Thursday, May 5, 2011
reality show live from Pakistan on SEALcam
Google the topics last week and there were stories as far as the eye could see. Google them now and all you'll get is the wind whistling through the deserted streets of the Internet.Nothing like the killing of the world's most-wanted terrorist to take care of the news' silly season. One Facebook posting appearing to be from the BBC trumpeted a link titled "Osama bin Laden Killed (LIVE VIDEO)." When clicked, the link takes the user to an outside page modeled to look like Facebook, where it asks the user to enter a verification code. When the user submits the code, the link is then posted to the user's Facebook account.Actually, to those of us uncomfortable with social networking, it's somehow reassuring to find that even among the Facebook generation, there's still one born every minute.
The families of 9/11 victims as well as various other factions have criticized the decision to bury Osama bin Laden's body at sea, and quickly. Some people want the satisfaction of having his body in custody; others want more proof that the corpse was that of the terrorist leader. Meanwhile, the two major reasons given by the Obama administration for the quick ocean burial ring a little hollow: that no other country would take his body, and that they wanted to follow the protocol required by Muslim law to bury within 24 hours. Not that these aren't true, but they don't sound like the real reasons.There are numerous situations in which a person's religious beliefs do not or cannot hold sway in these matters. If an autopsy is needed on a murder vicim, for example, burial will likely have to be delayed, even though both Islam and Judaism call for speedy burial. For that matter, strict Jewish practice calls for avoiding autopsy altogether, but criminal law takes priority over religious law.It's easier to believe a reason that's been given as an afterthought -- that a grave could become a shrine. But there's obviously more to this well-thought-out plan than that.Think of the trouble that would be caused by having custody of Bin Laden's body. There would be endless debates about how it should be treated, who should have access to it and how it would be guarded after interment. It would be harder to gain consensus for a sea burial if the body were in U.S. possession, and harder to make that burial a secret, location unknown.
In other words, there might have been a bit of public complaining after the fact, but there's no real public furor. It's easier to gain forgiveness than permission. That decision was as tactically smart as the attack on the Pakistani compound.
Back in 2005, when rookie Sen. Barack Obama was just beginning to plan his $745-million 2007-08 presidential campaign, U.S. intelligence became aware of a $1-million housing compound under construction in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 1 million about 60 miles outside the capital.Using certain interrogation techniques on involuntary wartime guests, the CIA acquired the name of a high-level al Qaeda courier, who was eventually tracked toing and froing from said elaborate compound, which his invisible income would seem to put beyond his financial reach.Last August, as Obama vainly campaigned to preserve his Democratic Party's....
...House majority, he was apprised of the growing surmisal that the compound's 18-foot walls were not to keep the courier's dogs from digging up neighbors' gardens. And indeed Osama and one of his younger wives might well also be a compound resident. The CIA developed a plan to obliterate the compound with a salutory March flyover by a pair of B2s from Diego Garcia safely delivering smart bombs from high above.The good news is such attacks reduce everything to dust and goo. The bad news is such attacks reduce everything to dust and goo.Without a body, how could President Obama prove that he was The One who brought Osama sudden justice without the burden of time-consuming civil trials involving Eric Holder's former law partners as high-paid public defenders? So, although it meant only nine holes of weekend golf instead of 18, Obama OKd a May commando raid, as long as he could still attend the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner to mock that jerk Donald Trump. So on Sunday Washington time, Obama and aides entered the basement Situation Room to watch the Osama execution reality show live from Pakistan on SEALcam.
A dramatic presidential address was scheduled for late that evening. And because the president wanted to get all of his detailed ducks in a row, his major announcement actually came an hour late.Over the years Pakistan officials have been so helpful and trusted about the hunt for Osama that not one of them knew in advance of the U.S. raid on the compound, which is close to a military academy. The U.S. assault team flew from Afghanistan into Pakistan using holes in that country's radar system.Still, a "significant firefight" erupted that was so significant not one American was injured. One helicopter crashed, no, made a hard landing; it was a mechanical failure.One compound resident pointed out Osama. Three compound residents died in the firefight. One man used a woman as a human shield. She was an Osama wife. They both died. She was only shot in the leg running toward a SEAL. She didn't die. Another woman did on another floor. There was no human shield. The Osama son initially identified as shot and killed may have been the other one.The goal was to capture Osama or kill him if necessary. The plan was to kill Osama all along. He was encountered in a bedroom. He was given a brief opportunity to surrender. He didn't. Blam! He died instantly from gunshots to the chest and head, including a large one in the forehead over the eye. He was unarmed. But he resisted. You don't need a gun to resist.Osama's body was removed. The disabled chopper was detonated. Large fire ensued, attracting the attention of Pakistani authorities. Osama's DNA was collected by intelligence officials. They may or may not have actual Osama DNA from before to compare.If not, they can at least prove whether the dead compound body was related to Osama's 53 siblings produced by his father's 22 wives. Because it was so important to have photos of a dead Osama to head off evergreen Elvis-lives conspiracies, the gruesome big-hole-in-the-forehead photo has not been released -- and might never be.