Thursday, May 5, 2011

So What really Went Down in Abbottabod?

So What Really Went Down in Abbottabad?

Here’s what we know, I think. Osama Bin Laden, three other males, including a son, and a female were killed by Navy SEALS. The initial clues to tracking down the key courier were discovered and pursued during the Bush Administration, perhaps through enhanced interrogation. President Obama gave the final authorization for the Seals to go in. Both Bush and Obama deserve all the credit they get for the successful operation.

I don’t care if he was killed in a firefight. It doesn’t matter if he was unarmed reaching for a gun. I don’t even care if he was captured and then executed. If the Seals’ orders, express or implied, were to kill Osama in the raid (a kill mission), that’s fine with me. What matters is that Osama’s dead at the hands of the United States military. If he was on his knees begging for mercy, and then the fatal shots fired, then he would have faced the same dread as the 9/11 victims who could not even beg for mercy.

My preference would have been to provide him a helicopter ride to Ground Zero, soar to the height of the Twin Towers, and then push him off the helicopter into the abyss of a 1,727’ free fall to the ground, as did scores of the innocent victims on 9/11. That was never going to happen, so a bullet to the brain is a good substitute. Too bad the bullet wasn’t from one of the survivors of 9/11 or a family member of a deceased, but he’s dead, and that’s what matters.

That his two trusted couriers were killed with him is an added bonus. The death of a woman, originally identified as his wife, is unfortunate, but in most of the world, all the people in the compound would have been killed in the raid.

The United States sent a message to the world! Our military can strike anywhere, even in essence in a large military area. No matter how long it takes, American justice will prevail.

The problem though is that as seemingly every hour passes by, we learn that the initial reports were erroneous. The Obama Administration still can't get its story straight.

John Brennan, the President’s Homeland Security Assistant, told the public that Osama died in a shootout, holding a woman, his wife, as a human shield. She was killed as well. Thus, he died the death of a coward.

That was three days ago.

Two days ago, Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary said Osama was unarmed, but was resisting as the Seals were engaged in a firefight during the almost entire 40 minutes they were on the site.

Yesterday we found out that three of the males, including Osama, were unarmed, and that only one shot at the SEALS. He was quickly killed. Any firefight was short. According to Senator Feinstein, the Seals thought Osama was possibly reaching for a gun. The deceased woman was downstairs, perhaps the wife of one of the couriers. Osama’s young wife was shot in the leg as she came at the Seals.

Another claim is that the SEALS were scared he might be wearing a suicide vest. So why shoot him in the chest?

From the beginning, we were told that Osama was killed in front of his wife and 10, 12, 13(?) year old daughter. She claims that he was captured by the SEALS and then executed. Some of the survivors assert the SEALS also took an unknown male with them. So far, only perfunctory denials have been made.

Even if the traumatized daughter’s right, American justice triumphed. We call it justice, but this was vengeance.

Now we learn that the deceased shooter and his wife were in the detached guest house, and that he was quickly killed. And it’s back to Osama pushing his wife at the SEALS, while he appeared dazed and scared in the final minutes of his life.

Scared is good; he felt the pain of his thousands of victims.

We were first told that one SEAL fired both shots. Now we’ll told it was two SEALS, maybe. How about some ballistic tests?

Just today, one of the most intriguing facts emerged. The departing helicopters supposedly flew directly to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea. Osama’s body was quickly removed cleansed and purified, received the Islam equivalent of the last Rites, and then buried at sea – all before the world was notified of his death.

The distance from Abbottabad to the Arabian Sea is about 1,000 miles, and would require flying through India, Iranian, or long stretches of Pakistani airspace. This story does not make sense. What's next?

Clearly, initial reports can be confusing in the fog of war. Also, government can engage in disinformation in wartime. Some of it used to be called propaganda. For example, both Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch are heroes, but the initial Pentagon reports of her capture and injuries and his death were false. Sergeant Tillman, for example, did not die of enemy fire, but was a victim of friendly fire.

The problem for disinformation is that in today’s internet age with questioning reporters, the facts will often come out.

We are debating the role of Pakistan in hunting or protecting terrorists. Supposedly Pakistan was not informed of the raid in advance. So why did the Pakistan army and police respond slowly to the explosions and gunfire roughly 800 yards from their military academy and close to two regiments of soldiers? Was our electronics jamming devises that effective, or was a high level Pakistani officer blocking a response such that the helicopters could escape Pakistani territory? Is the secret in the helicopter’s tail, which is now in the hands of the Pakistanis? Was it really the tale of the courier, or did someone drop the dime and the courier is but a cover story?

Was the shooting legal or illegal? I don’t care. He’s dead and will never threaten America again.

Of course, much confusion exists in the fog of war, but the problem here is that the President and his major aides were watching the operation in real time with a video feed.

The military knew what it was doing. The politicians are blowing it. No excuse exists for Brennan’s initial false statements, followed by more misinformation by others, which cast doubt on the White House story and will fuel conspiracy theories.
Osama is dead by the SEALS. A simple, honest narrative would suffice for Americans.

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