Early today, May 2, at 2 AM, US forces attacked a huge residence housing Osama bin Laden, killing him and four others. The common wisdom in recent years has been that bin Laden was dead, but I never thought he was.
The raid took place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which is north of Islamabad in Pakistani Kashmir. It is a resort town, beautiful, forested, surrounded by mountains. It is also a Pakistani military garrison town. There are a number of bases there, and bin Laden’s home was only 100 yards away from the Pakistani military academy.
The home was eight times larger than other homes in the area. It had a 18 foot wall in front, topped by barbed wire. The third floor had an 8 foot privacy wall. Few windows faced outside. Entrance was controlled by two stainless steel gates. A number of buildings were on the huge, multimillion dollar residence. The home had no phone lines or internet attached to it, which seemed odd for such an expensive home.
Last August, US officials became aware of the residence by tracking an Al Qaeda courier who Al Qaeda detainees had told US officials was one of the few Al Qaeda couriers that bin Laden completely trusted. They were told that bin Laden may even be living with this man. His movements were tracked. It was learned that he, along with his brother, had bought the huge mansion in Abbottabad.
Then officials began looking seriously at the estate. The security seemed to very excessive. The lack of phone and internet lines seemed strange for such a huge estate. The residents were burning their trash instead of leaving it out for pickup like everyone else did. There was another family living there, and when officials learned of their ages and gender, it seemed about who they thought would be living with bin Laden, including a son and his youngest wife.
After some time, officials finally concluded that the heavily guarded home cut off from the outside world could only be housing Osama bin Laden.
An operation was authorized by President Obama and was carried out at 2 AM. A team of 25-30 Navy SEALS and a small number of CIA operatives conducted the raid in four helicopters. One helicopter crashed during the operation. A 40 minute firefight ensued which set most of the estate on fire. Bin Laden was killed by a shot to the eye. His son was also killed, as was a woman. The two brothers were also killed.
The US has been in possession of bin Laden’s body, and they identified him by DNA. He has now been given an Islamic burial at sea. Officials feared that burying him in the ground would create a shrine for militants to pay homage to.
The Taliban, for some reason, has denied that bin Laden is dead. Hamas praised bin Laden as a holy warrior and a martyr and condemned the US for killing him. The PLO praised the US for killing him and said it boded well for peace.
It’s clear to me that bin Laden was living under the protection of the Pakistani military and the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service. He had to be, sequestered in that garrison town like that right next to a military academy. Pakistan’s been hiding him for years now, all the while taking our “catch bin Laden” money.
Crowds of White Americans crowded the White House lawn chanting, “USA! USA!” Republicans were silent. The political implications remain to be seen. It was right to kill bin Laden, but anymore I do not like any US military victories in general, especially in the War on Terror. Any US military victory anymore just makes the US public go more and more rightwing. All it does is feed the Right.
It doesn’t seem possible anymore that the Left can gain any ground out of any US military victory anywhere. This is unlike the old days, when a leftwing president, FDR, was cheered on in WW2, the liberal Kennedy was cheered for his military adventures, and the liberal LBJ was cheered for invading Vietnam.
Since all US military victories anymore just feed the Right, why should I support the US military? I don’t support them.
What about patriotism? If jumping up and down and yelling, “USA! USA!” could feed progressive change in the US, I would do it in a NY minute. But it doesn’t. Probably 100% of those characters chanting on the lawn are voting Republican. Every time you see idiots waving flags and chanting, “Go USA!” it’s always a bunch of radical rightwing Americans.
So American patriotism or jingoism anymore is just a stupid rightwing movement. There’s nothing for us here. The more people wave flags and chant, “Go USA!” the more they vote Republican. Well screw that. If that’s the way it’s going to be, then I’m simply not an American patriot.
The US military anymore is a hard rightwing institution. Your average serviceman is a rightwing fanatic. I told this to my father, and he got furious. He fought in WW2 alongside a lot of good American FDR liberals. He was outraged that the US military should become an arm of the Republican Party. My mother corrected him and said it’s been like this for 30-40 years now.
Will this operation help Obama? I’m not sure. Let’s look at the polls. I would never change my mind and support someone just because they led some successful military operation. I vote based on more important bread and butter issues. It’s hard for me to imagine how retarded you would have to be to vote for someone merely because he led some successful military operation. How did bin Laden effect my life? Now he’s dead. How is my life going to change for the better? Bin Laden had no effect on my life in any way whatsoever.
Since all military victories anymore just feed the Right and hurt the Left, I can’t see Obama mileage out of this. When it comes to foreign wars, the Democrats can’t win for losing. No matter what they do, they always get no credit for it, because the Democrats are always the party of the anti-military French surrender monkeys. The Republicans, no matter what, always get huge boosts in the polls with everything they do militarily. They can’t go wrong.
The Republicans won’t give Obama any slack over this. I’m not so stupid as to think there is anything special about Obama getting bin Laden. Did Obama run the CIA team who figured out where bin Laden was holed up? Did Obama commandeer the operation to kill him? Bush was trying just as hard as Obama to get this guy. Bush could have easily killed him, and then his popularity would have shot to 90%. Obama just lucked out.
But Republicans are all pricks. If Bush had gotten bin Laden, we would have never heard the end of it. Bush is the greatest president ever for killing bin Laden! Now that Obama did it, Republicans will just bitch and moan and won’t give him an ounce of credit. That’s the way these weenies are.
It’s nice that he’s dead, but what’s it really going to change? Is Al Qaeda dead now? I don’t think so. Zawahiri is now in charge. Al Qaeda proper (the main organization) hasn’t been doing much harm lately anyway. Their branches in Iraq and Yemen are still quite active and deadly, and this won’t do anything to them.
I assume that even Al Qaeda proper will just carry on for years to come, but as I said, they are a small organization and haven’t done much in a long time anyway.
Now can we leave Afghanistan? Apparently not.