Just earlier today I was writing a post referencing my belief that bin Laden has been dead for over half a decade. I said he’d been dead “for some time now” in 2007.


So while everyone else celebrates, I feel a bit let down. Not just about being wrong, but that he’s been alive this entire time. Some reports say at a luxurious villa. Damn.

So where was I when I found out? Sitting here. I am setting up RSS on my cell phone. So I was going around from site to site – not reading anything – to get the appropriate RSS/atom/feed link, wondering why the heck several sites were showing pictures of bin Laden. Finally I got the RSS set up on the phone and hit “update” and read the titles, which spelled it out.

Anyhow, it’s strategically unimportant. I do believe that bin Laden has been more-or-less sidelined (though maybe not, alas, in some god-forsaken cave somewhere). And it’s really almost too late to take any real joy in it. It kind of passed it’s “satisfying” expiration date. I also disagree with those saying that this is going to be politically huge. Obama might see a bit of an uptick, but it’s too far away from the election to have a sustained impact. And it’s too far from his taking office. If he’d been able to say “We got him within one month or six months of my taking office!”… that would have been something to brag about.

Addendum: So they’re saying he was in a “mansion” in Abottabad, a suburb of Islamabad and according to some “a tourist destination.” Tom Clancy had his bin Laden stand-in (“The Emir”) actually hanging out in Las Vegas, figuring that it was the last place anybody would be looking for him. In other news, some people are actually asking about CIA jurisdiction. Given the givens, are we really going to care? I doubt Pakistan does. This is probably a load off their mind.

Addendum II: I think I may have spoke too soon on the political implications. It does seem to me that this could have longer repercussions if Obama can successfully use this to combat the shadow “whose side is he really on” thoughts that some people have, as well as the argument that he has been in over his head in day one. This will likely earn him some personal good-will, which could throw some votes his way in the event that it is close.

Category: Newsroom

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13 Responses to Bin Laden 1, Truman 0

  1. Peter says:

    I first heard the news from, of all places, Siggy’s. No, really. Last night I had been watching a DVD of The King’s Speech on the computer. After it ended, I decided to do a bit of web-surfing and Siggy’s was the first site I went to.

  2. Mr. Blue says:

    I’d rather have been wrong than to be dead.

    I was at a bar, actually. The best place to be when news like this comes down the pipe. Arguments occur over who gets to buy everybody drinks.

  3. web says:

    For Pakistan, this raises a ton of questions.

    #1 – How did Pakistani intelligence not know about this? Or if they did, why did they not either take him out, or inform the US?

    #2 – It appears some of the information leading to the courier they traced to OBL came from… “enhanced interrogation” sessions of other Al Qaeda high officers. Information we probably wouldn’t have had if not for that sort of interrogation. Whoops…

    #3 – Political implications are all over the map. A great big “who knows”, really. Part of that, however, is a function of how quickly each side’s spin machine goes into motion these days – the Republicans were all parroting the same general set of lines within about half an hour of the announcement. By the end of today, the talk-radio-programmed crowd will have their talking points embedded quite firmly on why it’s not really an Obama accomplishment.

    #4 – I for one have trouble with the way he was buried. Partly because it means we can’t produce the body for verification if need be (which means the conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day), partly because if anyone did NOT deserve a “respectful” or “traditional” burial, OBL certainly qualifies.

  4. trumwill says:

    #1. In addition to speaking too soon on the political ramifications, I may have spoken too soon on Pakistan’s position on this. While they’re not going to raise a fuss because they’re embarrassed and/or powerless, this whole thing hurts their relationship with us to the extent that they would rather have bin Laden still there and unharmed.

    #2. I’m hearing conflicting things about this.

    #3. Obama’s people seem to be winning this game. So far, anyway. I’ve gone from “probably won’t make a difference” to “could really help Obama” over the course of the afternoon, based primarily on information I’m getting… from the Obama Administration. They’re simply in a better position to leverage this into something. But something that will last over 18 months? We’ll see. It likely only makes a difference in a close election.

    #4. I go back and forth on the respectful burial. Probably the right move strategically, but not as satisfying as burning his remains wrapped in pigskin would have been.

  5. Kirk says:

    As much as people complain about how it took ten years to snuff OBL, it may have taken just as long if he’d been on death row the entire time. The average inmate executed in 2009 had been on death row for a little over 14 years. (Table 12.)


    Helpful graph…


  6. Kevin says:

    Am I the only one troubled by the legality of the whole thing? We sent our armed forces into a sovereign country to murder a private individual who had no role whatsoever in any recognized government. I doubt anyone’s going to raise a stink about this, but if some other country conducted a raid like this in the U.S., even someone as evil as Osama, I suspect we would feel a lot differently.

  7. Maria says:

    Don’t feel bad Will. I still believe that Binny died in the caves of Tora Bora during US bombing in 2001 myself.

    Where’s the body? Why would they bury a Muslim at sea? Muslims only believe in burying their dead in a plain six-foot hole without a coffin. Wouldn’t Obama of all people be afraid of offending Muslims by violating their burial practices?

    Something’s fishy.

  8. trumwill says:

    Maria, the rationale for burying him at sea was that they were afraid a burial site would result in a shrine, of sorts, for those that admire him. Also, as part of the “respectful Muslim burial”, they had to do so within 24 hours.

    If they were going to fake this, I think that they would have done so at a time where it was likely to have more political impact. Fall of last year or maybe some time next year.

  9. trumwill says:

    Kevin, I think what it mostly comes down to is that Pakistan was considered unreliable. They couldn’t go about this “the right way” without a real chance of losing him (again). The Pakistanis may be right to be pissed off, just as we would be, but they’re not in a position to really do anything about it. And from Obama’s perspective, pissed off Pakistanis was preferable to no OBL.

  10. Kevin says:

    I absolutely agree with your assessment, but that doesn’t change the legality of it. As far as I know, and I’m by no means an expert on international law, sending your armed forces into another country to murder one of its inhabitants is an act of war. No, Pakistan’s not going to complain too vociferously, but it still strikes me as of questionable legality at best.

  11. trumwill says:

    I would say that without recourse, there is no law.

  12. Kirk says:

    I would say that without recourse, there is no law.

    Interesting comment. I would go further though, and say that there is no such thing as international law.

  13. Kirk says:

    Anyway, it’s sad that in these pc times we can’t call Obama “The N*gger behind the trigger.” In times past, he probably could have used that as a campaign slogan.

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