Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

For the Nation, and for Obama, A Moment to Savor

As Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times, the nation’s paper of record, in his op-ed this morning, “despite the foreign policy triumph for the United States, it isn’t the end of terrorism.” Already Taliban leaders are vowing to avenge Osama bin Laden and no doubt his death does not change the fundamental situation on the ground in Afghanistan though for Pakistan hard questions must be asked.

How did the world’s most wanted man live in a luxury compound in the hill resort town of Abbottabad just a 62 mile drive (35 miles as the crow flies) from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad? Moreover, the compound built in 2005 was just a stone’s throw from a Pakistani military training base. Most tellingly, the Pakistani government was not informed beforehand of the US special forces’ raid. This inability to trust even the highest echelons of Pakistan’s civilian-military-intelligence establishment is, in my view, the single most disturbing takeaway from this incident. It portends hard choices.

Still, it is clear that from the start President Obama and his national security team took a focused, hands-on pursuit of Osama bin Laden and a measured, cautious approach with our erstwhile ally Pakistan. US-Pakistani relations have been rocky, perhaps not yet even at a nadir, for most of the Obama Administration. The fault may not entirely lie with the Pakistanis but it is evident as the Wikileaks cables suggest that Pakistan’s ISI is a rogue filled cancerous organization not to be trusted. The realists in the Obama Administration fully understand this and act accordingly. The Administration, from the President on down, may deliberate incessantly as seen from the outside but their approach is diligent, measured, effective if painstakingly time consuming. This is a results oriented Administration.

John Dickerson over at Slate points to the not so obvious but increasingly evident:

Obama’s critics have said that he is a weak leader in general and in particular does not understand what must be done to combat terrorism. ” They are very much giving up that center of attention and focus that’s required,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney in March 2009, in a typical remark. Yet what emerges from the details of Bin Laden’s killing (offered, like the heroic accounts of the Bush years, entirely by officials who work for the sitting president) is that from early in his administration Obama was focused on killing Osama Bin Laden and that he was involved in the process throughout.

In June 2009, Obama directed his CIA director to “provide me within 30 days a detailed operation plan for locating and bringing to justice” Osama Bin Laden. By August 2010 intelligence officials had identified the suspicious compound where Osama lived. Thirty-five miles outside Islamabad, the walls were up to 18 feet high and topped with barbed wire. The largest structure, a three-story building, had very few windows. Though the house was valued at $1 million, it had no Internet or phone service. Its residents, unlike their neighbors, burned their trash.

As he has so often been in the past, Dick “they will welcome us as liberators” and “last throes” Cheney was wrong. We may not see what’s going on in the battle against terrorism but this success suggests a diligence and a laser-like focus by the Administration. It again speaks to the competence of the President himself. It is a moment to savor for Barack Obama, and for the nation, though I am sure that for him and his national security team, their focus remains on what is yet to be done, not what has been accomplished.


  1. I’ve heard a different take from Peter Taylor in the UK. The precision of the raids, the fact they caught bin Laden in his bedroom and suffered no casualties implies some kind of insider information.

    The most likely source is the same Pakistan military establishment where Obama lived.

    Surely the area must be well defended against any airborne intrusion. Though there might have been no advance official warning to the Pakistani government, I find it nearly inconceivable that there wasn’t some back channels activated for the raid.  

  2. fogiv

    The location of the compound raises obvious questions about whether Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had been protecting the Al Qaeda leader in some way. President Obama gave the order to raid the compound Friday after six weeks of planning but did not inform Pakistani officials until after the mission was complete, although he did credit general counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries for leading the U.S. to the compound. “Only a very small group of people inside our own government knew of this operation in advance,” said one official. Obama himself led five national security meetings about the plan in the months leading up to the raid, according to reports.

  3. DTOzone

    that the righties having moved on from “Good for Obama, but Bush should also be credited because it was through torture that we found out where he is”

  4. Strummerson

    From Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas in Gaza:

    “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood….   We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

    I guess I was wrong to support including Hamas in negotiations.  I wonder how this will affect last week’s agreement with FATAH that was supposed to clear the way for elections and negotiations…  Richard Pearl and David Horowitz and Bibi Netanyahu are gonna have a field day with this.

  5. spacemanspiff

    The Administration, from the President on down, may deliberate incessantly as seen from the outside but their approach is diligent, measured, effective if painstakingly time consuming. This is a results oriented Administration.

  6. fogiv

    with regard to Obama’s decision to move Panetta to SecDef and Patraeus to CIA.

    …Sunday’s operation provides strong evidence that the CIA and JSOC work well together. Sometimes intelligence needs to be developed rapidly, to get inside the enemy’s operational loop. And sometimes it needs to be cultivated, grown as if it were delicate bacteria in a petri dish.

    In an interview at CIA headquarters two weeks ago, a senior intelligence official said the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been “deconflicted and basically integrated” — finally — 10 years after 9/11.


  7. spacemanspiff

    As I said in C&J, it’s ironic that this went down (75+ / 0-)

    pretty much at the same time he was joking at the WH Correspondents’ Dinner

    about the kind of decision that would keep him awake at night.  Poking fun at

    Trump of course, but Obama would be the only one in the room who actually

    truly understood the joke as he delivered it.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Mon May 02, 2011 at 09:25:19 AM PDT

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  8. He was on KGO in the past hour and opened with “Obama will use this as an excuse to stop fighting terrorists.”  Dan Rather was on afterwards and said it much more politely, but I am no Dan Rather:

    John Bolton is an opportunistic douchebag and an idiot of staggering stupidity.

  9. Rashaverak

    The temperature is 20° Fahrenheit, -7° Celsius.  Winds from the Northeast at 20 miles, 32 kilometers per hour.  The chance of precipitation is 100%.  The Infernal Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning for tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night.


    “We need to open the program today by congratulating President Obama. President Obama has done something extremely effective, and when he does, this needs to be pointed out. [….]  Thank God for President Obama.”


    The needle on my snark meter is pegging the right end of the scale.

  10. fogiv

    I guess Osama missed the memo: (28+ / 0-)

    Obama determined to attack inside Bin Laden’s compound

    The next time your house is on fire–call a libertarian.

    by pollbuster on Mon May 02, 2011 at 12:18:26 PM PDT

  11. Rashaverak

    “OK, let’s go ahead and give them the birth certificate for which they have been braying, because I’m about to give them the death certificate that Dubya couldn’t deliver even after more than seven long years.”

  12. spacemanspiff

    It’s so predictable I deserve the Meh instead of Fierce for providing no kind of creative or original analysis.  

  13. Shaun Appleby

    And a plea for the future.  First the taste (h/t to Sully), in the first minute of the 2008 presidential debate:

    And the sincere plea, coming from noted conservative David Frum:

    Here’s hoping that we have at last seen the end of this ugly insinuation that there is something less than fully American about the black president with the exotic name.

    On Friday came the release of the long-form birth certificate that provided the final decisive refutation of the birther lie that President Obama was born elsewhere than the United States.

    On Saturday at the White House Correspondents dinner, the most visible proponent of that lie, the blowhard TV tycoon Donald Trump, was publicly ridiculed in front of an audience of 3,000 people – without a voice to excuse or defend him.

    And then late Sunday, the president told the nation of the successful execution of his order to shoot and kill Osama bin Laden.

    The success of the bin Laden operation is a great moment for the United States – and not only for the United States.

    But it is also a deservedly bad moment for some of the destructive forces in American public life: for those who have substituted for ordinary politics a sustained campaign to brand President Obama as an outsider, as un-American, as non-American.

    David Frum – Frum Forum 2 May 11

    Heh.  The wheel turns…  And crushes ‘teh stupid.’  Here’s hoping for a reality-based shift in American politics.  The Republicans had this coming and then some.

  14. HappyinVT

    He’s a vicious fucker. First he kicks The Donald in the nuts, laughs about it, and then orders two bullets to the head of OBL. I voted for him out of hope but the second time will be out of fear.

    h/t oldskool

  15. creamer

      I remember seeing crowds of people in Palistine and some other nations celebrating and cheering about our loss on 9/11. I thought it was ignorant and lacked class. Watching people cheering about death leaves me troubled. It would seem we might have more in common with those who cheered on 9/11 than we would generaly admit.


  16. HappyinVT

    [Updated 7:12 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama will travel to New York City on Thursday to visit the site of the former World Trade Center and meet with families of those who died in the September 11 attacks, a senior White House official said.

  17. creamer

      I caught some responses from the GOP camp today, some where fair and aknowledged President Obama. A number made no mention of President Obama.

     If your John Huntsman or Mitch Daniels does this make running in 2012 a waste of time?

  18. DTOzone

    OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American soldier, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. Obama just happened to be the one in office when our soldiers finally found Osama and took him out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN Victory & now this liberal ass wants to give osama a proper burial…YEA OK go give half our family & friends who died thanks to him one

    Haters gonna hate

  19. Shaun Appleby


    To state the obvious, this is good news for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. I can’t imagine a single, atomized piece of news, foreign or domestic, that would be better for the President.

    Nate Silver – Yes, Bin Laden’s Death Will Help Obama, but for How Long? NYT 2 May 11

    Obvious, but still.  Sometimes I wonder if Obama’s team have ever seriously considered an attempted repeal of the Twenty-second Amendment.  They’ve made the rest of this seem so easy.

  20. HappyinVT

    Brennan is saying that the woman was bin Laden’s wife but was not killed and was not used as a shield.  Likely we may not know reliably one way or the other for a few days while the dust settles and the debriefings are completely done.

  21. spacemanspiff

    (bold mine)

    Thank you CIA and our military.

    Our Campaigner-In-Chief made sure Usama Bin Laden received a proper Islamic burial. WHY??? Because he wants the Muslim vote.

    The event was a make-believe drama designed to be used for Obama’s upcoming re-election campaign.”

    Will he bring the troops home and put them along our border? NO! WHY??? Because he wants the Hispanic vote.

    Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the other liberals, along with the biased media, Unions, Soros, AARP, Acorn, etc., based the entire 2008 campaign on lies. They spent two years destroying our country and governing against the will of the American people.

    They’ll spend the next year and a half doing a few good things just to get re-elected. Then they will spend four more years destroying the people of the USA. GOD HELP US ALL!

    I will not vote for a Democrat.


    Looks like they are quitting on 2012 and the election season hasn’t even started yet. I almost feel sorry for these delusional turds. Almost.  

  22. spacemanspiff

    Obama ordered the assassination of Osama Bin Laden (which would be a war crime I think).

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    Only 1 day has passed and all the details have yet to be revealed but they’ve got their narrative set already. ::smh::

    Will not be surprised if eventually some want the POTUS tried for this assassination.

  23. spacemanspiff

    This? Comparing Osama Bin Laden to black folks being lynched?

    It’s disgusting.

    I reflect on old pics of past lynchings (0+ / 2-)

    mostly from the south, but also throughout the early days of photography, there seemed to be a picnic environment or a party celebration as they danced around broken burned bodies. Obviously things just haven’t changed nearly as much as is needed. The enjoyment seen on the faces of those at lynchings, and certainly at those lynchings done for obviously racist reasons, shows the willingness of those in attendance to continue the humiliation and degradation even onto the families and followers and friends of the brutalized victim.

    Did and do Bin Laden and Gaddafy have to be eviscerated publicly? Will we ever be ready to see past the mob mentality of vengeance, revenge and might makes right justice?

    If we want progress in our politics, we perhaps should start with progressing from fundamentalist repression, fear and retaliation, to something less like a game and more like mature reasoning.

    Thanks jerome, well needed diary. This is a topic we all need to respond to, not just to convey one’s own opinion, but to listen, understand and consider the feelings of others. I hope we all can.

    by JohnB47 on Tue May 03, 2011 at 08:23:14 AM PDT

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