UPDATE/DISCLAIMER (ADDED 5/2): Pretty much all of what follows is contingent on the facts in the case being as the administration reported them last night, both in the president’s speech and in administration officials’ background briefings to reporters. At this point I have no reason to doubt them, but I would be insane to assume unquestioningly that what has been reported is true and accurate in all respects, given the hash the government has made of accounts of such incidents as the Jessica Lynch case, the killing of Pat Tillman and so on. Just sayin’.
As I begin this post, President Obama hasn’t actually showed up to confirm it, but apparently, at long last, we found Osama bin Laden, killed him and positively identified the body through DNA matching.
Thoughts on the fly, hastened by some Dos Equis amber in lieu of champagne:
- Bin Laden said he ordered attacks against the U.S. because of the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. Whether you take that statement at face value or not, the fact remains that long before he died, he already had what he had wanted.
- The news is being announced eight years to the day (if the president actually appears before midnight ET) after George W. Bush announced “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.
- Speaking of Iraq, it bears repeating: Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Nothing.
- The price on bin Laden’s head was $25 million. What’ve we spent to kill him? A trillion dollars, about 4,500 U.S. service members dead and 40,000 wounded, many maimed for life; God alone knows how many hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan; and enormous, and probably permanent, damage to the Bill of Rights and the rule of law. The current president of the United States has ordered extrajudicial assassinations of U.S. citizens. The immediate past president lied us into a war of aggression, ordered torture and other crimes against humanity and ordered serial felony violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Neither man will be investigated, let alone serve a day in prison. And all of the criminal violations of law they have committed are now no longer crimes, merely standard operating procedure.
- Spare a thought, if you will, for the families of those killed on 9/11: the people on the four airplane flights; the people in the Twin Towers; the people in the Pentagon.
- We, as a country, soiled our drawers on 9/11. It took us most of a decade to even begin to clean ourselves up, and that job is far from finished and never will be. Our ancestors are probably deeply ashamed of us, and well they should be.
- After 9/11, many, many Americans, most but not all Republican, treated any criticism, even any questioning, of the Bush administration’s behavior as treasonous. Go to hell, every damned one of you.
- Politically, this is great news for Obama’s re-election effort … for a while. Keep in mind, Obamanauts, that about this time 20 years ago, Bush 41′s approval rating was roughly 90%.
- So, um, in a mansion outside Islamabad, huh? LOOOOO-SEEEEE, somebody’s got some ‘SPLAININ’ to do.
- Bless MS/NBC for reminding us that we had Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, and we let him get away.
11:35: Here we go …
… images of 9/11. Like we needed reminding.
11:37: (My predecessors didn’t make bin Laden top priority), so I told Leon Panetta that now bin Laden was.
11:39: Last August? Last August we found him?
11:40: “Bin Laden was not a Muslim. He was a mass murderer of Muslims.” Nice.
11:42: “We will be true to the values who make us who we are.” Oh, so we get the Bill of Rights back? The rule of law? Cool!
11:43: “Let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.” And let the historians among us leave no doubt as to who exploited and squandered it.
11:44: And he walks off like Gary Cooper.
Continuing random thoughts:
- NBC now saying bin Laden was shot at least once in the head. Good. No zombie bin Laden.
- NBC treating Joint Special Operations Command as if it’s newly discovered. New Yorker has reported on it for a long time.
- Memo to liberals: It’s OK to cheer the death of a mass murderer. It really is. You won’t go to hell for it or anything.
- This news is a hanging curve ball to page-1 designers at U.S. newspapers tonight. If y’all’s lede headlines aren’t in type at least 216 points high (that’s 3 inches for you civilians), y’all suck.
- Terrorism ain’t going away. Al-Qaeda ain’t going away. But when, not if, the next attack comes, let us not soil our drawers, OK?
- Come down to it, this deal wasn’t much heavier than half the raids you see on “The Chicago Code.” Good thing we spent all those lives and all that money to set it up right.
- For a decade, we have not just used but abused our military and their families. Time to make it right, and if it takes a 90% marginal rate on top earners to pay for it, I’ll vote for that and give money to opponents of anyone who won’t.
- Before the 2008 election, Obama said he would send U.S. forces into Pakistan if need be to capture or kill bin Laden. The GOP acted like he’d threatened to torch the Constitution. The GOP now hopes you will forget this.
- Wouldn’t you love to have been listening in when Obama called George W. Bush to tell him about it?
- Apparently, about the same time Obama delivered a very nice standup comedy routine to the White House Correspondents’ dinner last night, he also was ordering bin Laden to be killed. As the relative of several former Army snipers, I salute his coolness and focus.
- It figures, doesn’t it, that a man who would order the murders of civilians would use a woman as a shield in a firefight (or one of his supporters would). But that’s what happened.
- Someone, some individual U.S. service member, pulled the trigger on the round that sent bin Laden to hell. But, much as I would like to buy that individual a beer, it’s best for him that we never know his name while he lives. We owe him at least that much.
- Holy crap. This guy inadvertently live-Tweeted the raid.
Well, it’s damn near 2 a.m. and I’ve got to work tomorrow. So I’m going to bed. ‘Night all. Those of you partying in D.C. and New York, be safe. Those of you mourning again in those same locales, I hope you take some measure of comfort from this event.
UPDATE, 8 a.m. 5/2: My daughter had been aware of bin Laden’s death for no more than 90 seconds when she asked, “Does this mean we can bring the troops home?” Much as I might like to think so, the answer to that question is probably somewhat complicated, BUT: The burden of proof needs to be placed heavily on anyone arguing to the contrary — full employment for swindling defense contractors is not a good argument, by the way — and I love how fast her mind went there.
One other thing: I don’t know whether it was news, speculation or just Internet noise, but someone was suggesting last night that our intel source for this raid was Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. Anything’s possible, I suppose, but it’s worth remembering that the compound where bin Laden was found is only about five years old, and we’ve had KSH in what is supposedly very secure custody since 2003.