Osama bin Laden
Allahpundit provides a roundup of quotes out of Europe concerning the celebration here of the death of Osama bin Laden. As you might expect, the latent anti-Americanism isn’t so latent anymore and the incident of bin Laden’s death provides the superior Euros a chance to do a little self-serving moral preening. For instance:
“At a press conference at Lambeth Palace, The Daily Telegraph asked [the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan] Williams whether he thought the US had been right to kill bin Laden.
“After declining to respond initially, he later replied: ‘I think the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling, because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done in those circumstances.’”
Really? It doesn’t? How does one define “justice” then? Certainly Europe doesn’t think “death” is justice regardless of how monstrous the deed is. Kill 3,000 people in NY plus Khobar Towers, two African Embassies and the USS Cole? Oh, and those subway deaths in London? Those deeds obviously don’t justify what just happened.
Nope - we should have caught him, tried him (and given him an international platform to spew his hate) and then locked him up? How’s that anymore justice than what happened? We have a mad dog on tape bragging about being the man responsible for all those deaths. We have intel that says he was going to kill more (attacking trains in the US on the 10th anniversary of 9/11). If ever justice was served anywhere, it was served on the night of May 1st in a compound in Pakistan. And no, I’m not uncomfortable in the least about that. Someone needs to remind the Archbishop that “justice” isn’t a process, it’s a result.
Next come those who would like to ignore the elephant in the room and those celebrations simply won’t let them do it:
“Nicolas Demorand, editor of the left-leaning French daily Libération, on Tuesday bemoaned the ‘toxic rhetoric’ of the campaign against terrorism. From that rhetoric, he wrote, stems ‘this base, uncomfortable joy, unprecedented in a democracy, that blew yesterday over the streets of New York.’
“Even the editor of the centrist weekly L’Express, Christophe Barbier, cautioned, ‘To victory one must not add provocation.’ He added: ‘To desecrate the cadaver or the memory of Bin Laden is to revive him. To cry one’s joy in the streets of our cities is to ape the turbaned barbarians who danced the night of Sept. 11. It is to tell them the ghastly competition continues between them and us.’”
Someone get a clue bat for Barbier will you? The “ghastly competition” does continue. Because they initiated it and haven’t said “uncle” yet. And it will continue until the murderous organization that has killed thousands over the years – primarily Muslims, btw – is destroyed, root and branch. Sniffing at the celebrations and calling them an “aping” of the barbarians is to use an equivalence that indicates moral cowardice that would welcome submission before resistance.
Finally, perhaps the most ironic condemnation comes from the country that was on the wrong side of two world wars, one of which required the civilized world rid itself of a monster that country put into power:
“The fashionable critique of Obama and the U.S. achieved its purest form on ARD Television, Germany’s equivalent of the BBC, where commentator Jörg Schoenenborn pompously observed that nothing good could come from Obama’s Bush-like breach of international law. ‘Al Qaeda will seek revenge,’ he asserts, ‘so, is the world any safer? No.’ Yet Americans dance in the streets, which Scheonenborn attributed to something essential, and essentially primitive, in the American character. The USA is, after all, ‘quite a foreign land to me. What kind of country celebrates an execution in such a way?’
I’ll take “primitive” over “barbaric”, “anti-Semitic”, and “murderous” any day. And no, Germany, you haven’t lived down your reputation yet. Not enough to take this sort of a position.
Of course AQ will seek revenge. But as mentioned above, they planned to attack anyway. So should we just sit back and let it happen? Would a few thousand more deaths have soothed your conscience enough to have you condone aggressive and justified action against the murderer? Or would it still have been considered a “primitive” action driven by blood lust? Instead, obviously, we should just roll over and allow these murderers to have their way. Apparently, that’s the European way.
There’s even more irony in this reaction though:
“[N]ow many of Obama’s erstwhile Euro-fans are feeling a twinge of buyer’s remorse. By ordering a covert raid on Pakistan that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of Navy SEALs, Obama has earned the kind of condemnation [from] Europe’s cognoscenti once reserved for his predecessor, George W. Bush…
I’m waiting for the first mention of “cowboy” to come floating across the Atlantic. It does make the point though that as long as you’re submissive and not aggressive in pursuing the best interests of the US, Euro’s will sort of, kind of pretend to like you. And we’ve all seen what that will buy. I wonder when the first calls for Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize to be withdrawn will begin?
I think Jonathan Tobin at Commentary best summarizes the reasons for Europe’s false and snobby self-righteousness:
It’s true that European snobbery is silly. But the factors underlying the Euro unwillingness to treat the battle with Islamist terrorism as a fight to the death are anything but a laughing matter. As Erlanger notes, the Europeans are genuinely afraid of the Islamic world, something that may have a great deal to do with the growing and increasingly assertive Muslim populations in Western European countries.
But the disdain for American joy about bin Laden’s death goes deeper than mere snobbery or concerns about local Muslims. It’s not just that Western European intellectuals don’t like the United States—they never have—but their unwillingness to countenance aggressive Western self-defense against Islamist terror is a function of their loss of belief in Western civilization itself. Many on the continent seem to have lost any sense that their countries and way of life as well as their faith is something worth defending. When it comes down to it that, and not the faux sophistication of Euro elites, is the difference between America and Europe these days.
For all of our problems and divisions, most Americans still believe in their country. All too many of our friends across the pond have lost faith in theirs. And that crisis in confidence, not good taste, is why Americans and not Europeans are celebrating the death of bin Laden.
It is a form of capitulation. If they can successfully continue to delude themselves into inaction by condemning our methods while draping themselves in false moral outrage, they can safely ignore the threat, even as it continues to build and subvert their own cultures. They don’t want to fight. They’ve already given up. All they want now is a way to justify their craven surrender. And that damn America keeps doing things that make that more and more difficult to do.
Perhaps it is becoming clearer to even those in deep denial that that the Muslim Brotherhood is "moderate" only if the term is redefined into meaninglessness. The death of Osama bin Laden provides another indication of the MB’s true character:
But in its first public statement on the killing of bin Laden, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used the honorific term "sheikh" to refer to the al-Qaeda leader. It also accused Western governments of linking Islam and terrorism, and defended "resistance" against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as "legitimate."
The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to bin Laden’s death may finally end the mythology — espoused frequently in the U.S. — that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power. This is, after all, precisely how Muslim Brothers describe their creed — "moderate," as opposed to al-Qaeda, which is radical. "Moderate Islam means not using violence, denouncing terrorism, and not working with jihadists," said Muslim Brotherhood youth activist Khaled Hamza, for whom the organization’s embrace of "moderate Islam" was the primary reason he joined.
Yet the Muslim Brotherhood’s promise that its "moderation" means rejecting violence includes a gaping exception: the organization endorses violence against military occupations, which its leaders have told me include Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, and Palestine — in other words, nearly every major conflict on the Eurasian continent.
It should end the mythology, but it won’t. There are those on the left to invested in the belief that they are a moderate force that they won’t back down even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. This is your “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction to the death of bin Laden:
"The whole world, and especially the Muslims, have lived with a fierce media campaign to brand Islam as terrorism and describe the Muslims as violent by blaming the September 11th incident on al-Qaeda." It then notes that "Sheikh Osama bin Laden" was assassinated alongside "a woman and one of his sons and with a number of his companions," going on to issue a rejection of violence and assassinations. It goes on to ominously declare that the Muslim Brotherhood supports "legitimate resistance against foreign occupation for any country, which is the legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international agreements," and demands that the U.S., the European Union, and NATO quickly "end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people." It closes by demanding that the U.S. "stop its intelligence operations against those who differ with it, and cease its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country."
As Eric Trager says, the statement issued by the MB is “vintage bin Laden”:
[I]t’s Muslim lands, not America, that are under attack; it’s Muslims, not American civilians, who are the ultimate victims; and, despite two American presidents’ genuine, effusive promises to the contrary, Islam is the target. It’s an important indicator that despite its increased responsibility in post-Mubarak Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood may well remain deeply hostile toward even the one of the most basic and defensible of American interests in the Middle East — that of securing Americans from terrorism.
In Egypt, at least, this is the result of the “Arab Spring”. As predicted, the best organized and most ruthless are winning out. And the result will not advance the peace process in the region. On the contrary, “moderate” has come to be defined by bin Laden, not by any recognizable dictionary. The Muslim Brotherhood has fooled a lot of so-called “scholars” into believing them to be a benign force for good and interested in democratic reform. Instead, they’ll most likely find out that they’re anything but benign and they are only interested in democracy if it advances their agenda. And that agenda is anything but moderate.
If this is true, it is a bombshell and will kill the luster on Obama’s new found Commander-in-Chief bona fides.
It comes from a site names "Socyberty" and is posted by someone named Ulsterman. It is from an anonymous source (a "Washington DC insider"). So all of this is suspect – stipulated. But when you read it, it all reads pretty authoritatively.
So, take it for what its worth, but it is, at least, a very interesting rumor:
Q: You stated that President Obama was “overruled” by military/intelligence officials regarding the decision to send in military specialists into the Osama Bin Laden compound. Was that accurate?
A: I was told – in these exact terms, “we overruled him.” (Obama) I have since followed up and received further details on exactly what that meant, as well as the specifics of how Leon Panetta worked around the president’s “persistent hesitation to act.” There appears NOT to have been an outright overruling of any specific position by President Obama, simply because there was no specific position from the president to do so. President Obama was, in this case, as in all others, working as an absentee president.
And, of course, it gets worse:
Q: What changed the president’s position and enabled the attack against Osama Bin Laden to proceed?
A: Nothing changed with the president’s opinion – he continued to avoid having one. Every time military and intelligence officials appeared to make progress in forming a position, Jarrett would intervene and the stalling would begin again. Hillary started the ball really rolling as far as pressuring Obama began, but it was Panetta and Petraeus who ultimately pushed Obama to finally act – sort of. Panetta was receiving significant reports from both his direct CIA sources, as well as Petraeus-originating Intel. Petraeus was threatening to act on his own via a bombing attack. Panetta reported back to the president that a bombing of the compound would result in successful killing of Osama Bin Laden, and little risk to American lives. Initially, as he had done before, the president indicated a willingness to act. But once again, Jarrett intervened, convincing the president that innocent Pakistani lives could be lost in such a bombing attack, and Obama would be left attempting to explain Panetta’s failed policy. Again Obama hesitated – this time openly delaying further meetings to discuss the issue with Panetta. A brief meeting was held at this time with other officials, including Secretary Gates and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but Gates, like Panetta, was unable to push the president to act. It was at this time that Gates indicated to certain Pentagon officials that he may resign earlier than originally indicated – he was that frustrated. Both Panetta and Clinton convinced him to stay on and see the operation through.
So, according to this, all those “intense” meetings the White House said President Obama attended really were a lot of one side trying to get him to act and Valarie Jarrett convincing him not too.
How’d they eventually get a “go?” That’s interesting as well (I’ve broken this into some paragraphs that aren’t in the original):
What happened from there is what was described by me as a “masterful manipulation” by Leon Panetta. Panetta indicated to Obama that leaks regarding knowledge of Osama Bin Laden’s location were certain to get out sooner rather than later, and action must be taken by the administration or the public backlash to the president’s inaction would be “…significant to the point of political debilitation.” It was at that time that Obama stated an on-ground campaign would be far more acceptable to him than a bombing raid. This was intended as a stalling tactic, and it had originated from Jarrett. Such a campaign would take both time, and present a far greater risk of failure. The president had been instructed by Jarrett to inform Mr., Panetta that he would have sole discretion to act against the Osama Bin Laden compound.
Jarrett believed this would further delay Panetta from acting, as the responsibility for failure would then fall almost entirely on him. What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him –and only him, involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound. Basically, the whole damn operation was already ready to go – including the specific team support Intel necessary to engage the enemy within hours of being given notice.
Panetta then made plans to proceed with an on-ground assault. This information reached either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates first (likely via military contacts directly associated with the impending mission) who then informed the other. Those two then met with Panetta, who informed each of them he had been given the authority by the president to proceed with a mission if the opportunity presented itself. Both Gates and Clinton warned Panetta of the implications of that authority – namely he was possibly being made into a scapegoat. Panetta admitted that possibility, but felt the opportunity to get Bin Laden outweighed that risk. During that meeting, Hillary Clinton was first to pledge her full support for Panetta, indicating she would defend him if necessary. Similar support was then followed by Gates. The following day, and with Panetta’s permission, Clinton met in private with Bill Daley and urged him to get the president’s full and open approval of the Panetta plan.
Daley agreed such approval would be of great benefit to the action, and instructed Clinton to delay proceeding until he had secured that approval. Daley contacted Clinton within hours of their meeting indicating Jarrett refused to allow the president to give that approval. Daley then informed Clinton that he too would fully support Panetta in his actions, even if it meant disclosing the president’s indecision to the American public should that action fail to produce a successful conclusion. Clinton took that message back to Panetta and the CIA director initiated the 48 hour engagement order. At this point, the President of the United States was not informed of the engagement order – it did not originate from him, and for several hours after the order had been given and the special ops forces were preparing for action into Pakistan from their position in Afghanistan, Daley successfully kept Obama and Jarrett insulated from that order.
Again, I want to be clear – this is from a blog site I don’t know, written by someone using a handle and quoting an anonymous source. But I also have to say that it hits me as very, very plausible. It makes Gates, Panetta, Clinton and Daley look pretty good. The president, on the other hand, doesn’t appear in a very good light and Jarrett comes off as a puppet master. It also makes the not so subtle point that Obama seemed more concerned with the possible political effects of failure than actually taking the chance of getting OBL.
Anyway, this link takes you too the continuation of this information from the anonymous source from the anonymous blogger on a site I never heard of – but still, given his history, it sure seems believable, doesn’t it?
Someone ask me that and it set me to thinking. I’ve concluded that there is (and was) more value in his death than if we’d taken him alive.
Let me expand on that.
As we all know, he’d been holed up in that fortress cum “mansion” for 6 years with no land line or internet connection – so he was dependent on trusted couriers for news of the organization he’d founded and had little ability to influence the day to day operations of al Qaeda. Obviously he would have still been a valuable intelligence asset, but not quite as valuable as one might think. I get the impression that bin Laden’s real value was that of figurehead – that as long as he lived, his existence continued to demonstrate to his followers how powerless the “great Satan” really was. Every day he drew breath, he rubbed in the fact that he could take 3,000 lives in a single day and the US couldn’t even take his.
With each video or audio clip he had smuggled out of his lair and posted among jihadi sites, he tweaked the nose of the US and inspired his jihadist followers. His stature grew with each tweak. His survival helped him sell the “righteousness” of his cause because he could claim the protection of his god as the reason he was still untouched.
Bin Laden, given his experiences prior to 9/11, honestly believed that the US was too decadent and cowardly to ever take real action against he and his followers. He’d tried to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993, did bomb Kohbar Towers and two African embassies as well as attacking the USS Cole. In all case the reaction was pitifully inadequate. He also believed we didn’t have the fortitude or courage to take casualties and stick it out for the long run. His planning got more ambitious. He, like many throughout history, badly underestimated his foe.
His first indication of his future fate came with the capture of Saddam Hussein. Hussein shared bin Laden’s beliefs about the US and found himself to be horribly wrong. Not only did we destroy his regime, we were relentless in his pursuit, finally capturing him months after the culmination of combat operations in Iraq. He went to the gallows a thoroughly defeated man.
Bin Laden didn’t expect to have to live as he’s had too these past 6 years. He believed at some point soon after we invaded Afghanistan we’d tire of the combat deaths and the commitment and leave. He felt his beliefs about the US would be vindicated. But not only did we stay in Afghanistan, we invaded Iraq and stayed there as well. And when it was clear we were going to be successful there, the first realization that he was dead wrong about the US had to dawn on him. To quote Admiral Yamamato, he had awakened a sleeping giant with his 9/11 attacks, and that giant wasn’t going to roll over this time and go back to sleep.
The Sunday operation that led to his death was the culmination of years upon years of effort to find the man. It was a relentless pursuit. It cost us lives. It took a lot of money. It took a lot of time. But when that Navy SEAL pumped two rounds into bin Laden’s head, he not only killed bin Laden, but he killed forever the narrative bin Laden had built up among his followers for years.
No longer could his followers take comfort in the belief that the US was a decadent, cowardly paper tiger. Iraq and 10 years in Afghanistan had blown that myth away. No longer could his followers believe that his survival demonstrated the righteousness of their cause. He was now fish food.
More important was the message his death sent to the entire jihadist community – something his capture couldn’t do – it may take years, lives and money to find you, but we will find you. And when we find you, we will kill you.
That’s an incredibly powerful and important message to send. Bin Laden’s death was the very best way to send it. It will reverberate throughout the jihadist community and the hopeful result is a further lessening of al Qaeda’s influence and a peeling away of the less committed among that community. It is clear that his death was a greater “value” for the US that was his capture.
Hats off to all those who made it happen. As someone said, “5.1.11 is the day we got even”. And the jihadist community will remember it, and hopefully its lesson, just as we remember 9/11.
I actually enjoyed writing that headline. It’s about time. I’ll also admit I was wrong when I continued to contend that he’d been killed early on in Tora Bora. Events, or lack of them perhaps, had led me to that conclusion.
This is going to make a fascinating book by someone because it sounds like one of those intel coups a long time in the making (Reuters says the trail was picked up about 4 years ago) and finally culminating in a successful raid in which bin Laden was killed.
He apparently was living in what one described as a “mansion” (a large 3 story structure) at the end of a narrow dirt road in a town in NE Pakistan (Abottobad) which is almost due east from Kabul. Not the tribal lands to the SE, but in an area well under control of the Pakistani government and very near the Pakistani military academy.
"For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad," said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst.
Indeed. Apparently the compound had an 18 foot high security wall, with other interior fencing, two entrances and no phone or internet connection.
The operation included CIA and Special Ops folks in 4 helicopters (one of which crashed due to mechanical problems).
What got us on the trail?
"Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with or protected by bin Laden," a senior administration official said in a briefing for reporters in Washington.
That’s right, interrogation of detainees. They identified a particular man as a very highly placed and trusted courier of bin Laden’s and security services attempted and successfully did follow him to the compound in Pakistan. Initially the assessment only stated that the compound probably housed high-value targets but eventually the operatives concluded that there was a very good possibility it also housed Osama bin Laden.
Apparently when the raid began, OBL resisted and paid the price. Reports say he was shot in the head. Note the odd phrasing on this Obama quote announcing the death:
"A small team of Americans carried out the operation," Obama said. "After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."
“After” the firefight they killed OBL? I’m assuming he meant “during” a firefight, but hey, you never know. One thing that is obvious is a dead bin Laden is preferable to a live one. In fact, they’re doing DNA testing and running his image through face recognition software for a positive ID and then dumping, er ,burying his body at sea (the thinking being his grave cannot become a martyr’s shrine). It is also reported that a son and two other, plus a women one of those brave guys used as a shield were also killed.
The operation took 40 minutes.
Congrats to the intel and SOF folks who carried this off. Heck of a job.
Just when it seems we’re putting al Qaeda between a rock and a hard place, we’re seeing talk about leaving Afghanistan. While we may feel we’ve a way to go against the Taliban, we seem to be succeeding against our number one enemy – al Qaeda:
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries, according to government and independent experts monitoring the organisation.
Speaking to the Guardian in advance of tomorrow’s eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, western counter-terrorism officials and specialists in the Muslim world said the organisation faced a crisis that was severely affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters.
Its activity is increasingly dispersed to “affiliates” or “franchises” in Yemen and North Africa, but the links of local or regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous; they enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited.
It is getting harder and harder to recruit “martyrs”. And, apparently, the organization has been so brutal that it is welcome in few areas. Meanwhile drone attacks continue to decimate its leadership. And those they do recruit are all but driven off once they get to their training site:
Interrogation documents seen by the Guardian show that European Muslim volunteers faced a chaotic reception, a low level of training, poor conditions and eventual disillusionment after arriving in Waziristan last year.
In other words, they become disillusioned cannon fodder. And, of course, word gets back and the supply of more cannon fodder slows to a veritable trickle.
This is called having an opponent on the ropes. We now need to do what is necessary to knock them out for good.
Osame bin Laden takes a verbal shellacking from one of the founders of al Qaeda who is none to pleased with bin Laden, Iraq and 9/11:
Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who goes by the nom de guerre Dr Fadl, helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda and then led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s.
But in a book written from inside an Egyptian prison, he has launched a frontal attack on al-Qaeda’s ideology and the personal failings of bin Laden and particularly his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Twenty years ago, Dr Fadl became al-Qaeda’s intellectual figurehead with a crucial book setting out the rationale for global jihad against the West.
Today, however, he believes the murder of innocent people is both contrary to Islam and a strategic error. “Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers,” writes Dr Fadl.
The terrorist attacks on September 11 were both immoral and counterproductive, he writes. “Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours?” asks Dr Fadl. “That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”
Heh … welcome to reality Dr Fadl.
Oh, and an excellent if obvious evaluation.