Monday, May 02, 2011

A Death In Pakistan

Osama bin-Laden is dead, shot down by Navy SEALS not in some cave in Waziristan but in a luxury mansion in a heavily populated upscale suburb called Abbottabad, 30 miles outside the Pakistani capitol of Islamabad.

President Obama announced the news last night. Ironically, this operation was only made possible because of intelligence obtained on one of bin-Laden most trusted couriers obtained during the enhanced interrogation of Khalid Sheik Muhammed that the president, his administration and his party denounced so heavily.

The operation itself was handled by Navy SEALS who helicoptered into bin-Laden's compound. All kudos to the president and the SEALS that this particular monster is apparently dead, but some of the details of the operation and the aftermath give rise to a number of interesting questions.

The SEALs were apparently ordered not to take bin-Laden alive, but to kill him. Why, I wonder? Aside from the priceless intel we could have garnered from him, the symbolism of having him in custody, shaving off his beard as we did with Saddam Hussein and hanging him after a closed military tribunal would have been a major humiliation to his adherents in the Muslim world, and an important psychological victory. The Israelis could have simply assassinated Adolph Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust after the Mossad found him in South America. But they deliberately brought him back to Israel to face justice before they hung him - because they wanted a public record of his crimes and because they wanted the entire Nazi ideology to stand trial.

Was it that the Obama Administration did not want Osama bin-Laden's ideology facing trial the reason he had to be killed outright? Or was it that bin-Laden might have inconveniently implicated some of his financiers, supporters and allies in the Muslim world, things Washington would just as soon not come to light? Or a combination of the two?

As it is, far from facing justice Osama bin-Laden was gifted with a quick death, something his victims trapped in the burning Twin Towers weren't given the luxury of.

Even worse, bin-Laden received a formal Islamic funeral, followed by a burial at sea less than 12 hours after his death. It would have been far better to display bin-Laden's corpus at Ground Zero before disposing of it in the most disrespectful manner we could manage.

For years, the powers-that-be in Washington have been telling us that bin-Laden and al-Qaeda are a 'perversion of Islam'. If that's true, than why accord him the respect of an Islamic funeral?
The message we give to to the Muslim world by doing this is that Osama bin-Laden was a devout and representative Muslim if maybe a tad misguided, exactly the opposite of the one we should be sending.

There's also the fact that the Muslim world is a virtual petri dish of the most bizarre beliefs and conspiracy theories. I have no doubt that stories will spring up about how bin-Laden isn't really dead, or that he was tortured,or that the Israelis are holding him in a cell in Jerusalem somewhere. An actual corpse would leave no doubt among his followers that Osama bin-Laden was, in the words of the Coroner of Munchkin Land, 'not only really dead but really most sincerely dead.'

Abbottabad, where bin-Laden was hiding is hardly your ordinary suburb. It's an army town, the site of a Pakistani military base, Pakistan's military academy, and an area many Pakistani officers settle in after they retire from service. Bin-Laden hiding here successfully for years is the equivalent of a wanted mafia boss holing up in Quantico, Virgina next to the FBI academy.

The house was much larger than any other in the surrounding area, had extensive and visible security provisions like high, barbed wire topped walls and a double security gate, and stood out like a sore thumb. It was occupied by a man known to be Osama bin-Laden's trusted courier and the idea that no one knew whom was living there is ludicrous.

There were vague statements out of Washington that the Pakistani military was 'involved'. But there's no evidence at all that they had any part in the actual operation and there was no official comment from the government for several hours, so it's far more likely that the Pakistanis were out of the loop and taken by surprise. That certainly would be standard operating procedure, as our military stopped informing Pakistani officials ahead of time about the C.I.A.’s drone strikes against jihadis in Waziristan months ago , to avoid the targets being tipped off .

Given the ties of Pakistan's military and its ISI intelligence agency to al-Qaeda allies and offshoots like Lashkar e Taiba and the Haqqani Network, it's hardly surprising that Osama bin-Laden was able to hide successfully in the middle of Abbotobad.

"For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad," said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst.

"If the ISI had known, then somebody within the ISI must have leaked this information," Gul said. "Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan ... this is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan."

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louielouie said...

i think this confirms why the US wanted to get that CIA guy out of pakistan custody for killing those two people. i bet he id' UBL and they were sent to kill him. he was probably part of an advance/scout team.
also, i find it interesting they waited a week, or so they say, before announcing his demise. we couldn't have all those people in the UK protesting in public demanding a delay in the royal wedding party now could be?
and who gets that 25mil?
and i certainly like ff comments regarding backing/financing of UBL, now that the US is financing al-queida in libya.
i wonder when the left is going to start screaming that this action will create more terrorists????
regarding hussein's address to the nation.
what a buffoon.
first off, it was held in the east room, not the oval office.
no media, ergo, no questions.
the lighting was very dim for some reason. must be a green thing or something like that.
it was without a doubt, the best assemblage of cliches i've heard, since the time i was trying to get my hands into rita evans bra back in the eighth grade.
the dhimmitude of this nation is growing by leaps and bounds. they have fallen all over theirselves saying that the burial at sea was in accord with all customs.
he should've got what hitler got, if not worse.
hussein has no concept of what america is. and that people support him speaks even worse for what this country is to become.
OT even more.
anyone who watches the weather channel should has noticed them becoming ever more political. they showed hussein giving a statement about the recovery/rescue efforts down in alabama. i don't know if he was there. i was in the next room and only heard the statement. even when he was speaking then, it was only cliches, phrases and excerpts from famous speeches given by others in the past. there was no emotion in his voice. he was speaking of the US citizenry as though we were french or some other nation/country. nothing about american exceptionalsim and/or self reliance. it would have been pathetic as a pep talk for a basketball team as well.
in the end, i believe, this action in pakistan, is muchadoaboutnothing.

SecondComingOfBast said...

There's no reason to over-think things. I think they wanted him dead for the pure and simple fact that he would have been a hell of a lot of trouble alive, in terms of keeping him incarcerated, fighting off the hordes of lawyers not only from the US but from around the world, the different embassies wanting to insure he was being treated humanely, wanting him to be tried in civilian courts versus those insisting he be tried in a military tribunal.

As difficult as the situation with the Gitmo detainees has been, Bin Laden would have been orders of magnitude worse.

B.Poster said...

Ultimately this makes little strategic difference. The problems America faced before the death of Bin Laden are the same ones it faces today. Specifically, the economy is in the toilet, the national debt is massive, the military is worn down to the point where basic national defense is problematic, the nation's infrastructure is crumbling, and there isn't sufficient funds to proerly address any of this right now.

Now with that said, the death of Bin Laden may help us in the sense that it gives us an opportunity to engage in a face saving withdrawl from the region which we need to do any way. Perhaps this is what the whole thing is about any way.

Alot of people have "takes" on this whole thing. Here's mine. The Americans want to withdraw from Afghanistan and the broader Middle East. Essentially Pakistan controls Afghanistan. At least anyone wishing to have power in Afghanistan has to answer to Pakistan's tribal leaders. The Pakistanis want America to withdraw from Afghanistan as do the Afghanst themselves. Ideally the Americans would like to do this in a face saving manner. By playing "lets make a deal" the Pakistanis and the Americans are both able to get some of what each side wants.

Essentially the Pakistanis supplied with Americans with the intellegence on the whereabouts of Bin Laden. Then its up to the Americans to carry out the operation to actually get him. Its highly unlikely that the American intellegence community suddenly found the competence to carry out the type of intellegence work that would have been neccessary to identify the whereabouts of Bin Laden. Also, its highly unlikely the Pakistanis have the kind of special ops expertise that would be necessary to carry out this type of operation. Essentially both parties worked in the areas they are best at and the operation was a success.

Since Bin Laden is popular in Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East for domestic political purposes the Pakistani intellegence services who supplied the intellegence for this operation could not take any of the credit. It has to appear, at least in the main stream media, as an entirely American operation.

Also, in much of the world if not most of it, the general perception is "America has/had it coming." As such, while Bin Laden may be viewed by many as misguided, because he is/was fundamentally anti-American this means he has/had a great deal of support around the world. This is another reason the Pakistanis could not/would not take any credit. They don't want to be seen helping America. If America wants to advance its position in the world, it simply MUST take constructive steps to do something to address the narrative about it.

Finally, with Bin Laden out of the way, I would expect the calls for America to withdraw from Afghanistan to increase in frequency, duration, and intensity. To withdraw in a face saving manner is probably what the US wanted all along. Pakistan and Afghanistan want the US to withdraw. This likely led to the deal for the Pakistanis to turn Bin Laden over to the Americans.