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Diplomad Asks: "Is There Nothing This Administration Cannot Screw Up?"

An excellent question.

His inspiration to ask the question arises from the Administration's continually shifting narrative concerning the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

The big victory over al Qaeda and the Islamonutters is being squandered bit by bit.

The USA had a big win with the elimination of Osama in his "man-cave" in Pakistan. For once in his two-plus miserable years as President, Obama looked almost presidential; he, for once, had made a tough decision well.  The political risk to Obama in ordering a helicopter assault on Osama's gilded cage in Abbottabad should not be minimized. Visions of "Blackhawk Down,"and "Desert One" must have been vivid in his mind. The decision to make it a "man-on-man" hit was the right one, and Obama, apparently, rightly rejected the B-2 with PGMs option. He, rightly it seems, argued against that, noting that such a strike would always leave room for doubt as to whether we had nailed Osama.  We needed U.S. eyes, hands, and bullets on the creep.  That's what we got in a brilliantly executed SEAL operation.
Indeed.  While I was less than thrilled to learn that The 0ne required a 16 hour overnight contemplation prior to deciding to act, at least he had decided before the window of opportunity closed.

Almost all that is now being squandered by a most amazingly disorganized, inept, and idiotic official handling of the aftermath to the raid.  First, Obama's statement announcing the event was way too long, and all about Obama. It sounded like what it was: a 2012 campaign video clip. Worse, however, has been the death by a thousand cuts of the narrative of the raid.  It seems that about dozen different senior administration officials have been talking to the press, giving about a dozen different versions of the details.  Why is that allowed? Is there no discipline? Is there no agreed upon script? Osama hid behind his wife, except when he didn't.  Osama resisted with a firearm, except that he didn't have one. Pakistan cooperated fully, except when it didn't. The rushed burial at sea, why?  We didn't do that with the Saddam boys, and there was no Muslim rebellion.  Is there or is there not an agreement to release the photos? We put the pictures out on the Saddam kinder--oh, and, of course, the photos from Abu Gharib, those were no problem. And on and on . . . If you don't have a unified script, "SHUT UP!"

This is just silly.  Armed, not armed, etc., etc., ad naseum.  You are all supposedly professionals.  Try acting like it.

And release the pictures and the video.  They belong to the People, and I severely doubt there is anything on them which would endager national security.

And finally, in answer to Diplomad's question, apparently not.

Finding and killing him were very hard.  Post mission messaging should have been the easy part.  The CIA and Armed Forces performed as expected (very well indeed), and so has the Office of the President (very poorly indeed). 

Update: 0bama has now announced (as part of his Sixty Minutes Interview) that he won't be releasing the post mortem photographs after all.  Frackwit.


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Comments (32)

I agree with with you, Rod... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I agree with with you, Rodney,(and Jay). Osama ´s compound was more transparent than the White House.

Osama bin Laden was public enemy number one, public being the operative word as well as enemy. The American people, the public, deserve better accounting. And if the adminsitration spin and hide their successes, think about how they must spin and hide their defeats?

I think I must have slipped... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

I think I must have slipped over to a parallel plane of existence...

Osama's remains disappeared... (Below threshold)

Osama's remains disappeared as fast as Barry's college grades upon a run for office.

I dont agree with releasing... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I dont agree with releasing the video. It may show operational aspects that we dont want the enemy to have.

Photos are fine. Video of funeral is fine. Video of operation should not see the light of day.

retired military, I would a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

retired military, I would acede to you, about military confidentiality, but considering what has happened? Should popcorn have been provided for those in the situation room too, who saw the live screening. Was Joe Biden offerring on- going advice to the field commandos "this is a big..f....deal, don´t screw up"?

I loved Carney saying "Osam... (Below threshold)

I loved Carney saying "Osama was washed, put in a shroud laid on a board and eased into the ocean". (paraphrasing except for the eased part) Anyone that has ever seen or been on an air craft carrier knows there is no easing into the ocean. Osama hit the ocean like a body hitting pavement. ww

The White House pols were h... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

The White House pols were hasty, far too hasty, to try to maximize anticipated gains for Obama. In their haste they have painted the picture of complete disarray within the White House on the subject of the operation.

Earlier today Tina was explaining to Jay that many of the people making the incorrect or misleading statements hadn't been in the Situation Room or had access to the video feed. That, of course, isn't even an excuse - it's a condemnation of the management structure in the White House. It's now obvious there is no leadership or discipline being exerted over the White House staff on this matter. That blame ultimately falls on Obama. All that haste and chest thumping reflects poorly on their boss.

retired military,T... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

retired military,

There's nothing particularly sensitive about urban and room clearance tactics. The FM's are publicly available and there are a lot of videos out there showing shoot room training as well.

Obscure the faces of the operators, but release the fracking video of the take down, and the photographs of the former terrorist.

"The White House pols were ... (Below threshold)

"The White House pols were hasty, far too hasty, to try to maximize anticipated gains for Obama."

Nailed it. But not surprising. After all; "It's ALL about BARRY, ALL the time!"

I'm a little surprised they haven't used the word "HISTORIC" in their adulation of Barry's decision making prowess.

Upset Old Guy @ 7,... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Upset Old Guy @ 7,

Indeed and well said.

You think this is disarray?... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

You think this is disarray?

Imagine for second if we didn't have Gates, Panetta and, yes, Clinton in the administration's higher echelons. In that event Team Obama would be akin to a group of drunken frat boys taking over a multi-national conglomerate.

Regarding the mixed messages issue of armed vs. not armed, human shield vs. no shield, it's obvious Team Obama is struggling to deal with the legal impact of what arguably could be deemed an illegal assassination. (I personally don't care one lick about the legal technicalities, but others might differ.)

Also keep in mind that if this exact same event had occurred while Bush was president you'd have Democrats calling for an immediate impeachment and removal and you'd have foreign governments calling for a war crimes prosecution. Not that any of that even is on the radar screen for Obama (for obvious reasons), but still it's a potential legacy issue for him down the road.

Obama gets maximum credit f... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Obama gets maximum credit for a gutsy decision to go into the compound with 25 armed to the teeth Seals, which neigbourhood kids were lobbying cricket balls over the wall..it was that type of neighborhood.

I wish the Cowboys could sigh up Bin Laden´s wife who tried to tackle one of the Seals. She didn´t make a business decison not to, that some NFL players make.

Tsar Nicholas II @ 11,... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Tsar Nicholas II @ 11,

In re your:

...it's obvious Team Obama is struggling to deal with the legal impact of what arguably could be deemed an illegal assassination.


Also keep in mind that if this exact same event had occurred while Bush was president you'd have Democrats calling for an immediate impeachment and removal and you'd have foreign governments calling for a war crimes prosecution.

Well, they accepted that possible outcome against 0bama when they pressed for it under Bush. The democrats lack of foresight coming back to bite them on the ass now strikes me as meet.

Back from the parallel univ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Back from the parallel universe now, I must say that our usual suspect has a very low bar (16 hours to reach a decision) for "gutsy" decision making.

Keystone Kops are in charge... (Below threshold)

Keystone Kops are in charge of the USA! Partisan, ideological, mean-spirited, duplicitous Keystone Kops. Bastards.

Steve -I agree - t... (Below threshold)

Steve -

I agree - this was the right thing to do. The problem is, Obama may not have made the decision - someone else might have.

Time will tell - but I noticed when he was walking away from the podium and throughout the speech his manner wasn't of someone who'd won any sort of victory, even as fleeting as winning a golf match. He wasn't happy, he didn't seem proud. His tone wasn't of someone reporting on a job well done, it sounded more like he was reporting on a problem or disaster.

Analysis Here and Here on that - and I'll be upfront and say I don't know how accurate it is - but I'm pretty sure from his past that Obama didn't make the decision here. It's just not like him to take an action which might blow up in his face.

Steve"Obama gets m... (Below threshold)
retired military:


"Obama gets maximum credit for a gutsy decision to go into the compound with 25 armed to the teeth Seals,'

What gutsy decision? By the time the operation went down you probably had 100 people know where Bin Laden was. The story would have leaked and then you would have had Obama as the president who let Bin Laden slip through his fingers. Gee Steve. It took guts to make that decision. The only question was going on ground or using missiles. Let one school kid die in an assault and the entire left is up in arms. I am suprised right now that NOW and GALS arent trying to sue the navy for shooting the woman that was by OBL.

And folks have to wonder ho... (Below threshold)
retired military:

And folks have to wonder how true this story may be.


Although looking at the other stories on the site credibility is called into doubt.

What is that last thing that went through OBL mind when he saw the navy Seals?

Two 7.62 MM rounds.

What a joke. Obama served ... (Below threshold)

What a joke. Obama served you ice cream, you call it shit.

Chico:Technically ... (Below threshold)
Tom Blogical:


Technically speaking, it was ice cream covered shit.

Nope, chico - I give him fu... (Below threshold)

Nope, chico - I give him full credit for staying out of the way while people who could make a decision actually did so.

Is that fair? I don't know - but it really looks like he wouldn't have given approval for something like this. (Bearing in mind that Obama NEVER takes a risky position or decision unless he sees an immediate benefit from it, and has no chance of backfire...)

There needs to be a coherent story, something along the lines of "At (date/time) we found out that OBL was at this place. Obama, upon being notified at (date/time/place), said (pounding fist on table) "Wax that fucker's ass, don't dick around, and don't fail." Having said such, he went for another round of golf until it was show-time."

Osama's dead. Yay! Obama made (or may not have made) the decision to do it. Yay or...well, yay anyway - since Osama is fish food at this point.

Chico:What a joke.... (Below threshold)
retired military:


:What a joke. Obama served you ice cream, you call it shit."

No that isnt what happened. Obama saved his ass by ordering the attack. If it had gotten out that he knew where OBL and had known for months than he would have been through.

This explains so many thing... (Below threshold)
The burial at sea was a lea... (Below threshold)

The burial at sea was a lead weight tied to his balls. Servicemen washed his body by pissing all over it before they kicked it overboard.

Thats just my personal little dream of the way it happened. I know its petty and crude,but its mine and I am keeping it.

As far as Obama being decisive about going after OBL, I just can't believe it. Nothing in his history or character leads me to believe that he did much more than nod his head after being told it was already happening or that when he gave the order months ago to go after OBL he believed they would actually do it.

Agency officials s... (Below threshold)
Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.
An intelligence official who was granted anonymity to discuss classified information said the closing of the bin Laden unit reflected a greater grasp of the organization. "Our understanding of Al Qaeda has greatly evolved from where it was in the late 1990's," the official said, but added, "There are still people who wake up every day with the job of trying to find bin Laden."
The two dozen staff members who worked at the station, which was named after Mr. Scheuer's son and was housed in leased offices near agency headquarters in northern Virginia, issued regular cables to the agency about Mr. bin Laden's growing abilities and his desire to strike American targets throughout the world.

Jim x,

You had 24 analyst that issued cables on the growing threat.
It much better to have the entire organization working on it on site. They mainstreamed the organization. The group had years under Clinton and could not stop 9/11 or other major AQ attacks. It true that when Intel stops things we never hear about it. however if they were such an invaluable resource something would have slipped out to keep the unit whole.

Rodney, I was being scarast... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Rodney, I was being scarastic about gutsy decision. This was probably the best place bin Laden could be for us, in raid of this nature .. isolated, in friendly territory in a leafy suburb where we had been training the recruits in a nearby miltary academy, I think the risk was about the same as a swat team going into a drug gang´s hide out in a ghetto or a motorcycle club, perahps less. They must have been watching that it probably wouldn´t be heavily defended by whom ... a couple of couriers and some women and children and bin laden was likely in poor health?

Steve Crickmore, ... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore,

Have you ever engaged in Close Quarter Combat, building clearing or any type of hostage rescue? It always highly fluid and dangerous there is never an easy entry. These are people who love IED, explosive vest and use women and children as shields.

Also if we wanted to just take him out a sniper would have done it.
SEALS would have taken him down if he was if he was unarmed and posed no threat.

hcddbz,While I agr... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:


While I agree in susbtance with your first paragraph, I must take exception to your second paragraph. Infiltrating and exfiltrating a sniper would have been tough. Furthermore, the SEALS would most certainly have taken him down, regardless of resistance and arms or the lack there of, if those were the orders they were given.

He was unarmed, but resiste... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

He was unarmed, but resisted, according to the latest reports. I hope his resitance was stronger than that Tawinese video. Don´t the Seals have some non lethal rubber bullets? Capturing him was not a priority. Eliminating him was the purpose of the mission. I assume they expected a stiffer resistance. In the next few days we will find out. For Obama's sake, I hope there were some enemy weapons found. I have heard nothing about their arsenal. Remember Bush and the WMD fiasco.

I'm grateful Obama was right to distrust the paypal Pakistan military, because some were close to Obama and likewise Obama was close to the miltary. From that deduction everything fell into place, neigbors, as it turns out.

Don´t the Seals ha... (Below threshold)
Don´t the Seals have some non lethal rubber bullets?


Yeah, because everybody knows the Navy SEALS are specially trained to use non-violent tactics.

In actuality Special Forces... (Below threshold)

In actuality Special Forces do have non lethal options. My point is if it was just kill with no capture there are a number of ways to do that without putting operators in harms way. You raid a compound you have options.
SEALS follow all legal orders.

Or Clinton and Waco.... (Below threshold)

Or Clinton and Waco.






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