Patterico's Pontifications

5/9/2011

Good News: Two-Thirds of Pakistanis Don’t Believe bin Laden is Dead

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:45 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Disposing of the body before there was independent verification, refusing to even release photographs of the body?  Heckuva job there, Barry. Now we get this from Pakistan:

Abdul cheerfully told me how he had lain awake five nights earlier and heard the thump of American helicopters as they swooped on the world’s most wanted man. So what did he think about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

‘Oh, I don’t believe he is dead,’ he said. ‘If someone was shot in that house, it was not him. You cannot trust the Americans, they have changed their story so many times already.’

Abdul is not alone in his disbelief. A survey found two-thirds of people in Pakistan share his refusal to accept Bin Laden’s death, despite confirmation by Al Qaeda. Even the country’s most revered lawyer told me ‘the ghost of Osama has survived his execution’ given the lack of concrete evidence, storing up problems for the future.

But, hey, while it might not be strategically wise in the War on Terror, it apparently works just fine as election strategy:

The latest NBC News poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans back President Obama’s decision not to release the photos taken after Osama bin Laden’s death.

Fifty-two percent said they strongly believe the Obama administration should not release the photos, and an additional 12 percent agreed, although not as strongly.

Which means he will feel little pressure to do the right thing, which is to be as transparent about this whole thing as possible.

Also, in Pakistan they arrested around forty people in Abbottabad in relation to the bin Laden capture:

Pakistani security forces have arrested 40 people in Abbottabad suspected of having connections to Usama bin Laden.

Pakistani sources called the arrests near bin Laden’s compound the “second phase” of the operation that killed the Al Qaeda leader, according to the Open Source Center.

Is this a sign of cleaning house, or finding scapegoats?  Honestly, it beats me.  But it seems implausible to believe that there weren’t a lot of elements in Pakistan that knew exactly where bin Laden was.

H/T: Hot Air.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The quote suggests that, as much as the refusal to release the pictures, the administration’s bungling of the reporting is contributing to some of the skepticism. As commenter daleyrocks put it: “The SEALs killed Bin Laden and we got the 72 versions.”

43 Responses to “Good News: Two-Thirds of Pakistanis Don’t Believe bin Laden is Dead”

  1. They believe, they just don’t admit they believe. And what doubt or frank denial exists, is good, because it is mixed with an underlying possibility of his death that produces all the anxiety that a threatening unresolved mystery can create.

    In other words, its makes them feel bad.

    SarahW (af7312)

  2. To wit: Obama has gone somewhere. Was he taken there? I What did they do to him? Is he captured, humiliated, tortured? The imagined scenarios will be more disturbing to the mind than certainty. The sympathizer must also sympathize with this mysterious fate – and wonder what it bodes for him.

    SarahW (af7312)

  3. SarahW

    be careful with double posting. but it happens, of course…

    also, um, did you mean oBama or oSama? I think you meant Osama, although i have caught myself doing that once.

    my advice is to say bin Laden. then your only concern is to call him bin Biden. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. The quote suggests that, as much as the refusal to release the pictures, the administration’s bungling of the reporting is contributing to some of the skepticism.

    Of course, that happened with the birth certificate too. Did you know it’s impossible for Obama to get a copy of his long form? We were told that time and time again, and my skepticism regarding that assertion was part of why I thought he was hiding something (not where he was born).

    I still think it would be fun to go back and collect a bunch of haughty pronouncements from liberals about how obviously impossible that was, duh!

    Hey, I wonder if he released his long form knowing it was soon going to be overshadowed by the bin Laden news. That had not previously occurred to me.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  5. Patterico

    Good point. To quote Daleyrocks:

    The SEALs killed Bin Laden and we got the 72 versions.

    http://patterico.com/2011/05/05/osama-bin-roundup/#comment-787029

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. The Empty Suit(tm) and the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  7. Washington Post 5/8/11.

    President Blah-Blah article but:

    Earlier Sunday, the White House’s chief security officer said there was no evidence suggesting that Pakistan’s intelligence, military or political establishment knew anything about bin Laden’s secret hideout in an army garrison town 35 miles from the capital.

    Which means the Paki’s, weren’t or aren’t, the only non-believers.

    This portion is what could be going on the Paki-land today, with those arrests:

    At the same time, several local officials in Abbottabad and elsewhere in Pakistan continued to express doubt that government authorities were unaware of bin Laden’s presence in the neighborhood.

    Simply, the ISI is going to make sure these “several local officials“, are never heard from, again.

    JP (c4988c)

  8. daleyrocks’s joke has been added to the post. It looks like it may have made the rounds in a weaker form, giving Obama full credit for what the SEALs did. I like daley’s version better, and it appears to be unique to him.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  9. That was like one of those Saudi princes, supposedly fingered by Zubeydah (it came from Posner) died of ‘thirst’, or at least serious
    loss of fluids, or another in an isolated strip of the Empty Quarter, where there are no auto accidents.

    narciso lopez (79ddc3)

  10. Carney would write something in his column/reporting that wasn’t completely accurate, and some reader might write a letter to the editor;
    everytime he steps to the podium, he gets to advance a new version of the story comfortable that his collegues in the M-FM will “have his six”,
    and the prevarications of the WH will dissappear as if ripples from a small pebble in a large lake.
    The is the Gang That Can’t Lie Straight!
    …sort of makes you pine for Gibbs, doesn’t it (not)…

    AD-RtR/OS! (f33877)

  11. I will never pine for Gibbs.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  12. Sorry about the double post, I have no earthly idea how it happened, as I submitted the answer only once. I get double posts on twitter lately, too. I wonder what might cause it.

    Less of a mystery – I’ve been making the Osama/Obama slip repeatedly in conversation, too, but the thing is I’m always slightly pleased when I do. I’m sure that’s wrong, but there it is.

    SarahW (af7312)

  13. Daleyrocks—great quote—way to go.

    BT (74cbec)

  14. I think it’s really hard to avoid the Osama/Obama flip. If you see me referring to “bin Laden” a lot, that’s why — I’m afraid I’ll do it myself.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  15. Patterico – That joke was whizzing around. I didn’t pick it up from the intertubes, but I forget where I heard it, and yes, I may have modified it for better or worse. It definitely fits the situation.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. SarahW

    hey, that is nowhere close to the most embarrassing oSama/oBama flip

    i’ll try to add a pic of it in a second. its pretty funny.

    [And here’s the pic.]

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  17. btw, i love that this was written by one man, and edited by another, and no one caught the oSama/oBama flip.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  18. ah, now the pick is not appearing in my browser…

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  19. Most of those Pakistanis surveyed will probably be unable to vote in the next presidential election, although they may be able to contribute to Obama’s campaign if he runs it like the last one, so Barcky can probably safely ignore their concerns.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. I’ll say it our loud: I can find no compelling reason to believe any version of the White House story of the purported death of Osama bin Laden.

    He may well be dead, but so far I’ve seen no convincing evidence, or even any relevant supporting evidence. I’ve heard claims and I’ve been reassured by White House officials, yet no real evidence has been forthcoming. I’m skeptical, but I’m keeping an open mind.

    ropelight (2b7298)

  21. It’s a little hard to believe that these folks were actually still hanging around, just waiting to be picked up, instead of running like a scalded cat.

    Maybe they thought they were safe? Wonder why that would be…

    Bigfoot (8096f2)

  22. “You cannot trust the Americans, they have changed their story so many times already.”

    It’s not Americans you can’t trust, just our President.

    Socratease (2da880)

  23. Now Chuckie Schumer is turning Islamophobic:

    “Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for better rail security now that the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound has turned upplans to attack trains in the U.S.”

    “Anyone, even a member of al-Qaida could purchase a train ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question asked,” Schumer said. “So that’s why I’m calling for the creation of an Amtrak no ride list. That would take the secure flight program and apply it to Amtrak trains.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  24. I agree that the spotty news contributes to this, but let’s face it – I bet at least 30% of Pakistanis believe Israel and the Jews were responsible for 9/11.

    A man believes what he wants to believe and disregards the rest.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  25. You are all a bunch of racist denialist deathers.

    JD (29e1cd)

  26. daleyrocks, one of the very few positive things I’ve had to say about potential high speed rail is that perhaps I could avoid the security theater of air travel.

    I guess Schumer just proved I’ll have no such benefit.

    These programs have to be making someone a lot of money. I recall Tom Daschle’s wife was getting rich from airport security.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  27. amph:

    see this post. http://patterico.com/2011/05/05/about-the-impossibility-of-convincing-conspiracy-theorists/

    you can convince some people. and let’s face it the evidence O has introduced so far is weak…

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  28. Bithers to Deathers (it’s the ciiiiircle of liiiife!)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/osama-bin-laden-death-skeptics-lynne-blankenbeker_n_859371.html

    Well ol’ Orly Taitz had to find something to do with herself. Lucky for her there is a new, yet somehow entirely predictable, “cause” opening up.

    Show us the long form of the death certificate! That photo was doctored! That navy “SEAL” has slung his weapon in a non-“SEAL” manner and therefore must be a Hollywood actor posing as a SEAL!

    Of course I still hold out the possibility of my previously posted conspiracy theory #4 (certainly not my own original thoughts as it is shared by many millions of like minded conspiracy theorists around the globe I will note)……., Osama Bin Laden is back in Saudi Arabia with his family after extensive plastic surgery admiring his special commendational plaque naming him as employee of the decade signed by “The Family”, the CIA, the NSA, Haliburton, Blackwater, Dick Cheney and the Bush family who added a special thanks for giving junior something to do while in office.
    ….now with a special “polls pumper upper” merit badge from the current admin.!

    EdWood (c2268a)

  29. Hey, I wonder if he released his long form knowing it was soon going to be overshadowed by the bin Laden news. That had not previously occurred to me.

    Comment by Patterico

    I think this is pretty likely. His timing in releasing it was very strange. To some extent, it makes him look small and indecisive. He can capitalize on the benefits of releasing it (that he is doing serious work while dealing with petty opponents) and also overwhelm the negative aspects fairly well.

    On the other hand, the Obama administration is clearly terrible at managing information. I think they were clever enough to know it would be good to have the birther saga end as Obama reached his most major accomplishment, but maybe they are just lucky idiots.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  30. In the immortal words of Cuba Gooding:

    Show me us the money pictures/video!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  31. Let’s have a show of hands —

    How many people here believe the members of Seal Team 6 would remain quiet while The Empty Suit claimed credit for something they did NOT do?

    Old Bob (21b5df)

  32. I couldn’t say, Old Bob. How many Swift Boat Veterans do you think remained quiet while John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) testified to Congress that US forces acted in ways reminiscent of Genghis Khan?

    ropelight (2b7298)

  33. daleyrocks — I think you win the internet today.

    Old Bob — the first rule of SEAL Team 6 is “Don’t Talk.”

    Without pics, it didn’t happen!

    Someone’s not getting the message. It’s ok to show our dead, but not theirs?

    htom (412a17)

  34. Well, its all understandable when you realize that it was really the Maquis who killed OBL.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. old bob

    > How many people here believe the members of Seal Team 6 would remain quiet while The Empty Suit claimed credit for something they did NOT do?

    O has never specified who did it. and for good reason.

    so unless all the seals can get together and say, “did you do it?” “no, did you?” “no, did you?”

    Also, bluntly, i don’t care if good americans believe in this. i care about people inclined to jihad. i want them to know their leader is mortal.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  36. Well we know Admiral McRaven who really was the head honcho, of what they called back then ‘Cheney’s hit team’ is a ‘reformed’ UT journalism
    graduate.

    narciso lopez (79ddc3)

  37. #32 – A lot spoke out, and went unheard. I, a Nam vet – though not Swift Boater, tried on six separate occasions to testify and was denied. Gave more than a dozen speeches and interviews – none of which were ever published. I was an on-duty cop at one of the Kerry ‘throw the medals away’ demonstrations and picked up the ribbons afterwards. The three separate reporters that I showed the ribbons to laughed off my indignation.

    #33 – ‘Don’t Talk’ goes only so far. They don’t talk about the missions they trained for and/or went on – but the one they DIDN’T do??? With ONEderboy claiming credit??? Somebody would whisper to someone else, who would then ……..

    Old Bob (21b5df)

  38. Old Bob, thank you for your service to our country, and for your attempts to expose John Kerry’s lies. You have my respect.

    ropelight (2b7298)

  39. Ropelight – no thanks necessary; different time, different culture and my military career father (WWI and II) would’ve disowned me had I not gone.

    It wasn’t just Kerry – there were lots of liars around and he wasn’t even a wart on a frog’s butt then. Cronkite enabled them and denied the rest of us a forum.

    Besides, my Dad helped soothe my indignant feathers when he told tales about the lying reporters in both of ‘his’ wars. To paraphrase Orwell: “All reporters are liars, some liars are better than others.”

    Old Bob (21b5df)

  40. That Obama could raid into Pakistan without notice to get OBL? Thanks to a deal Bush cut with Mushareff … if you believe the Guardian which isn’t a good bet.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  41. What I’ve found very interesting is the focus placed on whether the Pakistanis knew where Osama was hiding.

    To me this isn’t even a question…the right question is why would a 6’4″ man, with a very recognizable face, living in a country where average height is around 5’9″, feel comfortable hiding within 200 meters of an Army base? The only answer (and correct one)is he was being protected by them…otherwise he would have been in a cave as far away from the Army/Police as he could get. I believe this was known all the way to the top of the Pakistan government. And believe that the Pakistanis acted as “double agents” by giving assurances to OBL/Al Queda they could keep him hidden from the Americans. I think there was a very real risk of a Pakistani counterattack during the mission.

    At same time I am skeptical about the courier story…I believe that some information was gleaned during the Gitmo interrogations but that wasn’t what lead to finding bin Laden. I think the US (justifiably so) wants to keep the real reason secret (could be unknown CIA HUMINT ops or high placed mole in Paki government, etc) and used the courier as the patsy. It was announced too quickly for my taste.

    GoDaddy (6ed79d)

  42. But it seems implausible to believe that there weren’t a lot of elements in Pakistan that knew exactly where bin Laden was.
    It seems quite plausible to me. If his location was known to “lots of elements”, someone would have talked long ago. $25M reward, remember?
    Hiding is easier than you think, if one hides and stays hidden. We hear, for instance, that in the last five years bin Laden never left the room he was killed in. He had no phone or internet access, and no visitors other than one ultra-trusted courier.
    Keeping up that level of seclusion is hard. That’s what gets some people in WitSec: they contact old friends or relatives, they visit old favorite places, they get involved in old favorite activities, they go out and about where they can be seen. Bin Laden did none of that, and indeed much less.
    As long as bin Laden stayed in that room, it didn’t matter that a Pakistani army base was a few hundred meters away. No one was ever going to look in that room.
    Remember – this is a violent Third World country where many (perhaps most) men of importance live in semi-fortified compounds. It’s also a country where, by tradition, “each man’s house is as guarded and unknowable as the grave.” (Kipling, describing Lahore circa 1890.)
    It’s not surprising that now there is a lot of speculation about various people knowing. Al-Qaeda pulled off something difficult here. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor – that was a difficult thing executed successfully, and ever since, there have been “Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories”.

    Rich Rostrom (d34a68)


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