Monday, May 2, 2011

Forgetmenots: From Osama bin Laden

The spectacular news of Osama bin Laden’s killing by U.S. forces could not have come at a better time. Al Qaida’s message that violence, terrorism, and extremism are the only answer for Arabs seeking dignity and hope is being rejected each day in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and throughout the Arab lands. Al Qaida and its view of the world is being pushed aside in favor of demands for new governments, free elections, freedom of speech and assembly, and an end to corruption. Bin Laden’s death weakens al Qaida and Salafi movements further by taking away their most powerful symbol, HIM.

President Obama will bask in the satisfaction of all Americans that justice has finally been done, and done through an assault that combined the best of intelligence work with a courageous and well planned military operation. It is entirely appropriate that Mr. Obama and the Administration get and take a fair amount of credit.

Nevertheless I find the timing of his death by a small team of US operatives in a fire fight and the release of the news interesting.  One friend called me to screw with me that they actually found him at a Taco Bell in North Carolina and flew him back to Pakistan before…well... you know.  Moreover, the President seems now to be ready to quote a standard of American patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance, with its strong invocation of God, when for sometime he couldn’t bring himself to quote the Declaration of Independence correctly with its reference to a Creator who gives us our rights.  Color me cynical.
It is therefore unfortunate that Mr. Obama seems to want more than that fair share, and the American people will naturally and rightly give it to him. His remarks last night were far too much laced with words like “I met repeatedly,” “at my direction,” and “I determined,” trying to take personal credit for the years of painstaking work by our intelligence community. Mr. Obama might have noted that this work began under President Bush, but as usual he did not. It was also a mistake for him to use this occasion to deliver unrelated comments about “the pursuit of prosperity for our people” and “the struggle for equality for all our citizens.” A shorter and more straightforward announcement would have been more appropriate for this occasion.
And now CAIR is piping up to say that it is glad that the US military got him. Color me more cynical yet.

So, Osama bin Laden is dead. He has now gone before the Just Judge and has received whatever eternal reward he merited.

I wonder what Mr. Gadahfi is thinking right now.

They got Osama? oh shit

Once again here the White House appeared unable to get the messaging quite right, a failure magnified by the amateurish delay of more than an hour in Mr. Obama’s remarks. The White House told the nation at roughly 10 p.m. that the President would speak at 10.30. Had the President done so, he would have delivered fabulous and shocking news. By the time he actually spoke nearer to midnight his words were an anticlimax, for all the news had leaked. Whatever the cause of this delay—Mr. Obama editing the remarks for too long, or a belatedly discovered need to brief Congressional and world leaders—it suggested that the calm professionalism in the face of crisis shown here by our military and intelligence professionals has yet to be achieved in the White House.

I am bit concerned at the cameras on the young people jumping around like IDIOTS whooping and hollering because someone was killed.  Although the kids with the “BUSH” t-shirts were amusing and perhaps not the sort of image the White House wanted.   Still, this story was – thank goodness – able to bump reruns of the royal wedding off air.
Al Qaida may redouble efforts to commit acts of terror, but its prestige and power in the Arab world are on the decline. The Administration should turn back now to the cases of Libya and Syria above all, pushing further to end the vicious and violent regimes that rule those countries. As the republics of fear fall, al Qaida’s message will fall further into disrepute and the message of freedom that is now spreading in the Middle East will grow stronger.

I can understand the urge to celebrate that a paragraph of a chapter of US history has been brought to an end. I would rather see Americans welcome this news with a quiet nod of the head than with squealing in the streets. It seems to me that his death isn’t something to strut about as if it were a gold medal win at the Olympics.

I am also grateful to the military and intelligence personnel who were involved. Hard, dangerous, quite, anonymous work for the sake of the safety of others. Navy Seals did their job. Well Done, Guys.

Will sleeper cells be awakened on the news of his death? We shall see.

An update:
al-Qaeda"s #2  Ayman al-Zawahri

The following reaction to Bin Laden’s death is from Maajid Nawaz, director of the London-based anti-extremist think tank Quilliam and emphasizes the timing of the event in the context of the Arab Spring:

“Bin Laden’s death comes at a time when al-Qaeda is struggling to remain relevant. As events in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have also shown, the Arab world has moved on since al-Qaeda was founded in the 1980s. A clear majority of Muslims around the world have decisively rejected al-Qaeda’s vision; people’s real concerns are now about poverty, unemployment and a lack of government accountability; not about establishing a caliphate and fighting a worldwide jihad against the West. Bin Laden’s death – combined with the events of Arab Spring – offers a clear chance for Muslims throughout the world to move on from the era of al-Qaeda and to find ways to achieve dignity, prosperity and social justice without resorting to violence. It is a chance too for jihadist groups around the world to reconsider their aims and methods, and to consider how they can help Muslims around the world rather than attacking them.”

Your Virgins Await

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