Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Justice, served warm and sweet via the US Military

WTC attack
Osama bin Laden has been killed by American special forces in Pakistan since my last post. Where to begin on the biggest story of the year, if not the decade?

First, kudos all around!

  • President Obama deserves a lot of credit. Not only was he born in the USA, he has the balls Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009.<br /><br />(Photo by Pete Souza)<br /><br />to make a tough decision. There must be a lot of shock in some circles, namely the militant anti-war left (not a contradiction), and Obama’s domestic naysayers who both doubted he would do anything like order an “extra-legal” hit like this.
  • Credit also belongs to Obama for seizing the opportunity to not only destroy the legend of Osama bin Laden, but to recognize that Pakistan is now holding a nearly empty deck without him, and to strengthening our hand there. Negotiations may go much better now.
  • The US military KICKS ASS! Many with far better knowledge of military and SF tactics and doctrine have said Death from above, below, anywherethat this was probably a textbook operation. In fact, it probably will be in many training textbooks in a couple of years as an example of proper training and execution of a mission that had a lot of chances of failure or disaster. The fact that, apparently, a Navy SEAL team was infiltrated into a fortified compound in the middle of a Pakistani military town, took down any resistance, and then extracted not only bin Laden’s brains, but, reportedly a lot of information stored in offline computer files, as well as prisoners, from which we can extract information after consulting with their attorneys.
  • American lead is the reason that any American diplomacy has a remote chance of working. Credit to the Obama administration for their apparent recognition that “soft” power should only be one tool, but not the only tool. This one action will justifiably strengthen the President’s re-election chances, which were looking like a long shot.
  • Former President Bush deserves a ton of credit for setting the stage. He responded differently to the 9/11 attack by treating it as an “attack,” and “act of war,” rather than a crime or incident. His administration built international cooperation among nations on disabling terror financing networks and reducing their ability to operate openly. The persistent pressure of US and allied actions forced bin Laden to operate, as we now know, without Internet or any other modern communications, which eventually led to his demise.
  • Bush, additionally, set up the interrogation regime that made the operation possible, exposing the courier that eventually led our intelligence to identify his location, and our forces to be able to identify his remains.
  • Finally, kudos to President Obama for recognizing and acting on the recognition that Pakistan was the center of mass for the remains of AQ in the immediate area. His exponential escalation of “extra-legal” use of drone attacks in the area were panned, even on the left, but his persistence in this theatre to be commended.

Then the rest:

  • Bush at WTCThis should put to rest the rumors that Bush/Cheney/Hitler was hiding him in the basement of the Pentagon. Just sayin’.
  • Pakistan sucks, and has been sucking us dry for a while, receiving billions in military aid while covertly and overtly undermining our efforts in the Afghanistan campaign. The possibility that Osama was living yards away from the Pakistani military, less than an hour from the capitol should tell us something. The Obama administration, after having been told to cease operations in Pakistan decided to remove one of the biggest cards that Pakistan was holding – the head of a formerly effective terror network known as al Qaeda.
  • The left would be demanding “due process” and “the rule of law” if this operation were carried out under George W. Bush. Anyone who denies that is lying, deluded, or ignorant. We should all applaud the demise of the man who oversaw the greatest loss of American life since Pearl Harbor.
  • Perception: We should show the video of his death, and his body. It should be displayed as in olden times, but perhaps his head on a stake would be in poor taste. We are in a war, not only of bullets and bombs, but of perceptions, and they matter. A lot. When much of the Arab and Muslim world is illiterate, they need to understand in ways that are harder to slant – video footage.
  • In fact, we MUST release the video and photos to prove to everyone that he’s dead, not start (or feed) more domestic conspiracy theories. It was a mistake to bury bin Laden at sea, and not parade his corpse before the international press before a summary disposal of his remains.
  • I hope that we stop pussyfooting around with our enemies and being tough on our friends.
  • Our intelligence community, are either heroes or scum, depending on who’s in office, and quietly do their jobs. They did it this time, illustrating that military, civilian, and covert intelligence communities should, and must work together.
  • Unfortunately, the current President’s policies have not stemmed the spread of Jihadi capabilities that had begun long before he was elected. It has only grown, with the loss of any leverage over Iran, the loss of Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, and probably loss of Yemen and Libya (eventually) to Islamist movements. This means that most of the Middle East and much of North Africa will require a sterner, not more compliant foreign policy and use of force. Much more blood will be spilled to prevent the chaos around the world that will follow.
  • As stated before, Osama bin Laden’s AQ network was effectively neutralized several years ago, and has never been able to replicate anything like the 9/11 attacks. With the military and intelligence at our disposal, and the will to use them, we should be safe and free for a long time. But this is a long war, and we have to win it.

What warriors and wanna-be’s can learn from this:

REALISTIC training trumps all. Prepare and train until you can go through the motions without thought, and apply discretion to the situation. Develop the mindset that will allow you to protect the innocent and take down the bad guys your personal and professional areas of operation, whether it be against cancer, a mugger, or a terrorist.

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Elias said...

It would have been justice if they had managed to capture him, before putting him on trial and then hanging him (probably).

As it stands, it doesn't surprise me that he resisted capture, and a so called legend of the Jihadis spent his last moments using his wife as a human shield, which means he will be remembered as a coward, as well as a mass murderer.

I might be biased, but I don't think Bush deserves much, if any credit, for the death of bin Laden - He facilitated the departure of bin Laden's family, after 9/11 after all, and didn't take a credible threat seriously beforehand... Probably because he had his fingers in a lot of pies.

As for 'parading his body' and all that - Marines captured in Iraq had their corpses burned and hung from scaffolding, early in the second Gulf War; the US have shown that they are better than that, by NOT parading the body around. They should, however, release the 'takedown' video, and photos. Also, I don't know if it would be offensive or insensitive, but they should have considered burying the body at the site of the twin towers, with a memorial saying something along the lines of "Here lies a mass murderer. Justice was done."

That, or dropping him into the Marianus trench.

Elias said...

As for Pakistan - This pisses me right off... I'm what you'd consider of 'the Left' and I think that if the due process of law didn't allow for a covert strike in 'allied' territory, against an enemy, then clearly, the law should be changed, or the 'ally' should not be considered one (because they clearly have other purposes).

As for the Al Qaeda network being 'neutralized', I read a book by a journalist who spent 6 months in Afghanistan, living with the Taliban. He described their operations before 9/11 as similar to a franchise, or a University, except instead of providing education for medicine, or whatnot, their lectures were on bomb making, intelligence gathering, etc. And instead of research grants for academic endeavors, the funding provided was for terrorist activities. Al Qaeda itself provided minimal organisation.

Apparently, now, it's more like a group of people blowing something up in the name of Al Qaeda, because they hate the US so much.

The first is more dangerous, the second, much harder to trace (a different sort of dangerous). It's been said before (possibly here), that this is a war on insurgency, not terrorism. Kill all the insurgents and more rise up; stop being politically heavy handed, with priorities on the US economy over the wellbeing of the citizens of other countries, and potential insurgents won't have a reason (and thus motivation) to attack the US.

At the end of the day, the insurgents themselves are worse off living under the taliban than they are living in a run of the mill third world country; the problem is that they don't have the education to be aware of this, and the disparity between the two isn't very big anyway.

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Elias, I thought your comments were so good, I blogged on them>! Thanks, and let’s get that beer sometime.