Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory...

I saw this earlier in the week, and thought; are you fucking kidding me? Keeping secrets? Then again, it's Slate and they can be expected to drool all over themselves in the effort to make Obama out to be the conquering hero, but when it comes to the death of Usama Bin Laden (UBL) we already know the following:

* a 40-man SEAL team took out UBL.

* The initial tip came from waterboarding KSM

* The tip led to the identity of UBL's courier

* the Courier (which FoxNews has already named) was followed for years to establish his bonafides

* The house where UBL was supposed to be living in was under surveillance for four years

* The Pakistanis were not informed, and could not be trusted, so as to get their help

* UBL is shot in the face

* UBL is shot in the face, futilely trying to use his wife as a human shield.

* UBL"s wife confirmed UBL's identity by calling out his name

* UBL's body was disposed of in an Islamically-approved way, by dumping it into the Arabian Sea

* The government identified UBL by his DNA and facial-recognition software

* The government is in possession of UBL's computers, notebooks, diaries, etc. and busily pouring over the intelligence within so as to find other terrorists

* UBL Had two cell phones/telephone numbers and 500 Euros sewn into his clothing.

* UBL's wife called out his name, and was wounded, in the course of the gunfight.

* UBL Might have ben captured, and then executed.

* SEAL Team 6 practiced the raid -- for a year -- in a secret mock-up of the compound somewhere in the United States.

* DNA testing has sorta-kinda confirmed that the dead man was, or at least very strongly indicated that it was, UBL.

* A 'treasure trove' of information on all-things Al'Qaeda was found at the compound and is being checked with a fine-toothed comb by US Intelligence, and as of today, DOJ and others are saying that indictments and arrests are pending, and that DOJ may be asking for wiretap permission and search warrants, and issuing subpeonas very soon.

* The names of others inside that compound have already been released. I'm surprised they haven't identified the cleaning lady and Bin Laden's plumber by name, yet.

Just what secrets, if any, are being kept? It seems to me that President Obama is doing nothing but talking about the raid -- understandable, as it is the ONLY accomplishment of his otherwise-disastrous administration -- and the Press is doing nothing but publishing/broadcasting all sorts of details, and that, obviously, means the government leaks information -- and secrets -- like a fucking sieve.

But even more troubling, and somewhat confusing, is that the Administration is not going to release any photographs of UBL to prove that he's actually dead, and the reason given is that no one wants to 'inflame' Islamic sensibilities with US Troops in combat zones, and US diplomats still in Islamic countries. That's when the excuse is not protecting National Security or the protection of sources and methods and so forth, in the meantime neglecting that so much information has already been released that it would take years for any investigative reporter with integrity and half-a-brain (oxymoron) just to run it all down.

It seems as if the Administration, true to form, is attempting to decide what is and what is not secret depending on what the perceived political and propaganda needs of the Administration are at any particular moment, and in the process only reinforcing what so many already think; that Barack Obama is a doofus, surrounded by bigger doofuses, who can't decide if it's Tuesday or Wednesday, and when confronted by the possibility of having to make a decision, unfailingly make the wrong one.

Having made the right decision to get UBL, the Won is now fucking it all up for himself by making -- or allowing his minions to make -- all the wrong ones.

First of all, who gives a crap about Islamic Sensibilities? If you say that not releasing the photographs and other evidence is the proper thing to do on the grounds that it's all too gruesome and graphic, I'd like to remind you that the images of 9/11 are just as horrific, and I just saw them all over again this entire week plastered all over my television screen, as the Press helps Obama take his, by now, extremely aggravating extended bow.

Second, the amount of data that has already been released (all of it for PR purposes) is astounding, if often contradictory, and has probably already let quite a few cats out of any number of bags, which begins to make a mockery of the idea of operational security.

We've been treated to pictures of the White House Situation Room during the raid, with their grave Obama, praying Joe Biden, and looks-as-if-she's-about-to-puke Hillary Clinton, but only because those images serve an ulterior purpose: making the Obama Administration seem competent, serious, concerned, and all Presidentially-like. Yeah, we get to see THOSE pictures, on the assumption that we really, really need to (really on the assumption that Obama needs us to), but we don't get to see the end result? Go figure.

The fact is that the Obama Administration, by playing to this nonsense about 'Islamic Sensibilities' -- burying Bin Laden according to Islamic custom (something they apparently fucked up, anyway), not wanting to rub salt in the wound of a major loss and dead folk hero -- and apparently trying, without much success, to return to it's 'beg Islam to be nice to us' policy, is doing itself, and us, a major disservice.

The disservice is that without evidence, no one in the Islamic World believes that Bin Laden is really dead. Without evidence, the same people who burned braincells and wasted air over Obama's birth certificate have new grist for the conspiracy theory mill. There are even some going as far as to say that those images are deliberately being kept from the public until Obama, about to lose the 2012 election, pulls an October Surprise and releases them a day or two before the election in a desperate bid to save his sorry ass. Already, there are those in the Islamic Sandbox saying the enitre thing is a fiction cooked up by a desperate Obama.

Obama, who has now scored major points in an area which was one of his biggest weaknesses (He's been soft on the War on Terror), has gone and squandered that advantage -- and re-opened the floodgates of conspiracy theory and charges of incompetence. The left hand doesn't seem to know what the right hand does here; one day UBL is said to have resisted, and the next that he was unarmed. One day UBL was found in part because of what happens at Gitmo, and the next, it was painstaking intelligence work done over a series of years,like someone doing a giant jigsaw puzzle in the dark and with one hand tied behind his back. The CIA says one thing, the Pentagon another. The State Department (which on a good day might be able to find it's own collective ass with both hands and a roadmap) says something else, entirely, and they all contradict and step all over each other in the process.

The disinformation may be deliberate, granted, but from here it appears as if no one in the government is on the same page, and that always leads one to the conclusion that no one in Washington can muster enough intellectual firepower to burn calories, and in this political climate (Throw the Bums Out!), that's rather dangerous for a sitting President (even if I do think he's a con man).

Offered as proof of that lack of attention to detail: You'll be glad to know that the FBI is STILL offering a $25 million reward for UBL. Administrative oversight, probably (The FBI probably requires 700 bureaucrats to remove a staple from a two-page memo), but you just know what conspiracy theorists will do with this sort of detail.

Leave it to Barack Obama to create a rather strange dialectic in which Americans may actually thank God that Wikileaks exists.

If you did the thing right in the first place, you wouldn't have these problems, and you wouldn't have to expend so much energy trying to look the part of legitimate, in-charge, hands-on, involved, know-everything, competent President.

UBL is dead; Great! I'm proud of you. Now prove it. Considering the track record of this President and this Administration, documented, authenticated, carved-in-stone proof is required. They have no one but themselves to blame for it because they way they 'do business' leaves them vulnerable to charges of not being truthful. Their inability to ever nail down details -- do they even care about details? -- makes them look bad; as if they're just winging it, and leads to the sort of distrust that allows a two-year kerfuffle over birth certificates to fester. It'll take all of five minutes to do, and who gives a shit what Achmed in Riyadh thinks, besides Larry King?

I believe that UBL is, in fact, fish food, but let's face it; there's millions of people, here in the United States and abroad, who won't until they've been given solid evidence. And even at that, there are still going to be those who will never believe it anyway, so why not just release the damned things and spare yourself the multitude of self-inflicted wounds, accusations of blind stupidity, and attributions of sinister political motivations?

Show the damn pictures.
This is par for the course with President Obama; even when he does something awesome and worthy of praise, he ruins it by leaving so many loose ends, refusing to release information that is readily available and which the public has a right to because political motive gets in the way, and because he and his people often feel the need to take that Victory Lap before the Public has been convinced that he's acually won something. I think at this point it's become an automatic, reflex, defensive routine on the part of the Administration: declare victory, take the photo ops and good press, go home, refuse to answer questions that might rain upon your parade, then complain about the 'unfairness' of having to be held to some sort of higher standard than past Presidents, cry racism.

No comments: