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Osama Bin Laden Dead: Time To Quit Afghanistan

Update below

The man whose mind was a slave to evil and who planned the attacks of 9/11, the man who spent the last decade of his pathetic life cowering in fear, the man who championed pain and grief and misery is dead. May he find no peace.

His body, complete with the bullet that killed him, was unceremoniously and fittingly dumped at sea. His corpse will feed the sharks, his bones will mingle with the effluvia of cruise ships. The odd burial was done to discourage pilgrimages of evil, and was an action in accordance with at least one Hadith, which says, “Graves should not be marked or built” for apostates.

Further, the “Noble Qur’an – At-Tauba 9:84” demands that we do not attend the funeral of a hypocrite or disbeliever. No believer would have coolly murdered Muslims, Christians, Jews and others merely to scar some buildings. It was bloodlust, not faith, which drove Bin Laden.

We celebrate his death. We feel pride in our men who tracked him down and risked their lives and shot him in the head. None of our soldiers were injured. This is a good day.

And we are not alone. In an apparent reversal of its stance on the death penalty, the New York Times wrote approvingly that “the mood on the street was jubilant” after the announcement in Times Square. Its editorial even allowed that Bin Laden was a “failure,” a sentiment to which we can say amen.

The Daily Kos, in a fit of eloquence, said that putting down Bin Laden was a “BFD.” Although one unhappy writer on that unhappy site inadvertently confessed a bizarre sin, “[Y]eah, on a certain level, I get the mocking of Republicans because Bush didn’t get Bin Laden and ‘we’ did.” We?

Mr Obama said that “justice was done”, which must mean that killing Bin Laden was legitimate, moral, lawful, the very stuff of justice. Amen again.

Pondering the president’s words, Steve Clemons of the Huffington Post wrote that, “The President of the United States has checked off the box in bringing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice — and probably assured his reelection in 2012.”

This might be so, but Clemons and the writers at Daily Kos should remember that this was not Democrat nor Republican justice. Nor was it American justice. It was justice, plain and simple. It was the right thing for Mr Obama, it would it have been the right thing for Mr Bush had Bin Laden met his demise earlier. This was not the right thing for Americans only. It was the right thing for all.

Bin Laden was found in Pakistan: it was said he was there for some time. Mr Obama, making full use of his “I”s and “my”s, the victor’s traditional prerogative, said that the Pakistani’s claimed that Bin Laden “declared war on Pakistan itself”, and this is why Pakistani officials led our troops to Bin Laden’s hideout. Further, we are assured that we “received clearance to strike from Pakistan.”

The message is that we should not hold the Pakistani government culpable for harboring a murder for almost a decade. At least, not to the extent that we held Afghanistan culpable.

Even though Bin Laden was within shopping distance of Islamabad, it is doubtful we will hear calls to “Hold Pakistan accountable!” There may be investigations in certain sub-committees, held on Friday afternoons in July, but that will be it.

People are weary of war and don’t want to start another one with Pakistan—a country which has nukes and has said it would use them. Besides, there are other ways to “punish” Pakistan. Arming India, for one.

Killing Bin Laden is the action that could lead us out of Afghanistan. Our military could organize one final, grand push, claim victory, then pack up and leave. We won’t have been the first country to fail to tame this rugged land. Besides, Bin Laden was on holiday in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

Calls for actions like this are already being made. Marwan Bishara of Al Jezeera said killing Bin Laden kills the “alibi”, that is, “Washington has less reason or justification to wage a war in Afghanistan now that bin Laden is no more.”

We should embrace this reasoning, particularly since (as Bishara continues) “for the Muslim world, bin Laden has already been made irrelevant by the Arab Spring that underlined the meaning of peoples [sic] power through peaceful means.”

Whether or not this is true, Bin Laden’s killing provides us with a casus pace, of which we should make full use and quickly.

Update

Some are suggesting that we remain in Afghanistan for three reasons: Pakistan, Iran, and money. Since it is obvious that some in Pakistan, the very definition of an unstable country, were complicit in the care and feeding of that dog OBL, there is sure to be more trouble to come from that quarter.

Bases in Afghanistan would have the Pakistani Army/Government swiveling their skulls looking east and west to India. The same is true with Iran: they would be boxed in by Iraq on one side, Afghanistan on the other.

But Afghanistan is only useful as a base to project air power. The land is too rugged to stage heavy artillery and troop launches into either Iran or Pakistan. Afghanistan must be supplied by us from the air, flying over either Iran or Pakistan. While it’s true that in any long-term engagement American air power would keep the skies clear, it is probably more trouble than it is worth to supply air bases so far from the sea and quick exits.

It is much easier to maintain forces in southern Iraq, which is accessible by the sea, through the Gulf of Oman. Naval air cover through ships stationed in the Arabian Sea can watch over Pakistan.

We should embrace more closely India as an ally. Let’s not forget that both Pakistan and India have nukes, which nobody wants to see loosed. The stalemate must be encouraged. And we don’t have to maintain an actual presence in India, which is cheaper. Finally, a stronger India is a better buffer for a growing China.

30 thoughts on “Osama Bin Laden Dead: Time To Quit Afghanistan Leave a comment

  1. My Dear Mr. Briggs,

    It’s OK to say “President Obama, you did a great job!”

    The sun is out. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

  2. Doonesbury

    One thought, though. Wouldn’t the world have been a happier place if, in retaliation for Yvonne Fletcher, Lockerbie and the arming of the IRA, Britain had openly pursued the goal of eliminating Colonel Gaddafi? Think of the effect it would have had on other despots. Think of the pause it would have given to those who would intimidate, injure or insult British passport holders. We are now in a convoluted half-war which will probably end in the mad colonel’s removal. I certainly hope it does. But we have lost two decades and made ourselves look shifty and perfidious along the way.
    Daniel Hannan

  3. It won’t be long before the apologists are explaining how Osama wasn’t so bad. He just had a few personality quirks and was misunderstood. They will turn him into a victim.

  4. I am genuinely puzzled to see people celebrating the death of this major bastard. Is it not the American way to haul him into a courtroom and to try him for all the deaths he has caused?
    Was this unfeasible? I doubt it. If they were able to get his dead body out, how much harder to get it out still warm?
    Does America feel the reprisals from this act will be less than the reprisals of doing it the RIGHT way? Interesting.

  5. It is clear, Mr Briggs, that this Osama has incited strong and righteous passion. But I would hesitate to agree with you. Justice, is not revenge, nor is it retribution. Nor is it execution.

    What has been done here is not justice.

  6. I’m absolutely delighted that this God damned, appendage-sucking, excessively-Freudian-mother-loving son of a bitch was shot. (I could go on like that, but then I would have to use bad language.) The first thing I read when I woke up today was about the extermination of this vermin. I’ve been in a very good mood all day. On 9/11 I, and the rest of all sane people in the civilized world, felt we were all americans. I’m proud that troops from my country (Sweden) are fighting side by side with americans and friends and allies from other countries. America is a beacon of light and we europeans owe ya’ll big. Be proud and wear your head high. And a good job with Osama bin Fish Food, troopers! No 72 high bosomed virgins in paradise for you Osama. More like 72 sharks snacking off of your corpse. Good riddance. God bless America.

    Portions of this comment have been edited by the blog owner.

  7. Interestingly, airport security has been increased at Dulles and Reagan now that the world is “safer” without OBL (or is it UBL?).

    Shub,

    He got what was coming to him. That’s justice. He went down fighting apparently. Maybe you would like the Wild West kind of justice instead: give him a trail THEN hang him like what happened to Saddam Hussein? I just wish we would stop pussyfooting around and quit saying he was killed while “resisting arrest”. Since when do Seals arrest? That it took 9.5 years is really sad.

    Maybe you’re right. He might not have guilty even though he publicly proclaimed he was. Just a sign of his insanity that would make him a darling for a jury.

    JH,

    You’re right. He’s bumbled everything else so I guess we should throw him an AttaBoy even though he probably had little to do with the whole affair other than OK it.

  8. Yes, DAV,
    Osama, for all the naseous glorification that has been showered on him, is but a criminal and a suspect.

    It is believed that he acted alone. (Although I cannot, for the life of me understand how that can be true at all). Yet, it is so believed.

    Then, he should have been brought to justice, instead of being murdered.

    Instead the American government is now party to the murder of an individual but yet, cannot lift a finger against Pakistan, its own ally and friend, which has been showered in American dollar aid right from the days of the Cold War, which in return has sheltered this criminal.

    States, ought to act as states, and not as free individuals. Obama’s administration has failed this test.

  9. Shub,

    I disagree with you. You say what you think is not justice, but didn’t indicate what you think would be justice. Please elucidate on what you think would be application of justice in his case, and why it would be practically doable.

  10. Shub is confusing the law with justice. The law exists to promote the cause of justice, but justice can at times be reached through other means. In the case of Bin Laden, it was reached by a Navy Seal’s bullet.

  11. Why, capture him and make him stand trial for his crimes of course.

    And make him spill the beans as well.

    From Autonomous Mind:

    We hear the compound was a £1m complex constructed 5-10 years ago, had no telephone or internet connection and never put rubbish out for collection. It was eight times bigger than any other residential building in the area with walls three times higher than any other residential property nearby, and situated just a couple of hundred yards away from the Pakistan Military Academy, in a heavily militarised security zone. Are we to believe the Pakistanis had no idea or no interest in who was living there?

    When individuals from one nation, have to answer to others from different states, the question is always not easy. But there is always historical precedent and the precedent on how to prosecute someone like Osama could have been set. Instead, doesn’t shooting him in the head, sound like an easy way out?

  12. It seems those Nobel Peace Prize winners aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

  13. It should be noted that in spite of my nic I am basically a libertarian (it’s just that I happen to think that universal medical care is a good idea). Based on that, I have two comments:

    1 – It is pathetic that one twisted nut case can provoke many citizens (and congress critters) to think that it is a good idea to give up the precious rights our forefathers died to protect. It makes the USofA appear craven and cowardly.

    2 – Pakistan is far from unified. We have many friends in Pakistan and many enemies. It wouldn’t take much to push Pakistan to failed state status. The central government is certainly not in control of the whole country. Punishing Pakistan actually helps our enemies and hurts our friends. I do agree that it is almost impossible to tell which is which. I agree with Machiavelli that the only effective solutions would be to kill them all or convert them to friends. Since we can do neither, we are guaranteed trouble for many years to come. We are stuck in a long game and doing something rash won’t help.

  14. Shub: “It is clear, Mr Briggs, that this Osama has incited strong and righteous passion. But I would hesitate to agree with you. Justice, is not revenge, nor is it retribution. Nor is it execution.”

    I don’t know how seriously to take it, but last night Obama said that his primary order was to capture Osama, not kill him. I’ll take Obama at his word on that, until there is evidence to the contrary. I’m sure there was a caveat to that order, namely, that if it was not possible to safely capture Osama without risking the lives of the American military personnel, then they were authorized to take him out.

    He was apparently killed in a firefight. He had openly declared war on the U.S. Do you feel the same about all the other folks fighting for Osama, namely that none of them should have been killed and they all should have been safely and carefully brought to trial, or is it just Osama that deserves this special treatment? And if so, on what basis do you give him that special treatment — that he was the ringleader and was a large part of the cause of the whole mess? Seems paradoxical that we would say the underlings can be killed in battle without anyone getting upset, but the leader has to be coddled and protected and unharmed so that he can stand trial?

    I’m sure we don’t have enough public details at this stage to ascertain whether there might have been a way to capture Osama, and whether that would have been a smart thing to do anyway. Personally, if I were Obama, I would have said capture Osama, but if there is a significant risk of even one American solidier dying during the process, take him out instead. At least from Obama’s words last night, it seems like that may have been close to what the order was.

  15. I can understand why “taking” OBL alive for subsequent interrogation, investigation and trial could be a good thing to do, as Shub suggests. I can also understand how during a somewhat extended “kinetic” action [love that term, btw] things might go awry and the next best outcome occurred. IMO it’s presumptuous to assume “next best” was the real goal all the time. So pending further review I’m chalking up the results Sunday to the karma of kinetics, which we all know were formerly referred to as the fortunes of war.

  16. Shub,

    Do you really think a trial would be practical? Where are you going to find an impartial jury? Even your lack of impartiallity is showing when you say “his crimes” and not “his alleged crimes”. What if he gets off due to some legal technicality? You going to release him?

    Would that trial be public, with all the months of attendant publicity and disruption of commerce in the area?

    Make him spill the beans? How are you going to do that? Do you believe in torture?

    According to your idealistic view, Obama and the Seals should be put on trial for killing him.

    When do you drop the guise of idealism and resort to pragmatism? Never?

  17. Shub,

    So, you like the WIld West way better: put on the show even though everybody knows the ending.

    Not to beat this to death but if you’re going to toss precedents around, the historical precedent would be to wipe Osama and his family from the face of the Earth. Think of Bonnie and Clyde. Where was their trial? O went down in a blaze of gunfire. Not all of it from Navy SEALs. Reports are that he was shooting back. What’s the point in an army with all of those guns and stuff if they can’t use them? He was actively fighting in a war that he started. One of its dangers was being shot.. I’m sure he equated the 9/11 events with say the bombing of Dresden or London during WWII. A criminal is someone who flaunts the law for (usually) personal gain. I don’t think that is the case here.

  18. Bob,
    If I imagine a trial for someone like Osama (I can only imagine that now, since he is dead), what I can think of comes across as a largely symbolic gesture, in the grand scheme of things.

    But more importantly, in the specifics, we have been told from day one that it is this man who orchestrated and master-minded every terrorist act from New York to London to Bali. Do we not need to establish this?

    I do not for an instant accept that a criminal be summarily executed in order to deprive him of publicity that would accrue to him, were he to be tried. (It would be a pain keeping the guy alive in order to try him, I totally agree).

    Make him spill the beans – yes. Is torture the only means of making someone spill the beans? The man has lived in Pakistan all these years. I would scarcely believe there was no state support whatsoever to Osama. Yet, as things stand now, these players all walk free. So the criminal who purportedly carried out attacks against the United States, has gotten away easy (by being killed) and the people who supported and shielded him all these years, with American dollars no less, cannot be touched because their bosses have nuclear weapons.

    SteveBrookline
    I am not confusing law with justice. In fact, if you would agree with me that this is indeed a situation where ‘law’ and ‘justice’ do apply, then I would point you to Frederic Bastiat’s conclusion on this matter: “law is organized justice”.

  19. I trust we’re all agreed, then, that MI6 should hunt down and kill all those Americans who bankrolled IRA terrorists over the years, and the American politicians who supported them?

  20. So you think a symbolic show trial and then killing him would be justice. To me that would be demonstrating how hypocritical we can be about the meaning of justice.

  21. 1. Does anyone in this conversation think that the world is not better off with OBL dead? If not, why not?

    2. President Obama is reported to have ordered a military attack with the objective of killing OBL rather than bombing the compound to rubble. Was this the right decision? If not, why not?

    3. If OBL had been captured alive, in what venue should he have been tried and on what charges?

    4. If found guilty (in 3 above) what should the punishment have been? Why?

    5. How do we insure that our government’s use of lethal force is limited? And to what limits?

    This quote from Mark Twain has gotten a lot of use today, “I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.”

  22. All,

    Been out of contact. Let’s continue striving for content our mothers could read. But I’m right there with you, Osynlige Mannen.

    JH,

    I love Mr Obama. Congratulations to him. See this wonderful image (I am not being sarcastic).

  23. Aren’t we tired of being world’s police? Anyway, the update reminds me of the following passage (p.424) in Bush’s autobiography.

    “President Jiang was respectful, but he told me North Korea was my problem, not his.”

    Mr. Briggs,

    Yeah, right, you love Obama. You know what they say…with hate comes love (and vice versa).

    The clip is funny. Hilarious edit whoever did it. Mr. JH would like it. He often says that Obama is a wu** and needs to show some ba***.

    DAV,

    Mr. Briggs got my point. I don’t really care if Obama gets credit.

    But you are right. If anything goes wrong, it’s all Obama’s fault because he OK’d it. I am siding with Cheney on that Obama deserves credit though. You know, Cheney has very impressive credentials.

    And the brave soldiers and intelligent cooperatives deserve more than the medals they’ll receive.

  24. Quit Afganistan? You can’t be serious. If you honestly think the problem is gone because we’ve asassinated Osama you’re sorely mistaken. We chopped off one head and another is all to eager to rise up in its place. We need to stand our ground and show these idiotic radical morons we will not stand for their crap. Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want- but when they start taking American and other innocent lives as a result of those beliefs, they need to be SHUT DOWN! And that’s what we’re doing!

    God Bless those US NAVY SEALS for taking out the mastermind of 9/11. And God Bless the REAL man who gave the order (that NOT being Obama). http://newsflavor.com/politics/us-politics/did-senior-militaryintelligence-officials-overrule-president-obama-regarding-mission-to-kill-osama-bin-laden/

    As for the proper burial Osama received; what a JOKE! That loser should have been washing urine, rubbed in bacon grease and kicked off the side of the ship like the trash he is! No matter what there is only ONE place waiting for him- that would be HELL.

    We have an uphill battle ahead of us and nobody said it was going to be easy- but we’re American’s and we’re in it for the long haul. UNITED WE STAND!

  25. We should stay in Afghanistan until the opium cash crop is irradicated and replaced by an agriculture of food crops and development of any valuable mineral deposits is undertaken. I have read that some deposits of rare earths and other minerals have been discovered, and these may have a potential value of about a trillion dollars. However, it has yet to be determined whether these ore bodies that can be mined economically.

  26. “The stalemate must be encouraged.”

    The propping up of Pakistan through support given to its military dictators and the ISI (as opposed to any encouragement of concurrent democratic practices, let’s say) is precisely the cause for why Pakistan is in the shape it is in today. It is also the cause for its continued backwardness. All through the Cold War years, theocratic radicalization and resulting energies were supported by the United States, with no or scant regard for the political aspirations of Pakistanis. Osama bin Laden is a product of this type of thinking.

    A long-term observer will note that over the past 50 years, the faithful ally of the United States, Pakistan, has paid its full price by this type of encouragement, carried out precisely to propogate a mythical ‘stalemate’ or ‘balance’ with India. That theory is spent, and Pakistan, in this regard, is a failure.

    There is no stalemate between India and Pakistan today. What Pakistan needs is a shake-up of its military nonsense and a viable path towards prosperity (through trade with its neighbors).

  27. Kristi Lee,
    I’m just a dumb know-nothing, but,
    I think the time for “show(ing) these idiotic radical morons we will not stand for their crap.” was over by November, 2001. Our mission in Afghanistan should have been to retaliate with prejudice and move on. And the next time AQ pulled another stunt retaliate again, with prejudice, on them and their hosts. And if they pull yet another stunt, again.
    But, sorry, I never believed in the nation building part of the mission. And let’s face it, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 9 and a half years. We’ve given the country nearly 10 years, too many American and allied lives and too many American dollars to form a stable government, make peace with itself and it’s neighbors, and develop an economy based on trade and natural resource exploitation. And exactly how far have they gotten? I’d say nowhere. Based on that track record, how many more years do you think we’d need to stay to get them to build their own damn nation?
    Bottom line: it’s my opinion that if we are attacked, we strike back quickly and in a completely out-of-proportion manner. Then let our attacker dig himself out of the rubble.

  28. We did not assassinate Bin Laden. When confronted by members of the Seal team he chose to fire upon them. We attempted to bring him to justice and he resisted arrest. Justice has been served.

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