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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It’s All About Obama

“In an interconnected world, the defeat of international terrorism — and most importantly, the prevention of these terrorist organizations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction — will require the cooperation of many nations. We must always reserve the right to strike unilaterally at terrorists wherever they may exist. But we should know that our success in doing so is enhanced by engaging our allies so that we receive the crucial diplomatic, military, intelligence, and financial support that can lighten our load and add legitimacy to our actions. This means talking to our friends and, at times, even our enemies.” — Barack Obama, speech, Nov. 20, 2006

We have seen what should be one of the military's greatest recent accomplishments turned into a disgraceful political move by the Obama Administration and his cohorts in the liberal media.

Obama's shameful attempt to take absolute credit for Osama bin Laden's death in his speech Sunday evening was un-presidential and dishonest to the thousands of men and women in the military he so often thwarted in their attempts to bring this terrorist to justice.

John Brennan, Obama's homeland security advisor stated yesterday that "President Obama made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president." Again it's all about Obama and not our brave SEAL team.

You and I both know that Obama would have blamed the same people from whom he stole credit if something had gone wrong during this operation.

In just hours after the announcement, vendors in front of the White House were already selling tee-shirts that read: "It took Obama to get Osama."

The most unseemly thing about the entire killing of bin Laden is the pathetic scrabbling about for credit that we’re seeing on behalf of both Obama and his staff.

From Obama’s statement on Sunday night: “I directed Leon Panetta” “I was briefed.” I met repeatedly.” “I determined at my direction.” “I, as Commander-in-Chief.”

As the Washington Post film critic, Stephen Hunter, writes:

“Any joy one might feel in the intelligence of our analysts and the bravery of our door kickers was significantly diminished by Obama’s malignant narcissism. The first part of the announcement, evoking 9/11, was vulgarly overwritten as per Obama’s view of himself as some kind of gifted orator. The adjective bloated compote was unworthy of the subject, banal and self-indulgent.”

“Then there were his tasteless claims of personal leadership, his over-emphasis on "I" and "at my direction." Clearly, all he did was sign off on initiatives other, better men had originated. He was ungenerous to Bush, who had to deal with this thing in real time under more pressure any president has faced since Pearl Harbor and wasn't helped by the treachery of the Democratic Party, as exemplified by then Senator Obama. Clearly, we staged from Afghanistan. We were able to stage from Afghanistan because of Bush and the intel that led to the kill was just as obviously developed over years of effort, begun by Bush.”

Some of this bloviating has resulted in unintentional hilarity. Via Jake Tapper’s Political Punch we get this:

“Sources tell ABC News that in March President Obama authorized the development of a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound with two B2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on the compound. But when the president heard the compound would be reduced to rubble he chose not to pursue that option.”

A lot of ink will be spilled announcing and analyzing the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. According to the Newseum web site, this story has graced 719 newspaper front pages as of Monday morning with more likely tomorrow. The islamofascists with whom we have been contending since the streets of Mogadishu have predictably threatening to “unleash hell” if bin Laden is killed. Our partner in the Middle East Peace Process, Hamas, has condemned the killing as “a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”

A lot of us are satisfied that justice has finally been brought to the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Presumably Code Pink will hold a ‘take back the night march’ some place to mourn his passing. And a handful of men from SEAL Team 6 will drink for free for the rest of their lives whenever special operators gather.

I bet even Michelle Obama is proud of her country right now! Well, one would hope that capping Bin Laden in the head and chest would qualify as the “second time” in her adult life that she’s glad to be an American.

I do have a question for her husband, though. It’s one that perhaps has you scratching your head, too. If Osama Bin Laden wasn’t a Muslim believer, as the President insists, then why did the administration try to give that mass murderer an Islamic burial?

“I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam,” President Obama argued in his national address Sunday night. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

Okay. Fine. But that begs the question: Why go out of your way to try and give Osama Bin Laden an Islamic burial, if he’s an apostate and all?

ABC News reported that before Bin Laden’s body was fed to the sharks, there was a “traditional washing of the body,” which was “followed by wrapping in white sheets.” After the sheet wrap, a “military officer read religious remarks that were translated by a native Arabic speaker.” Then Osama was dropped in the North Arabian Sea.

So which one was it Barack, was Bin Laden a Muslim or not? You can’t have it both ways, brother.

The foolish political correctness of Obama aside, Bin Laden’s death should be a reminder that Islamic Jihad remains a very serious threat. In fact, al Qaeda and other Jihadist networks have shifted their focus from large-scale attacks such as 9/11 and are now focusing on what’s called a “chip away” strategy as they plan their terrorism plots.

What does the killing of bin Laden mean? In the main, probably not very much to al Qaeda but perhaps a turning point in our war on terrorism.

As an operational commander for al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden ceased to matter by early 2002. His cosmic misapprehension of American actions in the aftermath of 9/11 caused him to devote virtually 100% of his time to staying alive. This isn’t to say that he didn’t have value to al Qaeda, he did. By being alive he served as a potent symbol for fundraising and recruiting. While his death would have seen al Qaeda split into warring factions, by remaining alive he ensured some continuity of command through commanders he had appointed prior to being driven from Afghanistan.

To a great extent, his continued survival paradoxically enabled President Bush to wage a global war against jihadism. Had he actually been killed or captured in Afghanistan the pressure upon the Bush Administration to declare a triumphal end to a war only half begun would have been overwhelming. Though his continued presence politically damaged President Bush, arguably it damaged al Qaeda more by keeping the organization and its leader in the spotlight. The search for Bin Laden has sent most of al Qaeda’s skilled troop commanders to hell, Guantanamo, or to scream out their secrets in obscure prisons in obscure countries. Strategic direction over the entire network has not been possible since the fall of Afghanistan.

Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports that “Years of intelligence gathering, including details gleaned from controversial interrogations of Al Qaeda members during the Bush administration, ultimately led the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden to his compound in Pakistan.” U.S. intelligence first learned of the “trusted courier” who led us to bin Laden in 2003. Guantanamo Bay inmates provided key information under the influence of both regular and “enhanced” interrogation.

One of those inmates was the Left’s favorite al-Qaeda commander, Saint Khalid of the Wet Towel. Until last month, the Obama Administration wanted to extend the full panoply of American civil rights to this creature, and give him a civilian trial in New York. That would have prevented any meaningful form of “interrogation” at all. Criminal defendants can be questioned, but that’s very different from even the milder forms of CIA interrogation.

Keep in mind that Obama didn’t just bring a halt to enhanced interrogations. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, was seriously considering indicting the people who authorized and conducted them. By definition, this means the Obama Administration strongly believed those interrogations were always wrong, not merely a mistaken policy to be corrected by the enlightened new President.

Would Presidents Al Gore or John Kerry have allowed the interrogations that produced this evidence? Would Gore have authorized the military actions that captured these terrorists in the first place? Perhaps a reporter should ask them.

Bin Laden was ended by SEAL Team Six, which is part of the Joint Special Operations Command. The hard Left hates the JSOC. New York Times journalist Seymour Hersh said they were “very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state, without any legal authority for it.” He alleged “they do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office — it’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.”

This is, of course, exactly what SEAL Team Six just did in Pakistan. Hersh was not trying to advertise their virtues. He wanted to shut them down, and a very large portion of the Left whole-heartedly agreed. The New York Times, America’s paper of record, clearly supported Hersh in this, or they would not have published his work. Seymour Hersh wasn’t just a fringe whacko scribbling in the dark corners of the Daily Kos. As Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller reminds us, Hersh’s work was presented and promoted on Stephen Colbert’s popular Comedy Central program.

If Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Seymour Hersh, and Stephen Colbert had gotten their way over the last ten years, Osama bin Laden would still be alive. The intelligence leading to his location would not have been fully developed. The commando team that took him down would not have existed.

Did these liberals hold their views entirely out of political expediency, slamming and indicting Bush and Cheney for programs and policies they would have quietly tolerated from Gore or Kerry? What difference does it make? They were dead wrong, and it doesn’t matter why. They’ll be dead wrong again under the next Republican president.

The UK Telegraph reports that a WikiLeaks document "suggests that the [Bin Laden] courier’s identity was provided to the US by another key source, the al-Qaida facilitator Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004 and interrogated by the CIA. Ghul was never sent to Guantanamo but was believed to have been taken to a prison in Pakistan." It is now the nearly universal opinion of the Left that we never should have been in Iraq, and therefore would not have obtained this intelligence.

This "courier," incidentally, was apparently a world-class dirtbag in his own right, and had a role in training the 9/11 hijackers.

Osama Bin Laden’s death will have little impact on an organization frozen in amber. Ayman al-Zawahiri will assume direct control without pause, having had nearly a decade to plan for this eventuality, and he will remain in hiding until more helicopters visit him in the dead of the night or until he returns to Egypt under the protection of the Muslim Brotherhood whom feted during this bogus Arab Spring.

We arrived at 9/11 because President Clinton refused to do as much. Even so, one can’t help but notice that Obama’s statement on the death of bin Laden completely ignores the debt owed to the Bush Administration while at the same time taking a couple of oblique swipes. However, the wildcard in this are the actions the administration will take now that Bin Laden is dead.

It is pretty well established that the current president doesn’t have the stomach for the successful war he inherited in Iraq and the unsuccessful war he has managed to create in Afghanistan. The death of bin Laden is more likely to give impetus to Obama’s ambivalence about the concept of “victory” and his deep-seated hostility to the success of American military power and thereby give him the political cover he feels he needs to speed up troop withdrawals from those countries.

If the killing of bin Laden results in the administration declaring our job is done then bin Laden will have done more for al Qaeda in death than he ever accomplished in life.

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