Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Osama has 72 virgins; Obama has 72 versions
President Obama has changed his story on this many times in the past week. Each change was designed to either glorify himself, or attempt to explain the odd inconsistencies.
The White House struggled to craft its account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to both a the American public and a skeptical Muslim world, correcting parts of its narrative, withholding others and hesitating to release photos that could be considered too provocative.
The White House deliberations and disclosures illustrated the public relations challenge for President Obama, eager on the one hand to quickly capitalize on a remarkable military achievement while at the same time seeking a tone that did not gloat or incite the Muslim world. In that environment, Obama tried to portray an air of business as usual even as his administration exulted in the aftermath of the feat carried out by Navy SEALs.
No doubt, the White House sought to carefully manage the story with presidential stagecraft. Obama emerged to make a dramatic statement announcing bin Laden's death Sunday night.
And on Thursday, Obama plans to go to the World Trade Center site in New York City to remember victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack by bin Laden's al-Qaida operatives.
President Obama clearly has benefited from the attention. His job approval rating spiked to 56 percent, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. It recently had been somewhat below 50 percent.
Yet, the White House found it had to backtrack and revise its own account of what happened in the raid. Administration officials said bin Laden was not armed after having claimed Monday that he resisted and was killed in a firefight. They also backed away from earlier statements that bin Laden or his defenders used a woman as a human shield.
There is also a logical gap in all of these various versions. Why would we assassinate the most wanted terrorist on sight... without even a rudimentary interrogation? It seems that we could have found out a lot more about the Al-Qaida terror network by water boarding bin Laden, and then killing him the instant we found him. According to most of President Obama's recent versions of the story, there was no resistance to the raid.
Remember, we had absolutely no idea that there was any information on his computer hard drive when we pulled the trigger on the unarmed terrorist thug. Why the rush to silence him? Why pass up a great opportunity to find out about terror plots planned or in progress?
All the version switching and fine tuning has resulted in claims that bin Laden is still alive and is fueling speculation by administration critics.
The success of the raid also raised difficult questions for the administration about whether the use of waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush administration had elicited some of the intelligence that led to bin Laden's lair. Obama has been a staunch critic of those methods.
"It simply strains credulity to suggest that a piece of information that may or may not have been gathered eight
years ago somehow directly led to a successful mission on Sunday," Carney said. "That's just not the case."
In his interview with NBC, Panetta was not as adamant. "They used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees," he said.
"But I'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question."
Posted by Marty4650 at 5:21 PM