“We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority”

Than Senator Barack Obama(D-IL) in 2008,

And we have a difficult situation in Pakistan. I believe that part of the reason we have a difficult situation is because we made a bad judgment going into Iraq in the first place when we hadn’t finished the job of hunting down bin Laden and crushing al Qaeda.

So what happened was we got distracted, we diverted resources, and ultimately bin Laden escaped, set up base camps in the mountains of Pakistan in the northwest provinces there. ( how Bush blew getting Bin Laden at Tora Bora)

They are now raiding our troops in Afghanistan, destabilizing the situation. They’re stronger now than at any time since 2001. And that’s why I think it’s so important for us to reverse course because that’s the central front on terrorism. They are plotting to kill Americans right now. As Secretary Gates, the Defense secretary, said, the war against terrorism began in that region, and that’s where it will end.

So part of the reason I think it’s so important for us to end the war in Iraq is to be able to get more troops into Afghanistan, put more pressure on the Afghan government to do what it needs to do, eliminate some of the drug trafficking that’s funding terrorism.

But I do believe that we have to change our policies with Pakistan. We can’t coddle, as we did, a dictator, give him billions of dollars, and then he’s making peace treaties with the Taliban and militants. What I have said is we’re going encourage democracy in Pakistan, expand our non-military aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants.

And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.

We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.

And so it goes, Detective Work on Courier Led to Breakthrough on Bin Laden

For nearly a decade, American military and intelligence forces had chased the specter of Bin Laden through Pakistan and Afghanistan, once coming agonizingly close and losing him in a pitched battle at Tora Bora, in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. As Obama administration officials described it, the real breakthrough came when they finally figured out the name and location of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, whom the Qaeda chief appeared to rely on to maintain contacts with the outside world.

Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated.

Still, it was not until August when they tracked him to the compound in Abbottabad, a medium-sized city about an hour’s drive north of Islamabad, the capital.

C.I.A. analysts spent the next several weeks examining satellite photos and intelligence reports to determine who might be living at the compound, and a senior administration official said that by September the C.I.A. had determined there was a “strong possibility” that Bin Laden himself was hiding there.

[  ]…At 8:20 that morning, Mr. Obama met with Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser; John O. Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser; and other senior aides in the Diplomatic Room at the White House. The president was traveling to Alabama later that morning to witness the damage from last week’s tornadoes. But first he had to sign off on the final plan to send intelligence operatives into the compound where the administration believed that Bin Laden was hiding.

Even after the president signed the formal orders authorizing the raid, Mr. Obama chose to keep Pakistan’s government in the dark about the operation.

Location of Abbottabad via Google

I’ve already read and you can bet we’ll hear more from the Right by way of wishful thinking that illegal and immoral torture lead to revealing the courier’s name. Thus far there is no proof that is the case. This NYT piece says “detainees”. Which if that is the case means they had multiple corroborating informants. The NYT is also reporting the military gave Bin Laden a sea burial. A smart move considering how a land burial would become a kind of shrine for other psycho terrorists.

Contrary to some reports Danger Romm is reporting that there may have been some Pakistani assistance. The NYT and the President says that only US forces were involved in the actual raid. So if there was Pakistani it was likely more in the way of intelligence sharing than actual boots on the ground help. As DR there are lots of reports being filed and more details are being added literally by the hour.

What does killing Bin laden mean in the grand scheme of Islamic radicals and terrorism. A couple of the print and braodcast anlyst have claimed that it might mean very little in the long haul. I’m only a medium level chess player, but in terms of the pych ops battle, taking out an oponents more powerful pieces can have profound affects on their momentum. While there might be some retalitory acts in the next few months, the military and the commander-inchief have madea decisive impact on the over-all momentum. My personal theory as to why President Obama and SecDef Gates were seemed to be so obsessed with Afghanistan was because of Bin Laden and because of Pakistan, rather than Afghanistan itself. Afghanistan has no real tactical value in battling terrorism. On the other hand Pakistan has nukes and a sizable portion of the population, especially in the north, has sympathies with the fundamentalist radicals. Now that one of the symbols that inspired that radicalism is gone that might mean Obama can start to draw down forces – a mission largely accomplished moment. All wars eventually have to enter the end of military action phase and the beginning of largely political solutions. Bin Laden’s death gives the president that defining moment for the political phase to begin. Whether he sees it that way or will seize the moment is another matter.

Obama was gracious enough to give Bush some credit, yet another reaching out moment which will not be returned in kind. The battle to see who deserves credit has already begun, Fox News’ Bret Baier Helps Divert Credit For Bin Laden’s Death Away From Obama To George W. Bush

Bret Baier hosted a lengthy special report on the death of Osama Bin Laden late last night/this morning in which he seemed to be doing his best to make sure that President Barack Obama didn’t get too much credit for doing what President George W. Bush had failed to do: hunting down and killing Bin Laden. First, Baier offered no challenge as Bush’s former chief of staff, Andy Card, repeatedly suggested that Obama owed at least part of his success to Bush’s efforts. Then, while talking to a Democrat, Baier said, “Obviously, this is a bi-partisan win.”

Predictably, Card offered faint praise to Obama for the accomplishment. Card said we owe a great debt of gratitude to our military and intelligence community. He added, “I also really praise the resolve that President Bush had and also the resolve that President Obama demonstrated.”

Would that be the same resolve President Bush demonstrated when he said in 2002, “I truly am not that concerned about (Bin Laden)?” The L.A. Times reported,

“I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country,” Bush continued. “I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his Al Qaeda killers anymore.”

Or how about Bush saying in 2006 that capturing Bin Laden is “not a top priority use of American resources?”

After 9-11 Bush and his right-wing sycophants made it their crusade to deflect any blame from themselves and to direct blame towards President Clinton. Even though the Bushies were clearly bordered on criminal negligence in their national security policy – ignoring several warning signs. BushCo and their supporters have never apologized for their utter incompetence or admitted their mistakes and now, two and half years into the Obama presidency, they want credit after a a series of failures of historic and deeply tragic proportions. These are the same people who want to hold Democrats responsible for Republicans trashing the economy, the same wing-nuts who sent over four thousand Americans to their deaths and spent over a trillion dollars in exchange for the death of Saddam Hussein – VP Dick Cheney’s buddy in the oil business.  Bin Laden’s death is a victory for the CIA, Special Forces and the current commander-in-chief. If the Right wants to try and scrape off some credit for themselves, well, they can always be expected to live down to the lowest expectations.

We Have a Revenue Problem Not a Spending Problem, Congressional Budget Office report traces deficit back to 2001

Tax cuts, wars, recessions and spending are the primary culprits in the current U.S. budget deficit mess, analyses of Congressional Budget Office data show.

The Washington Post reported Sunday the United States went from projected annual surpluses in January 2001 that the CBO said would have wiped out the nation’s debt within several years to owing more than $14 trillion with trillions more on the horizon because of choices made by both Republican and Democratic political leaders.

The Post said while polls show most Americans blame wasteful federal programs for the red ink, routine bumps in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the problem.

Two recessions torpedoed the stream of income tax revenues that had the government on solid footing. The combination of tax cuts under President George W. Bush and President Obama and recessionary losses totaled about $6.3 trillion in revenues that never appeared, the review of CBO data shows.

Bush administration spending decisions added 12 percent and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan piled on $1.3 trillion, the Post said.

The addition of a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients under Bush added another $272 billion while Obama’s economic stimulus contributed $719 billion, or 6 percent of the total shift, the analysis of CBO data by the non-profit Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative found.

A separate Washington Post analysis of CBO information found the Obama administration policies added a total of $1.7 trillion. Bush-era policies account for more than $7 trillion, the Post review found.

President Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, told the Post the best idea for the surplus would have been a reinforcement of Social Security, but the idea of reducing taxes was very appealing.

“The problem was a whole other part of the political spectrum wanted to use the surplus for tax cuts,” Rubin said. “They said they wanted to give the people back their money. Of course, it was also the people’s debt.”

OK, we have a belief in voodoo economics by the Zombie party that refuses to die despite this being the second great recession those policies have wrought and a revenue problem associated with the same zombies. If they can’t figure out the cause of our problems how in the world can America trust Republicans zombies to fix our problems.