[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
This is just another post where I collect a lot of stories loosely related to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
First we learn that
Obama invited former President George W. Bush to accompany him, but Bush declined.
“President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday,” The New York Times quoted his spokesman David Sherzer as saying. “He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”
I have seen some people argue that maybe he feared being sandbagged, just like Obama did previously to Rep. Ryan and the Supreme Court. I don’t think he would be that graceless, but then again I never thought he would be graceless enough to lie to the Supreme Court about what they said in a case, to their face. So who knows?
Still it brings up a funny point. Mr. President, lean forward, because I have a question. Why are you going to ground zero? Are you, perhaps, going to celebrate the great thing you did? No, of course that can’t be it, because you just sanctimoniously told us that “we don’t need to spike the football” so it can’t be that…
Of course maybe it’s a good thing Bush isn’t going, because if radio host Mike Malloy gets his way, the SEALS will pick up Bush right then and there. Yep, this idiot said: “So when does Seal Unit 6, or whatever it’s called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden. Wasn’t he, or am I wrong here?” Yes, you are wrong.
Meanwhile the denial in the Muslim world is setting in:
Across the Muslim world, the killing of Usama bin Laden has unleashed a swirl of conspiracy theories, with many Pakistanis, Afghans and Arabs refusing to believe US assurances that al Qaeda’s founder is actually dead, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
And of course there is no news at all that would ordinarily contribute to conspiracy theories, right? Right?
Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.
A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.
Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.
It’s been less than 72 hours since President Barack Obama announced that U.S. Special Forces had killed Osama Bin Laden. Since then, his administration has been hard at work screwing the whole thing up.
He goes on talking about the many ways they have screwed the PR pooch. Stephen Green, the Vodkapundit, slurs out a similar thought:
The plan for killing Osama Bin Laden was perfectly conceived and as perfectly executed as any special forces operation since Israel’s raid on Entebbe. But the follow-through has been strange at best, sometimes bordering on incompetence.
And the White House is not enjoying how the conversation has turned to the question of whether Waterboarding helped with arranging bin Laden’s meeting with Satan:
Officials inside the Obama administration have grown discouraged by the abruptness with which the news over the killing of Osama bin Laden has turned into a debate over the efficacy of harsh interrogation techniques and torture.
Just days after the al Qaeda leader was killed in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the political conversation has shifted from the implications of the assassination to questions of whether the waterboarding of valuable detainees was crucial in gathering intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Of course this is the HuffPo, so they do their best to ignore the clear evidence that it played a role, such as Panetta’s own words. His name doesn’t appear until the comments.
Hey, guess who might actually approve of the killing? The Dalai Lama. Seriously, this isn’t like that fake Martin Luther King quote floating around. He actually suggests he approves.
(By the way, doesn’t it totally ruin the effect when he wears a college hat? I’ll try to update this with a picture later, but for now, check it out at the link.)
Meanwhile we don’t know much about the team that killed bin Laden (we are not even technically sure if it was SEALS or not), but we did learn this tidbit:
A FEARLESS four-legged recruit joined US Special Forces as they stormed Osama Bin Laden’s secret lair.
The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to an assault team member as they took on one of their greatest challenges to date.
He was part of the operation in which the elite US Navy Seals lowered themselves down ropes from three Black Hawk helicopters into the terrorist supremo’s hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.
Of course this raises the prospect of this bit from a classic Frank J. Flemming satire being true:
So that’s why everyone involved was very careful to handle [bin Laden's] dead body in accordance with Islamic tradition… as best they could. I mean, there were a few minor bumps along the way, like when the body kinda sorta got dragged off by wild dogs. That happens. No one is perfect, not even the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)). And you have to understand that dogs are just animals, and a big difference between animals and people is the ability to show respect for Islamic traditions. Anyway, those dogs were chased immediately, the body was retrieved, and the canines involved were given a stern talking to.
Ah, we can only wish it happened that way. Meanwhile on the more serious side, Jennifer Viegas has a nice piece on elite SEAL dogs, written long before she knew that one was involved in the raid, with links to videos.
We also learn a little more about what bin Laden had on him when he croaked:
Osama bin Laden had 500 Euros in cash and two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing when he was killed, CBS News has confirmed.
The news was first reported by Politico Wednesday. It was unclear whether the money was denominated in Euros or another currency, but the revelation seems to indicate that the al Qaeda leader was prepared to flee in the event of a raid like the U.S. military strike in which he was killed on Sunday.
Okay, once again, why they telling us this? Sigh.
And we have learned that bin Laden might not have been the mere figurehead that everyone has been claiming for years.
The covert operation that killed Osama bin Laden produced new evidence that the “emir” of al Qaeda actively commanded the terror group’s affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and other parts of North Africa and was not just an inspirational leader.
Materials found in bin Laden’s compound include hard drives, thumb drives and a dedicated fiber-optic cable used for point-to-point access to the Internet, according to two U.S. officials who read initial after-action reports on the raid.
I am still annoyed that they couldn’t keep a lid on this information but it is gratifying to know that the raid didn’t have merely symbolic significance.
And of course Pakistan is offended that we don’t trust them:
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told the BBC this view was “disquieting” and his country had a “pivotal role” in tackling terrorism.
Earlier, the CIA chief said the US had not told Islamabad in advance about the raid for fear it would be jeopardised.
And in a completely unrelated story, apparently census takers were skipping bin Laden’s house.
Meanwhile, the reaction has officially reached the “stupid” zone when people start getting riled up over stupid crap. You see the code name for this operation and possibly even the target was Geronimo and some people didn’t like that:
He died 102 years ago in Oklahoma, a beaten warrior, a prisoner of war, an exile from his homeland, a propped-up sideshow, a gambler and a lukewarm Christian. His family was murdered by Mexicans. The Americans stripped him of most everything else….
It was his name that the U.S. military chose as the code for the raid, and perhaps for Osama bin Laden himself, during the operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan. That led to the iconic transmission from the raid: “Geronimo EKIA.” Geronimo, Enemy Killed in Action.
In a triumphant moment for the United States, the moniker has left a sour taste among many Native Americans.
“I was celebrating that we had gotten this guy and feeling so much a part of America,” Tom Holm, a former Marine, a member of the Creek/Cherokee Nations and a retired professor of American Indian studies at the University of Arizona, said by phone Tuesday. “And then this ‘Geronimo EKIA’ thing comes up. I just said, ‘Why pick on us?’ Robert E. Lee killed more Americans than Geronimo ever did, and Hitler would seem to be evil personified, but the code name for bin Laden is Geronimo?”
But the most ridiculous thing about this? The Senate is taking this serious enough to result in a hearing. Yes, really:
A previously scheduled Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on racist Native American stereotypes will now include discussion on the use of a codename used during the bin Laden kill-or-capture mission: “Geronimo.”
A committee aide told ABC News today that linking the name of the native American leader with the world’s most wanted man is “inappropriate” and can have a “devastating” impact on kids.
“The hearing was scheduled well before the Osama bin Laden operation became news, but the concerns over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemies of the United States is an example of the kinds of issues we intended to address at Thursday’s hearing,” Loretta Tuell, the committee’s chief counsel, said in a statement.
And for another stupid reaction, we get a miniature Twitter meltdown from running back Rashard Mendenhall. Bad reaction to the celebration? Check. Trutherism? Check. Facepalm by the rest of the team? Check.
Finally, as a happy book end to the whole thing, Time talks to the children who were there when Bush learned the news of the attacks on 9-11, and they stand up for the ex-president:
Similar fears started running through Mariah Williams’ head. “I don’t remember the story we were reading — was it about pigs?” says Williams, 16. “But I’ll always remember watching his face turn red. He got really serious all of a sudden. But I was clueless. I was just 7. I’m just glad he didn’t get up and leave, because then I would have been more scared and confused.” Chantal Guerrero, 16, agrees. Even today, she’s grateful that Bush regained his composure and stayed with the students until The Pet Goat was finished. “I think the President was trying to keep us from finding out,” says Guerrero, “so we all wouldn’t freak out.”
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]