Patterico's Pontifications

9/7/2007

How Much do we Care about Osama Bin Laden?

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:45 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

I was reading the ABC Blog that discussed the media’s most beloved topic – dueling GOP politicians – and the topic du jour was (in my words) “Does it matter if we ever catch Osama Bin Laden?”

I thought everyone had a good point. Fred Thompson thinks OBL is symbolic, John McCain thinks OBL is a significant threat (and he’ll “get him”), and Mitt Romney thinks OBL is the face of evil. Still, it made me wonder if their positions on OBL are metaphors for their philosophies on the war on terror.

If so, does that mean you more likely to identify with:

Fred Thompson — if you see this as a long-term war on terror that is not personality driven?

John McCain — if you see this as a war of wills with specific people, somewhat like WWII with Hitler, Mussolini, etc.?

Mitt Romney — if you see this as an ideological or moral war?

Rudy Giuliani wasn’t included in the responses but feel free to add his position on OBL and/or your thoughts regarding how he fits into this theory in the comments.

25 Responses to “How Much do we Care about Osama Bin Laden?”

  1. How much do we care about Osama?

    Personally, not much and I think Fred Thompson is closest to my position. But for a number of Democrats, “What would Osama do,” is a daily agony.

    Perfect Sense (6e894f)

  2. I’m with Fred on this. When OBL is gone, there will come OBL2.

    ManlyDad (d62cf6)

  3. Possibly dead but more likely too sick to move easily. So he has to minimize contact even with close subordinates rather than risk it. Best thing to do is just keep the pressure up enough to keep him immobile and let him quietly die as a symbol of failure. Better than risking making him a martyr.

    Just Passing Through (cb6c8d)

  4. If we had killed Osama in 2001 or 2002, it would have served as a symbol of our retaliatory capabilities against someone who really hurt us. But for a host of idiotic reasons, Bushco went after Saddam. By this point, capturing Osama would be a weak consolation prize, and having him die of kidney failure won’t impinge at all on his movement (which we have helped grow with our maladroit blundering).

    Somehow if Bush had killed Osama in 2002, I think most of you would have viewed it as an event of earth-shattering importance.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (08e43f)

  5. Rudy sees OBL as a broken window that needs to be fixed.

    alphie (99bc18)

  6. Somehow if Bush had killed Osama in 2002, I think most of you would have viewed it as an event of earth-shattering importance.

    Certainly. I’m sure the candidates would have felt the same in 2002. But this is 2007 and the question is “Does it matter if we ever catch Osama Bin Laden?”. Not how they or we would have viewed it in 2002. Catch up.

    Just Passing Through (cb6c8d)

  7. If we had killed Osama in 2001 or 2002, it would have served as a symbol of our retaliatory capabilities against someone who really hurt us. But for a host of idiotic reasons, Bushco went after Saddam. By this point, capturing Osama would be a weak consolation prize, and having him die of kidney failure won’t impinge at all on his movement (which we have helped grow with our maladroit blundering).

    The Tora Bora battle was a disaster.

    To avoid casualties, the American military commander didn’t press home his attack quickly enough. Instead, the assault should have been furious and hurried even at greater losses to U.S. troops and allies, including my countrymen, who were there.

    Sadly necessary in hindsight. I don’t want to overstate it — after all, I do have the benefit of said hindsight.

    But this was a major error.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. Well, I said “use nerve gas” at Tora Bora, at the time. Fair return for 9/11. But no, we used artillery on mountains.

    I’m pretty sure, though, if OBL was captured or killed on Bush’s watch, the Netroots would find something wrong with it.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  9. …if OBL was captured or killed on Bush’s watch, the Netroots would find something wrong with it.

    Ordinarily you would be right, but Osama is advocating lower tax rates, which is the Netroots only justifiable reason for the death penalty.

    Perfect Sense (6e894f)

  10. c’mon – everyone knows that OBL is really a front for Chimpy McHitler and his cabal of war criminals!

    Sadly, there are way too many who believe this. at least in my neck of the woods…

    brooklyn (745e27)

  11. Conservatives would be beyond exhilarated if he’s caught on Bush’s watch.

    Iraq is a giant Rorschach in which we see precisely what suits our politics and our preconceptions.

    steve (6810ef)

  12. Question? With Osama’s re-statement claiming his responsiblity for 9/11——-

    In the speech, bin Laden refers to the attacks on New York and Washington several times, almost gloating about policy changes by the U.S. government in response.

    “Nineteen young men were able — by the grace of Allah, the Most High — to change the direction of its compass,”

    ——-will the “truthers” request some quality time with Osama so they can get their storys straight?

    Rovin (7f64b8)

  13. McCain’s quote in the referenced ABC blog is interesting:

    “He’s more than a symbol,” McCain told ABC News when asked about Thompson’s comments. “He’s motivating and recruiting using the internet as we speak. He’s a threat. He’s a threat.”

    Motivating and recruiting. Sounds symbolic to me, but then I think that the un-symbolic is more tactical in nature. Romney is not much better. “Face of evil” sounds a bit more symbolic than “brain stem of evil”.

    Both McCain and Romney appear to be counting on ignorance of people about what symbolic means.

    Giuliani may be the winner by staying above the fray in this non-issue. I agree with Thompson that OBL (or is it UBL now? I can never keep them staight) is largely symbolic, but Fred probably should have been a bit more politically aware in his statement.

    Scott (8db77f)

  14. Steve,

    I understand and agree with your point but I don’t care who “gets him.”

    DRJ (2afbca)

  15. I don’t care who “gets him.”

    You should.

    Capturing bin Laden would crush the spirits of millions of Muslims. I’m shocked they haven’t staged it. Bush would look like a complete and total stud if he caught Osama. Conservatives would do back-flips with turnout for any Republican candidate boosted.

    Bin Laden killed 3000 of our citizens. If catching him becomes more than mildly challenging you can argue wars aren’t driven by personalities.

    steve (6810ef)

  16. I don’t care if anyone gets him proactively at this point or he dies of kidney failure. He’s never been the real problem and hasn’t been a high return on effort target since the Taliban collapsed and he ran to Pakistan. The real problem is and has always been states sponsoring terrorism and running terrorist sanctuaries.

    Just Passing Through (cb6c8d)

  17. This whole debate about Osama bin Laden completely sidesteps the more important debate: the one about Islam. No one wants to talk about that, because of “political correctness”, so they go the safe route and talk about Osama bin Laden.

    In WWII, Hitler was not the problem. Naziism was the problem.

    Here, Osama bin Laden is – and was never – the problem. Islam is the problem.

    When I see my political “leaders” with the gonads to actually address the real problem instead of playing politics by talking tough about Osama bin Laden, then I will take them seriously.

    To put it simply, I don’t care about politicians’ opinions about Osama bin Laden, I care about their opinion on the threat of Islam and creeping shari’a law in Western Society in general and here in America specifically.

    This debate about Osama bin Laden and his importance is a nice way of not talking about the most important issue of this entire “war on terror”.

    Michael in MI (c550af)

  18. At this point there are better places to allocate the considerable resources and political capital it’d take to get him.
    It’d be the invasion of Pakistan. We’d probably lose a lot of elite forces… and may not get him first time out. God forbid they hit a couple helicopters and even take a few prisoners. That’d just burnish his image and would really help his recruiting.

    Zarqawhi was hunted for years within a country we have 120,000 troops in before we got him.
    What makes anyone think we can stroll into Waziristan and just kick in a few doors, hook Bin Laden up and leave?

    Right now Pakistan is on simmer. The secularists hold sway. An invasion of its territory could topple that delicate balance and in the end it wouldonly maybe net us a figure head.
    As long as he stays up in the middle of nowhere Pakistan, I say let him die a slow miserable isolated death and our only response to his videos should be to laugh and mock his ineffective cowardice.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  19. That tape was so pathetic that it may actually be effective.

    Who could watch that and not ask “Why are we spending so much blood and money fighting *that* assclown?”

    Molon Labe (640aad)

  20. Who could watch that and not ask “Why are we spending so much blood and money fighting *that* assclown?”

    Molon Labe – If that is what people are asking, then that, in my opinion, is the problem. We are not fighting Osama bin Laden, we are fighting Islamism. Once the West actually understands that, then we will be closer to ending this war. But, right now, the West is still capitulating to the demands of the Islamists all over the world, including here in the United States.

    Militarily in Iraq, we have made much progress with the Iraqi people and helping liberate them and get them on the road to democracy. However, we have made no progress in the ideological war since 9/11. And, I would argue, that we have regressed, what with President Bush calling Islam a “religion of peace” and capitulating to the likes of CAIR and the ISNA and the MSA and the Muslim Brotherhood and bending over with regards to the Mohammad Cartoons and “Islamophobia” and the Swedish Cartoons, etc.

    In WWII, we were fighting Naziism and Communism and we recognized that Ideological reality. In Viet Nam, we were fighting the spread of Communism and recognized that Ideological reality. Now, because of our politically correct society, no leaders are coming out to state the fact that we are at war with Political Islamism.

    Instead, we are sitting here having meaningless discussions about the “importance” of Osama bin Laden.

    Imagine if we ignored Naziism during WWII and recognized it as some sort of relevant “religion” and only focused on finding and killing Hitler.

    Michael in MI (c550af)

  21. Drudge headline – Osama on insane taxes, global warming, and mortgages as hundreds of his followers are blown to bits every month achieving nothing. Surely this is the stuff of Jihad, causes to die for. I can see those guys lining up to take the next American missile. Pity Darwin wasn’t here to see it.

    I’m glad he’s still around to spread some healthy disillusionment among the faithful. I can’t imagine a more potent weapon.

    Amphipolis (fb9e95)

  22. As an historical comparison;
    Was Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency flawed because he never captured Pancho Villa?
    Are our current imbroglios with Mexico the result of not killing Villa?
    (could be an interesting BlueBook question)

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  23. Steve #15:

    I thought my comment was clear but I should have been more specific. I don’t care if a Republican or a Democratic President gets OBL.

    DRJ (2afbca)

  24. OBL isn’t tap dancing any more. We never found Hitler’s corpse. Does anyone doubt what happened to him?

    I realize we have sandbox geniuses like Chrissy who have never served and whose military experience comes from playing with their GI Joes but really such comments don’t pass the laugh test.

    A handfull of special ops troops destroyed the Taliban, a feat 150,000 Russian troops couldn’t do in years of hard combat. So much for Chrissy’s analysis.

    Chrissy your friends shouldn’t let you post while you’re so drunk, if you had any friends and they cared.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  25. If we had killed Osama in 2001 or 2002, it would have served as a symbol of our retaliatory capabilities against someone who really hurt us.

    I’m pretty sure, though, if OBL was captured or killed on Bush’s watch, the Netroots would find something wrong with it.

    Had OBL been captured or confirmed dead in 2002, much of the left– especially the Netroots — would have been calling for the immediate end of the war on terrorism. After all, OBL is the only terrorist in the whole freakin’ world.

    Steverino (337414)


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