Sunday, May 01, 2011

Osama obit



Update below.

You probably know by now that Obama just got on the TV and announced that a US team killed Osama bin Laden earlier today in Pakistan. This was done by a special forces unit and not airstrikes, which were never necessary, apart from being needed to brutalize the Afghan population, as opposed to being necessary for making Americans safer.

For the record, even though I am against the US military campaign in the Af-Pak region, I think they were right to go after bin Laden, assuming he was in fact responsible for the 9/11 plot, as most people believe. But that doesn't change the fact that the rest of the war that has been prosecuted against the populace was terribly wrong. They may have even been more likely to help US forces apprehend him if we'd just asked for their help and didn't engage in a wide-scale campaign to pacify the country. How many thousands of lives, Afghan, and Pakistani, and American, would have been spared! But clearly that wasn't on the agenda, for either the Bush 2 or Obama administrations. (It's easy to forget that in 2001 the Taliban actually offered to turn over bin Laden to a mutually acceptable third party, upon being provided with proof that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Maybe they didn't mean this, but their offer was rejected and we'll never know.)

If the US had tried a modified form of that strategy after Obama became president, maybe the Taliban would have turned him over if they were allowed into Karzai's government and if they had assurances that bin Laden would not be executed. Taking him alive under such circumstances would have the virtue of giving doubting millions in both the East and the West some assurance that it was really him, and would have been less likely to infuriate the Muslim world. Presumably the soldiers in the operation today did not have the option to safely capture him alive.*

Over at CNN.com the banner reads, 'U.S. State Department warns of "enhanced potential for anti-American violence" following bin Laden's death.' I wonder if this is true; and if, possibly, many Muslims around the world are anticipating that now the US will leave Afghanistan and Pakistan, and hope to avoid provoking the US, at least for now.

But if such a bated breath effect does exist, it will evaporate quickly upon the inevitable resumption of airstrikes by American forces. A fantasy Obama would declare a short unilateral cease-fire, maybe a week to 10 days, and offer to send Mullen or some other VIP to facilitate negotiations between the Afghan puppet government and the Taliban for a peaceful reconciliation of some sort. But [1] that presumes that Obama is actually concerned about peace in Afghanistan, and [2] that kind of Obama doesn't exist in this world, even if millions of Obama drones believe that, in his heart, Barry is just that kind of guy. (Except maybe they're also secretly glad he isn't.)

*update: from my response to Quin:[yes,] arresting him would have been preferable. If we really believe we're the good guys and a nation of laws, etc., we would have tried to do that.

Did they actually try to capture him without killing anybody? Who knows. I'll admit I'm skeptical - certainly describing the woman as a shield sounds like spin. But I also know that it's easy for us to speculate from our safe remove about how much danger they should have exposed themselves to in order to capture him alive, with no other 'collateral' deaths.

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6 Comments:

At May 02, 2011 4:13 AM, Anonymous Quin said...

From the linked article: "Four others in the compound were also killed. One of them was bin Laden's adult son, and another was a woman being used as a shield by a male combatant, the officials said."

Is there never a solution to this stuff that doesn't involve killing innocent people? Was this situation so important that it was "worth" killing an innocent woman?

Yes, many fewer needless deaths than an aerial bombardment. That doesn't mean the needless death(s) here are that much better for it.

And why was killing the goal here rather than capture, again?

 
At May 02, 2011 8:29 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Quin, I agree, arresting him would have been preferable. If we really believe we're the good guys and a nation of laws, etc., we would have tried to do that. That's why I wrote "Presumably the soldiers in the operation today did not have the option to safely capture him alive."

Did they try to capture him without killing anybody? Who knows. I'll admit I'm skeptical - certainly describing the woman as a shield sounds like spin. But I also know that it's easy for us to speculate from our safe remove about how much danger they should have exposed themselves to in order to capture him alive, with no other 'collateral' deaths.

 
At May 02, 2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Mimi said...

I find the burial at sea thing highly suspicious. In fact, I think it stinks to high heaven.
What possible reason could there be for it? So the "enemy" wouldn't try to get the body back? To keep them guessing as to whether he's dead or alive? The only thing I know for sure is that governments lie and this reeks like a big one.

 
At May 02, 2011 3:58 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I agree with Mimi. This does smell funny.

 
At May 02, 2011 6:26 PM, Blogger micah holmquist said...

I’m rambling but here goes…

RE the watery grave, I am suspicious as I have trouble thinking Obama and friends are so incompetent that they wouldn’t think this would encourage conspiracy theories. And, as far as following Islamic tradition, where was the three day observance.

I’m tempted to say, “yeah but what are you going to do with the body.” On the other hand, how many DNA samples would you need to get in order to be assured that you could do a good test? I don’t know.

All that said, my hunch is that everything happened pretty much as described. The political fallout from being caught from faking something like this would be too great. Residents of the United States would actually be angry if they were lied to about this, unless we got a cool war out of it, of course.

Which brings me to my fear that this event will lead to increased tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan breaking out. I don’t see an all out war breaking out, but maybe a coup supported by the U.S.

Then again, the GOP presidential race could be dominated by candidates trying to talk tough on Pakistan. Obama might feel pressure to join in that direction to prove his presidentialhood. And, before you know it, like Soviet matches, the whole thing explodes into Smokey the Bear’s nightmare. (O.K. that’s at least one too many metaphors, but, again, I’m rambling.)

 
At May 02, 2011 8:28 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi all,
this from "Moon of Alabama" might interest you:


"/www.moonofalabama.org/2011/05/consequences-war-on-pakistan.html"

 

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