Monday, May 2, 2011

Obama, Bush and bin Laden

Now that the news of bin Laden's death is all over the place and people have had a chance to embrace and digest it in their own way, here are a few related thoughts on who secured this outcome and who did not - as well as a question about how long it'll be until we see the "bin Laden not really dead" theories materialize and from whom...

The Bush/Obama Comparison
  • Attack. BUSH: The worst attack on American soil by foreigners - an attack masterminded and led by Osama bin Laden - occurred on the watch of President George W. Bush. OBAMA: Directed, sanctioned and gave the go ahead for the operation that found and killed bin Laden. And, no successful terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil in his presidency so far.
  • Mission Accomplished. BUSH: Proudly flew that now infamous banner bearing that phrase on an aircraft carrier in the early days of the Iraq war - a war by the way that had nothing to do with bin Laden or the 9-11 attacks. I think we can all agree that the banner was a tad premature. That's being kind. OBAMA: No banners, no gloating or landing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit like Bush. Nope, just a short announcement to the nation on a Sunday evening that justice had been served and confirming the killing of bin Laden. "Mission Accomplished" ineed.
  • Quotes. BUSH: On Bin Laden in 2002: "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." And: ""I am truly not that concerned about him." OBAMA: On Bin Laden in 2011: "Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."
  • Timing. BUSH: In office for eight years. No capture or killing of bin Laden. OBAMA: In office for just over two years and Bin Laden is dead. Those are the facts. My opinion is that the American people need to keep that in mind when judging Obama as a leader in the 2012 elections.
I think these facts and comparisons tell the tale quite well actually. Bush was a man who took his job lightly and the degree that he ignored concrete evidence that an attack such as materialized on 9-11 was being planned. We know how that turned out. He then made a series of errors that not only did not kill bin Laden, but actually made our situation worse. Meanwhile, Obama is a man who apparently is on the ball and dead serious about fighting the degree that within two years of serving in office, bin Laden is dead.

Rumors and Conspiracy Theories
U.S. media is reporting that the body of bin Laden was burried at sea. So, as you read this post, the body of bin Laden resides in the cold, dark depths of the ocean. A fitting place for him for sure. But, no body to see means those who believe in him or his cause - or are against the U.S. or Obama - will be able to suggest that he is not really dead.

I think we'll see skeptism in two ways:
  1. The Middle East. Indeed, the Middle East and Arab world thrive on ruomor and conspiracty theories. From listening to NPR today, I've heard this is already starting over there with people doubting the story of bin Ladens death.
  2. Right wing conservatives in the U.S. There are those here who will not want to give credit to Obama for this action and will raise questions about whether bin Laden is really dead and/or that the whole thing was faked to make Obama look better going into the 2012 election cycle. Remember, there's a certain percentage (and a percentage who gets a lot of media attentions) who believe Obama was not born in the USA.
Obviously, for some people who don't want to believe it, no amout of disclosure will be enough to prove bin Laden is dead. In any caes, I will be quite interested to see if or how the U.S. proves to the world that bin Laden is indeed dead.

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