Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama and Obama: a Prophecy

So the citizens are celebrating and the media are whooping about the neat assassination of Osama Bin Laden: ding-dong, the sonofabitch is dead -- and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. Indeed, the Navy Seals did a brilliant job of taking him out. Already, MSNBC is happily giving Obama the credit for "doing what Bush didn't" and "proving that it's a Republican lie that Democrats are soft on defense". In fact, this assassination obviously took months of careful military planning, and all Obama can really take the credit for is having the sense to listen to his generals.

Still, after the killing of Bin Laden and the removal of his body, the brilliance stops. Apparently the body was taken to a nearby Navy vessel, photographed thoroughly, and then -- if you please -- dumped at sea. Now that was just plain idiotic! What the Navy should have done was photograph the body a dozen ways over, invite in photojournalists from around the world to likewise take pictures, take DNA samples and match them -- publicly -- against known Bin Laden samples, left absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that this absolutely was Bin Laden and he absolutely was dead, and then publicly burned the body to ashes and scattered the ashes at sea. As it is, they left plenty of room for conspiracy theorists, or Islamofascists, to play He Is Still Alive. Stupid!

In fact, such stupidity following such brilliance makes me come up with a nicely paranoid theory of my own; what if it wasn't Bin Laden they got, but his stunt-double? What if Bin Laden had in fact been dead for years, and his followers had hidden the fact while keeping his stand-in handy for propaganda films? That's not unlikely; Bin Laden had a kidney condition which required regular dialysis, and how could he get regular dialysis while hiding in caves in the Khyber Pass or some other hidey-hole in Afghanistan?

As to why the military should go after Bin Laden's stand-in right now, I think that really can be laid at Obama's doorstep. Claiming that Bin Laden is now safely dead -- and 9/11 properly avenged -- he can now fulfill the hopes of the Democrats by declaring the war in Afghanistan officially over and bringing the troops home. Whether he can extend that to bringing the troops back from Iraq is another story, but I expect he'll try. Thus, while proving he's not "soft on defense", he can also claim to be the Peacemaker -- and all in good time for the 2012 elections. I predict he'll do it, and MSNBC (the Liberal equivalent of Fox News) will hype him frantically for it.

And never mind what happens to Afghanistan, or Iraq, once we've pulled the troops out. I predict that Pakistan will quietly take over Afghanistan and Iran will openly attack Iraq -- and, to quote Kipling, the soldiers will have their work to do all over again.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(


Aya Katz said...

Leslie, whether it was Bin Laden or was not Bin Laden, it solves no problems. An underground movement is built of cells and can regenerate a leader when need be from the existing organization.

For that matter, even an organization that is not underground can do this. If the president were assassinated today, would the U.S. stop functioning. I think not.

So there is very little reason to rejoice, whoever may have been killed.

Ori Pomerantz said...

Killing Bin Laden is mostly symbolic. However, symbols means a lot in Arab culture. Possibly even more than reality.

If we were to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan, I think political Islam will declare victory. As some point, I expect they'll need a popularity boost and try to achieve it by attacking the US again.

Trying to build a regime friendly to the US after the last one got massacred when we abandoned them clearly won't work. So the US will have to choose the other option, make them so poor and miserable they're terrified of attacking us again. This will probably mean either specific terror (kill the family members of the leaders), or genocidal terror (nukes, destruction of critical infrastructure, etc).

Antongarou said...

A. As a matter of fact Obama has been running the US for the last 2 years. So I'd say major part of the planning and action took part during his watch. And generals aren't always right, nor is their advice(even when correct from military POV) necessarily the correct thing to do.

B. The burial was the right thing to do: it tells the observant Muslims that aren't with the fanatics:"We respect your burial mores and(by extension) your religion. Just don't fuck with us".
I suspect that media wasn't invited because of the fear one of them would leak something and ruin the operation.

C. Nice theory. Any support for it?Because otherwise I would be going with Occam's Razor.

D. What's happening there now isn't much help to the US as is. Democracy simply doesn't work when imposed from above, especially not if you're an invading force and the occupied land is full of hot headed people with a guerilla tradition.

Ori Pomerantz said...

B. I'm sure members of the media would have flown to whatever destination held the body at a moment's notice, after the operation was concluded.

D. Democracy was imposed from above on Germany and Japan. If it fails in the Arab world, there is a different reason.

Mark Horning said...

Ori, Germany was a democratic nation with a long history of democracy. Hitler was freely elected (the first time at any rate)

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Aya. True, the philosophers warn us to rejoice at no man's death, but I think it's perfectly reasonable (and moral) to feel great relief when you see that your enemy is safely dead and will never threaten you again. Of course, the whole Jihadist movement is still alive and well -- it began long before Bin Laden was born -- and we'll have to deal with that in any case, but at least they've lost a big propaganda battle.

Hi, Ori. Indeed, we can't just abandan Iraq and Afghanistan, but I agree that we should change the way we're fighting the war. There are two methods we've found that do work; using the SEALs (or some similar bunch) to assassinate specific leaders and everyone around them, and marching our (body-armored) troops around until some Jihadist just can't resist shooting at them -- and then shooting/bombing said Jihadist and everyone around him. This latter tactic has, so far, killed at least 150,000 Jihadists over ten years, at the cost of 6000 American lives -- which is a truly incredible ratio. If we can keep that up long enough, we can kill enough of the Jihadists to break the movement.

In any case, we simply can't trust any Arab government; their loyalties shift like the sand. The only consistent ally the US has ever had in the middle-east is Israel.

Hi, Anton. The planning for this caper was done during Obama's watch, but I seriously doubt that he had much more to do with it than saying "yes". The way to avoid military stupidity is to have several generals, picked for their success-record, give each of them the problem and then compare their solutions. Of course that's not an absolute guarantee either, but then, nothing is.

Yes, the troops gave Bin Laden the proper rites before they tossed his body overboard, but they could have done the same thing before (in front of cameras) burning the body to ashes and throwing the ashes overboard. Of course the yappy media couldn't have been brought in beforehand, but they should have been summoned afterward to witness (and film) the results.

Support for it? Nothing but the fact that Bin Laden needed constant dialysis, and the knowledge that he couldn't have gotten that reliably in Afghanistan.

Agreed, you can't impose democracy from above -- especially in a culture that has no experience of or grounding for it. The best example from history would be the way the British empire handled India: ruling absolutely, but building up the infrastructure, the economy and particularly the educational system, and then slowly giving the natives democracy from the local level on up -- across generations, so they get used to it. The US did nearly as well in Japan, after WWII. The trick is to remember that in Asia and the middle-east the culture is different, and you have to change the culture before you can make the society anything like a modern industrial democracy. And of course, having their culture changed is just what the inhabitants will resist the most -- especially in the Arab countries.

--Leslie <;)))><

Aya Katz said...

Speaking of changing the culture, did you know that there is a movement in Lebanon to restore the Phoenician culture?

Leslie Fish said...

...Restore the Phoenician culture? Oh wow! Do the people backing this movement realize that the Phoenicians were ambiarchal-to-matriarchal, and Pagan? Seeing how Christians (never mind Jews!) were treated in Lebanon when the Jihadists took over, how do they expect to survive as Pagans? I wish them luck, but I don't see this going very far.

--Leslie <;)))><

Aya Katz said...

Leslie, yes they realize the Phoenicians were pagans. They hate Islam, but they know that they cannot embrace Christianity as an answer to Islam, because that would make it seem they are Westernized. So they want to go back to their real native culture...

Leslie Fish said...

Nice! Paganism grows again! I hope they also take up the Phoenician goddess-worship and ambiarchal-to-matriarchal attitudes. ...Of course, that would also put them severely at odds with their Muslim neighbors. In any case, I wish them luck.

--Leslie <;)))><

SouthernGunsLLC said...

I'd bet a week's pay that come crunch time in the election, all those Bin Laden pics are going to come out for all to see. Why squander them when it happened when they can be used as ammunition later on when it counts, right? ;)