Saturday, May 7, 2011

Clintonistas Run the Flea Flicker

This time, a Clinton took the shot.
For a week now we've been watching the End Zone Dance Tour  of Barack Obama traipsing around the country thumping his chest about the events of last weekend, when U.S. military Special Forces killed the number one enemy of America; Osama bin Laden. (I use the word "traipsing" facetiously for it would have been a lot cheaper on the taxpayer had Obama literally traipsed).

As the man who fought the previous administration's efforts at information gathering and hunting for bin Laden now bathes in the success made possible by his failure to thwart President Bush, Obama cavalierly rubs the noses of al Qaeda in the mess of his victory lap. Yet, Obama is concerned that proof of the mission's success -- i.e. a photograph of the deceased bin Laden --  would "anger Muslims and endanger more lives". 

It's becoming abundantly clear that the President is using this auspicious occasion as a campaign tool for his reelection ambitions for 2012. So, if Obama and his media epigones want to make an event that made millions of Americans happy into something all about him, lets take a closer look into how we got to this place. Then, perhaps, Obama will wish the spotlight would turn away and seek another subject.

We were aware of Osama bin Laden and his role in terrorism way back in the Bill Clinton presidency. The story goes that Richard Clarke, Clinton's counter-terrorism coordinator for the National Security Council, urged President Clinton to "take out" bin Laden when given the chance. When they had who they strongly suspected was bin Laden on a satellite image, Clinton refused to give the hit order. Osama thus lived to fight another day.

After the attacks on September 11th, 2001, facilitated by the man Clinton had spared, much focus was given to an August 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) delivered to President Bush. That briefing -- subsequently used by George W. Bush's critics to bludgeon him -- was a warning that al Qaeda planned to "fly planes into buildings". The wispy vagueness of that alert mattered not to those who insisted that Bush knew of the attacks and did nothing.

For example, there was no way to know which buildings would be targets or what type of planes would be used. Short of halting all air traffic over such a threat just to play it safe, what could Bush have done? The damage done by such a drastic protective measure may have been almost as devastating as the actual attacks, both financially and in the cost to human life, considering the people who would have been scheduled for life-saving treatments in distant cities or organ transports for critical operations. The costs to the airline industry and any other business heavily dependent on the rapid conveyance of goods and personnel would have been catastrophic.

Thus it fell on the afterthought of reaction, and the Bush administration handled it well, setting into motion a massive operation that eliminated some bad guys and captured countless others that proved to be treasure troves of intelligence. That intelligence begot others with even more intelligence, and so on, and while bin Laden managed to elude his ultimate fate during Bush's two terms, the intel gathered during that hunt proved to be the terrorist's final undoing.

Last Sunday, May 1st, nearly a full decade after the attacks of 9/11, came the word that Osama bin Laden was finally dead. Naturally the country rejoiced, and Barack Obama was an instant hit, but as details of the assault conducted by the Navy SEALS Team 6 began to emerge -- and as the media ran with whatever they were fed -- things got murkier. Accounts began to conflict in rapid succession; there was a firefight/bin Laden was unarmed, he used his wife as a human shield/he didn't do any such thing. That wasn't the worst of it, however.

Obama and Senior Advisor Jarrett
As reporting of the lead-up the operation was spun by an adoring press to make Obama appear as a strong Commander-in-Chief, the truth always seems to have a way of seeping out. One account was that the military wanted to bomb the compound, obliterating bin Laden and anyone else in his vicinity but Obama, the brilliant tactician, said no. He wanted to put boots on the ground in order that proof could be offered of bin Laden's demise. While the story is loosely based on fact -- Obama did order no bombing -- his reason for such an order was nothing more than a delay tactic.

There is an account of the events that led up to the assault on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan that details a rather stunning chain of events, and casts Obama in a light quite contrary to the bright beams shone by the media. The full account -- while as yet unsubstantiated and anonymous -- can be seen here. What it suggests, however, is a victory that was won not because of Barack Obama, but in spite of him.

There was a group of high profile people who had been pushing for weeks or months to raid the compound. This group was comprised of, among others, CIA chief Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and General David Petraeus.  The biggest obstacle to their plan was Senior Advisor to Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and an absentee Obama himself. Jarrett fretted that should the mission fail, it would reflect poorly on Obama and thus, damage his chances at reelection. For his part, Obama was too busy playing golf and campaigning, and he left the heavy lifting to Jarrett.

As it turned out, Clinton and Panetta, who was Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, may have wanted to atone for the failure of their own administration in getting bin Laden, for they were furious over the delaying tactics of Jarrett. It was Jarrett who convinced Obama to insist against the bombing, believing that it would take weeks to develop a plan to get up close and personal with bin Laden. Unbeknownst to Obama and Jarrett was that Panetta had already developed just such a plan and was ready to roll it out.

Cleverly securing Obama's blessing to proceed when the plan was ready, they had their green light. Astonishingly, as the mission was begun, Barack Obama was, not surprisingly, on the golf course. The alleged eye witness account of the events of that night indicates that Obama was dragged off the golf course and into the Situation Room when the actual assault was about to happen.

The Situation Room Viewing
Looking at the photo to the left, that account certainly rings true. It appears that the Leader of the Free World has been relegated to "that kid in the corner", and looks like the last person to enter the room. He also looks quite irritated, perhaps at being dragged off the golf course, maybe at learning of the assault as it was happening, or both. In any event, Obama most certainly does not appear to be the commander of anything, but rather a mere spectator.

If one wonders why there weren't repercussions after the fact, it is not much of a stretch to believe that whatever anger the President may have felt was easily assuaged by the promise of glory. And Obama has definitely wallowed in it, soaking up the accolades he seems to demand. In the week since, however, many questions have been raised about Obama's handling of events and the retelling of them, his motivation behind them, and the veracity of his multiple versions.

That we will examine in the next article.

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