Osama Bin Laden’s death by Seal Team 6 with a Democratic commander-in-chief at the helm is generally good news. Most Americans think so anyway. Ironically for that portion of the population that uses blood as a measure of any national security successes, Bin Laden’s death is, chose one or more: 1) Not really due to President Obama and his national security team, which included reviving the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, that Bush dismantled in 2005. Bin Laden’s death is really all due to Bush 43. 2) President Obama does not deserve credit because he is some how making too much political hay out of it or the reverse, Obama is not jumping up and down and sanging Who let the Dawgs Out while making the announcement. 3) Bin laden was found due to torture and since Obama stopped torture he doesn’t deserve credit. No facts, nada facts, no dates or names or supporting documentation is offered for this one, you just have to believe. It is the revival of national security, law breaking and morality as a kind of religion onto itself argument. Bush said ‘We Don’t Torture’. So we do not torture, but torture works or torture does not work, but we do it anyway or torture is fun because Rush Limbaugh said so while on oxycontin. Some of the reasons for not being a knee jerk conservative zealot is that you do not have to keep track of all the falsehoods and contradicting arguments and counter-counter factuals that can cause nauseating migraines. 4) OK President Obama and Special Forces killed Bin Laden but liberals are not gloating enough so it does not really count as an accomplishment. So if liberals and progressives feel torn right now it is because you have the you’re exploiting this while thing conservatives pulling one way and you’re not cheering enough conservatives pulling you in the opposite direction. Note this confirms the merits of the long-standing liberal tradition of listening to conservatives, but ignoring what they try to pass off as serious and substantive. 5) Big deal, liberals got the planner of the 9-11 attacks. Its nothing but empty symbolism. Things of great symbolic importance are only important when and if Republicans approve. In other words conservatives admit Democrats are just Gladiators and all Republicans are Caesar. 6) President Obama does not deserve any credit because according to unnamed sources in a British tabloid Obama took too long to decide. This is from the same people who used evidence from a single source named “curveball” as a lynchpin in their evidence to send over four thousand Americans to their deaths. The Right hates anyone who thinks with their brain instead of their gut.
In regards to making the decision to send in a Seal Team CIA Director Leon Panetta gets into some of the history of acting rashly and why it might be a bad idea. This acting from rashly from gut instinct versus giving some thought to one’s actions is one of the defining differences between the Right and normal people, CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, ‘Impressive’ Intel
Panetta wanted to get those aides’ opinions on the potential bin Laden mission, and he quickly found a lack of unanimity among his team. Some of the aides had been involved in the Carter Administration’s effort to go after the hostages held by the Iranians 30 years ago; others had been involved in the ill-fated “Black Hawk Down” raid against Somali warlords in 1993. “What if you go down and you’re in a firefight and the Pakistanis show up and start firing?” Panetta says some worried. “How do you fight your way out?”
But Panetta concluded that the evidence was strong enough to risk the raid, despite the fact that his aides were only 60%-80% confident that bin Laden was there, and decided to make his case to the President. At the key Thursday meeting in which President Obama heard the arguments from his top aides on whether or not to go into Pakistan to kill or capture bin Laden, Panetta admitted that the evidence of bin Laden’s presence at the compound was circumstantial. But “when you put it all together,” Panetta says he told the room, “we have the best evidence since [the 2001 battle of] Tora Bora [where bin Laden was last seen], and that then makes it clear that we have an obligation to act.”
Obama decided that Panetta’s arguments trumped two other options: striking the compound remotely or waiting until more evidence was available to prove bin Laden was there. “If I thought delaying this could in fact produce better intelligence, that would be one thing,” Panetta says he argued, “but because of the nature of the security at the compound, we’re probably at a point where we’ve got the best intelligence we can get.”
In addition to the Special Forces option the CIA and White House staff considered a high-altitude launching “direct shot” with cruise missiles or a bombing raid from B-2 bombers. These options had obvious advantages and down sides. Special Forces could be another “Blackhawk down”, missiles would cause a considerable amount of collateral damage and it would be very difficult to confirm the kill was in fact Bin laden. The same would be true of a B-52 attack. Not the Right, but normal people would pause and consider these factors. The Telegraph story quotes none of these considerations, only reporting it all as political squabbling in the White House, so like Fox News they reported bits and pieces with a lot of rightie spin.
In the same story Panetta also debunks another myth spread by Pamela Harpy Gellar that the military and CIA actually committed treason, launching the attack over Obama’s objections. “He(Obama) told him(Panetta) the mission was “to go in there [and] get bin Laden, and if bin Laden isn’t there, get the hell out!”
It might be years, as in 20 to 50, before we get some redacted CIA documents release that confirms when, where and how torture was used and whether it led to any real victories. In the mean time there is some strong circumstantial evidence against the torture meme and none for. Former Republican Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirms: Waterboarding did not net intelligence that led to bin Laden
Dick Cheney said today that “it wouldn’t be surprising” the intel came from Bush’s torture program. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest that the detainees that provided the information that led to bin Laden were subject to torture. And Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who presumably has some knowledge about what went on at Gitmo, today threw some cold water on this theory:
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
Admittedly a rough day when you have to choose between Dick Pathological Liar Cheney and Donald “Abu Ghraib” Rumsfeld. The NYT does its usual job of taking a kid-gloves approach to even questioning the legality of torture, but they do report this, Bin Laden Raid Revives Debate on Value of Torture
Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002, said in a phone interview Tuesday, that coercive techniques “didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information.” He said that while some of his colleagues defended the measures, “everyone was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.”
Obama administration officials, intent on celebrating Monday’s successful raid, have tried to avoid reigniting a partisan battle over torture.
“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council. “It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that Bin Laden was likely to be living there.”
From the moment the first Qaeda suspects were captured, interrogators at both the military’s prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the C.I.A.’s secret prisons were focused on identifying Qaeda members who served as couriers.
“We knew that it was likely that if we were ever to get Osama bin Laden, it would be because we somehow came upon somebody closely associated with him that he trusted,” said Charles D. Stimson, the top Pentagon official on detainee affairs from 2004 to 2007.
In 2002 and 2003, interrogators first heard about a Qaeda courier who used the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, but his name was just one tidbit in heaps of uncorroborated claims.
After the capture in March 2003 of Mr. Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he was subjected to the most harrowing set of the so-called enhanced measures, which included slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in stress positions and keeping them awake for as long as 180 hours. Like two other prisoners, he was subjected to waterboarding.
According to an American official familiar with his interrogation, Mr. Mohammed was first asked about Mr. Kuwaiti in the fall of 2003, months after the waterboarding. He acknowledged having known him but said the courier was “retired” and of little significance.
Tommy Vietor and Marcy Wheeler seem to agree the time-line for torture does not fit into the Rights’ bloody fantasies of when the intelligence was gathered and how it was used, KSM waterboarding led to disinformation, not to bin Laden
“To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a wide-ranging press conference.
Moreover, Feinstein added, nothing about the sequence of events that culminated in Sunday’s raid vindicates the Bush-era techniques, nor their use of black sites — secret prisons, operated by the CIA.
“Absolutely not, I do not,” Feinstein said. “I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted, and in my view nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used.”
Had enough cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs right-wing talking pints yet. One more. Osama Bin Forgotten by BushCo was found because Bush invaded Iraq? SOURCE CAPTURED IN IRAQ WAS NOT IRAQI, WAS TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IRAQ CHAOS WE CREATED
Much of the right blogosphere is crowing about a detail in this Telegraph story about how we got to bin Laden’s courier, and thus ultimately to bin Laden:
[A Wikileaks] file suggests that the courier’s identity was provided to the US by another key source, the al-Qaida facilitator Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004 and interrogated by the CIA. Ghul was never sent to Guantanamo but was believed to have been taken to a prison in Pakistan.
“Captured in Iraq”? That’s like catnip to the right. So, at Breitbart’s Big Peace we get “The Hunt for bin Laden: The Iraq Connection?” At Gateway Pundit we get “More Bad News for Dems… It Was a Captured Terrorist in Iraq Who Gave US Info on Bin Laden’s Courier.” And so on.
[ ]…Kalar is in the Kurdish region of Iraq. But also please note the year of the capture: 2004. Zarqawi and his fellow Islamists were running amok in Iraq precisely because we’d overthrown Saddam and then (spectacularly) failed to establish security.
In 2006, two and a half years after his capture, Ghul was transferred to a secret Pakistani prison system, where he was held alongside British suspect Rangzieb Ahmed. The two spoke to each other, and Ghul seemed to indicate he was Pakistani….
Lovely. Some “Iraq connection.” (The source for that is here.)
So the righties are now saying that overthrowing Saddam was a good move in the war against Al Qaeda because a key connection to bin Laden settled in a region largely outside Saddam’s control, and that guy subsequently thrived for a while in the Iraq chaos the war created. I fail to see the logic.
If we go with the Brietbart story about Hassan Ghul, then the story they have been pushing about torturing KLM falls apart. This is a fairly common tactic on the Right, to have two contradictory conspiracy theories. if one falls apart they still have one in reserve. Or the two combined overwhelm the reader with the sheer volume of bullsh*t.
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) Claims He Voted for Health Care Fix Bill That Does Not Exist. Randy votes for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the House and for passage of the Ryan Kill Medicare Plan. If passed into law that would mean the repeal of the provision that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to someone with a preexisting condition. A constituent calls him out on his vote. Randy says he voted for a health care reform “fix” the next day that would restore the preexisting condition provision. Problem is there was no vote and no such fix to vote on.
Democrat Steve Doyle defeated Republican John Lautz for the Wisconsin District 94 Assembly, flipping a seat held by Republicans for 16 years in a race that focused attention on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to curtail collective bargaining right for most public employees.
With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Doyle won 54 percent to 46 percent, based on unofficial results in Tuesday’s special election. The race flips a GOP Assembly seat for the Democrats, who remain in the minority.
The seat was previously held by Mike Huebsch, who Walker picked in January to serve as secretary of administration. Huebsch was first elected in 1994.
The tide is turning. It seems especially at the state level the wingnuttery is wining by the fight of a thousand cuts. We are fighting back and we will prevail.