Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Shark Bait Part II

A few other issues have arisen in regards to the successful operation to introduce Obama to his Maker - and 72 sturgeons. One is the inexplicable lack of security at Obama's compound. Two is the decision whether to release a photo of bin Laden with his brains decorating the walls of his compound. Three is the reaction to the raid from many of the euro-lefties. Four is the reaction from the radical Muslim wing.

According to reports to date, two blackhawk helicopters were able to hover over bin Laden's compound while 24 soldiers rappelled into the compound, probably from a height of about 50 to 60 feet, perhaps higher. Once on the ground, they made their way into the building housing bin Laden and made it all the way up to the third floor before taking any fire. In the end, it appears only four men were on the compound, three of whom were bin Laden and two of his sons. In other words, there was no security presence. There were no people manning machine guns in the courtyard. There were no RPG positions on the roof. There was zip, zero, nada - not even a BEWARE OF DOG sign apparently.

For one of the most hunted men in the world, I find that complete lack of security mind boggling. From this, we can safely infer that bin Laden had no clue whatsoever as to our operational capability. Given that we have probably performed literally thousands of night air assault raids over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, this suggests a level of ignorance on the part of bin Laden that is inexplicable. Obviously bin Laden felt completely secure in his compound. The only way that makes any sense at all is if bin Laden felt that that his security was guaranteed by a third party - and that can only mean that Pakistan's security services were involved at some level. We will see what the documents and computers captured from the compound show about this, if it is ever revealed.

The second issue is the hand-wringing going on in the Obama administration over whether to release photos of the recently departed bin Laden. It is ridiculous. According to the Obama administration, the concern is whether the death photos might be "inflammatory" to Muslims. Let's get this right. Bin Laden's existence on this earth was inflammatory to Americans. Americans, as well as every person who has been attacked by this most evil of men (the majority of whom are Muslims), is entitled to photographic proof of bin Laden's demise. That should be the alpha and omega of the Obama administrations consideration on that issue. But to add, I don't care if it inflames some Muslims. To the contrary, I want seared into their memory the last image of bin Laden being with half of his skull missing and his brains decorating the walls. Bin Laden claimed in the mid-90's that the massive growth of al Qaeda was because people want to back the "strong horse." Well, bin Laden today is not merely a weak horse, he is an executed one. Muslims who will be inflamed by his execution will be inflamed irrespective of graphic photos. It seems more likely that the photos may dissuade some from following bin Laden. Further, Muslims in the Middle East need proof of bin Laden's death, particularly given their propensity for utterly insane conspiracy theories. In short, whether to release bin Laden's death pictures really should be a "no brainer" for the Obama administration.

The third issue is the international response to the raid on bin Laden's compound. As a threshold matter, bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people. If there was ever a man who deserved death at the end of a gun, it was him. Yet the euro-left, as discussed at length in Der Spiegel, is engaging in a lot of hand wringing, speculating that our assassination mission violated some provision of "international law:"

Claus Kress, an international law professor at the University of Cologne, argues that achieving retributive justice for crimes, difficult as that may be, is "not achieved through summary executions, but through a punishment that is meted out at the end of a trial." Kress says the normal way of handling a man who is sought globally for commissioning murder would be to arrest him, put him on trial and ultimately convict him. In the context of international law, military force can be used in the arrest of a suspect, and this may entail gun fire or situations of self-defense that, in the end, leave no other possibility than to kill a highly dangerous and highly suspicious person . . . .

It is unfortunate. And it is certainly no reason for the indescribable jubilation that broke out on Sunday night across America -- and especially not for applause inside the CIA's operations center.

This from the folks who gave us Hitler and the final solution. Really guys, if you want a say over our foreign policy and how we conduct our national security, or to condemn us for celebrating the execution of this most evil of men, let me just say, with all sincerity . . .

Lastly, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Taliban and many others of their ilk are condemning the assassination of bin Laden. On of the most bucolic of these responses came from an Imam in Jerusalem:

An imam from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem vowed to take revenge over "the western dogs" for killing Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday.

In a Youtube video uploaded by the imam he said: "The western dogs are rejoicing after killing one of our Islamic lions. From Al-Aqsa Mosque, where the future caliphate will originate with the help of God, we say to them – the dogs will not rejoice too much for killing the lions. The dogs will remain dogs and the lion, even if he is dead, will remain a lion."

The imam then verbally attacked US President Barack Obama saying: "You personally instructed to kill Muslims. You should know that soon you'll hang together with Bush Junior."

"We are a nation of billions, a good nation. We'll teach you about politics and military ways very soon, with god's help," he vowed.

This is the response I would respect from radicalized Muslims. As Instapundit notes:

what’s this about how dogs should not rejoice after killing a lion? If I were a dog, and I killed a lion, I’d damn sure rejoice.

But Osama was more of a jackal, you know? And if this dumbass keeps talking, people might get the idea that we’re at war with Islam or something. And trust me, your Imam-ness, you don’t want Americans to decide that.

True enough. Indeed, most Americans believe in live and let live. That said, the reality of radical Islam is an unknown to most Americans still to this day - a fact for which I blame both Bush and Obama. Under a best case scenario, Americans become educated about the realities of radical Islam and public opinion in the free world is harnessed to bring pressure for change and moderation. Under a worst case scenario, Americans remain blissfully ignorant and the radicals in fact do pull off another 9-11, perhaps one with nuclear or biological weapons. And when that happens, live and let live will be out the window - as will be any attempt to seperate the good from the radicals in the Muslim world. God help the radical Muslims - and indeed, all Muslims - should that happen.


Hugh Fraser said...

Er what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Is that an absolute law or does it not apply to Uncle Sam's Enemies? Even the Nazis got a trial at Nuremberg....

Is the raid such a triumph? It took the World Greatest Super Power Ten years to find its Number One Enemy.... Not Much intelligence in the CIA there.

US Special Forces spent 8 whole Months Training to attack the Compound that was virtually unguarded. Obama dithered and dithered over the decision to go in.

In the end, Osama alive and on trial would have been 1000 times more valuable than old man shot at point blank range and chucked in the sea.

However you look at it, Osama, wicked though he was, made fools of the CIA and the USA for ten years.... all your jingoism is pathetic.

From Europe

GW said...

Hugh - thanks for commenting.

Bin Laden was an enemy combatant by any definition, and he was a combatant in an ongoing conflict. Thus he was a legitimate military target. To try and transpose criminal laws and constitutional protections applicalbe only to U.S. residents onto enemy combatants is ridiculous. It has never been done in any prior conflict in history of which I am aware, nor by any other nation in recorded history for that matter. But perhaps I have missed something. If so, by all means, please educate me.

As to the Nuremberg trials to which you refer, they are inapplicable to the current situation. One, the trials occurred after all hosilities had ceased. Thus there was no military reason to execute any of the individuals, let alone keep them detained. And indeed, the people who were tried at Nuremberg were tried solely for acts that fell outside the bounds of the laws of war. Mere Nazi soldiers were freed at the end of the war. Those who took part in the death camps and "final solution" were not.

As to you're denigration of the U.S. for being unable to find bin Laden for ten years, you are ridiculously unrealistic. Look to history. It took the Israelies decades to hunt down many of the Nazis who took part in the "final solution," and some, such as Dr. Mengile, managed to elude capture entirely. Finding a single person outside of your home country and who is not in friendly territory is notoriously difficult. If you think otherwise, show me your facts.

As to whether bin Laden would have been more valuable alive - I happen to concur and said so in the below post. It had nothing to do, however, with whether he should have been put on trial, but rather his value as an intelligence source.


Hugh Fraser said...

Thank you for your courteous and reasoned reply. However, I beg to disagree with much of what you say.

if Osama was an enemy combatant, then he was subject to the rules of war, and should not have been shot at close range while unarmed.

But war is a messy business, and I don't want to be too legalistic. "Everyone is innocent until proven guilty" is so much more than a law, it's an idea. It's a fundmental and absolute idea that the West needs to promote.

Taking your enemy out in a hit job is also an idea : it's called retribution.

Justice V Retribution. This is one of the battles that is taking place. It will be won in the realm of ideas, just as Democracy V Communism, aka, the Cold War, was won.

The fact that a single man could evade and mock a superpower for 10 years is also a powerful idea - it shows that military might and force are not equal to the human spirit, albeit a perverted one.

The images of americans celebrating the death of a single man also conveys a message and an idea - An entire nation, an entire State, not only that, but a Super State, is on an equal footing with an individual.

The power of Osama's cunning and the force of his perverted ideas are equal to all the military might of the USA.

We have to win this war. It won't be won by Overwhelming Force. It will be won by ideas.

If we fall into the trap of responding to low attacks with equally low attacks, if we sink to the depths of retribution, if we give up what we believe in - the rule of law, the rights of humankind, we will lose this war.

Remember, this is not WW II. It's not one great force against another. It's an asymmetric war, and often the use of force will rebound against the power that wields it.

In fact, we are losing this war. . Osama won a victory in death. He showed your country up as weak, vengeful, hysterical, frustrated, and confused. I hope very much that the USA will recover from this low point in its history and its failure to respond wisely to the massive provocation of 9/11.

GW said...

Hugh - We know our areas of disagreement.

We also have a point of significant agreement. It is, as you say, that the war of ideas is of ultimate importance as regards the war on terror. I have written on that at some length if you have any interest. See http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com/2010/04/further-retreat-from-war-of-ideas.html

GW said...

I would also add I think "taking out" bin Laden was a mistake. He and the other unarmed men in the compound should have been captured and detained for the duration of hostilities, during which time they should have been subject to interrogation for actionable intelligence. I am convinced that the reason that did not happen is because it would have been a political nightmare for Obama, who has gutted our ability to interrogate high level terrorists. That said, I am very familiar with the Geneva Convention. I know of nothing in it that requires us to capture, rather than kill, an enemy combatant. The moment we take custody of them, that changes. But nothing that has come out so far suggests to me that they took custody of bin Laden.

Anonymous said...

Hi GW, I think our views have more in common that I first thought. Thanks for an interesting exchange.

Hugh said...

I just thought I would add that I'm hardly a leftie, and not one to agree with church leaders in this country, who are almost always screaming lefties, but on this occasion I think the juxtaposition in this report in the Telegraph says a lot.

"The President said bin Laden's death proved that America would never fail to bring terrorists to “justice”.

“When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say,” Mr Obama said. "We were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act - that they received justice.”

However, during a press conference at Lambeth Palace, Dr Williams questioned whether “justice” had been demonstrated by the US action.

“The killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done,” he said.
The White House’s “different versions of events” during the past week “have not done a great deal to help”, he said"

(....He went on to call Bin Laden a "war criminal".... )

I think you will probably agree with me when I say that Obama looks a bit thin on reasoning when he says that "justice" was done. No, it was retribution, which is a different thing. I also generally agree with your line that he did not want the political difficulty and uncertainty of holding such a prisoner.

As for your views on water boarding, well it is torture, but if it can be said to save thousands of lives, there is definitely a moral dilema.... the greater good.

The case for getting intelligence in this way (torture) has been greatly weakened by the general abuse of prisoners in iraq and the fact that so many innocent people, taxi drivers, translators, etc seem to have been picked up almost at random and whisked to Cuba and tortured. Then they have been kept there for years even when it has become clear that they are not combatantants, or if they are, they are very low level ones - as wikileaks has confirmed. If there is any moral justification for torture, it has to be used in a very selective way has to be for the greater good of saving lives. Perhaps it has been used to save lives in some cases.... but the big picture given to the world has been a loss of moral clarity about whether the USA is on the side of right or wrong.