New on NewsReal – What Does the Bin Laden Takedown Mean for Obama’s 2012 Prospects?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Democrats were understandably thrilled that it was their guy, Barack Obama, who finally nailed Osama bin Laden, who has for the past decade been as elusive as he was hated. But just how much of a political boon is the victory for the president? That’s the question asked today by the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, who sees it as a major shift away from the Democrats’ dovish image:

But now, the killing of Osama bin Laden is changing this equation dramatically. Alleged Muslim Barack Obama did in two and a half years what Bush couldn’t do in seven and a half. It wasn’t just the result. The nature of the operation is still breathtaking, weeks later, and the risk Obama took, which he conveyed with masterful cool in his 60 Minutes interview, is mind-blowing (imagine if bin Laden hadn’t been there!). You can call the president who oversaw the operation many things, but weak isn’t one of them.

To talk as if there were two separate hunts for bin Laden is an astoundingly dishonest oversimplification. The truth is that American intelligence officials spent years following the key intelligence trail:

Some time after Sept. 11, detainees held by the U.S. told interrogators about a man believed to work as a courier for bin Laden, senior administration officials said. The man was described by detainees as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and “one of the few Al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin laden.”

Initially, intelligence officials only had the man’s nickname, but they discovered his real name four years ago.

Two years ago, intelligence officials began to identify areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated, and the great security precautions the two men took aroused U.S. suspicions.

Last August, intelligence officials tracked the men to their residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a relatively wealthy town 35 miles north of Islamabad where many retired military officers live […]

President Obama was made aware of the compound when it was discovered last year. By mid-February, the intelligence was solid and since mid-March, Obama led five meetings with the National Security Council regarding the issue.

Intelligence officials worked with the U.S. military to plan the operation and a small team accepted the risk and began to train for it.

On April 29, this past Friday, Obama gave the final go ahead.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Advertisements

New on NewsReal – Ron Paul’s Latest Lonely Position: We Should Have Asked Pakistan to Arrest Bin Laden

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Ron Paul’s descent into self-parody continues. Earlier this week, the newly official presidential candidate offered his unique take on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden:

“I think things could have been done somewhat differently,” Paul said this week. “I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison. Why can’t we work with the government?”

Asked by WHO Radio’s Simon Conway whether he would have given the go-ahead to kill bin Laden if it meant entering another country, Paul shot back that it “absolutely was not necessary.”

“I don’t think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary,” Paul said during his Tuesday comments. “I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he’d been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters in to London, because they were afraid the information would get out?”

Actually, there are conflicting reports about the possibility that the United States did have Pakistan’s permission to get bin Laden on our own if we got a bead on him. Now, your guess is as good as mine as to who’s telling the truth, but something tells me that getting the details straight wouldn’t change Paul’s opinion. Either way, one wonders if Paul has ever stopped to consider the fact that bin Laden spent six years in a sizeable compound built in a town dominated by the Pakistani Army, and wonder how that little detail could have possibly escaped the Pakistanis’ notice.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Daily Beast’s Leftist Inquisition Still on the Hunt for Right-Wing Extremists

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Conservatives who are still under the delusion that they can persuade the Left to tone down their rhetorical attacks and play nice would do well to check out Howard Kurtz’s latest column on the Daily Beast, which gives us yet another round of hypocritical finger waving over the Republican Party’s “liability on the fringe.”

Kurtz begins with, of course, the Birthers:

The [House Republican] caucus has 85 new members, more than 30 of whom are new to elective office—“the kamikazes,” they are privately called—and some took strong exception to being urged not to talk about President Obama’s birth certificate. “Well, I don’t think he was born in this country,” one freshman snapped.

A lone quote from a single unnamed GOP freshman, who represents “some” of a group of thirty or so? I guess they just don’t make epidemics the way they used to.

The birther nonsense seems especially pointless—and corrosive—when one considers that Obama was planning the helicopter raid that would kill Osama bin Laden days later, as he was releasing his long-form Hawaii certificate. Conservative author David Frum says bin Laden’s death should end the racially charged insinuations “that President Obama’s identity and loyalties lie elsewhere.”

Frum is no wild-eyed rebel; he helped coin the phrase “axis of evil” in the Bush White House and opposes virtually all of Obama’s agenda.

Don’t you just love it when lefties presume to tell us which conservatives to take seriously? I’m not sure what Kurtz means by “wild-eyed rebel,” but David Frum’s opinion here is meaningless, considering he’s made a cottage industry out of erecting “far-right” straw men he can loudly denounce so publications like the Daily Beast will fawn over how Serious and Responsible he is. Irresponsible attacks (racial or otherwise) against Obama obviously shouldn’t be tolerated, but they should be rejected on their own merits, not because he nailed bin Laden. Likewise, the political no-brainer of taking out the world’s most wanted terrorist shouldn’t insulate the president from substantive critiques of his “identity and loyalties,” like Matthew Vadum’s. Making bad decisions neither justifies dishonest attacks against you nor exempts you from honest ones.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Justice or Revenge? The Morality of Celebrating Osama bin Laden’s Death

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Most of the nation is still celebrating the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the monster behind one of the worst days in American history. Some are relieved bin Laden can no longer aid the jihadist cause; others take pleasure in knowing the suffering he caused us has been partially repaid.

But at least one voice is having none of it. At the Huffington Post, “specialist in transformational change” (whatever that means) Dr. Pamela Gerloff writes that celebrating bin Laden’s death is mentally unhealthy and geopolitically dangerous:

“Celebrating” the killing of any member of our species–for example, by chanting USA! USA! and singing The Star Spangled Banner outside the White House or jubilantly demonstrating in the streets–is a violation of human dignity. Regardless of the perceived degree of “good” or “evil” in any of us, we are all, each of us, human. To celebrate the killing of a life, any life, is a failure to honor life’s inherent sanctity.

Plenty of people will argue that Osama Bin Laden did not respect the sanctity of others’ lives. To that I would ask, “What relevance does that have to our own actions?” One aspect of being human is our ability to choose our own behavior; more specifically, our capacity to return good for evil, love for hate, dignity for indignity. While Osama Bin Laden was widely considered to be the personification of evil, he was nonetheless a human being. A more peaceable response to his killing would be to mourn the many tragedies that led up to his violent death and the thousands of violent deaths that occurred in the attempt to eliminate him from the face of the Earth; and to feel compassion for anyone who, because of their role in the military or government, American or otherwise, has had to play a role in killing another. This kind of compassion can be cultivated, as practitioners of many different spiritual traditions will attest […]

It is hard not to think that some of the impulse to celebrate “justice being done” may also contain a certain pleasure in revenge–not just “closure” but “getting even.” The world is not safer with Osama Bin Laden’s violent demise (threat levels are going up, not down); evil has not been finally removed from the Earth; the War on Terror goes on–so any celebration must be tempered with the sobering fact that much work still needs to be done to establish peace.

There’s a lot to unpack here, most of it awful. But first, for the sake of fairness and decency one fair point must be acknowledged: If we truly recognize the intrinsic worth of all human life, we have to recognize that even the worst among us have souls, warped and polluted though they may be, and be careful not to think casually of any killing—even just and necessary killing, as bin Laden’s death clearly was. Now, I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t found some satisfaction in the confidence that Osama now knows the afterlife isn’t quite what he expected, but I also have to admit those thoughts don’t live up to the standard my Savior has set for me.

So we shouldn’t take pleasure in exacting bloody vengeance, but there is another aspect to the celebration that is entirely appropriate.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Pathetic: Peter Beinart Uses Bin Laden’s Death to Declare War on Terror Over

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

We knew this was coming. No American victory in this day and age, not even the long-overdue death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, is safe from political hijacking by the useful idiots of the Left.  Within hours of hearing the good news, left-wing Daily Beast flunky Peter Beinart took to the keyboard to declare that the War on Terror is finally over.

Wow, what a relief! So that means Iran’s nuclear program is kaput? Er, no. Well, maybe it means the UN Security Council has stopped playing nice with Middle Eastern thug regimes. Wait, that didn’t happen, either. I know – peace between Israel and the Palestinians is finally in sight! Nope, try again. Um, then maybe anti-American sentiment among Muslim populations is waning? Uh-uh.


If none of that’s the case, then what does Beinart mean?

I don’t mean that there is no threat of further jihadist attack. In the short term, the threat may even rise. I don’t mean that we should abandon all efforts at tracking terrorist cells. Of course not. But the war on terror was a way of seeing the world, explicitly modeled on World War II and the Cold War. It suggested that the struggle against “radical Islam” or “Islamofascism” or “Islamic terrorism” should be the overarching goal of American foreign policy, the prism through which we see the world […] It made East Asia an afterthought during a critical period in China’s rise; it allowed all manner of dictators to sell their repression in Washington, just as they had during the Cold War; it facilitated America’s descent into torture; it wildly exaggerated the ideological appeal of a jihadist-Salafist movement whose vision of society most Muslims find revolting.

Bin Laden’s death is an opportunity to lay the war on terror to rest as well. Although President Obama avoids the phrase, its assumptions still drive our war in Afghanistan, a crushingly expensive adventure in nation building in a desperately poor country whose powerful neighbor wants us to fail. Those assumptions fuel anti-Muslim racism in the United States, where large swaths of the Republican Party have decided they are at risk of living under Sharia law. And they blind us to the differences among Islamist movements, allowing Glenn Beck and company to depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as al Qaeda’s farm team.

Instead, we can now take on real problems, like debt and China. Because Barack Obama has been such a crusader on those issues so far.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.