Monday, January 16, 2012

"I Got Bin Laden" - And Why Obama's Big Boast Might Have Been A Huge Mistake

"..Osama bin Laden will never again walk the face of this Earth. That’s what change is."

So said President Obama at a recent fundraiser, the same one where he also claimed that Republicans threaten the "very core of what this country stands for."

Let's ignore his attacking the GOP's patriotism and focus on that first statement, because President Obama keeps coming back to it as a great foreign policy achievement of his. Was it?

Osama bin Laden certainly deserved death if any one did. But foreign policy is based on strategic goals, not on simply meting out justice to those who've murdered Americans. If President Obama's chief concern was punishing people who've murdered Americans, we wouldn't be aiding the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or the Hezbollah-controlled government of Lebanon and Iran would be a smoking crater right now, with the mullahs, President Ahmadinejad and a lot of other members of that government turned into halal crisps.

Since President Obama is touting this as a great foreign policy accomplishment of his and is using it to raise money, let's simply take a cold hard look at it in the light of what it actually accomplished from that perspective.

At the time he was assassinated, Osama bin Laden was essentially living quietly as a guest of the Pakistani government in Abbottobad. His health was not the best, so a great deal of the actual operational command was in the hands of his subordinate, Egyptian-born former Muslim Brotherhood leader Ayman Zawahiri.

As President Obama has pointed out, al-Qaeda has been weakened severely and marginalized, thanks to bin Laden's miscalculation in making Iraq a central front of jihad and suffering massive losses of men and material. That happened, ironically, because of military strategies like the surge Senator Obama did his very best to criticize and sabotage before he entered the White House.

At the time of bin Laden's death, Al-Qaeda had become more of a brand name, a proselytizing force over the internet and an inspiration to young jihadis rather than an actual source of many attacks.

We used a painstakingly created network of Pakistani informers and intel sources to nail down bin-Laden's whereabouts and plan the operation that assassinated him. We then sent the valiant men of Navy Seal Team Six into Pakistan via helicopter, broke into bin-Laden's compound, shot him down, removed his body, gave him a proper Islamic funeral ( which involves cursing Christians and Jews, if the usual text was used) and threw his body into the sea.

So we accomplished an act of retribution. Let's examine the results and see if they were worth it.

The Pakistanis were predictably livid at being exposed, again, as a major aider and abetter of Islamic fascism and terrorism. Their honor/shame mentality kicked in and rather than express regret that they had been caught sheltering a mass murderer, they went into hysterics about the violation of their sovereignty. They arrested every member of the Pakistani network they could get their hands on that helped the US find and assassinate bin-Laden and charged them with treason, which will likely end in a number of executions. Aside from our network in Pakistan being burnt, this assured that we're going to have great difficulty with intel from that country in the future.

The Pakistanis also closed the land route they control into Afghanistan through the Torkum Pass for several days. This route transports 75% of the supplies going into Afghanistan for our troops, who now simply had to make do without needed supplies for a few days. Also, because the stopped supply trucks were sitting ducks, the Taliban manged to destroy several of them.

Even more costly, we lost one of our helicopters in the bin-Laden operation, a Blackhawk. Now, these normally cost about $20 million or so, but this one cost a great deal more, because it had been highly modified with top secret stealth technology that brought its cost up to more like $60 million. Even worse, the SEAL's were unable to completely destroy it, and the angry Pakistanis gleefully gave it to the Chinese to examine at their leisure. The potential loss of technology is in the millions, not to mention our relationship with Pakistan, which has worsened considerably and is unlikely to recover for some time if at all.

But the worse is yet to come.

When we take a look at exactly why Osama bin-Laden was ratted out after all this time, some interesting intel surfaces. As I've mentioned on these pages before, we know that there was a substantial disagreement between Osama and his chief lieutenant Ayman Zawahiri, prior to Osama's death. Bin laden was relatively comfortable in Abbotobad and wanted to keep al-Qaeda anchored in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Zawahiri, looking at developments in his native Egypt and elsewhere like the 'Arab Spring' , the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Obama's already announced retreat from the region was pushing to relocate al-Qaeda back to the Middle East and the roiling Arab world.

So now that Osama's dead (and according to my sources, there are pretty solid indications he was deliberately fingered) Zawahiri, a former Muslim Brotherhood member has taken over and we see increased al-Qaeda presence in both the Egyptian Sinai and Libya, as well as in Iraq where the Maliki government's marginalization of the Sunnis has given al-Qaeda new life.

Moreover, should Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist governments take over in Egypt and Libya as seems likely, Ayman Zawahiri, al-Qaeda and its affiliates like Takfir-wal Higra can count on a haven to train and recruit, with Libya's oil wealth and Egypt's population and rabid Islamism to draw on.

So let's reiterate, shall we? The chief foreign policy triumph President Obama continually boasts about consists of taking out a largely defanged terrorist. It cost us millions of dollars, inflamed an already unfriendly but unfortunately necessary relationship between the US and Pakistan, burnt our intel network in that country, gave the Chinese and probably the Russians and Iranians a good look at American state of the art stealth technology that cost additional millions to develop, and helped relocate al-Qaeda to the heart of the Middle East after we had largely driven them out.

'Foreign policy achievement' or a fiasco being used for political effect? You be the judge.


Anonymous said...

You know i detest Prez Zero as much as any thinking person, but really was he supposed to let OBL get away if he the intel? I think its more about his inept handling of the aftermath. I also think that with the Arab Spring, turning into the Islamists winter, al-Queda would be back in Egypt and the Arab middle east with or without the assassination. An yes, retribution sometimes is important or why did Israel create the Wrath of God Units?

Rob said...

Hi IP,
I appreciate what you're saying, but there's an important difference between the Israelis taking out terrorists and what we did with OBL.

The Mossad did what they did as a deterrent, as a message to future terrorist that Israel's arm was long and that killing Jews would no go unpunished. As such, it was a foreign policy accomplishment, and one that Israel has sadly fallen down on somewhat lately.

In the case of OBL, IMO what we accomplished was far outweighed by the negative consequences.

Another difference is that the Israel and the Mossad never made a point about boasting about what they were doing..they always left things ambiguous.

Barack Obama is blatantly using this as a political' gimmee', which is why I think OBL was killed in the first place.


louielouie said...

also claimed that Republicans threaten the "very core of what this country stands for."

no. commies threaten the very core of what this country stands for.
saul alinsky 101.
say the opposite. your base will eat it up.
i would also use/mention the subsequent downing of a group of seals sent out on an ambush mission set up with phoney intel as part of the cost as well.

Anonymous said...

This fits in with Obama's (and the Left's view generally) that ONLY Al-Qaeda is an enemy, that Al-Qaeda is a small group of extremists, that aside from Al-Qaeda, Islamists are really ''moderates'' & that ''The Religion of Peace'' has been hijacked by those that distort the ''true Islam'' ......
Many on the Right also believe this hogwash.
Hence, it's a great victory to kill Bin Laden but OK to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood (and Hezbollah, Hamas, even the Taliban).
So, aside from using this as a selling point for a generally failed foreign policy, the aim is to divorce terrorism from Islam.
This is to obfuscate the nature of mainstream Islam as a totalitarian political ideology hostile to the West.

Terry, Eilat - Israel