Osama Bin Laden Open Thread

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Terrorism

He’s dead.

Discuss.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2011 and is filed under Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses to “Osama Bin Laden Open Thread”

  1. WHQ Says:

    I like the brevity of the post. I’d even go as far as to shorten to “He dead.” Grammar be damned.

    I’d be curious to know what others think about the importance of his death from a national security standpoint. It’s important politically, and emotionally/psychologically to many on a personal level, but I have a hard time figuring out how much the guy mattered to our security after the years that have passed and everything that’s happened over the course of that time, including recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. How relevant was this single man’s continued respiration to future events?

  2. kranky kritter Says:

    Dirka-dirka, BITCH!

  3. WHQ Says:

    Thanks for sending me off to Urban Dictionary, kk.

  4. Becca Sickbert Says:

    I don’t really see how this helps us, except for the symbolic value and the emotional justice for 9-11 victims. Assassinations always make me uneasy; they’re jingoistic and assume that taking out one guy is going to make a huge difference.

    However, Vanda Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institute argues that the bin Laden operation will strengthen our position in negotiating with the Taliban. Here’s hoping that’s the case.
    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0502_bin_laden_afghanistan_felbabbrown.aspx

    In the meantime, here in Colorado Springs, Ft. Carson is on heightened alert “as a result of the fatal attack on Osama Bin Laden and possible retaliatory threats.”
    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_17974305?source=rss

  5. kranky kritter Says:

    Seriously, you haven’t seen team america world police? What better way is there to celebrate. Comic brilliance.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    I’d be curious to know what others think about the importance of his death from a national security standpoint.

    Folks will argue this at length, insisting that it must mean either a tremendous amount, or almost nothing. The answer, of course, is that it means both.

    In concrete terms, he’s one guy. The fight remains the same for all who remain. And so on.

    But perception matters. A tremendous amount. This is a moment in which Americans can take great solace and substantial satisfaction. Nothing will EVER say “up yours” to fundamentalist muslim terrorists than this. They’ll fall back on the story that he’s a martyr, a hero, and an ongoing inspiration. But he’s D-E-D dead.

    Emotionally, it’s a huge tally mark in the “W” column for America, and a huge tally mark in the “L” column for the dirka-stanians. That can’t be credibly denied.

    Future events are something we all wonder about. What momentous times these are. Within a decade of the fall of the WTC, we’ve seen:

    • invasion of Afghanistan w/ongoing operations possibly towards democracy

    • invasion of Iraq with establishment of constitutional democracy

    • 2 autocratic middle eastern regimes overthrown, one (Libya) on the precipice, substantial unrest in at least 3 or 4 others, and rumblings nearly everywhere

    Suppose for a minute we stay away from giving credit and blame. Just take a moment to marvel at the global series of events that were set in motion by the thrust and parry of Osama Bin Laden and George Bush. It’s absolutely astonishing, and would have seemed fantastical on September 10, 2001.

    Just under a decade later, and less than 3 years since America’s economy flatlined, the story of democracy is that everybody wants some. As Charlie Sheen would say, “Duh . . . winning.”

  7. Gerryf Says:

    First Obama releases his birth certificate removing any doubt he is president, and now this? the right is going to need some more bogey-men…

    Seriously, BIn Laden had become a symbol and killing him was a symbolic victory.

    ’nuff said

  8. Hackett Says:

    From a person who has spent time with troops who sacrificed the past ten years in Afghanistan, this is a major accomplishment. Does this mean that work overseas is over? I hope not. I hope we’re smart enough to have learned from our mistakes. Many of the troops are building not killing.

  9. Tully Says:

    He dead. Good riddance. Zawahiri next. (Snark: I wanna see the long-form death certificate!)

    The burial at sea will spawn conspiracy theories. So would any other method of disposal. On the whole, a good move, IMHO. Given the professionalism of our military, it’s likely too much to hope they slathered him in hog’s lard before kicking him over the side for the sharks. A bullet to the head is too kind, yet still quite sufficient.

    Tracked down as a result of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on seized AQ people in overseas prisons. Heh.

    Message: If you piss us off that much, we will get you no matter what it takes.

  10. michael mcEachran Says:

    Game changer. Perhaps not overtly, but in the long run, the perception that the US is relentless, and unflappable in pursuit of justice, gives us the upper hand. OBL stated that he was emboldened by the US’s propensity to retreat or equivocate when the going got tough – Iran / Carter, Lebanon / Regan, etc. Our only way out is to outlast and erradicate.

    How ’bout them Navy Seals, huh? Damn proud!!!!

  11. terry Says:

    I understand the Us has photographs they are considering releasing. I think they are currently being very smart not to – the goal is to take those in the middle – who agree with some of what al-Qaeda stands for, and deflame them. To prop up photos or his body would result in the opposite. I have to say, I think a different administration would have enjoyed inflaming. I hope we finally turn to being the better ‘person’ on this (although personally, I have written elsewhere that I would have loved for his body to go on tour so we all have a chance to spit on him personally).

    He is a symbol, the fact is he was able to construct a decentralized movement leveraged by advanced communication (the internet, etc) from highly remote and analog processes. And it ‘beat’ us for a long time. I do not expect that system to go away, and I am curious how it will evolve over time.

    We will only win this when the rug is pulled from under their feet, not through the cutting off of their heads. It’s ironic that the revolutions in the arabic world recently are not only out of our control, but we have been on the wrong side of the solution to this mess for such a long time. But a new arabic world is emerging, and those without voices will be able to speak for the first time. Sadly, they will not be using the United States as a model for their new-found freedoms. I am endlessly curious to were they will look.

  12. Loviatar Says:

    Tull,

    I know you and the torture apologist are well down your path of claiming that torture was responsible for the killing of Osama, but before you get too far you might want to read this:

    Rumsfeld: Bin Laden Info From Gitmo Detainees Was Not Obtained Through ‘Harsh Treatment’ Or ‘Waterboarding’

    or this

    Republicans say torture led U.S. to bin Laden. Facts say otherwise.

    So while you and your buddies run around pumping your fist yelling woo hoo, I happen to agree with the following two blog authors ( my paraphrasing)

    Kevin Drum, I was against it before and I’m against it now.

    J.L. Wall, It wasn’t worth if for what it has done to our country.

  13. hazel Says:

    Sure its true the Al queda will have their revenge somehow and the question is when will they strike? and where? I sure hope that the terrorist group died with OBL.

  14. Jim S Says:

    Those who want to believe in Bin Laden have for years been able to claim that the U.S. is powerless, unable to even hunt down one man. Now that narrative falls apart. Those who oppose them can point out that the U.S. never quit, never gave up. It took almost ten years, but Bin Laden was found and killed. Who knows how that will play out in the arguments in the Muslim world? I don’t think anyone knows for sure. But when you combine it with Tunisia, Egypt and ongoing efforts on the parts of the people in other countries that give the lie to Al Qaeda’s philosophy of violence in the name of Islam and Islamic government being the only answer.

  15. Tully Says:

    Here’s hoping, Jim. I majorly agree with that.

    I just hope no one expects the resulting new governments to look anything like what our government would prefer. But for most of them there’s still a lot of room for improvement from their previous regimes. Hopefully they will manage to do what democratically suits them, without that spilling over on the rest of us. In real-world impact, any one of those revolutions means a lot more than UBL’s death.

    I’ve been skeptical he was actually still alive for years, but milintel said I was wrong so I didn’t place any bets. Well, they were right and I was wrong. Bottom line is he’s dead now, that’s good for the U.S. in many many ways, and they pulled it off in a way that didn’t leave relics and such for the martyr-seeking crowd. (Usually you’re seeing a man feed fishes to the seals. This time …)

    Major plus for the sagging admin popularity rating. Would be smart to spread the applause to promote “Unity” theme of campaign. In any case, major plus. Poking around the blogosphere I see many trying to hog credit to one or the other admin. Hey, joint ongoing effort with consistent common purpose despite very different admins, and nothing succeeds like success. Plus both foreign and domestic.

    The failed 1980 mission to rescue the American hostages in Iran was the direct inspiration for the birth of SEAL Team Six. I’d say that three decades of planning really paid off., and there’s no better evidence that we do learn from our mistakes, given enough time. Also that you really really really don’t want to get on the back side of SEAL Team Six.

  16. Tillyosu Says:

    This is terrific news. But honestly, I think the bigger story here is…WTF was Pakistan doing for ten years? I mean, the most wanted criminal in the world was living in a huge compound, in a posh neighborhood just an hour outside of Islamabad, and we’re supposed to believe the “Oh my goodness I had no idea!” routine? Bullshite.

    I think our stance towards Pakistan is due for a serious reexamination. I only hope that the dems and repubs can have an honest and sober conversation about it without demagoguing the issue.

  17. Word Says:

    Kudos Mr. President.

    Great Job. Im impressed…..You deserve many victory laps.

    Good work. I am glad you took the steps to do what you did to nail this bastage.

    Now……

    STOP your insane fiscal policies. Stop the madness…..Stop giving unions blow jobs and get America back to work.

    Inflation is 10 percent……..Unemployment is 20 percent…….Companies are terrified to hire.

    Food prices are escalating out of control….Gasoline will bring this nation into a second recession.

    OUR misery index under CARTER was 30 percent…….Under Obama its 30 percent………Carter was a one term president……..

    Stop the madness you moron and create policies that put Americans back to work……..

    Stop this progressive madness…….or not.

    In 2012 you think 2010 was a bad election cycle for Progressives/Democrats>??

    You ain’t seen nothing yet if you keep up these insane, stupid, fiscally failed policies.

    Kudos as commander in chief………..Your a nitwit when it comes to the economy.

  18. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Word:
    Inflation is 2.68%. Unemployment is 9.2%. The misery index is high by historic standards, but lower then it was in 1984 when Reagan got re-elected, and lower then Reagan’s average.

    As for a retaliation attack:
    It’s possible, but I wouldn’t worry about AQ attacks tomorrow any more then I was worried about them on Friday. The big ones take years to plan, so their next big one is already in the works. They may call it retaliation if it goes off, but it won’t be.

    The little ones are attacks of opportunity — they find a guy whose willing to blow up his shoes or underwear and send him to the US on a plane.

    So it’s possible they’ll get a guy who really loved Osama, but IMO it’s not likely, and even if they do the Shoe Bomber-type attack he’ll try doesn’t have me shaking n my boots.

  19. Mike A. Says:

    “Stop the madness you moron and create policies that put Americans back to work……..”

    Yes because it’s the policies over the last 2 years that created the job situation we’re experiencing now. The last 20 years of moving industry offshore was rolled out by non-morons.

  20. Jane Cooper Says:

    Finally!!! I wonder why we have waited so long for it?

  21. theWord Says:

    It may have been a Word but it was certainly not theWord… It was Palinesque.

  22. mdgeorge Says:

    Such conflicting emotions for me. It is good to see that the victims of 9/11 can collectively let out their breath, and this seems to be in some sense the end of an era for them. As someone who wasn’t really a direct or indirect victim, it is hard for me to share their emotions, but I understand that it is important. Yet it also saddens me to see people rejoicing in an assassination. This seems to be an abdication of justice, rather than it’s fulfillment.

    It also makes me examine my own beliefs about the effectiveness of both torture and war for attacking Al-Qaieda, although from the initial reports make me feel cautiously vindicated – it seems that this was more a result of intelligence and targeted police-style action (although carried out by military special forces), and the intelligence doesn’t seem to have resulted from torture. I hope for more details about this to come out, but I doubt they will.

    The event in itself seems to me to have little impact on the world. I don’t think Al-Qaieda is really the scary bogeyman that it is portrayed as, and to the extent that they are dangerous, I think this neither helps nor harms. However, a lot of the “war on terror” is about symbolism, and I think harmful and misguided symbolism, so perhaps this event will give us an opportunity to re-examine that symbolism. I think re-raising the question of why we continue to occupy Afghanistan is healthy, I think we’ve gotten it wrong thus far, and maybe now we’ll get it right.

    I think it’s good that Bin-Laden died a largely irrelevant figure. He seems to be universally hated by all but a small fringe. He was summarily ignored by the recent revolts in the middle east, despite seemingly similar goals (ouster of the regimes).

    Overall, I think the conflicted emotions that many of us feel is a reflection of the strange and complicated times in which we live.

  23. mdgeorge Says:

    One more comment: a lot of the discussion surrounding this event has been just the same political back-and-forth meat-grinder that our society seems to interpret every event through. That saddens and sickens me.

    We need nuance and reflection, not petty professional argument. One of the reasons that I like this blog is that it seems to provide that more often than not (comments in this thread by Word, Mike A, and theWord notwithstanding).

  24. theWord Says:

    @md- You might want to look up the word irony.

  25. gerryf Says:

    As the days have gone on, I’m going to say something that I am not sure I ever expected to say: I am embarrassed at the way the left has handled this.

    I think that Obama has handled things OK (despite criticisms from the right), but I’ve heard an awful lot of nonsense from the Senators and Reps as well as talking heads on the left.

    I don’t know if the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” had anything to do with the operation that led to the firefight that resulted in Osama Bin Laden’s death–I tend to think nothing at all or very little–but to completely dismiss the previous administration’s contribution is ignorance.

    Everything that has happened since 9-11 has contributed in some way–starting with Bush’s decision to enter into Afghanistan in pursuit of Bin Laden in the first place. Whatever else I may think of the Bush Administration, that was the right decision and it removed a safe haven for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

    I think a lot of people on the left side of the aisle–my side–forget what it was like at that time. It was a very fuzzy situation and going into a sovereign country in pursuit of Bin Laden was not an easy decision. People might say it was just Bush and cowboy diplomacy, but imagine for a moment–what if the intelligence had been wrong on that?

    I think we can all debate the merits of what happened after the Taliban was routed and Bush turned his attention to Iraq, but how they began the pursuit of Bin Laden was a gutsy, but correct move.

    Furthermore, the Bush Administration’s endless pursuit of Bin Laden forced him and Al Qaeda to lay low these many years and even if he didn’t catch him, Bin Laden had been successfully marginalized. Bin Laden may not have been caught, but he was essentially a prisoner in his own compound. His communication with his followers was sporadic and Al Qaeda has been unorganized, unable to mount another serious attack.

    That counts for something–a significant something.

    Bush had every right to be at Ground Zero today. It actually saddens me that he felt he could not be there. I don’t know if Bush really feels that Obama was using this as a trophy moment, or if that is just the rightwing wind machine.

    I have no use for Cheney or Rumsfeld, but Bush has handled his “retirement” with a quiet dignity while the left has vilified him and much of the right has turned his back on him. He made some mistakes (big ones I would argue), but his presidency was one of the most trying times our nation has ever seen.

    I don’t know how history will judge the Bush presidency decades from now, but I do know for now at least that both the left and right who have made this into political hay should just shut the heck up.

  26. Word Says:

    Buh…buh…buh…Bush.

    The government stopped counting fuel prices and food prices when calculating inflation.

    Yet both are going thru the roof. No one knows what the real inflation is anymore because if something goes up in price……they simply replace it with something that didnt go up in price.

    For example if cigarettes go up in price but cigars dont then they weight the index with more cigars and less cigarettes. Health care costs are not counted and yet they are escalating out of control.

    YOu are being lied to. Repeatedly. Inflation is well over 10 percent and many people in the know believe its probably 15 percent. Unemployment is 9 percent but that is at least 2-3 percent low because of accounting methods.

    Its not rocket science. One merely has to simply just go to the gas station….Doctors office…….or grocery store.

    Oil prices just plummeted because everyone around the world is looking at enemic economic data and anticipating a double dip recession. China’s economy is drastically slowing.

    The fed does not reveal anything it does, keeps its books hidden and manipulates money as it sees fit in order to keep this house of cards balanced on the tip of a pencil while a hurricane wind is blowing just round the corner.

    and the left then shouts…..buh…buh…butt Bush.

  27. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Word
    The government has not stopped counting food or fuel prices when it measures inflation. It counts Health Care.

    I’d argue the unemployment rate is understated for a variety of reasons, but that understatement isn’t really new. It’s not like nobody dropped out of the work-force in Reagan’s day. To fairly compare Obama and those past guys you have to use the official numbers.

  28. Word Says:

    Mr. Benjamin.

    Gas (piped) and electricity has been presented as Energy services in Table A of the CPI News Release since August 2009. At that time, the format text of the News Release was updated to focus on Food, Energy, and All items less food and energy instead of the major groups (Food, Housing, Apparel, Transportation, Medical care, Education and communication, Recreation, and Other goods and services). The title will be changed in the remainder of the publication tables in January 2011 to improve consistency.

    FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals, snacks)

    So tell me Mr. Benjamin…….do you only eat cereal….milk….coffee…..chicken….wine…snacks and eat out all the time?

    People need to realize that the CPI and the measurement of inflation is a shell game used on us to keep the mindset of the populace in compliance with government dictates.

    MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians’ services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services) ……….but NOT premiums which are skyrocketing and which can then be used as a major offset to the actual prices being paid by CONSUMERS…….

    Open your eyes people….we have a fed that manipulates money….we have other federal agencies that manipulate the CPI to try and convince Americans that all is well…….depending upon who is in the White House….who is in charge.

    And I dont care how high inflation was during Reagan or Carter or George Washington………..I care about it today and the facts that 90 percent of the food we buy is not even counted in the CPI should be of concern……

    That is of course unless your a FAN BOI of Obama and the Democrats….in which case its simply……..

    BUH>>>BUH>>>>BUH BUSH OR REAGAN OR ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

  29. gerryf Says:

    First, what does this have to do with Bin Laden?

    Second, if this is just another Democrats are bad screed, where were you when this was going on under Bush? Or was it all Clinton’s fault?

    Third, just out of curiousity, is your interest because you are a senior citizen living on a fixed income whose COLA increases are predicated on this calculation of the CPI, or are you another one of those hyperinflation nuts who is just ticked off because none of your “end is nigh” lamentations have come true?

    I actually do not disagree with your basic premise–that the calculations used to determine CPI have changed.

    There has been a very clear attempt by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics over the years to move away from CPI as a reflection of a cost of goods index to a cost of living index (which is arguably a bad thing for people depending on Social Security, for example).

    The problem is you are presenting this as an evil democrat thing (or seem to be), when you ignore the shennigans of the right. I mean, seriously, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars not on the books…really?

    If you are just going to be another Faux News regurgitator, people are just going to ignore you.

  30. Word Says:

    How do you know where the He double ll OH I was during Bush?

    Fan BOI.

    Do you know what a fan boi is? Its someone who raves about their favorite game or celebrity who can do no wrong.

    If their favorite game or celebrity or politician comes under any criticism they rant and rave and attack what they perceive is the attackers FAN BOI groupies.

    If I attack Everquest…….they attack World of War craft. If I attack Obama they attack Bush or Reagan.

    Dudes…..Im a young, college educated, eyes wide open person who believes both parties are inept, liars, thieves and cheats. Our government is nothing but an entity unto itself. Self perpetuating and self gratifying in order to keep feeding the beast.

    I am not a communist nor a socialist and certainly not a libertarian. I am someone who looks at our government spending trillions we dont have under every president….under every congress……all ranting and raving about the other side and all the while soaking in offshore money from pacs and laughing at us poor people who cant find a fuking job.

    Old person? COLA? Are you kidding me….I just graduated with a masters in Education and cannot find a job in the 6 states I have looked in in the last year.

    To be fair though a hiring Fair was willing to give me a job in Barrow Alaska. I only had to take a couple suitcases…fly in on a puddle jumper and live in a house they provided. Sweet….oh wait…they took someone else…it seems this year………3000 people applied for 3 jobs in Point Barrow Alaska.

    Of course this is all the Republicans fault when democrats are in office. Or it would be all Democrats fault when Republicans are in office…….

    I……..for one……..Dont give a flying Fuk whose fault it is……..I want a job…….I spent 6 years in college……..44,000 dollars in student loans and I have NOTHING……I am actually delivering newspapers and I have a lead on PAINTING HOUSES………

    Super…..Fuk the democrats……fuk the republicans…..but at least Ramen Noodles are still a buck eighty for 12…..I can at least eat those until Ramen decides hell they can raise their prices too………

    Everyone else is.

  31. Julia Says:

    there are still lots of things the government and the rest of the world needs to reassure that he is really dead this is not just a simple as that. OBL is dead!! But there are lots of things that we need to prove that. The question is how many times has he been announced dead right?

  32. Aaron Says:

    The first lesson of debate class is to discuss and debate an idea, not your debate partner. If you need to resort to personal insults, then your argument isn’t strong enough. Similar goes to if you must resort to expletives.

  33. kranky kritter Says:

    Sorry for digging into the off-topic veer but it’s worth examining. I’m taslking about inflation and unemployment as word and nick have spatted about, etc.

    I’d argue the unemployment rate is understated for a variety of reasons, but that understatement isn’t really new. It’s not like nobody dropped out of the work-force in Reagan’s day. To fairly compare Obama and those past guys you have to use the official numbers.

    Boy do I ever NOT care about unemployment or inflation in the context of comparing Obama’s performance to other Presidents. I care about them in the context of the realities we face right now.

    The reality about jobs is that there are far too few of them. The official unemployment rate grossly understates the percent of American adults that want a job and could really do a job but don’t have one. Any reasonable discussion of jobs must acknowledge that this amounts to somewhere between 1 in 5 and 1 in 6 Americans.

    The reality about inflation is that broad vague averages about prices grossly understate the budget challenges that everyday folks are facing these days. As we know, healthcare continues to rise way faster than wages. Anyone who doesn’t live in 6-figure income household is quite familiar with this. Now, let’s head a bit further down the income ladder to the median income. That’s the income at which half of Americans are above and half are below. That figure is about 50k annually, give or take.

    At this income rate, folks don’t have very much (if any) disposable income left after paying for housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. For these folks, substantial hikes in these core necessity areas are very difficult to manage. Now, on the way home, I heard a radio report that food prices are up 20% in the past year. As we know, gas is up, what, 20 or 30% in the past year or so, jumping roughly from $3 to $4.

    Do the math for a family of four living at median income and it’s not a pretty picture. It’s quite ugly. Essentially we are talking about a family that after taxes has income of maybe $3000-$3500 a month or a little more if they have their withholding done right. At least a third will go for housing, leaving $2000. If they are paying a quarter of their family healthcare plan, that’s another $300, leaving $1700. If they fill the tank 6 times a month, thats another $300, leaving $1400. If they spent $125 a week on groceries, that’s another $500, leaving $900. Budget another $200 for electricity, phone, internet, cheap cable, and you’re down to $700. That’sless than $200 per week for everything else: clothes, gifts, emergencies, co-pays, and so on.

    You can quarrel with any of these gross ballpark numbers, but not with the ruthless overall picture they paint. If food and gas have gone up 20% in the last year, then real inflation for families like this is a hell of a lot more that a couple points. It’s preposterous to give any weight at all to a low overall inflation figure when food and gas have gone up so much. That dog won’t hunt.

  34. Tully Says:

    To fairly compare Obama and those past guys you have to use the official numbers.

    Echo what KK said, and then some. If the “official numbers” for inflation and/or unemployment are not being calculated in the same way today as they were in say 1979 or 1983 or 1992 — AND THEY ARE NOT — then comparing them across those spans is a case of apples and oranges.

    Anyone who does their own food shopping has noticed that over the last couple of years bacon has doubled in price, milk gone up over 50%, and so on. Not to mention energy prices … and yes, we’ve noticed the administration has been doing their damndest to prevent new energy production in the U.S. while claiming to do otherwise. Sure, some things have gotten better and cheaper, but as someone famously remarked to Wm. Dudley recently, “I can’t eat an iPad.”

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