Monday, May 02, 2011

The Death of Osama and Lingering Questions

Congratulations are in order for the President that Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch. That does leave several questions.

The big one is what happens now in Afghanistan? We invaded that country to eliminate Al-Qaida. The Taliban was only targeted because they protected bin Laden and Al-Qaida. Will we continue nation building in Afghanistan or declare "mission accomplished" and leave?

It was assumed that bin Laden was hiding in a remote village somewhere in the mountains. Instead he turned out to be living just 40 miles from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, just 100 yards from a military academy that has been described as Pakistan's version of West Point. How could the most wanted man in the world be living there without official knowledge? Or, more likely, how far up did the knowledge go?

Was it just me or was President Obama taking a little too much credit? ("I directed the CIA.", "I received intelligence.", "I held meetings.", "I gave the order.") He didn't even mention which branchs of the service made the actual strike (Navy SEALs and CIA). He gets to take a victory lap regardless, he can afford to share some of the credit with the people who had boots on the ground. I think that Bush would have been a little more modest.

Bin Laden was located through a courier who had been named by detainees in 2007. Was this information extracted during the Bush administration under conditions that the Obama administration has condemned (water boarding)?

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