Posts tagged with Osama Bin Laden
I interrupt my discussion of sexual harassment in the military for major breaking news.
Sen. Bill Nelson, Democrat - Florida, in effect said that President Barack Obama committed treason by claiming that Edward Snowden's revelation of NSA monitoring of American phone calls was an "act of treason". Nelson served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for six years.
Burgess Everett reports in Politico that Nelson said, “On the issue of if this a whistleblower or is this an act of treason, I think it directly is [treason]. And I think most of the people who served on intel will tell you that,”
“I think he ought to be prosecuted under the law,” Nelson told reporters. “Extradited and prosecuted. We cannot have national security if our secrets can’t be kept on our methods of gathering information."
If Snowden committed treason by revealing NSA's program to spy on American phone calls, then President Barack Obama committed treason when he released similar information about how the CIA found Osama bin Laden. After the execution of bin Laden Obama revealed that the CIA had been monitoring al Qaeda phone calls in its efforts to find bin Laden and had used satellite cameras to track bin Laden's suspected courier.
If Snowden should be "extradited and prosecuted" as Nelson suggests, then Obama should be impeached and removed from office. Obama's offense was far more serious than Snowden's. Snowden only revealed NSA is using computers to monitor phone calls. Obama told al Qaeda the United States was able to identify and monitor its calls. Obama went further and told al Qaeda that the United States knew which phone numbers they were using.
I don't know what Edward Snowden's motive was in revealing NSA montoring of domestic phone calls. I do know that if his actions qualify as treason then so do Obama's.
Reporters covering the investigation of the major al Qaeda victory at Benghazi should ask themselves: "what would Walter Cronkite do" if he were covering the story.
Let's consider the facts. Most people familiar with the War on Terror knew in September, 2012, that there was a heightened risk of an al Qaeda attack in the U.S. or at American installations outside the U.S. on or about the anniversary of the original 9/11 attack.
The danger was particularly high at American facilities in Libya because of the very unstable situation there and the presence of al Qaeda personnel who were trying to take over the country. Military and CIA personnel in Libya should have been on a high state of alert and prepared to back up personnel at any facility that might be attacked. Their orders should have been to respond immediately to any attack without requesting authorization from Washington. Security should have been particularly tight in Benghazi with the Ambassador in the building.
With modern cell phone technology, personnel should have been calling the State Department as they took cover, grabbed weapons, etc. Both the Secretary of State and President should have been notified immediately. State Department protocol should have required the Secretary, or least the top undersecretary for the region, to monitor the situation using both audio and video from the site, possibly using devices such as smart phones . If a satellite was in position to monitor the situation someone in Washington should have monitored its video. Keep in mind the government has better quality cameras than Google on its satellites.
The Obama administration's initial claim that the facility fell to a rag tag mob of demonstrators implies the facility essentially had no security. Any decent security protocol should have been prepared for the type of attack that Iranian students had used to take over the American embassy in Tehran during the Carter administration. An attack by trained military personnel would have been more easily explained, although security personnel should have been prepared to handle such an attack.
Determining the significance of the successful al Qaeda attack is difficult because of the nature of the War on Terror. Significant battles haven't involved large groups. Although the American casualty toll in the 9/11 attack was high, barely a dozen men conducted the attack. A similar sized American force killed Osama bin Laden. Much of the killing by both sides is done by remote control. Americans use aerial drones. Al Qaeda uses road side bombs.
The attack is at least as significant as the temporary Viet Cong capture of the American embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The attack indicates that al Qaeda has successfully broadened the war and is now able to defeat the Americans in Libya and possibly elsewhere. The size of the victory isn't as important as the fact that the attack was an al Qaeda victory. Al Qaeda may not be "winning" the war yet, but as a football sportscaster might say, al Qaeda "has taken the momentum", as demonstrated by the recent successful bombing of the Boston Marathon. Al Qaeda can use its success as a recruitment argument.
The failure of the Americans to come to the rescue during the attack could be interpreted by al Qaeda as proving bin Laden was right when he said the Americans would eventually tire of the fighting.
Walter Cronkite began questioning the American handling of the Vietnam after the attack on the American Embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. I'm sure he would have asked questions about the War on Terror after the fall of the American consulate in Benghazi, particularly considering the allegations that someone in Washington prevented sending a rescue force. Cronkite knew that Presidents are sometimes mislead by their subordinates and it is the duty of journalists to learn the truth.
Western Elitists often don't understand that people in other parts of the world don't think the same way they do. For example, they don't realize that those we consider to be villains may be considered heroes by some Muslims.
If Michael Moore portrays President Barack Obama as taking control of the effort to get Osama bin Laden, the implication will be that bin Laden was a powerful man who posed a major threat to the United States, a man Americans feared . The more time the President of the United States is portrayed as devoting to the search for bin Laden the more important OBL will appear to be. At a time when the United States faces significant economic and budget problems, the President wouldn't spend time going after a man who didn't pose a major threat to the country. Al Qaeda could use the idea that the United States feared bin Laden as a recruiting tool.
Another potential problem with the movie is the handling of OBL's death. If the movie shows bin Laden fighting the SEALs, he will appear to many Muslims to be "heroically standing up to a superior force in a situation in which death is inevitable." If the movie shows bin Laden simply being shot without a weapon in his hand, then those who kill him will appear to Muslims to be murderers. Either way Muslims may decide that bin Laden is a martyr. Either way could provoke Muslim violence against American interests in the Middle East.
President Barack Obama's obsession with a mythical Mitt Romney $5 trillion tax cut raises serious questions about Obama's mental health.
The federal government only receives about $1.2 trillion in total income taxes per year. There is no way a $5 trillion tax cut would be possible in the short term.
Congress would have to almost eliminate the income tax to produce a $5 trillion cut in 5 years. Cutting $500 billion a year would take 10 years to produce a $5 trillion cut. Cutting $250 billion a year would take 20 years to produce $5 trillion in cuts.
I considered the possibility Obama was deliberately lying, but why would an intelligent rational person use a lie that would be so easily exposed as a lie? Besides, Voice Analysis Technology used its audio technology to check the level of stress in the statements of both candidates and determined that both believed they were telling the truth.
The presidency is a high pressure job that can potentially destroy people. Many historians believe that the stress of heading an administration tainted by corruption killed President Warren G. Harding. Obama's obsession with an obviously non-existent tax cut proposal indicates he has apparently cracked under the pressure.
If Obama isn't living in the real world, he may not be able to respond appropriately in crisis situations.
With the recent Middle East crisis and the state of the world economy, we would expect our president to use the opening of the new session of the United Nations to meet with other world leaders. Instead, Obama decided to appear on "The View" talk show. He apparently is unaware that news stories about him meeting with world leaders would do more to help his presidential campaign than appearance on a talk show, even a talk show like "The View".
His most important recent accomplishment seems to be establishing a brewery in the White House. While he was showing off his brewery, he failed to check to see if American diplomatic facilities in the Middle East were prepared for possible 9/11 anniversary attacks. The result was a disastrous attack on the American consulate in Libya. Obama brewed beer while the Middle East burned.
Obama's separation from the real world may not be recent. Mark Bowden claims in his new book "The Finish" that in the event Osama bin Laden had been taken alive, Obama wanted him to be tried in American civil courts to demonstrate American due process. Shouldn't a Harvard Law School graduate have been aware that if that had been done, the first thing bin Laden's attorneys would have done would have been to request bin Laden's release on the grounds that his "arrest" without a judge authorized search warrant was illegal, particularly considering that the SEALs had entered Pakistan without permission of the Pakistani government? We should be doubly glad that the SEALs killed bin Laden instead of merely capturing him. If he had been captured the courts might have released him.
The British tabloids reported two years ago that Obama's doctor had recently told him he should cut down on his excessive drinking as well as his cigarette smoking. If President Obama is drinking excessively he is almost certainly an alcoholic, particularly considering that his father Barack Obama, Sr., was an alcoholic and his half brother George is an alcoholic. Alcoholism often has a connection to certain genes, especially the "risk taker" gene. If Obama is an alcoholic, he won't be able to simply cut back on alcohol consumption. His only option is to stop drinking completely.
Alcoholics often have trouble relating to the real world, but I'm doubtful that alcohol alone could explain such an obviously mythical claim that Mitt Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut. Alcohol consumption might explain unwillingness to drop the tax cut subject and other aspects of his demeanor in the first debate, but probably not the development of the tax cut idea itself.
I learned about the 9/11 attack a little later than most people. I worked second shift and usually got up around 10:30.
When the clock radio came on the announcer wasn't making much sense to a brain that wasn't completely awake. He was saying something about the Pentagon and Vice President Cheney with the word "unprecedented" being mentioned. I thought at first that something had happened to Cheney.
I went into the living room and turned on the television to one of the news channels. With the frequent replays of the morning's events it took some time for me to determine what had already happened and what was happening at that time.
I was glad that ABC New Commentator Paul Harvey had returned to work by 9/11. He had been off for an extended period due to a throat problem, but had returned in August. Harvey had a positive attitude and frequently reminded his listeners that whatever the situation was it wasn't as bad as it seemed. He recognized that emphasizing the negative made the situation seem worse than it was.
I wasn't surprised that something like the 9/11 attack had happened. I wasn't expecting anything of that scale, but I was expecting more terrorist attacks such as those that had been happening against American interests elsewhere in the world
The media had been reporting lapses in airline security for some time, so I wasn't surprised that terrorists might hijack airplanes. There had been movies about terrorists using aircraft in this manner. I wouldn't have expected President George W. Bush to anticipate such a possibility but the people at the FBI and the CIA should have.
U.S. support for the tyrant known as the Shah of Iran had led to an attack on the American embassy in Tehran after the Iranian people overthrew him.
After I learned the identities of the suspected hijackers I realized I was right that the decision to base American forces in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War was a very bad idea. Western nations, including the U.S., have been pushing around Middle Eastern countries for too long.
The basing of American forces in what Muslims regard as their Holy Land may have been enough to push some Saudis over the edge and provoke them to commit suicide by flying planes into various American buildings. The U.S. had ignored the significance of a previous attack on American forces in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government might have welcomed American bases to protect them from Iraq, but may of their citizens viewed the bases as the home of an foreign occupation force.
American leaders often seem ignorant of the fact that members of other cultures sometimes view the world and military conflicts differently from Americans. The failure to recognize this difference in viewpoint hampered the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.
I learned from one of the recent broadcast 9/11 related documentaries that Osama bin Laden had wanted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan because he believed the U.S. would lose. Bin Laden may not have contemplated a traditional military victory. Instead of a traditional victory he may have been thinking in terms of dragging out the fighting until Americans got tired of the battles and left like they did in Vietnam.
North Vietnam never won a major battle in Vietnam until two years after American forces left. The Tet offensive was not a communist victory because they couldn't keep any places they took and much of the Viet Cong was destroyed. When the U.S. left Vietnam its allies were in charge of the government that controlled South Vietnam which was the American goal in Vietnam. However, the American media had previously decided the war was lost because it lasted so long.
Bin Laden may have been hoping for a similar outcome. Dragging out the fighting until Americans decided they couldn't "win" would allow him, or his successors, to claim they had defeated the "Great Satan" and use the "victory" as a recruiting tool.
The 9/11 attack was the start of a war that is continuing. We cannot afford to abandon the war effort just because the war appears to be endless. Americans often mistakenly claim that the Vietnam War was the nation's longest war. Actually Vietnam was merely a conflict within the long running Cold War, as was the Korean War. America stood firm in the Cold War and eventually the enemy quit.
We must continue to stand up to the terrorists because if we don't take the war to them, they may bring the war back to us. One of the reasons the terrorists haven't launched another major attack on the U.S. is because they are busy fighting our army.
President Barack Obama suffers from the delusion that there must have been some massive conspiracy to hide Osama bin Laden from the U.S.
President Barack Obama apparently thinks that the fact that he needed an army of attorneys to keep his stupid birth certificate secret means that bin Laden must have had a large group helping him stay hidden. Or, maybe Obama doesn't believe that an Arab could be smart enough to hide from the U.S. without help, even an Arab smart enough to be responsible for the 9/11 attack. .
Obama should know better because the CIA has already said that the most any of the al Qaeda members they captured knew was that there was some mysterious courier who might have direct access to bin Laden. If bin Laden didn't trust members of his own organization with his hiding place, why would he trust Pakistani government agencies which he certainly was aware could have been infiltrated by agents working for the CIA or other intelligence agencies particularly Mossad (Israel) and MI6 (Britain) .
There is a claim that India's RAW and Mossad have combined efforts to infiltrate Pakistan government agencies. Even if a foreign agent didn't learn where he was hiding, someone in the government might have found the $25 million reward too tempting to pass up.
Any ability al Qaeda might have to obtain inside information from Pakistani agencies would not be the same as those agencies helping al Qaeda anymore than an ability to obtain inside information from American agencies would indicate those agencies were helping al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda likely has agents planted in governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as on some NATO bases in Afghanistan, much like the Viet Cong had agents planted in the South Vietnamese government and on American bases during the Vietnam War. If al Queda/Taliban can plant potential suicide bombers on American base they can plant spies. In Vietnam, the Viet Cong often had radios capable of eavesdropping on American radio traffic.
The Wikileaks situation demonstrates that the Obama administration has poor information security. The administration has alleged that an army PFC in Iraq was able to place documents on the web he should not have been able to access. The leaking of the fact that the U.S. was attempting to track bin Laden's cell phone in 2001 came from Americans rather than Pakistanis.
If Pakistani agencies were supposedly helping bin Laden stay hidden what were they doing while the SEALS were at his compound. Military or intelligence officials would have been aware of the possibility of Americans coming in by helicopter.
Why wasn't the compound surrounded by command detonated mines in case that happened? Why wasn't someone in a protected position with a weapon capable of disabling a helicopter? Why, in a military area well inside Pakistan, didn't his "protectors" call for a force to keep the Americans from leaving?
The ease with which the SEALS got in and out indicates that bin Laden had no support from individuals in the Pakistan government. If Pakistan's forces were involved their role was to allow the Americans to leave without interference while pretending to be unaware of what was happening.
Obama cannot understand the obvious fact that the best way to keep something secret is to limit the number of people who know the secret. If you had a $25 million buried treasure that you didn't want someone else to dig up, you wouldn't tell anyone you had any doubts about, particularly strangers in a government agency.
Many fiction writers recognize that keeping locations secret involves limiting who knows the location. On the old "Batman" tv series even Batgirl and the police commissioner didn't know the location of the bat cave. Limiting who knows a secret hideout reduces the chances of someone inadvertently revealing the location or revealing the location under torture. One way to get someone to reveal a hideout is to trick him into going to the hideout while he's being followed.
Bin Laden's choice of a hiding place was brilliant. The last place anyone would expect to find him would be in an area away from his supporters. Living in a mansion sized compound would create the impression that the occupant was wealthy, possibly with a fear of being robbed or kidnapped, or someone involved with drugs or smuggling.
The presence of cannabis plants in the area would be consistent with a drug dealer as the resident of the compound. The media have referred to the plants as marijuana, but they were more likely being grown for production of hashish which has been used in the Middle East for centuries. Marco Polo and others suggested it was used by members of the Medieval Order of Assassins from which al Qaeda is descended.
Osama bin Laden probably wasn't familiar with American masked avengers but his choice of accommodations is similar to Batman and Zorro. When Batman wasn't running around catching criminals he was the liberal wealthy philanthropist Bruce Wayne. When Zorro wasn't riding around carving a "Z" with his sword he was wealthy foppish Don Diego de la Vega.
I grew up watching old Hollywood westerns in which the Indians always stopped fighting if their chief was killed, or at least they stopped until they selected a new chief. The killing of Osama bin Laden may provide a great deal of emotional satisfaction for Americans, but it won't necessarily improve the chances of defeating al Qaeda. The killing might even invigorate al Qaeda.
I was serving in Vietnam when North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh died. His death didn't change what was happening in the war.
Bin Laden's presence in an area far removed from the action indicates he might have become little more than a spiritual adviser to al Qaeda with operations controlled by others. If so his death at the hands of the Americans wouldn't affect operations, but his conversion to a martyr could provide a new rallying point.
(Incidentally, criticism of Pakistanis for not realizing he was at that compound ignores the fact that Pakistan has far more drug dealers / smugglers than terrorist leaders and drug dealers might also prefer to live in a fortress.)
Al Qaeda has been relatively ineffective for years, possibly because bin Laden has not provided effective leadership. Subordinates might have been afraid to challenge him because of his past role with the organization. His death could allow a more dynamic, imaginative, aggressive leader to take over. When a shrub stops growing, pruning off the old wood can give it new life.
Existing al Qaeda leaders might compete for the top position by conducting terrorist missions. Other organizations such as Hamas might seek a role in the new al Qaeda.
Perhaps members would be more willing to seek an alliance with an existing nation, particularly Libya which is fighting European "crusaders". An alliance wasn't practical before bin Laden's death because Qaddafi would both have wanted to be the leader. Qaddafi previously supported international terrorism.
The killing of Qaddafi's son and grandchildren shortly before the killing of bin Laden gives Libya and al Qaeda a common desire for revenge. Qaddafi can offer financing to al Qaeda in exchange for assistance fighting the NATO backed contras, or whatever the rebels are calling themselves.
Libyan rebel leader Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi is an al Qaeda veteran and potentially take over if he came to power in Libya and was able to divert part of its oil revenue to al Qaeda.
Some in the Pakistan military may be so upset at the embarrassment caused by conduct of such an attack near their capital that they will give advanced weapons to al Qaeda and the Taliban. We can only hope that the Pakistan government adds extra security for its nuclear weapons.
Pakistan is not a tiny banana republic like Venezuela. It has half the population of the U.S. and the world's 7th largest military, including nuclear armed missiles.
Pakistan is a democracy which means the government must consider popular sentiment which could become more anti-U.S. as a result of the raid. If Obama's critics are correct about him visiting Pakistan in 1981 as a student using an Indonesian passport (possibly under the name of Barry Soetoro or Barry Durham) and Pakistan had a record of that visit, Pakistan could embarrass him by releasing the information. I don't know if embarrassing Obama after he embarrassed Pakistan by violating its sovereignty would be enough to quiet any public outcry against the U.S.
Obama's decision to secretly bury bin Laden at sea could be a blunder. The action sounds like a coverup because when criminals "bury" a body in the water it's to prevent discovery of the crime.
If al Qaeda could find someone who looks like bin Laden and could imitate his voice, it could make a video claiming the U.S. killed the wrong man.
It would have been better to have had someone other than bin Laden's wife and U.S. experts provide identification for the body. His wife might have identified the body as his so the U.S. would stop looking for him.
Burying him at sea won't prevent someone from establishing a shrine to him, but instead would allow a shrine to be build any place, including the place where he was killed, or in their view where he became a martyr..
The U.S. could have avoided the possibility of a shrine at his grave site by turning the body over to family members who had disowned him for burial at an secret site in Saudi Arabia which had revoked his citizenship.. Acceptance of the body by family members, who would not have been identified, would have provided more reliable identification of it.
Releasing of photos of the shooting won't provide proof he was killed. Hollywood routinely simulates the killing of actors in movies. Jay Leno has occasionally shown doctored videos showing bin Laden at various locations, including the White House. Release of the photos would be more likely to inflame his supporters than to prove he was killed.
Fortunately, Obama's release of his long form birth certificate prior to the death of bin Laden gives Obama more credibility than he would have had. Without that release, al Qaeda members might have compared the "missing" body to his missing birth certificate.