When I first heard about the assault on the compound in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, I was happy and proud as an American. And willing to give Obama credit where credit was due.
It seemed like a gutsy move – which the mainstream media narrative quickly seized upon: the political consequences for Obama would have been quite negative if the mission had failed. It would have reminded everyone yet again that Obama is a reincarnation of Jimmy Carter. And the whole “Desert One” fiasco would have surely been remembered.
But take just a second and look at it from the opposite perspective; you know, the one that the mainstream media has never once considered for even a nanosecond. What would have happened had Barack Obama decided NOT to try to take out bin Laden? What would have happened – more to the point – when the American people were informed that Barack Obama had known for certain where Osama bin Laden was, and refused to try to get him?
Wouldn’t that have had even MORE DISASTEROUS consequences???
And, the thing is, it is a near certainty that that information would have gotten out. There would have been sufficient disgust in both the CIA and in the Pentagon that somebody would have made sure that the news got out that Barack Obama – who had PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE that he would go into Pakistan to get bin Laden - had cowardly refused to keep yet another promise.
Imagine for just a second the abundant campaign ads: slow-moving video of Osama bin Laden, followed by footage of the twin towars collapsing, followed by Barack Obama giving his word to get bin Laden, followed by the evidence that Obama knew for at least half a year where bin Laden was hiding, and refused to even try to get him.
It would have been just as “bold” for Obama to decide that an operation to get bin Laden was too risky, and jeopardized critical U.S.-Pakistani relations to too high a degree.
Barack Obama was forced into a position where he had to rely on the U.S. military to save his political hide. And the U.S. military came through for him.
And how does Obama repay that military? By literally gutting their budget, that’s how:
President Obama has targeted the Department of Defense to absorb more than 80 percent of the cuts he has proposed in next year’s budget for discretionary programs.
Does Obama deserve credit for that? Really? Is he out right now campaigning as the guy who just gutted the military he commands, or is he out campaigning as the commander-in-chief of a glorious military?
People should hear that RIGHT NOW Barack Obama is taking an axe and gutting the Navy SEALs, and the Nightstalkers who brought them in and out of that compound, and the Screaming Eagles he visited yesterday, and the entire rest of the military.
People should know that Barack Obama demonized the primary means of interrogation that got us Osama bin Laden. And there is no question that waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” methods led us to the breakthroughs we needed to get bin Laden:
Ex-CIA Counterterror Chief: ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Led U.S. to bin Laden
By Massimo Calabresi Wednesday, May 4, 2011
A former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, who was investigated last year by the Justice Department for the destruction of videos showing senior al-Qaeda officials being interrogated, says the harsh questioning of terrorism suspects produced the information that eventually led to Osama bin Laden’s death.
Jose Rodriguez ran the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center from 2002 to 2005, the period when top al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and Abu Faraj al-Libbi were taken into custody and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) at secret prisons overseas. KSM was subjected to waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other techniques. Al-Libbi was not waterboarded, but other EITs were used on him.
“Information provided by KSM and Abu Faraj al-Libbi about bin Laden’s courier was the lead information that eventually led to the location of [bin Laden’s] compound and the operation that led to his death,” Rodriguez tells TIME in his first public interview. Rodriguez was cleared of charges in the video-destruction investigation last year.
Even career Democrat and Obama appointee for Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta has openly acknowledged that waterboarding was an instrumental part of this intelligence effort:
Asked by NBC-TV’s Brian Williams about the information obtained from detainees that led to the bin Laden takedown, Panetta replied: ‘We had multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. … Clearly some of it came from detainees [and] they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of those detainees.”
When Williams asked whether “waterboarding” was one of those techniques, Panetta replied: “That’s correct.”
We have the following from the CIA analysts and the CIA director at the time, describing how essential the enhanced interrogations were to the knowledge that the CIA learned:
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): March 2003, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured and according to U.S. officials, the self-described architect of 9/11 was immediately taken into the CIA enhanced interrogation program and waterboarded. It was three to four months later, according to U.S. officials, that KSM was asked about the courier who was known only by an Al Qaeda alias. He downplayed the courier’s importance. The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says the implications of the CIA’s early leads are clear. […]
A former senior intelligence official says the waterboarding of KSM, quote, “took his spirited defiance into a zone of cooperation,” adding that the harsh interrogation tactic critics described as torture was not used to elicit information but rather to alter the detainee’s mindset. Philip Mudd is a former CIA analyst.
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Having seen this stuff on the inside, that’s not a debate. That is a done deal. The information we got was invaluable. So debate the cultural side and the political side, but please don’t debate the intelligence side.
HERRIDGE: In a radio interview with FOX, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said there is no question the CIA program including waterboarding laid the foundation for bin Laden’s capture.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FMR CIA DIRECTOR ON FOX NEWS RADIO (via telephone): That database was kind of like the home depot of intelligence analysis. You know, it was incredibly detailed stuff.
HERRIDGE: As for its role in identifying this compound in Pakistan —
HAYDEN: It would be very difficult for me to conceive of an operation like the one that took place on Sunday that did not include in its preparation information that came out of the CIA detention program.
HERRIDGE: 2004 and 2005 are described as turning points. Both Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libi, a gatekeeper for Osama bin Laden, were both in the CIA secret prisons. U.S. officials say for a second time, KSM downplayed the courier significance and al-Libi denied knowing him. The men’s adamant denials appeared to be an effort to protect the courier and U.S. officials say it, quote, “sent up red flags for the CIA” because other detainees consistently claims the courier maintained bin Laden’s trust.
And if you don’t believe EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE KEY PEOPLE INVOLVED, just accept that Bush and HIS gutsy decision to approve waterboarding led us to the knowledge that Osama bin Laden (UBL) was using couriers, the pseudo-names of those couriers that led to intelligence ultiamtely finding their actual names, and even the very city where Osama bin Laden was hiding:
Which is to say that the entire Obama presidency was spent mining information from waterboarding that Obama personally demonized and from a program that Obama shut down.
Every single major fact that we learned we learned from waterboarding and from enhanced interrogation techniques. And the rest of it was simply a matter of confirming what we knew from waterboarding and from enhanced interrogation techniques.
People should KNOW that Barack Obama demands that the United States of America should be nearly blind.
People should also know that on his second day in office Barack Obama shut down and terminated the CIA intelligence program that actually developed the information that got bin Laden. They should know that America no longer has that capability, and that thanks to Barack Obama we could never even begin to do that again – likely for years to come, given the difficulty of developing such intensive programs.
And people should know that RIGHT NOW Barack Obama is continuing to try to criminally prosecute the incredible men and women who gave us the intelligence breakthroughs that got Osama bin Laden:
In normal times, the officials who uncovered the intelligence that led us to Osama bin Laden would get a medal. In the Obama administration, they have been given subpoenas.
On his second day in office, President Barack Obama shut down the CIA’s high-value interrogation program. His Justice Department then reopened criminal investigations into the conduct of CIA interrogators — inquiries that had been closed years before by career prosecutors who concluded that there were no crimes to prosecute. In a speech at the National Archives in May 2009, Mr. Obama accused the men and women of the CIA of “torture,” declaring that their work “did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts — they undermined them.”
Now, it turns out that those CIA interrogators played a critical role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, which the president has rightly called “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida.”
Even NOW Obama is refusing to do anything to stop the prosecution of the men and women who gave us bin Laden, even as he flies around taking credit for getting bin Laden. Should we be giving Obama credit for that???
This nation should be grateful to George W. Bush, and for his courage and foresight to develop the programs and to create the capabilities that ultimately won us this victory against Osama bin Laden. It was the courage of George Bush that resulted in waterboarding – which Bush and his key advisors KNEW would be used by vile cowards like Barack Obama to demonize them. But they knew it had to be done, and they did it.
In the same way, Bush created the Guantanamo Bay (“Gitmo”) detention facility. Bush expanded the rendition program that had been used by Bill Clinton. Bush created the Patriot Act. Bush approved of domestic surveillance. Bush set up the military tribunals that had been used by Democrats like FDR in previous time of war. Bush established the indefinite detentions of the most hardened terrorists.
Barack Obama personally demonized and vilified all of these things. But he is using them to this day because they had to be done.
I would argue that the hero of this is George Bush; and that Barack Obama is a self-aggrandizing coward who was forced to use virtually all of the programs that he self-righteously demagogued for political advantage in a way that is frankly treasonous.
Right now we have a treasure trove of intelligence that is likewise nearly entirely the result of the work of George W. Bush. But be advised: if we don’t shut down al Qaeda now, we probably never will due to the massive failures of the man who sits in the Oval Office as we speak.
“In terms of Mr. bin Laden himself, we’ll get him running. We’ll smoke him out of his cave and we’ll get him eventually.” — George W. Bush, October 11, 2001
It was always just a matter of time. And the time came during the misrule of a hypocritical fool.