From now on, the US gov't can no longer control the OBL story

New York

The most frustrating part about the administration's ever-shifting account of the raid: If the first story they released was the true one, the SEALs (and the United States) would have been the definition "righteous" and "not-to-be-trifled-with" (dare I say, badass?).

If the first account the President conveyed were (something along the lines of), "The SEALs were shot at upon arriving at the compound. From then on, they took no chances. Knowing that Osama bin Laden utilized suicide bombers, they neutralized all threats, while ensuring the safety of the eight children living in the house," he would have conveyed the message that no number of graphic photos could deliver.

Instead, the story the administration hastily delivered was straight out of a video game: there were men on the roof shooting at the arriving helicopter, there was armed resistance in every room, and there were human shields in front of every AK-47-wielding terrorist. Thankfully, the SEALs fought their way upstairs to the boss of the game, Osama bin Laden, who was obviously armed, because the boss of the game is always armed. Perhaps we've just seen so many movies that our gut reaction is to assume that's how a raid against such a dangerous man must have gone. Whatever the source of that account, it was grossly incorrect.

So instead of sending a message of power and righteousness, by revising the story to sound continually more one-sided, the administration made the U.S. look at best untrustworthy, and at worst like we slaughtered a house full of unarmed people. No wonder so many in the Arab world refused to believe bin Laden was dead until AQ said it themselves.

It's not that the administration lied to us - it's that they were in such a rush to tell us what we wanted to hear, they forgot that we, and the rest of the world, only want to hear one story. Preferably, the truth.


If we are to extricate ourselves from the war mentality that seems to obsess us, we have to stop glorifying war and warriors. These men are not heroes, they are well-armed Goliaths fighting armies of Davids. They do the bidding of cowards who use continual war-making as a way to sustained wealth. How many of these men could actually make it in the real world? They live in a fantasy world where might makes right and they happen to have more might behind them than anyone else does. Many in America are against war, either against all war, in principle, or against the particular wars we are engaged in now. But we someone continue to feel an obligation to treat soldiers and sailors and airmen as heroes, when at best they are victims. (And at worst, perpetrators of heinous crimes.) Every one currently in uniform has volunteered for military service, often for the benefits they receive. None was dragooned or shanghaied or impressed into service. Let's stop treating the military as if they were still WWII vintage heroes and start thinking about what kind of a country we want to be and what kind of citizens we want our sons and daughters to be.

Pompano Beach FL

" Mr. Obama called that raid one of the “most historic” the nation’s military had ever launched."

This has to be one of the most preposterous statements by any American President ever made, any the prospect of aware Americans buying into it is deplorable... even from the point of view of a very amateur American historian.

The raid got Bin Laden and 3 other unprepared cohorts... and shot his wife in the leg.

"One of the most historic raids that the nation's military had ever launched"??

Normandy veterans, those still alive, might disagree. Civil War veterans, if they could speak, might disagree. General George Washington's troops might disagree.

The blantant and transparent hype/spin by this White House, and by Obama and his advisors and acolytes, is insulting to anyone with a red wine room temperature IQ.

The more that this is all being pumped-up as a pep-rally for Obama... the more it evolves into being"suspect", as being hype/spin by those who are desperate for something to crow about... having had nothing to crow about for the last year or so.

Northern California

This all just becomes sicker and sicker. Open letter to Obama: Stop playing to the press and the illiterate with this cheap spectacle and charade and go back to reading FDR's books on how to save a broken, corrupt and bankrupt nation as it slips and slides into the inevitable passing of empires. Bottom line, one last time: Put your people back to work and feed them while you at it. It's common sense, these acts of courage, humanity and reality are they not?

Robert J
Los Angeles

Hey, I'm glad these guys pulled it off. Certainly I'm glad we didn't have a disaster like the desert one fiasco that cost Jimmy Carter his next term.
I recall that when the Israelis planned the Entebbe rescue, they built a model airport to practice the moves. We knew about this for 4 years. Did they not build a model? They didn't know that the high wall would affect helicopter performance? They were surprised at the temperature?? (No one had a weather app on their phone??) Presumably these guys expect to fly helicopters in highly unusual situations, and one would have thought they would have been prepared for higher temperatures or high walls. It's embarrassing to lose a helicopter through what seems to be at least partly pilot error
Second, these were new type helicopters, fairly secret in design. We had to leave it behind, and the Pakis (and perhaps the Chinese?) are studying the tail design, tail rotor design, etc for clues as to what we did. Don't these guys know how to blow up a helicopter. Maybe they should have thrown in an extra explosive to destroy all this information as to how the helicopter was built.
We are all rejoicing in the non-fiasco of the mission. However, there seems no doubt that at least some parts of it ALMOST lead to another disaster. Enemies of the USA now have more information about this new helicopter than perhaps they might have had...


I thought the US was meant to stand for due process in law and proper legal procedures. For no doubt very justifiable, pragmatic reasons, but it was just an assassination.

I mean you should have taken him alive, considering the new reports of what happened... i'm really surprised the US went hypocritical on this one.

well done to make a martyr ! really clever move. yeah no wonder the arab world hates you and the rest of the world just facepalms, you're as bad as them.

Celebrating in the streets as well afterwards, that's not patriotism.. that's fanaticism, the very same "you're supposed to be fighting against"

americans make the rest of the world cringe.


A Scattering of Protests Honoring Bin Laden said...

CAIRO — About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the United States Embassy here on Friday to protest the killing and burial at sea of Osama bin Laden as manifestations of what they called American hostility to Muslims.

Like many in Egypt, most in the crowd said they doubted Bin Laden’s responsibility for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and instead vented pent-up resentment of America for its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for Israel.

“Until now there is no legal document which charges or accuses Osama or anyone” of orchestrating the terrorist attacks, said Mamdouh Ismail, a speaker at the demonstration, founder of a new Islamic party and a candidate for Parliament — apparently unaware of the legal case in New York, filed in 1998 against Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. (Prosecutors said this week that the charges would be dismissed.) “Let us talk about American injustice, the killing of women and children, the killing of Muslims all over the world at the hands of America.”

Such peaceful demonstrations were prohibited before the Feb. 11 revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and Egyptians have been relishing their chance to speak out.

The protest began after a sermon at a Cairo mosque by an aging Islamist firebrand, Sheik Hafez Salama. His supporters produced a sign proclaiming Bin Laden “a symbol of Islamic jihad” and saying “America is the terrorist state.” They chanted “Obama, Obama, the terrorist is not Osama,” and called for a march to the embassy.

“They martyred Osama, who was able to stand up to the world’s harshest power,” Mr. Salama said at a stop along the way, where a small crowd had gathered as usual in Tahrir Square, reliving the revolution. “We are all Osama bin Laden.”

The Tahrir Square crowd, however, was more interested in another speaker, who was airing conspiracy theories about the internal security forces. And of the hundreds of people who had emerged from the mosque chanting solidarity with Bin Laden, only about 200 made it to the protest at the American Embassy. They were surrounded every step of the way by an overwhelming number of police officers and soldiers and their equipment, including three armored personnel carriers and a squadron of riot police outside the embassy. But both sides remained peaceful.

Although almost no one seemed to believe that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, all offered a familiar litany about American military interventions, support for Israel and treatment of Iraqi captives at Abu Ghraib prison.

Many seized on the disposal of Bin Laden’s body, in a burial at sea that they said failed to adhere to Islamic rituals, as a symbol of what they said was American disregard for the Muslim world. “When Obama announced the burial I felt sickened,” said Hassan Ali, 52, one of the few who acknowledged some wrongdoing by Bin Laden. “He was a terrorist. We expected him to be arrested, maybe executed at some point. But we are here because of what they did to his body.”

Most refused to concede his guilt. “We are very against violence,” said Ibrahim Haggag, 45, speaking of Muslims generally. “They could be framing him as an excuse to attack Arabs, an excuse to take their wealth.”

Amina Mohame, 28, added: “The Jews were the ones who planned 9/11. If the U.S. is a civil society, why did they fund Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

Similar demonstrations in support of Bin Laden were held in several other cities, including London; Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed; and Solo, Indonesia.

In London, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, in the exclusive Mayfair district. They held placards with slogans like “Islam will dominate the world.” Lines of police officers separated the demonstrators from members of a far-right group, the English Defence League, who held aloft placards highly critical of Bin Laden and other Islamic extremists.

Lara el-Gibaly contributed reporting from Cairo, and Ravi Somaiya from London.

A Dissenter, Tennessee said...

Many comments are really horrifying to me, as has been the general US response to Bin Laden's death. We might as well be carousing in front of the White House with his head on a pike. The barbaric reality of American foreign policy seems laid bare here. From Bush's "We will hunt them and kill them" to this assassination of an unarmed war criminal ... But foreign policy problems are never solved via assassinations and violence. Obama gets a great symbolic victory he can use to get reelected; meanwhile the rest of the world continues to suffer in poverty and lack of development, abetted by the US support of dictators abroad. Americans love the idea of cowboy diplomacy and might makes right, but there is a gaping disconnect between our rhetoric of 'peace' and 'rule of law' and the actual way we conduct ourselves abroad, in this case firing from the hip. I hope people don't come to my house to find me and kill me for saying this.

redleg Southold, NY said...

Amid the John Wayne jingoism and unseemly celebrations over this killing, I can remember the end of World War II, when most of the perpetrators of the greatest evil in the history of mankind (Hitler having comitted suicide) were tried in Nuremberg, and most of them found guilty and executed, after trials that lasted years. The hangings were private, and I don't remember people waving flags and celebrating when Himmler and his ilk went through the trapdoor.

It was Fifty years ago when Eichmann was captured , some say illegally, in Argentina, given a trial in Israel, and executed.

As bad as Bin Laden was, the rule of law,decency and humanity which we proclaim to the world we possess, demands he be given no less, as inconvenient as it may be. It was an act of revenge, pure and simple, and I hope we don't pay a price for it in the future.

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