that why an unarmed man was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world. If he has been summarily executed then, we question the propriety of such assassination where not only international law has been blatantly violated but USA has set a very different example whereby right to have a fair trial, and presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law has been sacrificed on which western society is built and is standing when a trial of OBL was possible for any wrongdoing as that of Iraqi President Sadam Hussein and Serbian President Slobodan Miloševic’. We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems and crime’s adjudication as Justice must be seen to be done.

They’re also threatening to take the case to the International Criminal Court which would be an interesting turn of events.

The hidden premise, of course, is OBL was a criminal, not an unlawful combatant. The UN is also pushing that premise through its odious "Human Rights Council":

The United Nations (UN) affiliated human rights attorneys say the United States should release more details on the death of Osama Bin Laden during a military raid in Pakistan.They say in the statement that

actions taken by States in combating terrorism, especially in high profile cases, set precedents for the way in which the right to life will be treated in future instances.”

The statement, issued jointly by law professors Christof Heyns of South Africa’s University of Pretoria and Martin Scheinin of European University Institute in Florence, Italy, says that the “use of deadly force may be permissible” in certain circumstances “as a measure of last resort.” But they say that "the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially decided punishment.” These guidelines, the men say, are “international standards on the use of force. [emphasis mine]

The death of bin Laden is being described in some quarters as an “extrajudicial killing”.  In fact, bin Laden was always considered to be an “unlawful combatant” by us and as such had no such protections.  In warfare, the targeted killing of an enemy, in this case unlawful combatant, is quite legal.

So what you are seeing here are competing premises, one saying terrorism is simply a criminal act and therefore terrorists must be treated as common criminals would be treated as well as afforded various rights because of that.  The other says these are enemies who have declared war on the US, committed numerous acts of war and, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, are “unlawful combatants” and enemies whose targeted killing is an accepted practice of warfare.

Lawfare vs. warfare.

I think we’ve been pretty clear since the beginning, with the AUMF (which the Obama administration ironically used as the legal basis for its raid into Pakistan), that we’re at war (and yes, I also accept the AUMF as a declaration of war).

Second guessing by all the world’s hand wringers should simply be ignored.  This isn’t a criminal matter.  It is a military matter and it was executed as such.  The lesson it teaches other terrorists who’ve declared war on “the Great Satan” is we are relentless and remorseless.  Those are two good messages to send.

As for the bin Laden family – sorry about dear old dad.  Go float a wreath.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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With Osama bump fading, Obama faced with reality of bad economy

Osama bin Laden is dead and President Obama has received a bump in the polls for the successful operation that took him out.  That’s both deserved and expected.  But what’s unknown is how long that bump will last or whether or not the bump is really that important.

I’d say it won’t last long and that while it isn’t unimportant, it isn’t enough to carry him through 2012 and the election.  The most important issue Obama will have to overcome for re-election is the economy.  And right now, the economy sucks.   As a result, so do his poll numbers on the issue:

Just a third of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction; less than four in 10 approve of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy; and nearly 70 percent think the economy will get worse or stay the same in the next year.

As we all know, the economy is a complex issue and opinions of how good it is often come down to how an individual is faring or how his friends and acquaintances are.  It comes down to basic pocket-book issues such as costs, wages, jobs.  If the unemployment rate still hovers around 9%, given the promise that they’d keep it under 8% with the stimulus, then the administration is going to have some hard questions to answer.

It’s still very early to make predictions about the presidential race, especially with the dearth of worthwhile candidates on the GOP side, but history has not been kind to incumbent presidents in office when there has been an economic downturn of any magnitude and length.  This particular one is one of the worst, and the “I inherited it” mantra has no traction anymore.

But as a baseline from which to compare where the numbers go in the future, the poll is useful:

Looking ahead to next year’s presidential election, 45 percent said they would probably vote for Obama (a two-point rise from April), versus 30 percent who would probably vote for the eventual Republican nominee (an eight-point decrease).

The GOP’s decrease is well-deserved given the emerging field.  It’s a signal guys – heed it.  As for Obama, the most he can muster, post Osama, is a 45% plurality, which would tell anyone he’s vulnerable.  But the GOP numbers say he’s only going to be vulnerable to a worthwhile candidate and so far voters aren’t seeing one.

The obvious issue for next year – well, are you better off today than you were four years ago?

Only 37 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy, while 58 percent disapprove.

Also, just 31 percent believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared with 43 percent who think it will stay the same and another 25 percent who say it will get worse.

These economic numbers, GOP pollster McInturff says, underscore the “tremendous anchor the economy is to the president’s job standing.”

It’s not an “anchor” its an albatross.  While good marks on foreign policy, even if temporary, help Obama, the economy is the key.   And the GOP has all the ammunition in the world to keep that albatross around Obama’s neck.   But bottom line, or so it appears, no viable candidate, no presidency and so far the voters don’t at all seem impressed with the same old names that are joining the battle on the Republican side.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Pakistan has some explaining to do

It’s going to be interesting to see how Pakistan attempts to weasel its way out of the obvious “someone there was helping bin Laden”  meme.

Here’s their first shot at it:

A senior official in Pakistan’s civilian government told ABC News, "Elements of Pakistan intelligence — probably rogue or retired — were involved in aiding, abetting and sheltering the leader of al Qaeda," the strongest public statement yet from the Pakistani government after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

This is based on the government’s judgment that the number of years bin Laden spent in Abbottabad — and it now appears in a village outside the city of Haripur — would have been impossible without help, possibly from someone in the middle tier of ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, who grew up fighting alongside the mujahidin against the Soviets, said the official.

Ummm.  Yeah, it has to go a little deeper than that, unless someone is going to claim that the ISI – not rogue or retired – was totally asleep at the switch.  Some others (other than just a “rogue element”) that are still on active duty and at pretty high levels had to be complicit.  Waiving it off as “rogue elements” just isn’t going to be good enough.

For bin Laden to stay, safely for up to 7 years within Pakistan and apparently able to moving from one village to another, a whole bunch of people had to turn blind eyes.  Especially with the ISI’s reputation of knowing all that goes on within its borders.

It’s the impression of some in the government that the United States is giving Pakistan some space in the wake of the raid, but only for a limited time — and that if Pakistan doesn’t act in a way that satisfies the United States, there will be consequences.

One of the consequences could be a cut off or sharp reduction in the billions of aid we give them each year for their military and for the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.  At the moment, given this bin Laden story, it doesn’t appear to have been well spent.

That said, Pakistan is very important to us in other ways than just fighting terrorists.   It is the main staging base for the bulk of our logistical support for the effort in Afghanistan. 

Tricky diplomacy ahead.  Pakistan has been embarrassed by the US raid (rightfully so).   Also, although it has never been said openly, they’re seen as so unreliable an ally that we chose not to tell them we were going to do what we did for fear bin Laden would escape.

The US is going to have to move carefully here, but bottom line, Pakistan – at a minimum – is going to have to cough up those who were responsible for making it possible for bin Laden to stay in Pakistan for all those years and punish them.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 08 May 11

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the death of Bin Laden, and the economy.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Irony, the left, the AUMF and bin Laden

I assume most of you political junkies remember the left and their reaction to the Authorization to use Military Force resolution that was passed by Congress not long after 9/11.

The left wasn’t at all happy with Congress authorizing the use of force and during the presidential debates you had various Democratic candidates called out on it by the Obama campaign and we went through a series of apologies for voting for that.  Obama was never clear as to whether or not he’d have voted for it had he been in the Senate at the time, but he certainly left the impression he probably wouldn’t have.

The irony comes in the form of the justification for the raid on and death of Osama bin Laden.  Apparently the AUMF is suddenly a pretty handy thing to have around:

To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.

The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.

One year ago, in the midst of a debate about the legality of targeted killing of foreign nationals, Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, said in a speech that the administration’s targeting practices complied "with all applicable law, including the laws of war."

"As recent events have shown," Koh said at the time, al Qaeda has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and so "the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks."

I find it both amusing and interesting (not to mention ironic) that those so heavily engaged in pumping up the Obama profile over the bin Laden killing are mostly unaware of the fact that the hated AUMF was the basis for the strike and, in effect, they’re now defending what they once roundly condemned.

As someone recently quipped, in the area of the war(s), this is like Bush’s third term.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Germany’s Chancellor Merkel has criminal complaint filed against her for bin Laden comments

The world is officially nuts.  I’m not sure how else you classify what follows.  Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany recently remarked on the death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden saying was “glad” he’d been killed.  That prompted the following from a German judge:

But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor’s statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek, the daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported Friday.

"I am a law-abiding citizen and as a judge, sworn to justice and law," the 54-year-old told the paper, adding that Merkel’s words were "tacky and undignified."

In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the "rewarding and approving" of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a "homicide," Uthmann claimed. The violation is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine.

"For the daughter of a Christian pastor, the comment is astonishing and at odds with the values of human dignity, charity and the rule of law," Uthmann told the newspaper.

Of course the judge is assuming it’s a “homicide” (certainly no proof exists that’s the case) and thus a criminal act.  In fact, the Geneva Conventions will clearly show otherwise.  Obviously he files his complaint with nothing more than his opinion as a basis.

So you say, it’s one extremist view, why get excited about it?

While the judge’s reaction may seem extreme, his sentiments are apparently shared by 64 percent of the German population. That was the proportion of Germans who said bin Laden’s death was "no reason to rejoice" in a poll published by broadcaster ARD on Friday.

Germany – never a bastion of human rights or individual freedoms –  continues to live up to its past with a new extremist but pacifist twist.  This is an example of absurdity masquerading as reason, extremism as normalcy and stupidity as compassion. 

Everyone who loves freedom and hates mass murderers should be “glad” Osama bin Laden has been killed.  He was a monster, just like one which once ruled the land this puffed up pratt Uthman lives in.  As much as Germans claim to have been “disgusted” with the “jubilation” over OBL’s death, nonsense like this does them no favor.  The disgust on this side of the Atlantic for a country that assaults free speech and protects the memory of a mass murderer by going after those who express satisfaction at his demise isn’t one that I or most anyone here would ever care to live in.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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