You probably read one of a dozen different accounts of the Osama take-down, many of them including this picture, showing our illustrious President, together with Biden, Clinton, and various others all intently watching something out of the picture.
We were told this picture was taken as they were watching the realtime events unfolding at Osama’s compound. Here’s a video clip of John Brennan (White House Counter-Terrorism advisor) talking about the group, depicted allegedly ‘monitoring the situation realtime’ and with full visuals. And here’s one of dozens of articles including the picture.
But it now turns out that for the early 24 minutes of the 40 minute raid there was no video feed at all, and that the picture was a subsequently staged picture for the press rather than a true picture of what happened.
Apart from the assassination in cold blood of bin Laden, it seems everything else that was volunteered and proudly proclaimed about this mission were lies. And let’s understand this clearly – it is one thing, in the heat of battle, to confuse some of the facts. But is an entirely different thing for people to invent total lies (and to stage fake pictures) and pass them off as truth to us.
A 40 minute fire-fight? Ummm, no. Only one bad guy had a gun, and he was shot almost immediately. Our guys did kill another person or two or three, but the only bullets heading downrange were from our guys, not the other side.
The helicopter loss was first described as a mechanical failure, then being shot down by ‘heavy enemy fire’ (which was non-existent) and then finally described as having collided with a side of the building.
Osama was first described as initially shooting at the good guys through a window as they stormed the compound, then of course, shooting at them in his bedroom with an AK-47 and hiding behind one of his wives; whereas now it turns out he never touched a weapon, wasn’t hiding behind a wife (who was first described as shot and killed and now the woman in question is described as having been injured) and was unarmed. But he was ‘resisting’ (by turning and running away).
As for Obama himself, he was described as shot twice, three times, and now possibly only once. But we don’t know, because the pictures we were promised, we will not know get to see, for fear of upsetting our enemies.
Talking about our enemies, initial reports cited the raid as being done in conjunction with the Pakistanis, and even said there was doubt who it was who shot Osama – maybe our guys or maybe the Pakistanis. Now we learn that the only role the Pakistanis had in the raid is taking the remains of the destroyed helicopter and threatening to sell them to China or Russia or anyone else who would be interested in seeing the previously undisclosed new stealth technology that was on the helicopter.
The million dollar compound in which Osama was described as living luxurously in? As any of the pictures of it made immediately obvious, it was a squalid ramshackle building, apparently already decaying in places although barely five years old, and the one million dollar cost estimate has been downgraded to a quarter million or less.
And the ‘incredibly gutsy’ decision made by Obama (quoted here)? What exactly was gutsy about sending other people to take out Osama? If Obama had decided to lead the mission himself, then that would be gutsy (and foolish). But the only sacrifice he made was missing half of a golf game (apparently his 66th golf game since taking office – he is able to golf about once a week on average).
Please tell me what is gutsy about sending in a couple of dozen troops to take out Osama bin Laden. After the months of monitoring, we probably knew exactly the extent and nature of the people in Osama’s compound (ie very few soldiers and very little resistance, resulting in zero casualties on our side) and was the issue of ‘Do we/don’t we take out Osama?’ even a question that needed to be asked or answered?
Obama risked nothing personally, nor even anything politically. If the mission failed, it would have been kept secret, or else publicized so that he got points for trying. And if it succeeded, as we are told it did, then of course, Obama would seek to cover himself in glory, as he double definitely has indeed attempted to do.
In an attempt to play up the element of ‘gutsy’ involvement, Obama then turned around and awarded a Presidential Unit Citation to the SEAL team involved in the action. A PUC is the highest honor that can be awarded to a unit, sort of the collective equivalent of a Congressional Medal of Honor.
But, let’s think about this. This group of SEALS were helicoptered in and out, fought against one armed man and another three or four unarmed men, in a friendly country, and took no casualties of their own, with a very mono-dimensional mission that had been as close to completely scoped out in advance as anything ever can be.
Yes, they were successful, and yes, it was a high value target. But in a world where SEAL teams are tasked with truly risky missions, involving extraordinary feats of strength and endurance, lasting days or weeks at a time, in massively unfriendly places – both in terms of weather and the local people, and against much larger forces, often taking casualties in the course of the action, does this 40 minute ‘stroll in the park’ really qualify for the highest award possible?
I’m sorry, Mr President, but giving out a Presidential Unit Citation doesn’t make your own actions any more courageous or ‘gutsy’ and in doing so, you debase the actions these brave men and their fellow soldiers undergo most of the rest of their lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we found bin Laden some time last year, and pleased to see bin Laden now dead. I’m glad we killed him. But doing so has changed nothing for the better in our ongoing battle against Islamic extremists. They still hate us – possibly now more than ever. Al Qaeda is not going to unravel or give up, just because of the death of bin Laden. And all the dozens (possibly hundreds) of other Islamic terrorist groups are still there, too.
Now is not the time to celebrate another false feeling of a mission accomplished. Now is the time to double down and to press the battle harder, because for sure, that is what the other guys will be doing to us.