Things would have been different if, back in April 1980, the helicopter hadn’t crashed; eight went into a desert sandstorm to rescue 52 Americans held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. One crashed and another had to turn back. Desert One was a dismal failure on the heels of Vietnam, telling the world that we, the Americans, could not do things well anymore. The helicopter wrecked in the desert became the symbol of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, but it would have been different if the rescue attempt were successful. Carter would have been a great hero and America would have been renewed because all that matters in war is whether the spear hits the lion. Had he been successful there would have been no “morning in America” just ahead — no need for it, no Reykjavik Summit, and probably no Ronald Reagan. So there was a moment of anxiety when the one helicopter went down on Sunday on the way to the compound at Abbottabad. But this time it was different. This time the spear hit the lion.
From my perspective, this has been a remarkable three days this weekend. Two central institutions of Western civilization were affirmed: the Roman Catholic Church (what remains of the Roman Empire); and the British monarchy (the symbol of the British Empire); and then you had the slaying of Osama bin Laden (the leading Western antagonist of the Islamic strain) with the implements of Western technical prowess.
The Roman Empire and the British Empire were the incubator and primary global distributor, respectively, of the essentials of Western civilization: Judeo-Christian ethics and Christianity, classical learning, technology and, latterly, liberal democracy and market economics/free trade. To watch a million people in London (outstripping even the attendance at the 1981 wedding of Charles-Diana), and an estimated 2 million in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II was an indication that though both are under challenge, these central institutions of Western-ism have a remarkable resilience and ability still to captivate.
President Obama was gracious toward President Bush and President Clinton in his comments about the killing of Osama bin Laden, and he was right to do so.
So much of our politics has become a useless Kabuki dance where everyone takes predictable, predetermined positions in a ritual that puts most normal Americans to sleep. Let me part from the Kabuki here.
President Bush made one major mistake. He became so fixated about the Iraq war that he took his eye off the bin Laden ball. This led to bin Laden's escape at Tora Bora and diverted resources from the killing of bin Laden toward the Iraq war, over the private objection of many military commanders who advised otherwise.
The first reports of Osama bin Laden’s death told us that he was buried within 24 hours of his death, and "at sea,” because “finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most [notorious] terrorist would have been difficult.” So we would assume there would be physical evidence of the death if there is no body. That would presumably be photographic identification or DNA evidence. During the Vietnam War, the military on the ground was notoriously unreliable about physical evidence in combat.
Because if I have this right, “the sea” is at least 800 miles from the Abbottabad region of Pakistan where reports say bin Laden was killed. How did they get him from there to the sea? Did they drop him out of an airplane or travel by land convoy 800 miles with the six-and-a-half-foot corpse? Then other reports said the body was delivered to Afghanistan. Did they bring him to Afghanistan and then bring him to the sea? That would have been more than a thousand miles to haul the corpse.
Dead at last. Dead at last. Thank God almighty.
The most wanted terrorist in the world is now rotting away in dust. Due to an American “military action,” we got our man.
A special debt of gratitude goes out to the men and women in uniform for their tireless months and years of sacrifice — running this pestilence down and eradicating him. Predator drones finished what others started on 9/12. We didn’t wait. We couldn’t wait. Too many Americans lost their lives that fateful day. It might have taken years to bring this to pass, but it did occur. And now justice has been served.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Stay tuned for news from Tripoli.
I couldn't resist a 2 a.m. visit to the grounds outside the White House as flags were waving and Americans were cheering the killing, none too soon, of Osama bin Laden.
It was a victory for President Obama, a victory for our heroic men and women in uniform, a victory for the American people and good people everywhere.
Have you tweeted today? Or ever? I bet you have used Facebook today. As a country we fall in love with the unbridled technological progress that the great minds of our country afford us. It can do so much good for us — it connects us with long-lost friends, family and otherwise. It allows us to stay up to date, up to the minute in some instances, of events around the corner and around the world. All of this is absolutely fantastic when it helps us out, but we are often remiss in our consideration of the negative ramifications of these very same advances.
As 2010 rapidly closes, I can’t help but notice how the Obama administration tried
to quietly slip past the media and the general public a recent declassified report
on the current status of detainees formerly held at Guantanamo Bay.
You’ll recall then-candidate Obama made it a top priority of his campaign that he would seek to close Gitmo. Then, once assuming the office of commander in chief, someone in the White House had the boneheaded idea that maybe we should charter a plane for these terrorists and try them in a domestic court.
Incoming House Republican Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has been blazing a path for
reform, particularly at the committee level, denying some who felt it was their
“turn” to chair a panel when clearly they were the wrong choice for the post, then
structuring them with an eye toward true bipartisan input.
Yet there is one committee that continues to be hamstrung by jurisdictional politics and old habits that die hard. I’m referring to the Homeland Security Committee and the simple fact that it must share jurisdictional control over the department.
A week has passed since the release of voluminous government records by
WikiLeaks, and since the subsequent reportage of most of it in the world press.
So far, the sky has not fallen. Commentators have taken sides—some calling the
release treasonous, others defending it for informing the public about serious
After all the sound and fury, an important lesson should be learned. Who controls the narrative, the flow and timing of information, controls (and may manipulate) the “truth.” Now government controls information about how it governs, to a reckless degree. Five national commissions studied our classification procedures in the last half-century, and all concluded that most — up to 90 percent — of the information classified confidential should not have been. Those commissions were nonpartisan, non-political, well-informed. The last was chaired by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.