(This post had yet to be determined when the news of Bin Laden’s demise became public on Sunday night. I confess that this is not the spelling that I prefer. I’m not sure it really matters that I even have a preference about the spelling of a terrorist’s name.)
So, if you will indulge me a moment of late night pontification I have a few thoughts about the recently departed Usama/Osama that may add absolutely nothing to the public discourse but I thought I would share ‘out loud’.
First, I am glad he is gone. I would have preferred a capture over a kill, but not because I am squeamish about his death (I am abstaining from the discussion about the morality of his death and our role in it for the time being). Rather, I wish he were still alive in custody because he may have been extraordinarily informative had he been taken alive. Then again, he may have already outlived his usefulness to his friends and enemies.
Second, I am glad it happened. Would I have preferred it to have happened on “my teams'” watch? You bet. Does it really matter (from a national security stand point) who gets the credit? Not really. Three cheers for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.
Third, could this be Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment? I am totally going with my meandering mind as it takes me far from my expertise, but hear/read me out. I read the text from his speech to the American public. It made me…well, I didn’t like it. Originally, I thought the opening was good but now I don’t even like that.
What struck me initially was that the guy just can’t get past himself. He needs us to know that he was the one who ordered a renewed focus on finding Bin Laden. Uh, duh…you are the commander-in-chief, remember? The military can’t do much without you at least authorizing it.
Now take this need to pin the success of this objective on his vision/determination and fast forward a year or two (or maybe just a few months). What happens when the terrorists are still coming at us from all four corners of the earth? Will President Obama be up to the task? Will he be able to deliver a focused vision to thwarting current and future threats against our nation? I hope so for our safety’s sake, but I am not bursting with confidence.
If he isn’t careful, then this moment of celebration could turn into a political liability for him. Even with a compliant media this could back fire just like George Bush’s ill-conceived “Mission Accomplished” banner.
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