Skip to comments.Did Obama Do a Favor for Osama?
Posted on 06/09/2012 1:00:08 AM PDT by kathsua
Some of the 9/11 documentaries last fall reminded me that Osama bin Laden had wanted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan because he believed that Americans would eventually tire of the conflict. If that happened, he could claim to have defeated the American government which he and his followers considered "the great Satan". He could then have used his "victory" to recruit new terrorists.
It wouldn't surprise me if he wanted the Americans to at least attempt to kill him as a means of motivating his followers. If so, then President Barack Obama did Osama bin Laden a favor by ordering Osama's death.
It is likely that Osama chose the location of his hiding place in part so that if Americans tried to kill him the action potentially could create an incident that might create public pressure in Pakistan for a war with the U.S. He likely would have hoped the U.S. would have used some type of missile that could have caused civilian casualties which would have provoked an outcry against the U.S.
Al Qaeda's current strategy is to draw Pakistan into the war against the U.S. Part of the strategy is to get NATO forces to use bombs and rockets inside Pakistan with the likelihood of civilian casualties. Getting NATO to fire at Pakistani soldiers was part of that strategy. Getting Americans to attack Osama would have been consistent with that strategy. American attacks on Pakistan prior to Pakistan elections could help elect anti-American officials or provoke the military into overthrowing the government. Individual military officials conceivably could attempt to steal a nuclear weapon and slip it to terrorists.
Al Qaeda documents recently released by the Pentagon could support a theory that Osama bin Laden wanted Americans to kill him. He could have directed the leaking of information that allowed Americans to determine where he was.
Many Americans might have trouble understanding why Osama would have wanted Americans to kill him. Most of us share the attitude of "The Gambler" in the Kenny Rogers song: "the best that [we] can hope for is to die in [our] sleep."
The suicide pilots who flew into the World Trade Towers supposedly were to be rewarded in their heaven with 72 virgins. I don't know exactly how the 72 virgins reward works, but I doubt that Osama would have qualified if he had died in his sleep. Suicidal behavior has been part of al Qaeda's operations since 9/11. Early in the conflict Osama had reportedly said that he would blow himself up if necessary to avoid capture.
By last spring, Osama's organization was in disarray and had been having trouble conducting major operations. Osama was having difficulty controlling al Qaeda. The man whose organization had committed the biggest act of terrorism by a private group was in danger of becoming irrelevant. Osama was in danger of dying in obscurity as a forgotten man.
Death at the hands of the Americans provided him the opportunity to go out in a "blaze of glory". Death at the hands of his enemies created a situation in which his followers potentially could call him a martyr. Having his wives and children in the compound with him created the possibility that they would be killed and their deaths used to inflame public opinion against the U.S.
Last year when I was watching one of the documentaries about how Osama's hiding place was discovered I thought something just didn't sound right. I felt the situation would make more sense if someone had deliberately let American agents discover the key information that led to Osama's hiding place.
The gradual release over time of tantalizing information about a courier could have been deliberate. Having American agents spend a significant effort to find Osama's courier diverted resources from efforts to find bases and combat personnel. Encouraging them to look for a courier could have diverted them from an approach that might have located Osama earlier.
The existence of a courier should have tipped off the CIA that Osama was staying some distance from the combat zone, but possibly still in Pakistan. Someone at the CIA should have suspected that Osama would hide in a location where it would be difficult for the Americans to attack him without potentially creating problems with Pakistan.
The CIA had the ability to examine Pakistan's cities and countryside in detail. Why didn't someone in the CIA ask why the fortress Osama lived in was located where it was? The building should have stood out like a sore thumb in aerial photos. Local residents would have been more likely to have thought it was a gangster's hideout because Pakistan has a significant problem with organized crime. Shouldn't someone at the CIA have tried to find out more about the building?
Osama's status in al Qaeda precluded subordinates from challenging him directly as the leader. However, one or more of them might have tried to help the Americans find and eliminate him to create a vacuum that they could fill, provided they were not also killed.
One of the biggest weaknesses American leaders have in the foreign policy field is a tendency to think only in terms of the immediate future. The 9/11 attack succeeded because Osama and al Qaeda thought in the long term. Al Qaeda was very much Osama's personal organization.
The most likely successor to him would be someone capable of building a new organization suited to the new leader's approach to terrorism. Any successor would likely use Osama's death and the deaths of the others, particularly the wife of a subordinate, to motivate his men to attack Americans. The successor could encourage his followers to call Osama's burial place something like the Sea of Osama bin Laden.
If Obama wanted Osama's burial place to be hidden, the burial should have been in an unmarked desert grave. Burying Osama in a known body of water potentially makes the whole body of water Osama's burial place. Shrines to Osama could be erected along the shore or floated in the sea.
If Osama was still attempting to play an active role in the operation of al Qaeda, killing him may have been a tactical error. One of the tactics in war is to make it difficult for enemy commanders to communicate with their troops. In earlier wars armies would cut enemy phone lines or jam radio signals to disrupt communications. Osama's isolated location made it harder for him to participate in planning and controlling operations. The Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II succeeded in part because Hitler's approval was needed to send tanks to Normandy and Hitler was asleep until it was too late for the tanks to get there in time.
Leaders like Osama often are more effective at motivating followers if they have at least occasional direct contact. Communicating with his followers with videos could not have been as effective as meeting them in person.
If the other team's quarterback is having trouble getting first downs, one thing you don't want is for his coach to replace him.
Obama's decision to quickly hide Osama's body gave al Qaeda leaders an opportunity to deny that the Americans had actually killed Osama instead of someone who merely resembled him. Al Qaeda could have made Obama look bad if it could have found someone to mimic Osama's voice and claim to still be alive. The fact that al Qaeda quickly confirmed the death indicates they might have expected it. At the very least al Qaeda likely believed Osama's death might be beneficial.
One of the weaknesses of American leaders, especially elitists with Ivy League educations, is a failure to understand that people raised in other cultures think differently. Osama bin Laden and his followers have viewed the conflict between them and the west as a long term struggle in which some might have to sacrifice their lives to assure success many years in the future. Defeating the U.S. on the battlefield might be impractical, but wearing the U.S. down until Americans get tired of the conflict is possible.
The American focus on getting Osama created the possibility that Americans might falsely believe that killing Osama meant America had won the war and didn't need to fight any more. All al Qaeda needs to do to claim victory in the War on Terror is to get the Americans to decide they don't want to fight any more.
Under International Law the President of the United States does not have authority to send armed personnel into a country with which it is at peace to kill people, even someone like Osama bin Laden who deserved killing. Even if the President had authority to kill Osama, he wouldn't have had authority to kill an innocent civilian such as the wife of a subordinate. Osama or al Qaeda could have thought that turning President Barack Obama into a war criminal would eliminate the American moral authority to continue the war.
I'm becoming suspicious of claims about frequent killing of men listed as al Qaeda's "number two man".
The old BBC show "The Prisoner" had frequent changes in its "Number two". Obama probably didn't watch that show , but maybe someone else in the admin did.
“It is likely that Osama chose the location of his hiding place....”
I’m of the opinion he did not choose his hiding place, but had been under “house arrest” in Pakistan ever since ToraBora. Did anyone see the video of him sitting on the floor watching TV? He was watching tapes of himself, not live feeds. His surroundings were pretty meager for a man of his wealth.
Is it even remotely believable the Pakistanis would have allowed him to “secretly” occupy a compound of that size in the middle of a military garrison city? Also the resistance offered on behalf of Bin Laden, by his followers, was not even laughable. The Pakistani military must sleep very, very soundly or be afraid to go out after dark. The operation took a lot of minutes and there was no reaction by the Pakistanis?
I think Bin Laden was on ice, just waiting for the executioner.
One of Osama’s key demands before 9/11 was that Western powers, specifically the USA, must HELP HIM REMOVE PRO-WESTERN LEADERS IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES. I laughed at the time, thinking that it would be a cold day in hell before we would use military and diplomatic force against allies.
Witness Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and, now, Syria. Barak Obama has now helped the Muslim Brotherhood take over several countries that previously were hostile to Al Quaeda.
So Obama has helped Osama accomplish a key goal.
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