Obama Delivers: Checks off the Bin Laden Box

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President Barack Obama just spoke to the nation and world and reported on his role in making the decision to act on intelligence that Osama bin Laden had been found in Pakistan.
He took action. US intelligence operatives moved on bin Laden a week ago. Obama said, “Justice has been done”.
The President of the United States has checked off the box in bringing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice — and probably assured his reelection in 2012.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

26 comments on “Obama Delivers: Checks off the Bin Laden Box

  1. brigid says:

    Thank you Mr. President and thank you to our armed forces for taking care of what should have been done at Tora Bora. But that didn’t happen because Bush wanted Saddam more than Bin Laden.

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    (resubmission because of error message)
    Dan,
    Great questions except that we kind of already know, in that Wikileaks sort of way, that Pakistan does this odd, insane, and probably quite rational dance with the US, Islamists, and anyone else whose good graces or money or non-assassination behavior might be useful.
    Pakistan is a mess. It’s factional, insecure, death-driven, corrupt, impoverished, badly run, and a ticking time bomb all at once.
    Obama noted during the primary season that Pakistan is one of our biggest problems, if not THE biggest.
    The hiding/prisoner/both issue has absolutely fascinating implications, when you get down to it.
    What an interesting thought!
    And that we went in possibly with no forewarning at all might suggest some combination of these.
    On the other hand, one has to figure out just what the Pakistani gov’t is. Or who it is.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Dan,
    Great questions except that we kind of already know, in that Wikileaks sort of way, that Pakistan does this odd, insane, and probably quite rational dance with the US, Islamists, and anyone else whose good graces or money or non-assassination behavior might be useful.
    Pakistan is a mess. It’s factional, insecure, death-driven, corrupt, impoverished, badly run, and a ticking time bomb all at once.
    Obama noted during the primary season that Pakistan is one of our biggest problems, if not THE biggest.
    The hiding/prisoner/both issue has absolutely fascinating implications, when you get down to it.
    What an interesting thought!
    And that we went in possibly with no forewarning at all might suggest some combination of these.
    On the other hand, one has to figure out just what the Pakistani gov’t is. Or who it is.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There’s no way they just dumped the body in the ocean”
    Yep. The last act of this charade is just as unbelievable as the first act.

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    Just a few questions:
    Who built the compound?
    How long was Bin Laden there?
    Who else lived there?
    How were communications in and out of the compound conducted?
    Which intelligence services had access to the communications inside the compound, or in and out of it?
    Was Obama hiding there? Or was he a prisoner there? or both?
    Was the decision to act based on new information, or political timing?

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    There’s no way they just dumped the body in the ocean.

    Reply

  7. DakotabornKansan says:

    “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow
    Osama bin Laden is dead. Good riddance!
    However, what has changed?
    The words of Chris Hedges, who covered al Qaeda for The New York Times, are worth heeding.
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/chris_hedges_speaks_on_osama_bin_ladens_death_20110502/

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Give me a break.
    Buried at sea.
    Orders to kill, not to capture.
    What, we didn’t need real time intelligence about who in Pakistan assisted Bin Laden in providing him with safe haven??? We didn’t have important questions about the extent of ISI involvement in the crime committed on 9/11/01??? We didn’t need to question him about Al Qaeda activity, plans, schemes, locations, and key players world wide?
    Yeah right, we threw away an intelligence bonanza. Kill him, don’t capture him.
    Yep. Buried at sea. Pfffft. End of story. Lets put this fantastic fairy tale to rest, now that scientists, lay people, first responders, and retired military are now questioning the “official story” in increasing numbers.
    This reeks. We are a nation of gullible idiots.

    Reply

  9. Ted Williams says:

    Assured reelection? I think noy, Steve.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    Tell me, what am I missing that an orgy of celebration doesn’t really feel appropriate (isn’t that what the moralistic scolds point to in chastising, for example, Iranians as blood thirsty heathens?).
    I am particularly noting the apparent mania at the white house, mostly young college types; probably from GW and Georgetown, maybe even American U and Howard. Perhaps Steve, who lives virtually down the street, has a clue about this particular display.
    I find that display, and much of the way this ‘event’ is being reported, hyped really, a sad embarrassment. Is there nothing left of the US that is not a caricature of itself?

    Reply

  11. Dave Lewis says:

    I wonder how this substantial gain in political capital will be used.
    Much has changed in the US over the past 10 years. Will this opportunity to change course be grasped, as a similar opportunity was grasped in the aftermath of 9/11? Will the story simply fade from media consciousness in a few days- signaling an opportunity squandered (or deftly avoided depending on perspective)? What, if any, will the new course be?

    Reply

  12. Cee says:

    Bhuto told David Frost that Osama was killed years
    ago.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=xKDYZfEbEow&feature=related
    Now what? Who will be created to replace him?

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    FT notes that commodities prices are down on thought of reduced threats from terrorism. We’ll see how long it lasts. If oil falls noticeably, that would suggest it’s not supply/demand issues maybe? Do stocks jump today? Silver was down 12% according to nakedcapitalism. It may have recovered some since that report.
    **
    There is also something floating around, I think the link is at nakedcapitalism, regarding Case-Schiller housing prices as locked on 20 major metro areas where zoning makes supply/demand problems worse. I would guess that school funding issues fall into this category as well. We run up the prices of scarce housing in good school districts. But there are limits to what people will do, even to get their kids into good schools.
    Obama likely knows the long term structures involved in many of our bubbles. It’s a shame he thinks RttT will “fix” schools and the housing market. There are better ways.
    *****
    FT also notes that Ford is creating jobs in Michigan now. People are buying cars.
    FT wonders how UBL could have lived where he did. But we know enough about Pakistan to know how that was possible.
    FT wonders what UBL had been doing over time. And finally, who’s number two, now number 1.
    All good questions.
    ***
    ME gov’ts will do some fancy dancing on this. Arab Spring movements will, ummm, who knows. Is there energy or demoralization? Probably depends on what the various factions want out of a Spring movement.

    Reply

  14. paul lukasiak says:

    sorry, but given Bush Sr’s failure to achieve re-election despite “leading us to victory” in Gulf War I, I think its premature to make predictions regarding the political impact of bin Laden’s death. Indeed, to me it feels anti-climatic; UBL had descended to the status of the monster-under-the-bed years ago.
    (also, does anyone else get the sense that there is something very wrong with the narrative we’ve been handed?)

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    DeLong finds the guy who “liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it”!
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/05/really-virtual-from-abbottabad.html

    Reply

  16. Chumanist says:

    There is no reason to doubt your noting dear Steve, particularly your mentioning of President Obama’s
    victory in the coming election(in 2012)seems now much predictable.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Obama’s speech announcing the killing has messages for everyone — deep sympathy for the survivors of the 9/11 bombings, deep appreciation for all the intel and military work over the decade, and a huge amount of really careful intel work, checking and double-checking to make sure it was actionable. Work with international cooperation, the fact that he, Obama, set the tone and directed people to prioritize the capture/killing, no war with Islam, basic agreement with Pakistan that this is good (though, let’s face it, Pakistan has a whole bunch of mixed motives, and they did give suburban refuge to the guy — a funny image for a man reputed to love the spelunking life)– and a little patriotism/pledge thing with the national deity at the end.
    Something for everyone.
    Rethink the Obama presidency in light of this. Why did we not hold torture trials? We need our intel people to feel safe and not demoralized, uncertain, or afraid to do what needs to be done. Why did we keep up the drone strikes? Perhaps the pressure on Pakistan and the ISI to get some cooperation. Why’d he take so long? The desire for actionable intel instead of a WMD-style fiasco.
    The president is not a single leader. The president is the head of a vast set of institutions. The president has to work with what already exists. There is no creating anything out of whole cloth in his/her own image and likeness.
    Relentless, careful, balancing the forces all around, realizing that the road to hell is sometimes paved with Kantian justice and really, it’s not a Kantian world, Obama is doing what can be done given the world he inherited.
    Between the marginalization of Fox at the dinner the other night and the relentless bashing of Trump, he’s dealing with domestic nonsense and meanwhile he knows that the US is closing in on bin Laden. A lot of things should be revisited.
    Kos is full of happy comments. Obama has won over the firefighters and other first responders at this point.
    The right seems to be mostly just “forgetting” to mention the president, or to downplay the event. But I’m guessing the 10% of us who are not partisan leaners might lean a little to the Obama side of things for a few weeks — til gas hits 4.90 and they have forgotten that they quite deliberately bought a 2011 SUV.
    (Now, if he could just appoint Arne Duncan as head of some bureau with no education agenda at all…..)

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    Is this our ticket out of the heaviest of involvement in the ME, or is it the beginning of a new round of heavy involvement as we have just awakened revenge desires?
    Symbolic killings of other people’s symbols are fraught.
    And I wonder how much real closure we’ll get regarding this. Will people talk? Are there photos/proof positive? Will it demoralize or energize all the people around the world who have drawn huge amounts of psychic energy from this one person? From the anti-mosque/anti-Muslim and democrats are weak contingent through a-Q operatives, a lot of people have made UBL into an industry of sorts.
    It is possible that this killing is the main casus belli for the drone strikes and the endless presence in Afgh. Maybe we’re done??

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    Is this our ticket out of the heaviest of involvement in the ME, or is it the beginning of a new round of heavy involvement as we have just awakened revenge desires?
    Symbolic killings of other people’s symbols are fraught.
    And I wonder how much real closure we’ll get regarding this. Will people talk? Are there photos/proof positive? Will it demoralize or energize all the people around the world who have drawn huge amounts of psychic energy from this one person? From the anti-mosque/anti-Muslim and democrats are weak contingent through a-Q operatives, a lot of people have made UBL into an industry of sorts.
    It is possible that this killing is the main casus belli for the drone strikes and the endless presence in Afgh. Maybe we’re done??

    Reply

  20. Maw of America says:

    Maybe this will be the exclamation point for Ghadafi after the bombing of his compound. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he has renewed interest in negotiating an exit from Libya.
    I’m just saying…

    Reply

  21. Jay C says:

    While I hope you are right, Steve, I wouldn’t be buying my Inaugural tickets just yet: the election is still 18 months away: a lot can happen until then: and economic matters will probably prove more salient than foreign affairs to the electorate.
    Now if Obama was able to do something about our quagmire in Afghanistan (never mind Libya) – that would be a clincher…

    Reply

  22. ... says:

    bringing osama and al qaeda to justice……………………….gangland justice- usa… we’ve been seeing this for the past 10 years…. interesting propaganda opportunity though………

    Reply

  23. The River Temoc says:

    Steve, it doesn’t assure Obama’s re-election any more
    than V-E day assured Churchill’s or the first Gulf
    War assured the first President Bush’s. Maybe it
    makes the upcoming debt ceiling debate a tad less
    acrimonious.

    Reply

  24. a fan says:

    Steve, you are on Al Jazeera right now!

    Reply

  25. sanitychecker says:

    >> in bringing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice
    You’re joking, right? No tears from this corner for Osama. But in English to “bring to justice” means something entirely different.

    Reply

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