This is Obama's chance to take a stand that is decisive and could aid in victory in the war. Yes, he gets to take a lot of credit for using information his predecessor gained to launch a military strike against a Muslim country that never attacked us from bases his predecessor established. Obama's the President, he gets the credit, no problem.
But Qaddaffi's still out there, still machine-gunning his citizens, just like Assad is, but Assad isn't riding around in the open. Qaddaffi knows he's got somebody looking out for him and it sends exactly the wrong sign to our enemies - of which bin Laden was only one individual - that he continues to do exist. If he's still alive 48 hours from now, Obama's going to lose every shred of credibility the death of OBL could give him.
I am amused that, as a candidate, Obama did say he knew bin Laden was in Pakistan and if he were elected, we'd go get 'im. I even blogged about it three years and nine months ago.
He said if he were elected, this would happen, and sure enough it happened. That's a point on the big board, karmically, at least as far as I'm concerned. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner had much the opposite effect.
But given Abdulmutallab, Faisal Shazad, Major Hassan, Qaddaffi, Assad, the mullahs and all the other gangsters of the region, Penn and Teller and the South Park guys frankly admitting they won't make fun of Islam because they don't want to die, even though they ruthlessly make fun of everything else. We have a far different perspective on life in the Muslim world than we had a decade ago. Back then, they had all the oil and they hate Israel and that was it.
That's an argument which is demonstrating how unrealistic it is with every day. No credible person could say Israel treats the Palestinians worse than Assad treats Syrians, or worse than Qaddaffi treats Libyans, or worse than the mullahs treat Iranians, or worse than King Saud treats Saudis and Bahrains, worse than Musharref treats Pakistanis or worse than Mubarek treated Egyptians. Frankly, Israel - in our "smart power" era, anyway - would have nothing to lose except their souls by outright machine-gunning every Palestinian in sight, because that's no worse than the Palestinian people's own defenders have been doing for decades and are doing today.
Here's an idea, let's let Qaddaffi keep driving around in his invulnerable convertible car and while everybody's looking at him, we send a Predator drone into Assad's bedroom. It takes a bad guy off the board and could seriously distract the enemy.
I wonder if that's what we've done with bin Laden. I'm perfectly willing to accept that this was him and we got him, just like it says there with full orchestration and four-part harmony. But I read "Illuminatus" too many times as a youngster, and love a good conspiracy theory. Or even a bad one, if done right. Bush/Cheney stole the election from Al Gore
[and a veep candidate so qualified - "HOW QUALIFIED IS HE?" - he was so qualified that he still votes with the Democrats on pretty much everything even though they threw him out of the party a few years after the election. Who says you can't win an election without a D or an R after your name?]
and arranged that bin Laden's death would be announced in '11. They knew that after 8 years, they'd be so reviled that America would flip over someone like Obama, which is why they plucked him from an unknown post in a Chicago university/Democratic disrict and set him up. If they pick the best person for the job regardless of race or gender, yet constantly get accused of racism and sexism, then they have a significant advantage over everyone hurling the accusations. They knew that America would want him, and their regime wouldn't change in any significant way. Halliburton uber alles.
It still doesn't change the savagry coming from the Middle East. English gentlemen didn't become that way without a thousand years of proper breeding, and if the Arabs and Persians are this eager to turn on each other while still throwing all their hatred onto us (or the Jews), maybe the problem isn't entirely with us (or the Jews, who know something about proper breeding and turning aside hatred).
The problems in the Middle East and the conflicts raging within Islam itself are far too complex to be boiled down to a man like Osama bin Laden. We have demonstrated that the infidel can beat any Muslim power on earth by the same will of God that gives any Muslim victory. It isn't blasphemy to live in a society where women vote or homosexuals can exist or three month-old babies don't get stabbed to death by people who are celebrated for doing so.
From a society of law and order all the way to absolute barbarism, there comes a time when someone makes a decision to shoot some of these motherfuckers and see how they like it then. We saw this a couple years ago when Obama gave the order to shoot the pirates in Somali waters. The pirates are still there, still getting away with murder, looting, hostage-taking. Just like Qaddaffi, and Assad, and all the other anti-Israel group that we've been so mean to all these years. And their subjects are getting the government they deserve. As do we all.