Rare Sunday Evening Presidential Statement (UPDATE: Bin Laden Dead)

Supposedly on national security according to the HuffPost.  Ground war in Libya?  Qaddafi killed?  Bin Laden?  Or something far less dramatic?

UPDATE, 10:48 PM EDT: New York Times reporting that Bin Laden has been killed.  If true, great news (though it won’t end the war)!

UPDATE, 11.11 PM EDT: Al Jazeera reports that US has Bin Laden’s body. 

Ok, now what do we do with it?  Head on spike at Ground Zero?  Does he deserve an honorable burial? (I say no, he was a nasty terrorist who brought great pain and suffering to the US and Americans while significantly and negatively changing our lives and government).

UPDATE, 11:47 EDT: Decent speech by Obama.  Hard to screw up really great news.  Perhaps a bit too long?  Why no mention of Embassy bombings and USS Cole attacks before 9/11?  Taking too much credit with that Panetta line (not as if this wasn’t an important goal of the Bush administration)?  I like the strategic communication line about how Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader.

UPDATE, 12:08 EDT:  Kudos to US military for what sounds like a job well done.  Of course, it will take some time before we know the entire story.  I can’t wait to hear how it went down.  President Obama deserves a lot of credit for not flinching when it came time to make the call (assuming that his narrative of the events is accurate).  I’m extremely pleased with all of this – but now let’s get Zawahiri and Mullah Omar.  While degrading enemy C2 (command and control) can often be overhyped, COIN theorists tend to underrate it given their emphasis on the civilian population as the center of gravity.

UPDATE, 12:32 EDT: U.S. Navy Seals apparently took down Bin Laden according to CNN.

UPDATE, 2:43 EDT:  Mansion where Bin Laden was killed is reportedly on fire.  And given that Bin Laden wasn’t exactly in the middle of nowhere hiding in a cave, what did the Pakistanis know (and not tell) about Bin Laden’s post-9/11 life as it kept sucking money from the US Treasury?

UPDATE, 3:00 am EDT: Not sure how reliable the photo is (for all I know it is doctored or fake), but Al Jazeera is reporting that there is a unconfirmed picture of the dead Bin Laden being shown on two Pakistani television stations.  It is a fake from what I’ve been seeing around the internets.

UPDATE, 4:38 am EDT:  Bin Laden already buried at sea?  NBC is reporting that “bin Laden was later buried at sea ‘in accordance with Islamic law and tradition.'”  I wonder if such a quick burial will only feed bogus conspiracy theories in a region where these thrive (namely, that Bin Laden isn’t really dead and his killing was manufactured by Obama and the US).  I guess a lot will depend on whether AQ or the family confirm his death.  I wish the government had not acted so quickly to bury the body – though making sure there is no burial ground is a good thing, and it is probably (despite what I said earlier) a good thing as far as the strategic communication value to have done so “in accordance with Islamic law and tradition.”    

NBC also comments on something I raised earlier: “Abbottabad is home to three Pakistan army regiments and thousands of military personnel and is dotted with military buildings. The discovery that bin Laden’s [sic] was living in an army town in Pakistan raises pointed questions about how he managed to evade capture and even whether Pakistan’s military and intelligence leadership knew of his whereabouts and sheltered him.”

UPDATE, 4:46 am EDT: Well, this is going to be an inconvenient truth in a must-read piece in the New York Times about how Bin Laden was found:  “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.”

3 thoughts on “Rare Sunday Evening Presidential Statement (UPDATE: Bin Laden Dead)

  1. Must be after midnight, Grover–that’s degrading C2, right? Though if anyone deserves denigrating, UBL would be the man.

    I’ve already heard some awful commentators on this news on CNN–I don’t think this shows much about the US ability to project power. He’s been a target for decades. Even President Clinton had a shot at him. Best line I’ve heard on national TV–“I guess he wasn’t in a cave after all.”

    Now we’ll be scouring all of the rental mansions in Islamabad for the rest of the hard targets.

    While justice for the victims of his many crimes is one reason for this action, let’s not underplay the importance of stopping future crimes. Yes, AQ and affiliates are a hydra, but UBL was not a mere figurehead. And let’s hope that we recovered more than just a body in this raid. Stand by for more “actionable intelligence” as other recovered items are exploited.

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