Thursday, May 05, 2011

After Thoughts

As most Americans likely have been doing, I’ve been reading and watching the news more than usual throughout this week. The following thoughts are just my humble opinions.

The Mission

Congratulations and thanks to the Navy SEALs. They were supposed to be an anonymous “small team of Americans,” but of course, “Slow Joe” Biden blabbed their identity.

What a miserable gaffe. No one is supposed to know when or how the SEALs operate. I’ll bet even the heroes of Team Six are annoyed that their achievement has been broadcast worldwide. SEALs are the “quiet professionals”—their own families will probably never know the details of the Bin Laden operation.

As for whether Bin Laden was armed or not, I could not care less. In fact, if we found out the SEALs had hog-tied him and hung him upside down from the rafters before they shot him, that would be fine by me—and I’d bet at least 75% of Americans feel the same way I do.

The President

Without reservation, I give President Obama full props for making the call to go in after Bin Laden. It took guts. Whatever the outcome, it was 100% on him. Bravo.

I’m less impressed by his follow-through. As usual, Obama never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The president could have leveraged the aftermath to enhance his--and America’s--image as a strong and decisive world leader. Unfortunately, he completely dropped the ball. Obama did not control his staff. Far too much information was disseminated too quickly, much of it inaccurate or inappropriate. The administration should have agreed to a party line in advance, something along the lines of “we are awaiting confirmation of the details.” They should have taken all the time they needed to get the facts straight and decide exactly what to say and when to say it, instead of letting everyone scatter and grab a microphone. Now they’re doing major damage control, backtracking with a gazillion corrections, and looking like complete fools.

After one a brief shining moment of strength and power, the Obama administration is back to looking like the Keystone Kops on steroids. Which brings me to:

The Photos

What is with the politically correct angst over releasing photos of a dead brutal mass murderer? Why do we care what the radical Islamists think of us? They hate us regardless of what we do, so why not show them what damage we’re capable of inflicting upon them after they attack us? All the maybe/maybe not dithering over releasing the photos just makes us look weak. The Islamists will never respect hand-wringing, but they might take note of a calm ruthlessness. Releasing just one photo would accomplish that.

Why is it that we can see the photos of Americans diving from the top of the World Trade Center, and the puddles of gore on the ground that represented their remains, but we can’t see the shot-up face of the homicidal maniac who planned their massacre?

Don’t tell us that’s “not who we are”—especially after you’ve seen the pictures, but we haven't. We know who we are, and we can decide for ourselves. Americans are a just and fair people. What happened to Osama Bin Laden was justice. If we can handle September 11, and thousands of our troops killed and injured since then, we can tolerate one bloody photo of the maniac who started it all. This country has earned the right to see it. Show it to us.

The Former President

George W. Bush will probably never get the credit he deserves from Obama or the media for putting in place the policies that led us to Bin Laden. But the fact is, it’s only because of the Bush administration’s handling of terror suspects that Bin Laden is dead. I didn’t always agree with him, but Bush knew what he was doing in the battle against the Islamists.

I like the fact that President Obama called former President Bush before making the public announcement. I also was pleased to hear that Obama invited Bush to go to visit Ground Zero with him. However, I was even happier to hear that Bush declined.

This is President Obama’s moment, and Bush knows and respects that reality. I think Bush is a very classy guy.

The Burial at Sea

Although many people object to the shipboard service, I really don’t have a problem with it. I realize that in so many deaths on 9/11, there were no bodies left to bury. But that’s how Bin Laden operated. He had no compassion, no respect, no honor, no goodness in him. He was pure evil. Evil people don’t care what happens to other people.

Americans do care about people. The US is the most charitable nation on earth. Our military has its code of conduct, honor, and integrity. America does not stoop to the level of a mass butcher. We bury the dead with dignity.

Yes, it was more than Bin Laden deserved. But it was the only right way for Americans to do it. And no matter how careful, devout, or thoughtful the service and burial might have been, I don’t believe it helped Bin Laden one iota. By the time Bin Laden’s body hit the brine, the butcher of 9/11 had already met his judgment.