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Tags: Osama bin Laden

I Like My Picks More Than Time’s ‘POTY’ Picks



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Jonah finds Time’s selection of “The Protester” to be an astonishingly boring selection.

Last year, in response to the selection of Mark Zuckerberg, I wrote, “many are noting this morning, this continues a trend of odd picks, perhaps driven by a desire for newsstand sales, perhaps driven by political correctness, perhaps by a reluctance to acknowledge picks that are perceived as conservative.” I offered the ones it should have been in the past decade, including Osama bin Laden, Dick Cheney, Saddam Hussein, the Danish Cartoonists, Nancy Pelosi, David Petraeus, Neda, the Slain Iranian Protester, and The Tea Partier.

The trend continues. I’d argue that the persons with the biggest influence on world events and the news in 2011 was, indisputably, the U.S. Navy Seals.

UPDATE: Okay, perhaps not quite indisputably; @CTIronman offers the idea of Steve Jobs.

Tags: Occupy Wall Street , Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden’s Real Estate Woes



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A joke from a reader:

Pakistani land records show that Osama bin Laden paid $1 million for his compound—but that was in 2005, before the real-estate bubble popped. As-is, the compound is now worth probably $250,000, and cleanup costs from a Navy SEAL raid are separate and considerable. Assume that OBL put $200,000 down. So he has an $800,000 mortgage on a property worth only about a third of that.

Yes, you guessed it: Osama bin Laden is going to be underwater for a long time.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

They Can Hear Us Cheering, Near and Far



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Today I had an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on why Osama bin Laden’s death – and more importantly, the message it sends around the world — is worth celebrating.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

Al-Qaeda: Hey, No Fair, You Didn’t Confront OBL on a Battlefield!



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This is from a translation of al-Qaeda’s statement confirming Osama bin Laden’s death:

Even when the Americans managed to kill Osama, they managed to do ONLY that by disgrace and betrayal. Men and heroes only should be confronted in the battlefields but at the end, that’s God’s fate.

I’m sorry, but is the group famous for blowing up embassies and hijacking airplanes and crashing them into skyscrapers and blowing up subways and buses and killing thousands of civilians around the world actually complaining that the U.S. Navy SEALs didn’t meet Osama on the battlefield?

You want to fight on a battlefield, then stay and fight at Tora Bora, you cowards. Don’t spend the better part of a decade hiding in Pakistani suburbs.

Also, the statement on OBL’s death refers to “Osama’s eyes.” I think it’s now just “eye” singular, fellas.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

As Mentioned This Morning, ‘Show Me the Bloody!’



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I don’t usually post two excerpts from the Morning Jolt, but the reaction to today’s is strong. One pretty prominent GOP figure in Washington told me my comments/rant actually changed her mind on the subject.

Show Me the Bloody!

Well, it didn’t take long for President Obama to obliterate those warm feelings he generated on Sunday night. From the moment we heard the news, I’ll bet some not-insignificant percentage of the American public said, “I want to see the body.” Not because we’re a bunch of voyeurs, but because we’ve been through these false alarms with disturbing regularity since 9/11. We think we get a guy, and then we don’t. We had several false alarms with Saddam Hussein, and when he was captured, they showed a short video of him getting checked out by doctors.

What’s that, Mr. President? The photos are “very graphic”? So was watching people jump to their deaths from the blazing Twin Towers, you hyperactive condescending nanny. About ten years ago, we had a national traumatic experience as we all watched thousands of people die before our very eyes when the towers collapsed. Since then, we’ve seen Daniel Pearl beheaded, Madrid subway cars blown up, London buses and trains blown up, Bali nightclubs blown up, a Beslan school turned into a massacre site. We’ve seen enough death and dismemberment of innocent civilians to last a lifetime. So pardon me for thinking that our delicate sensibilities might be able to handle seeing the man with more American blood on his hands than anyone else on the planet missing an eye and with some brain matter exposed.

What’s that? It might be “an incitement to additional violence”? Show me one extremist Muslim who’s not going to go into a violent rage over killing bin Laden, but who will do so if he sees the photos. Go out and find him. A few weeks ago, a bunch of Afghanis went on a rampage and killed a bunch of aid workers because Pastor Pyro down in Florida decided to flame-broil a Koran. A controversial book, a cartoon, the latest conspiracy theory — it doesn’t matter. These guys are just looking for excuses to run around and kill people in a frenzy.

I am tired of my government’s adjusting its policies in these inane attempts to placate the triggers of rage among unstable people — as if it’s our fault for provoking them.

The truth will set you free, even when it’s ugly or gruesome.

Tags: Barack Obama , Osama bin Laden

I Guess I Should Be Glad They Didn’t Pick “Pajama Been Bloggin’ ”



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Today’s Morning Jolt includes a great deal of venting about the president’s sudden about-face on releasing any photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, but also this note:

Somewhere, Geronimo Is Asking, ‘What Did I Do to Deserve This?’

I actually feel a bit of sympathy for Native Americans. I’m sure they’re thinking, “Really? They had to pick Geronimo? Bad enough that everybody jumping out of an airplane says it, when they could just as easily shout, ‘hey, I can see my house from here’ — but now one of our ancestors, and one of the few Native American figures that everybody in the country can name has to be forever associated with the world’s most wanted terrorist? They couldn’t have picked, I don’t know, ‘rutabaga’ or something?”

Of course, had they picked rutabaga, I’m certain the American Rutabaga Growers Association would be up in arms, furious that their noble root vegetable would forever be associated with the world’s most wanted and demanding to know, “Why Rutabaga? What did our crop ever do? It’s not like our vegetable hijacks planes and kills thousands of Americans! Why did you have to pick that as his code name, out of all the possible words? Why not, I don’t know, Voldemort?” And then, of course, Harry Potter fans would be outraged . . .

It would have been this way for every code name. Except maybe “Hitler.”

Still, does this really need congressional hearings? ABC News: “The Senate Indian Affairs committee will hold a hearing Thursday on racist Native American stereotypes, a hearing that will now also address the Osama bin Laden mission and the code-name Geronimo. While the hearing was scheduled before the mission, a committee aide today said the linking of the name Geronimo with the world’s most wanted man is ‘inappropriate’ and can have a ‘devastating’ impact on kids. ‘The hearing was scheduled well before the Osama bin Laden operation became news, but the concerns over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemies of the United States is an example of the kinds of issues we intended to address at Thursday’s hearing,’ Loretta Tuell, the committee’s chief counsel, said in a statement. ‘These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating,’ Tuell said. ‘We intend to open the forum to talk about them.’”

Dan Mitchell at Cato: “I’m not saying that the Geronimo was the best choice in the world. I’m sure, for instance, that the CIA (or Defense Department, or whoever) would understand that a negative-sounding Middle-Eastern code-name (such as “Towel-head”) would be completely inappropriate. Likewise, I doubt anybody in the government would use an African-American-sounding code-name, particularly when referencing a villain. In other words, some common-sense sensitivity is a good thing. But is there any reason why the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Akaka of Hawaii, can’t make a quiet phone call and say, ‘I know you guys didn’t mean anything, but in the future please stay away from using code-names that link bad guys to American Indians.’”

Donald Douglas observes, “Good thing they didn’t take out Osama with a Tomahawk missile.”

Top Ten Alternate Code Names for Osama bin Laden

1.       Aspiring Fishfood

2.       Beardy McBeard

3.       The Psaudi Psycho

4.       The Guy Who Was Big in Videos About a Decade Ago

5.       Mr. I-Kicked-the-Soviets-Out-of-Afghanistan-All-By-Myself

6.       Waldo (courtesy Proof Positive)

7.       Chum

8.       Nedal nib Amaso (a complicated code)

9.      The Abotta-Bad Guy

10.    Caveman

Of course, that last one would bring complaints from those snippy Neanderthals from the Geico commercials.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

If I Object, I Suppose I’m Being a ‘Reaction Nazi’ Again



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If you tell people that the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist and a major blow to the terror group most deadly to Americans is indeed reason to celebrate, you are labeled a “Reaction Nazi.” At the fine site of the Anchoress, no less!

It ends with a warning that we must not end up like Communists in Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s. Indeed, when I look out my window at America today, that is precisely the comparison that comes to mind. What an astute warning!

Thanks for the PSA, pal. I’ll go back to my efforts to reinstate Godwin’s Law, which apparently was repealed during some moment I wasn’t looking.

UPDATE: I see some references to “she” in the comments. The author of the item is not site founder Elizabeth Scalia but another author, Max Lindenman.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

Speaking Untruths, Even When the Truth Is Awesome



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From the Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

This Administration’s Signature: Stating Untruths Even When the News Is Awesome

Apparently the first accounts of the Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden’s house were transmitted back to Washington by Emily Litella. This is why the initial description of the showdown with OBL described a scene with “a lot of violins” and how Osama’s terrible crimes completely justify the “deaf penalty.”

Hey, it’s only one of the most important military operations in recent memory. Why sweat the details? Politico: “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday publicly revised the administration’s account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, telling reporters that the Al Qaeda leader wasn’t armed during the assault and didn’t use one of his wives as a shield.  On Monday evening, the White House had backed away from key details in its narrative about the raid, including claims by senior U.S. officials that bin Laden had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces. Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid.  Carney read a statement to reporters Tuesday seeking to clarify discrepancies. He said bin Laden ‘was not armed.’ When a U.S. ‘assaulter’ approached bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader’s ‘wife’ rushed the assaulter. That woman was shot but not killed, Carney said.”

“Why the changes?” asks Michelle Malkin. “As the famous situation room photo shows, Brennan was in the room watching the raid video along with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others. He probably disclosed more than he should have and it’s possible his betters were forced to walk back his comments for opsec reasons. What’s your best, good-faith guess? Unfortunately, the discrepancies are going to be fodder for extremists on both sides of the political aisle. It’s a shame they couldn’t get their story straight and send out someone who had been fully briefed himself on the official narrative before briefing the rest of the world.”

Donald Douglas at American Power is appalled: “That’s a really big lie, that Osama resisted U.S. forces. And why? The administration didn’t want backlash against targeted assassination? How lame? The president’s been doing so well. I didn’t think I’d be going back to calling him ‘Obambi’ so soon. Sheesh.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Osama bin Laden

The Osama Raid Nearly Scuttled Obama’s Interview With Oprah



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Osama’s crimes are endless, it seems. Apparently his death really complicated life for Oprah Winfrey.

Late on Sunday night, Oprah began responding to a series of fan inquiries about her seemingly perfectly-timed sitdown with the Obamas.

Yes, awake,” she wrote to one fan. “Trying to decide what to do about tomorrow’s show with Prez that was taped last week.”

Show will feel dated because we taped last week,” she went on. “Not even a hint of Osama’s demise. Still happy to have them on.”

And in the end, as anyone who was glued to their TV yesterday to watch the episode (only 17 shows to go!) knows, she did indeed air the show as is. The only conceit to acknowledging the show’s lack of the biggest news story of the day year is a crawl that occasionally popped up during the show, noting that it was “previously recorded.”

The ill-timing clearly continued to irk Oprah throughout the day, however, as she continued to respond to comments about the episode.

How dare he!

I suspect many readers will be surprised Obama didn’t whisper news of the impending raid to Oprah during a commercial break.

Tags: Barack Obama , Oprah Winfrey , Osama bin Laden

A Nine-Point Bump for Obama? UPDATE: Only 1 in CNN?



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We have our first poll showing the post-Osama-kill numbers for the president. And the bump seems . . . pretty modest. Maybe other polls will show a bigger bump?

Overall, 56 percent of those polled say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, an increase of nine percentage points over April polls by Post-ABC News and Pew. That is the highest approval rating for the president in either poll since 2009.

There’s also been a clear increase in public satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States, although by a margin of nearly 2-1, Americans are still dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

The president gets big bounces on dealing with Afghanistan, with his approval rating soaring to 60 percent, and on handling the threat of terrorism, where he recorded a career high of 69 percent.

Wait, really? Osama gets whacked and 31 percent either don’t support how Obama is handling the threat of terrorism or don’t know how they feel? What, these folks were hoping for bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri before approving of the job he’s doing in this area?

For the president, the nine-point increase in his overall approval rating is on par with the six-point increase in Bush’s numbers in the weeks following the capture of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in December 2003. Then, as now, political independents moved the most.

Compared with the mid-April Post-ABC poll, Obama’s approval rating among independents is now 10 points higher, at 52 percent. Bush got an identical 10-point boost among independents in December 2003. For Bush, that lift proved short-lived, with the entire increase gone within six weeks.

How long Obama’s improved ratings will last is, of course, an open question. The fact that there was no movement in Obama’s approval on the economy — still the top issue by far in the country — offers a reminder of the challenges that remain for the White House. Obama’s 40 percent approval on the economy in this one-night poll is the lowest of his presidency in Washington Post polls, though it has been numerically lower in Pew surveys.

Score one for the “it’s the economy, stupid” argument.

UPDATE: And then there’s this surprising result from CNN’s Steve Brusk: “New CNN/ORC poll: bin Laden raid brings only small bounce to President Obama’s approval rating: now 52%, up 1% from before raid.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Osama bin Laden , Polling

Think of This as Osama’s Final Photo Op



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In the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

This just handed to me: Osama bin Laden is still dead.

He’s Ready For His Close-Up

ABC News’ Jake Tapper tells us that the White House has the photos . . . they’re just trying to decide what to do with them: “The Obama administration has photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body and officials are debating what to do with them and whether they should be released to the public, officials tell ABC News. ‘There’s no doubt it’s him,’ says a US official who has seen the pictures and also reminds us that OBL was 6’4”. The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that he’s dead. There is of course skepticism throughout the world that the US government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.  The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.”

“9/11 was really, really graphic, too, if I remember right. I say, release the photo,” quips Nice Deb.

Drew M., a contributor at Ace of Spades, reacted to the (pretty dramatic) photo of the President and his senior staff with a groan: “I don’t want to see pics of Obama watching, I wanna see what he was watching. . . . This narcissistic [administration] releases pics of administration figures, not bin Laden dead. It’s not about you Mr. President.”

Over at the Ace of Spades, he adds, “I want a nice high quality copy to use on my computer’s desk top. Oh, he was shot in the chest too. You know the old rule . . . anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice.”

Ace himself contemplates the video recorded by the SEALs during the mission at that site: “There is no reason at all this video should not be released. Particularly if it shows this coward hiding behind his wife. Now, I don’t think that will sway the minds of many Islamists — they seem to think women are only good for reproduction (but not pleasure-sex), slavery, and death, but who knows, maybe it would shock some of these people into taking a look at their ugly faces in the mirror. By the way, Hamas, CAIR’s favorite NGO, condemned the slaughter of this rotten pig, calling him a “holy warrior.” Holey, maybe. Ba-dum-dum. Pow-pow.”

The Lonely Conservative contemplates the unthinkable: “I’ve seen some comments that if the photos aren’t released the conspiracy theorists will have a field day. I have to say, it would be terribly risky to claim Bin Laden is dead if he’s not true. All he’d have to do is release a video of himself holding newspapers announcing his death.”

More likely, bin Laden sympathizers could mock-up a photo depicting that, and set off a new round of conspiracy theories among the gullible.

One more reason to release the photos? To get that damn file footage of Osama smiling off my television set. The world must not remember him as he is that endlessly replayed stock footage from the 1990s, smiling, and firing his rifle, and walking among star-struck followers somewhere in Afghanistan. They should remember him cowering behind his wife as the foe he was never prepared for — armed American soldier — closed in, and how his much-touted warrior skills failed him when faced with a real opponent, not unsuspecting civilians on planes or in subways or in skyscrapers.

Apparently it’s possible we’ll see the photo as soon as today, Jake Tapper reports.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

No, Really, Celebrate. If This Isn’t Worth Celebrating, What Is?



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The comments on lefty blogs are pretty much what you would expect. I get the feeling that grassroots conservatives feel better about President Obama’s authorization of this operation than grassroots liberals do.

Over at Salon I read:

Bin Laden was clearly an evil human being, but it is deeply disturbing to see photos of some of my fellow Americans literally celebrating and cheering like it’s a some kind of football game win.

Er . . . really? Which development really warrants the full-throated exultation? The United States finding and lethally punishing the world’s most wanted terrorist, with the blood of thousands of our countrymen on his hands, or that our team won the big game? Take it from a die-hard football fan, when my team wins, I’m elated, but by and large, after the game, life is more or less the same. Jerry Seinfeld had that painfully funny joke, “We’re a little too into sports in this country, I think we gotta throttle back. Know what I mean? People come home from these games, ‘We won! We won!’ No, they won — you watched.”

No, really. This is the moment to cheer, to scream, to pump your fist, to break into that old bottle of your favorite beverage you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Because the world is different this morning. A key message has been beamed to every corner of the earth, sure to reach anyone who has ever committed terror against Americans, who seeks to do so again, or who is contemplating the act: No matter who you are, no matter how many followers you have, no matter how smart or careful you think you are, our guys can find you. It’s just a matter of time. If you kill our countrymen, they will look, and they will look, and they will look and they will never quit and we will never forget. You will die in prison at Gitmo or you will die quickly from a covert-ops team’s bullets. But one way or another, you will pay the price for harming our people.

Elsewhere, Salon groans that the war against Osama and his organization has cost $1.3 trillion. Think about what that says to aspiring terrorists. When we say, ‘We’ll pay any price to see them brought to justice or to bring justice to them,’ we mean it. That’s the kind of country we are.

Are we safer today? Yes. Not overwhelmingly so, and yes, we may see retaliatory attacks in the coming days, weeks, or months, God forbid. But I roll my eyes when I hear someone warn that some U.S. action may “further enrage” al-Qaeda members. These guys already have the rage turned up to eleven.

Al-Qaeda didn’t just lose their founder, leader, prime propagandist, etc. They also have to grapple with the image of him hiding behind his wife as the SEALs close in. They’ve just had a major blow to their morale, the possibility of the U.S. wrapping up more of them with the intel collected yesterday, and now there’s a major public-image problem. Young Muslim men join al-Qaeda because they want to see themselves as valiant, brave warriors dedicated to their divine being, not wimps who hide behind their wives when the bullets start flying.

And now they’ve just been challenged; the world is waiting for these retaliatory attacks. If none come — God willing — then they’ll be seen as largely exhausted and fractured and smashed beyond any serious capability. Al-Qaeda the “social movement” — the notion that a Muslim who’s frustrated with his life should find meaning and purpose in killing infidels and perhaps blowing himself up — will continue. Al-Qaeda the highly-organized terror organization may be coming to an end.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

OSAMA BIN LADEN DEAD. You’ve Waited Almost Ten Years to Read That.



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Most of my thoughts about tonight’s wonderful news, that Osama bin Laden is finally DEAD can be found on my Twitter feed. My thoughts are messy and scattered, as I hope bin Laden is as well.

This will be in tomorrow’s Jolt, along with several other items that seem so much less important in light of this news…

The Headline We’ve Waited Years For: AMERICAN KILLS OSAMA BIN LADEN

I cried.

Oh, sure, this doesn’t mean the war on terror is over or that al-Qaeda is gone. We may even see al-Qaeda launching retaliatory attacks… oh, right about now, so be a little extra wary on your commutes.

I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11 personally, although several came close. Like many of you, I know folks who have given sweat and toil in the war on terror, thankfully little blood. Or course, for nearly ten years, thousands upon thousands of good men and women worked to achieve this. Some gave all.

If you weren’t among those who were online around 9:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday night, you missed the ominous word that President Obama would be addressing the nation at 10 and that THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO WORD ON WHAT WAS GOING TO BE SAID. A circumstance that, as you can imagine, seemed pretty ominous. Let’s throw out the alien landing or asteroid scenarios; if the U.S. had gotten word of an imminent sudden and devastating terror attack, with insufficient specifics to stop it, isn’t this more or less how the news would be broken? The only detail from the White House was that it was “national-security-related”, and let’s face it, that’s rarely good news.

And then, as rumors began to focus on Osama bin Laden, CNN showed its usual file footage. That smiling demon. I wonder if he knew that his grin would show up as frequently as it did, every time there was a terror alert or some yahoo in some corner of the world blew himself up in a café. That was the insult to injury.

He’s not smiling now.

My sons are going to grow up in a world without Osama bin Laden. Your children, and grandchildren, and all of us, too. That’s what got me misty-eyed.

We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. But we know something it does not hold. You and I and our loved ones will not die in a terror attack that OBL planned and ordered. (Presuming he didn’t phone in a ‘go’ signal in his final days.) He has killed his last victim.

Oh, sure, he was likely to kick the bucket eventually. My older little guy goes through early September delightfully oblivious to the anniversary. I’ve thought about when he’ll wonder why Daddy’s book has a picture of burning buildings on the cover or what all those nonfiction books on my bookshelf are about, or when he’ll hear the numbers 9 and 11 used together so frequently to realize it means something very specific. I’ve thought about how you explain all this to a child, and what he’ll be ready to hear later in life.

And now, at the very least, I can tell him that the villain of this story – the man who we all saw as America’s Public Enemy Number One – is dead and gone.

A few folks speculated that this guarantees Obama’s reelection. I can’t even get my head around those kinds of thoughts, at this late hour. My initial, hating-to-even-think-about-it conclusion is that while Obama will get a big poll boost for now (and remember, he did authorize a risky special forces operation deep in Pakistani territory without telling the Pakistanis) this won’t be decisive in November 2012, but who knows?

For now, rejoice. America always gets her man, sooner or later.

Tags: Osama bin Laden

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