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Obama’s Defining Moment has a Foul Odor

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It becomes more difficult with each passing day to ignore the inconsistencies surrounding operation Neptune Spear (“Neptune Trident” would have been a more correct designation, but there are more serious matters now coming forward.) The president, who watched the bloody assault on the Pakistani compound unfold in a bloody scene culminating in the death of supreme terrorist Osama bin Laden, told the American public a false story about a fierce and prolonged firefight. The light of day reveals that none of the occupants of the house were armed, except for one ground floor member, possibly the owner of the house, who provided lodging, gas, and electricity to the bin Laden group, notorious courier, “Kunya” al Kuwaiti. This individual fired two shots from a handgun early in the violence.

As the storming commenced, there were eight children and several women, including two maids in the house and compound. One of the women was killed, as was the courier, whose real name we now know to be Sheik Abu Ahmed. Ahmed is thought to have been with bin Laden shortly after the attacks of September 11, as the men hid and plotted in the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan. Abu Ahmed’s brother was also killed.

Bin Laden was on the third floor. It took Navy Seals as long as twenty minutes to reach him. He was in a room with one woman, one of his wives, and five children. Might bin Laden have made some effort to surrender, to protect the family? We may never know. There was a rifle in the room, an AK-47, and bin Laden was not holding it at the moment when he was shot, but he may have been reaching for it. We are told bin Laden had a small amount of money on his person; we have not been told whether there were larger amounts of money in the house. 

No autopsy was performed on bin Laden. He was not taken prisoner; he was shot, at very close range. With no permission from the White House, to our knowledge, bin Laden was buried at sea. We are told this is consistent with Islamic belief, but in fact burial at sea in the Muslim world, as in ours, is useful when the deceased has died while on ship, and when no other option readily presents itself.

The information used to locate the mass murderer Osama bin Laden, along with information about the courier and house owner, Abu Amed, came in part from “enhanced interrogation”, a euphemism for torture. It was the information about al Kuwaiti, or Kunya, that led to the raid on the household.

All the elements of this raid, which may in time be seen as a raid gone bad, are caught up with a foul odor. What was originally seen as Barack Obama’s defining moment may turn into the cause of his downfall. As an American, I have concerns; we can only imagine the concerns of the Muslim world.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Clavos

    Given the raid’s unmitigated success in ridding the world of the most heinous outlaw since Pol Pot, I don’t see how it will ever be seen as having “gone bad.”

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    John has gone from doubting that this killing even happened to questioning the ‘ethics’ of it. It was a special-forces operation in wartime against the highest of high-value targets. It was inevitably brutal, not pretty.

    The undisciplined information flow exhibited by the White House has led to the inconsistencies; but to me [and many others] this seems to be a by-product of trying to supply info quickly to the eager press and public. The WH has now announced a clampdown on additional details for the present.

    But most people, even outside the US, are so relieved to see this vile creep removed from the earth that a backlash seems remote. If John means there will be a disastrous retaliatory strike, it’s possible…though the success record of Al Qaeda in the last 9 years has not been high.

  • John Lake

    “It was inevitably brutal, not pretty. ”
    Brutality is exactly what the special forces had expected, weapons and traps. But these things didn’t materialize. We could have, had cooler heads prevailed, taken bin Laden alive, for trial.
    Ethics are important. Yesterday, Thursday, former Secretary of State, under GW Bush, Condoleezza Rice, equated the torture of captives with a “new maturity.”
    It is laudatory that bin Laden was removed, but, as the President might say, we seem to have forgotten “who we are.”

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    I am sorry, John. On so many levels you are just wrong.

    Tommy

  • John Lake

    No need for the apology, Tommy, but could you be more specific?
    I haven’t found a link for the ‘maturity’ statement from C. Rice; maybe I should retract. She has consistently favored and praised our use of enhanced interrogation. See this interview on May 3.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    My opinion is that it had nothing to do with cooler or hotter heads. The primary objective was to take him out. A trial would have become a PR circus for Al Qaeda.

  • LynnfromBC

    I think that it is important to keep in mind that the situation is very treacherous when dealing with Sharia Law, here is one of many perspectives. I stress “many” perspectives because it is, and the Hadith is also questioned by many to be additions not authorized by the Prophet long after his death.

    With regard to pictures and all the first or second hand accounts we are hearing, it is important that the death not appear to be overkill.

    Revenge is permitted in Islam, with proof, but not beyond the eye for an eye requirement, and especially not after an exchange of blood money (settlement). The over kill is what would give the original attacker reason to retaliate.

    John I think you will find the reading interesting and it would answer as to why only one woman was in the room with bin Laden.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Here you go, buddy. President Obama.

    Tommy

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    soldiers in war aren’t arrested and put on trial. they kill each other, plain and simple

  • John Lake

    Try this –
    Bin Laden’s body should have been transported to a military hospital for an autopsy, and a formal declaration of death.

  • LynnfromBC

    I know, and no explanation or autopsy is going to erase the basis of how or why this was done, or undo the loss, pain and anguish of 9/11. What’s done is done. Al Queda has also confirmed it today and vowed revenge. It is good that Obama is not giving anything to them to hold up as proof of anything unlawful by their own standards.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    An autopsy? Pointless, they knew how he died. It’s almost as if you don’t understand what a war is

  • zingzing

    who’s to say they didn’t transport the body to a military hospital (i’m sure they have those on warships, and i’m sure his body wasn’t dna tested in a broom closet), perform an autopsy (not that that’s all that necessary), and make a formal declaration of death (but to whom, exactly)?

    have they publicly declared that they didn’t do these things? why is this assumed not to have happened? and in the end, what’s the point?

    right about now, i’m beginning to think ronald reagan is still alive. i wasn’t privy to his autopsy results and i still haven’t seen a picture of his corpse. hell, i want to watch video of him gasping his last breath before i can be calmed down. fucking ronald reagan is on the loose! lock your monkeys in their cages! panic! HANG YOUR NEIGHBOR AND MAY YOUR NEIGHBOR HANG YOU! REAGAN COULD BE ANYWHERE!

  • S.T..M

    OBL declared war on the United States and the West.

    After plotting and ordering numerous acts of mass murder based on a twisted, hateful ideology, he thought he could live freely in a nice house inside a walled compound.

    Perhaps he forgot his declaration of war.

    The US took that declaration of war and turned it back on him, thus ridding the world, as Clavos points out, of one of the world’s most evil men.

    Where’s the stink there?

    Ad yeah, why bother with an autopsy? We know what happened. He got shot in the head as part of an act of war that he’d himself declared.

    What’s with all the ridiculous navel gazing?

  • zingzing

    “What’s with all the ridiculous navel gazing?”

    some of it is earned, some of it is not. some of it is just america being america. we’ll never agree on anything, except that we’ll never agree on anything.

  • John Lake

    In writing this article, and in trying to piece together the facts of the raid, which may have been a “raid gone bad”, I was faced with a need to shift through a stack of documents and reports not only from American sources, but from all over the world. In some regards, no two nations, even no two sources yielded the same information. Matters such as the type of firearm used by al-Kuwaiti, as the Seals came storming in, will present themselves to the careful reader. I had formed a decision that the actual weapons used were handguns, or possibly a single handgun, and that two shots were fired. Now the general consensus is that an AK-47, with a capacity for automatic fire was the weapon used.

    Similarly, reports on the people in the top room of the compound, bin Laden’s bedroom, and the sleeping quarters for many of his family members at my disposal led me to believe that at the moment of bin Laden’s death, several of his children were in the room. Released final reports indicate only he and his wife (probably his youngest wife) were present at that time.
    These details will surely jump out at readers, who will rush to bring them to my attention. The inconsistencies in the reports of the raid are beyond my control.

    The President has gone to great lengths to assure his credibility, and his honest intentions. I am not able to compete with his information dispensing capacity.
    One striking fact made in my report, which many will have difficulty dis-believing revolves around the matter of the lack of an autopsy, a formal identification, and a formal certification of death. If the President indicates a pre-raid determination to quickly dispose of the body, then no second guess of mine will alter the matter.

    We are and were all anxious to praise the Navy Seals. Every generation has its “special forces”. A military mission is vastly different from a police mission. We Americans must praise the special team of the Seals for a “job, well done”.

    In this wondrous new age of students and visionaries from Africa, and from the East, seeking freedom and democracy, in this age when even the Muslim clerics are coming to terms with new concepts, there is no place for the Osama bin Ladens of the world. Their time is over. The death of Osama bin Laden comes at a fitting time in world evolution. We must praise our President and our Navy Seals for timely, yet difficult success in this operation.

  • John Lake

    It is not lost on me that, as zingzing points out at #13, there even may have been some autopsy.

  • Clavos

    I think El Bicho’s #12 is probably on the money.

    It is a war — we didn’t autopsy anyone (theirs or ours) in Vietnam. The point was to kill them, and they us.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I agree with Clavos and El B – it is a war.

    That said, part of the war involves diplomacy and standing – and given the fact that we are in an asymmetrical war and our enemies are decentralized and often autonomous, when we leave collateral damage, the result is that we continue to give our enemies better recruiting tools than they could hope to come up with themselves…which is why torture was one of the worst mistakes we could ever have made.

    We have to not only attack their sources of funding, but we have to marginalize them among their constituents, and among those whom they would recruit…and part of this is by making ourselves look better and more honorable than our enemies in the eyes of their potential recruits.

    Remember, this is a war fought not so much by tanks and missiles, but more by proper diplomacy and honorable action…and good intel and a cold, calculating heart that knows when and where to put that intel to good use.

  • John Lake

    Glen:
    “…by making ourselves look better and more honorable than our enemies.”
    That is an important point. A major motivation to me as I was preparing the original article (which you noted was very concerned with the enhanced interrogation ideas) was that if we conduct ourselves well and “do the right (and just) thing” our enemies will be hard pressed to disagree. But when we allow our passions to rule, when we lose self control, we are playing directly into their hands and their emotions.

  • Clavos

    John says:

    A major motivation to me as I was preparing the original article (which you noted was very concerned with the enhanced interrogation ideas) was that if we conduct ourselves well and “do the right (and just) thing” our enemies will be hard pressed to disagree. But when we allow our passions to rule, when we lose self control, we are playing directly into their hands and their emotions.

    All of that is well thought out and well put, but still begs the question of whether or not killing bin Laden was justified. I say yes. bin Laden was killed as an act of war because he was an enemy combatant. In that role he caused 3000 innocent, non-combatant Americans to be killed; when he was killed, he had been a combatant for about a decade (maybe longer), and by no definition was an innocent, like the people in the Twin Towers.

    In Vietnam, American troops were often killed by “civilians” they encountered; consequently, American troops also killed people whose outward appearance was that of “civilian,” but who, by their behavior or other signs, gave our troops reason to believe they were combatants.

    In a guerilla war like Vietnam or the one bin Laden was fighting, you can’t stop to consider what liberals call “nuances,” because if you do, you will go home in a bag.

  • John Lake

    Killing him would only have been justified if there were no possibility of capture and a fair trial. If police were to rush in and kill offenders when an arrest possibility presented itself, they would be relieved of their weapons and badges.
    What civilians in Viet Nam, or in Irag, or Afghanistan have done is not a factor. Obama uses the concept, “That’s not who we are!”.
    In any case, several years in a cell with a toilet, followed by death, is worse punishment as I see it, than a sudden painless death.

  • Clavos

    What civilians in Viet Nam, or in Irag, or Afghanistan have done is not a factor.

    True. But what bin Laden had been doing was warfare, not crime. He got a warrior’s death — no principles were violated, and no crime was committed against him.

    Killing him would only have been justified if there were no possibility of capture and a fair trial. If police were to rush in and kill offenders when an arrest possibility presented itself, they would be relieved of their weapons and badges.

    False analogy. bin Laden wasn’t committing crimes, he was engaging in modern warfare, just as the enemy was in Vietnam.

  • zingzing

    “He got a warrior’s death…”

    and in the eyes of his followers, a martyr’s death. his death was too good for him. slow death, with ample time to see what his life choices had gotten him and time to confront himself, would have been less immediately satisfying, but far more apt. whatever you might say (“he’s a monster who would never recognize his own evils” or whatever), he WAS human. guilt and regret (if not for his victims, then for his family and himself,) would have wracked him.

    of course, there’s always the argument that osama alive is an osama that can do damage. and even if he had been put into a cell for the remainder of his days, i suppose that was still a possibility. but maybe he’s the obi-wan kenobi of islamic militants… more powerful in… fuckin hell. i’m not going to go down that road.

    anyway, i am somewhat satisfied that bin laden is no longer a physical or logistic problem on this earth. but even if he was little more than a figurehead at this point (which, given the docs found in the compound, is underestimating his significance), he was a bit of a unifying factor in al qaeda, which makes the job of hunting down cells even more difficult. they’re scattered to the wind more than ever, without even a hint of a central hub. that may be good in one way, but it makes them incredibly dangerous in new ways.

    “False analogy. bin Laden wasn’t committing crimes, he was engaging in modern warfare…”

    hrm. i still think those were crimes. not just crimes, but crimes nonetheless.

  • Clavos

    hrm. i still think those were crimes. not just crimes, but crimes nonetheless.

    I think it was Machiavelli who advocated killing enemy civilians in war in order to break your enemy’s will more rapidly. So does Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric, no less.

    If bin Laden’s actions were crimes, then US troops in Vietnam were also committing crimes — oh, wait that’s what you libs have said all along…

    My bad.

  • zingzing

    “I think it was Machiavelli who advocated killing enemy civilians in war in order to break your enemy’s will more rapidly. So does Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric, no less.”

    we also participated in such events throughout the 20th century, and have killed civilians in both iraq and afghanistan. it wasn’t the concentrated effort to create total war as it was during the ww2… but total war would be rather difficult to achieve these days, just because we’re so damn good at killing each other now.

    “If bin Laden’s actions were crimes….”

    “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” are not just random phrases with “crimes” stuck into them. or do you believe that foreign terrorists should not be tried for their “crimes”?

    i think we can all say that obama was guilty of what he did, but does that now preclude the necessity of a trial in our society?

    “then US troops in Vietnam were also committing crimes — oh, wait that’s what you libs have said all along…”

    i understand that it was hard to tell a civilian from an enemy over there, but there were times when certain soldiers went over the line. civilian casualties are a part of war, but the massacre of civilians shouldn’t be flippantly discounted.

    “civilized war,” what with the civilians lining up for a picnic, is a thing of the past. but if you think nothing criminal can possibly happen in war… well, i don’t want you in charge of such things.

  • Clavos

    the massacre of civilians shouldn’t be flippantly discounted.

    Hiroshima.

    Nagasaki.

  • Clavos

    or do you believe that foreign terrorists should not be tried for their “crimes”?

    Not if you don’t want to be bitten in the ass, no.

  • zingzing

    “Hiroshima. Nagasaki.”

    no shit? i don’t get it… that’s my point, so unless you’re agreeing, i dunno why you’d feel like pointing that out.

    “Not if you don’t want to be bitten in the ass, no.”

    not quite following you here either. what should we do with them then? and how do you know (within our limited capabilities) you’ve got the right person without a trial? many people are arrested for crimes they did not commit, and there is a reason why we have trials to begin with. i’m surprised you would be against such a thing. next time you’re railroaded into the electric chair, i hope you feel a bit different.

  • zingzing

    hrm… not that i feel that the civilian deaths in japan were “flippantly discounted.” there certainly was some cost/benefit analysis going on, as cold as that sounds, and the cities were chosen for specific military reasons other than their total amount of population.

    still, i think one would have been quite enough, and i wish someone had had a better idea before that one happened. nagasaki was certainly unnecessary, and the result of poor communication. it was a crime, but it’s hard to place direct blame. although we’re the assholes who dropped the bomb.

  • Clavos

    It’s Saturday night, zing, go get laid.

  • John Lake

    the cities [in Japan] were for specific military reasons

    That line of thinking is beyond decency, and insulting to the Japanese. It wasn’t the common people who commenced a war with the United States.
    The other side of the coin is that those bombings ended a bloody and costly war; daily casualties were unprecedented; The United States may have faced some danger of loosing that war.

  • zingzing

    “It’s Saturday night, zing, go get laid.”

    the lady (who is at work) wouldn’t like that too much. when the majority of your friends are “artists” (aka waiters/waitresses), your friday and saturday nights tend to be rather dull. also, you ever try to go out in brooklyn on a saturday night? it’s fucking amateur night out there… bunch of weekend warriors who can’t hold their drink and drugs and 20 minute waits at the bar to get a beer…

  • zingzing

    john: “That line of thinking is beyond decency, and insulting to the Japanese. It wasn’t the common people who commenced a war with the United States.”

    erm, one was a major military depot and the other a major port. i dunno where you’re going with that, but the point is that they weren’t chosen SOLELY to kill as many common people as possible…

    i don’t know where you thought i was going with that, but you missed the mark. maybe it was the lack of the word “chosen” in there, which i’d thought i’d cleared up with #31, but i suppose it didn’t quite stick.

  • John Lake

    I did take note of the referrence to ‘assholes’ so I guess you might be alright. Brooklyn, huh? Far out!

  • zingzing

    well, i also meant “chosen” as in “chosen by the us military as targets,” not as in anything else.

    and brooklyn is not “far out” of anything. it is the center of the known universe. therefore, this is what normal should be. it’s just too bad the rest of the universe is so goddamn backwards.

  • Clavos

    and brooklyn is not “far out” of anything. it is the center of the known universe. therefore, this is what normal should be. it’s just too bad the rest of the universe is so goddamn backwards.

    You sound JUST like my mother, a born-and-bred Manhattanite, who, even after 55+ plus years of living in Mexico City and South Florida STILL insisted that NYC was “the center of the universe,” and that EVERYTHING else was merely the”provinces.” (usually said with her lip curled disdainfully)

    New Yorkers — bah; us chilangos are much nicer people.

  • zingzing

    yes, but my disdainful curl reaches hysterical heights. it touches my lower eyelid on good days. if i had the currently-in-chic brooklyn mustache, it would be painful, but for now, i can walk around with my lip in my eye quite comfortably. the unfortunate quirk of a disdainful curl is the rather unnatural, vertical smile it produces, almost as if i were joking. almost. and it also makes me talk funny. kind of this yelping noise. like a brooklyn accent, i suppose. you’d almost mistake all the transplants for brooklyn natives, what with their lips in their eyes and talking like they do.

    manhattanites can wrap their whole upper lips over their head to the base of their neck. that’s why they take cabs everywhere.

  • Boeke

    25-Clavos: tu quoque, again.

  • Cannonshop

    It ain’t Obama’s “Defining Moment”. This isn’t what his presidency is about, and if it is, well, that makes him even MORE mediocre than I already consider him.

    Nobody with an IQ above 90 is that pathetic, much less a Harvard grad.

    There are political dimensions to how OBL’s body was handled, many of them tie into the root of his movement and his grievance with the Saudi Royal Family. We are not the greeks, or the Romans, we don’t drag bodies through the streets like the Somalis. The Iraqis chose to display Saddam Hussein’s body-and why not? they were the people he tormented, and they were the ones who needed convincing that he was dead.

    Not us. Americans are pretty good at killing people when we set our minds to doing so (or even when we’re just “Kinetically Acting” like it), there is a fair amount of confidence that, if a man was on the ground killing him with personal weapons, AND we collected the body, AND the Pakistani opposition is trying to dump senior Paki officials because we did it all without their foreknowledge, well..it’s a pretty good bet that OBL is dead. Further proofs aren’t needed once the kill is confirmed.

    As for Public Display…we haven’t done THAT since the 19th Century.

    It’s sufficient to know that the Islamic Militants who hate us, hate us more because we did their hero in…that’s plenty of evidence right there, no need to go parading a rotting corpse (or worse, create a new class of relics of Jihad).

    It is, after all what we have the Muslim World for-beheadings, Limb-chopping, stoning girls for being raped, “Honor” killings and Sharia belong on that side of the ocean, we do not need to imitate the corruptions of the Old World.

  • Cannonshop

    #22-John, do you really think Osama would get a fair trial by any jury in the United States after 9/11? SERIOUSLY?? I can imagine the jury-selection process, they’d have to go out into the back-ass-end of nowhere to find someone who’s been cut off from all media for the last ten years, that person would have to have a neutral view of the Middle East, be unaware or apathetic to the biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history, and would (most importantly) not be familiar with the name “Osama Bin Laden.”

    Admittedly, your trial jury would be filled with flying-saucer or black-helicopter lunatics, possibly Randy-Weaver style separatists, and you could probably count the number of full sets of teeth on one hand…

    but it would probably STILL not be a fair trial.

    He’d end up either acquitted due to mistrial (ala Bill Ayers), or languishing on appeal for the next several decades until he died of old age or medical complications.

  • Clavos

    He’d end up either acquitted due to mistrial (ala Bill Ayers), or languishing on appeal for the next several decades until he died of old age or medical complications.

    Either way would have been unsatisfactory.

  • zingzing

    to be fair though, how satisfying is it really? 9/11 forgotten now? all cool? it’s a better-than-nothing kind of “satisfactory,” but that’s about it.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Does anybody know how long DNA testing takes? I’ve read it usually takes between 3-5 days. A rush job could take 8 hours. How many hours did our military have to transport the body to a facility in Afghanistan that was capable of doing a rush job? Does anybody think a facility of that caliber really exists in Afghanistan? Seems like Obama’s tale is pushing the limits of this logic as well.

  • zingzing

    pushing the limits of this logic

  • Usman

    How can the most wanted terrorist in the world be without any security at any place? he didn’t even have self security? Remember he’s the one who had been running from the world’s lone super power and all the world assisting the super power? I’m still clueless how did it happen ..

  • John Lake

    #46 Usman:
    Good point. One that hasn’t been much discussed.

  • Cannonshop

    #44 You don’t need t’send it to afghanistan- DNA testing works on dried samples and dry samples as well as wet, squishy, squirming samples… and they DO have FedEx Overnight in Pakistan.