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David Hines [userpic]

hey! we got Osama bin Laden! also, HAWAII FIVE-O

May 2nd, 2011 (07:04 pm)
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I had two thoughts on hearing of Osama bin Laden's death. The first was: "FUCK YEAH!" My other thought was, "A Navy SEAL killed Osama bin Laden? OMG John Ringo can PREDICT THE FUTURE."

The road to this point was a long one. Reportedly, the US found this place by tracking a courier, whose nickname first came to light in detainee interrogations years ago, and about whom more data slowly amassed until we had his whole name, area of operations, and finally residence, which turned out to be Osama Central. Congrats to President Obama, the operators, and the intelligence folks on a job very well done. I thought the President's speech afterwards could have been better, but it must have been a very strange moment for him; he gave the order for a specific human being to be killed, and a couple of days later, it was done. It was Osama bin Laden, but my impression of Obama is that he's the kind of guy who still would be a little bit freaked out by that. His presentation was always as a transformative figure; he's a natural inspirer, rather than a natural leader, and has never seemed comfortable with wrangling people, unlike Bill Clinton and LBJ, two presidents who *looooved* it. And the one time since his election that Obama says "Do this!" and it happens pretty much perfectly and it's something big that matters and that people will remember him forever for, it's killing a guy. That's got to be a little odd. The way he emphasized himself in his speech was a little odd, too: he insisted on it being a priority, he was briefed, he made the decision. That speech was his "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner; as we all know, the question is what comes after that.

Among all the news and commentary (my favorite being the guy from Lahore who went to Abottabad to get away from it all, who unknowingly became the first person to cover the story when he bitched about helicopters on his Twitter), I've been surprised to see a few commentators making discontented sounds about Americans being publicly happy that Osama bin Laden is dead. Some folks even thought it resembled people celebrating over 9/11 itself. I was reminded of those 9/11 celebrations, too, but purely for contrast: Americans got together to celebrate the death of one guy who deliberately murdered over 3,000 people in a single morning and was sorry it wasn't more. The people who danced in the streets on 9/11 were celebrating the murder of over 3,000 people, and wishing it had been more. There is not so much a moral difference between the two as a moral *gulf.* I haven't forgotten that people danced in the streets over 9/11, and I'm never going to.

The big implications over the next few days are for our relationship with Pakistan. President Obama made lip service to Pakistan's cooperation, but the administration didn't tell Pakistan about the intel or the raid, and that says volumes. What says more: Abbotabad is a bit of a tourist town. It looks like an interesting place to visit; here are some pics from Flickr, if you want to get an idea of what it's like. ABC News originally reported it was 40 miles from Islamabad, but it's actually closer to eighty, so it's about as far from Pakistan's capital as Front Royal, Virginia, is from DC -- a two or three hour drive. It's also a big military town; Pakistan's War College is there. Osama wasn't in the sticks; he was right in the center of everything. As somebody looking at real estate, I'm honestly jealous of his location. There was a bus stop on the corner. There were hospitals and a college nearby. He was in the middle of everything, in a huge house with a giant wall, valued at a million bucks. I don't know if the US will make a stink about this or not (I'm guessing not, though WE DAMN WELL SHOULD), but it's extremely clear that several very big somebodies inside Pakistan knew *exactly* where Osama bin Laden was, and were sitting on that knowledge.

(Incidentally, as long as President Obama is killing people in Pakistan, may I recommend Abdul Qadeer Khan? "House arrest," my ass.)

And on a completely unrelated note: I just watched a promo vid for HAWAII FIVE-O. How the hell do you folks tell McGarrett and Danno apart? Their faces are so similar that the only way I can distinguish them is if it's a long shot, because McGarrett is quite a bit taller.

Originally posted on my DW. | people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

Comments

Posted by: Rachel M Brown (rachelmanija)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)

President Obama made lip service to Pakistan's cooperation, but the administration didn't tell Pakistan about the intel or the raid, and that says volumes.

I don't think it's clear yet whether that's what was going on, or whether Obama is giving lip service to Pakistan not being involved to protect its President from possible reprisals.

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)

I tend to assume the former, given what we know about the compound's size and location. It seems really hard for it to have been something the Pakistanis didn't know about.

Posted by: pokeyburro (pokeyburro)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)

The US government doesn't know the locations of all the mansions on US soil. Then again, so far as we know, none of those mansions is harboring an international criminal, so I remain unjudgmental about this.

It's also very possible to think highly of Pakistani foreign policy and still not notify them of a raid in this case, for fear of infiltration of their administration. (Which means the question then becomes whether Obama privately notified, say, Yousaf Gillani, and/or whether notifying a top Pakistani official is even feasible (do we have a red phone?).)

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2011 06:14 am (UTC)

See descriptions: http://ogleearth.com/2011/05/finding-osama-bin-ladens-abbottabad-mansion-with-google-earth/

(edit: CIA model here)

Edited at 2011-05-03 06:18 am (UTC)

Posted by: pokeyburro (pokeyburro)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)

...which is pretty cool sleuthing, even if it was publicly confirmed only hours later.

(I can't tell if you meant this to support that the Pakistanis knew about it, though. It doesn't seem to support that they did or didn't.)

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)

When I responded with the links last night I considered the extent of the security on the compound, as well as its size and lack of outside contacts (no phone, internet, satellite, burning trash rather than putting to the curb) to be something pretty hard to ignore practically right outside Pakistan's equivalent of West Point.

That said, that sort of security on a private household is not quite as over the top in a country where people get kidnapped and the like, and secretive compounds may also be less noteworthy. And local equivalents of zoning/building permit requirements may not exist.

So in the US it would be all but impossible for that compound to exist without at least local authorities noticing the anomalies; there's some possibility that mightn't be the case in Pakistan.

Posted by: Sara LaKali (sara_lakali)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)

How the hell do you folks tell McGarrett and Danno apart?

The same way we used to tell comic book characters apart. Danno is a short blond and McGarrett is a tall brunet.

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)

Related - I ran across this post, and it nearly made me cry: http://stoney321.livejournal.com/469847.html

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