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03 May 2011

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John Minnerath

Just listened to it, excellent sir.
I've already been reading things here and there by the hand wringers.
Such as, now all the bad guys are going to swoop down on us, or by finally getting bin Laden we have become the bad guys, ya da ya da. The world churns.

Jon T

Just listened Colonel and enjoyed the interview. Thank you.

For the hoopla, the weapons, the conjecture, the photos of the house, the maps, the diagrams, the questions about how long was he sheltered, by whom, who knew what, this and that, although I admit I've had some curiosity, I don't care that much.

What I do care about is the men who did the work and their professional skill and courage. And don't tell me who they are, ever. Not my business.

I put a photo of some of SEAL Team 10, in jeans and polo shirts and carrying their weapons, in my school bus today so that the kids can see that the men are real people, just like us. Navy SEALS are not ideas. They are human beings. They are not a video game.

I let it be there in respect and thanks, not for any one particular mission, but for the training, the life force in small units, the commitment, clarity, control of emotion and energy, simplicity and willingness to give it all and the possibility of protection they and people like them afford the rest of us in a way - too - fast and often out of balance and uncontrollable world.

I put it there to let the kids be with their own perceptions about this and then ask questions if they wish so we can then discuss discipline and making good choices and going on when it feels like I can't go any more.

I work with elementary school kids. I have kids with no clue about their future, some who are real smart and focused, some musicians, some who think sports are the way, a number from broken and painful families and a few who've said they want to go into the Army.

I respect them all and as much as I am able I give them an opportunity to be.

Cold War Zoomie

CIA is getting lots of PR and free advertising but we hear nothing about the other agencies on their team.

Funny how that works.

William R. Cumming

Again PL cogently and clearly expressing his views on the Presidential decision to conduct the raid, the raid itself, and relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. And those views state are ones with which I largely agree. Thanks PL for taking the time to do these interviews. Very helpful.

Patrick Lang

JonT

"I put a photo of some of SEAL Team 10, in jeans and polo shirts and carrying their weapons, in my school bus today so that the kids can see that the men are real people, just like us." Just like us what?

"the weapons, the conjecture, the photos of the house, the maps, the diagrams, the questions about how long was he sheltered, by whom, who knew what, this and that," Guidance counselor?

Well, if you had to do any of these things you would care about these "details." pl

arbogast

Very informative.

CT = extra-judicial international police, and I believe there is a, very circumscribed, demonstrable need for that.

Bin Laden was a monstrous, admitted criminal. He was hunted down and killed. Ultimately, that's police work.

Turning Iraq over to the Iranians, and wasting time in Afghanistan is inflating the defective egos of impotent Presidents.

clifford kiracofe

Yes, CT is the best policy option. But will the White House finally get this message?

Political types advising the President for 2012 have just had handed to them on a silver platter the opportunity for a major policy change. Can the political types see the light and will they move to overrule the delusional policy types: COINists, nation builders, humanitarian interventionists, one-worlders, and the like?

We shall see.

Meanwhile, an interesting commentary piece from the conservative Telegraph of London:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8491149/Pakistan-and-Osama-bin-Laden-How-the-West-was-conned.html

Personally, as pleasant a surprise as the demise of UBL is, I am focused on
cobia and blues at Hatteras for the next several days.

herb

This is further evidence that the United States is getting very, very good at this kind of operation. The equipment, tools and training is now to the point where we can pull off an extremely high risk operation and be successful on every front.

Colonel, I don't know your opinion on Col. Kyle's book on the Desert One operation ("The Guts to Try"), but the host mentioned how that event led to Carter's defeat. After reading the book, I have an enormous amount of respect for the people who conducted that operation, and appreciation for how even the best planned operations can be derailed. This was a tremendous achivement.

Regarding Pakistan, this really puts them in a horrible position. Their protestations that we didn't notify them are laughable and only make them look weaker and more ineffectual. First, if they didn't know Bin Laden was there (as they claim), they are incompetent, but obviously they did know, and have been caught as liars, not only to us but to the world, which wanted Bin Laden captured or killed almost as much as we did. Second, if they didn't want us to take Bin Laden down, then stop us! We flew helicopters and a major US force deep into their territory, took out a military target, withdrew successfully and they couldn't do a damn thing about it. Do they really want to call attention to that? It's like a football coach complaining that the other team ran up the score. Don't like it? Do something about it.

The best thing they could do is say nothing at all, pretend it never happened.

arbogast

The telegraph article is very interesting. Required reading grade.

My own, very personal, curiosity is aroused by the idea tha bin Laden was an invalid. I have alluded to this previously.

Certainly, if he had an anatomic medical condition, like renal failure or a kidney transplant, this would have shown up immediately on autopsy.

Why is this interesting? It would imply strongly that bin Laden had received extensive, very extensive, expensive on-going medical care from someone.

I would hope that his lightning quick burial at sea does not imply US complicity of some sort with this care.

I would very, very much have preferred for there to be an autopsy and then a burial at sea.

I am not invoking conspiracy. On the other hand, a ton of money was keeping this guy going even if he was as fit as a fiddle (able to run up and down hills in the words of Colonel Lang). Money comes from somewhere and goes somewhere. Ask Al Capone.

clifford kiracofe

arbogast,

Allegations from India over the years repeatedly raised the issue of a medical condition. Additionally, it was alleged that regular dialysis was provided to him in Pakistan with official knowledge and with the complicity of the military. I don't recall whether the allegations pointed to a private clinic or to medical facilities on a Pak military base.

Given the thorough planning of the operation, I would hope a careful autopsy was performed by qualified forensic types. We can always deny same. Presumably, there are adequate medical facilities on a carrier and forensic specialists could have been waiting.

It will be interesting to see what emerges from India now per his whereabouts and all in the manner of "We told you so..."

Patrick D

Great interview, Col.

I don't feel any emotional response to UBL's demise, just the satisfaction that an important task has been completed.

Any emotion is associated with the knowledge that the "anti-terrorist strategy" that you suggest in the interview and that this operation represents was the initial plan, an intel and SF war in the shadows. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the "bait" before the Iraq "switch". So much blood, time, and treasure wasted.

clifford kiracofe

A perspective from India:

"Make no mistake: the scourge of Pakistani terrorism emanates more from the country's Scotch whisky-sipping generals than from the bead-rubbing mullahs. It is the self-styled secular generals who have reared the forces of jihad and fathered the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jalaluddin Haqqani militia, and other groups. Yet, by passing the blame for their ongoing terrorist-proxy policy to their mullah puppets, the generals have made the US believe that the key is to contain the religious fringe, not the puppeteers.

In fact, Pakistan's descent into a jihadist dungeon occurred not under civilian rule, but under two military dictators – one who nurtured and let loose jihadist forces, and another who took his country to the very edge of the precipice."

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/201152165937513531.html

steve

You're absolutely correct I think, that the nation-building, counter-insurgency strategies which have bled our nation--and others as well-- in every sense of the word are disasters for the US domestically and otherwise.

Counter-terrorsim? Yes.

The Afghanistan war is a fiasco. Will things change? No, Obama lacks either the intelligence or the political courage.

jerseycityjoan

Like arbogast, I question putting quick burial ahead of autopsy. Was all the talk about major medical problems true or not?

Either way, where did the money come from. I hope we find out and that the death of bin Laden leads to the death of Al Queda as a network of terrorists and terrorism sponsors.

William R. Cumming

PL and others question? If as reported UBL remained unarmed in the final encounter what were his motives in doing so?

Is the consensus that no members of the raiders killed or perhaps even injured but that 22 others in the compound killed during the raid?

Fred

Herb,


Pakistan gave aid and comfort to the enemy of the United States, their ally. 'Do something about it?' Yes, the US needs to stop investing in that country and making their elites rich while our people get to pay the bills in money and blood. Screw them.

Mosey down to Wal-Mart where you'll find more than one item with 'Made in Pakistan' on the label. The Wal-Mart founder's billionaire heirs have had five tax cuts for a decade – what investment in any factory in the USA have they made? I suspect zero is the right answer.

Why should they continue to receive special reduced taxes to make higher profits for having invested in a country that gave aid and comfort to America's number 1 enemy? Wal-Mart can count on my never setting foot inside again. They and every other company that has invested in Pakistan needs a tax hike and the next millionaire congressman or 'think tank' fee market blowhard that says we need to lower taxes to get those 'stranded' foreign profits returned needs to be told to shove it.

ked

Col,
Any thoughts on linkage to the CIA contractor shoot-out w/ the 2 ISI guys last month?

Also, any influence of the most recent Wikileaks documents release - timing? I seem to recall there was info about courier-tracking...

As always, many thanks for your insights.

Byron Raum

Dr kiracofe,

The Jihadist boogeyman has been used more than once - it occurs to me that Mubarik used it in Egypt to justify all manners of excesses. It finds a resonance in the Islamophobic industry in the West. There is no doubt that these Jihadists are evil men. But how often are we being played for fools here?

B.R.

different clue

I don't know enough to even begin to speculate about whether a sizable operation against one of the sheltered guests of Pakistan's ISI-military complex in clear view of a physical center of that complex can really be hidden from Pakistani view until it is all over.

I notice that both sides are at great pains to say it
was so hidden, and our side is going further in saying that we dared not tell the Pakistani government for fear they would warn their sheltered guest so he could take countermeasures.

Are we trying to lend the
Pakistani government some domestic credibility with its home public by depicting it as potentially unhelpful to us and therefor
not the supine servant which Pakistani public opinion accepts it to be? And if it is felt that helping the Pakistani government boost its domestic credibility with its public requires us to help it show itself as unhelpful to our efforts to get bin Laden, what does that say about what the Pakistani public believes in and supports? And what does that say about any prospects of relations with that public if they get themselves a genuinely democratic government through which to express themselves?

Or do such questions suggest too bleak-and-white a view on my part?

optimax

Col., It was a pleasure to hear your thoughts on the OBL operation and its possible ramifications. CT is the way we should be fighting terroism but it probably won't happen because it won't feed the insatiable appatite of the military/industrial complex or the warped egoes of many of the elite.

Our countries crazed right, who put self-aggrandizement above country, have joined the crazed left in anti-Americanism. Both saying we overstepped international law by illegaly carrying out the mission without the approval of Pakistan. As if they would cooperate. Such bs. Even heard a woman on tv from Booz Allen say her contact said OBL only arrived at the compound three days earlier.

arbogast

My namesake, Milton Arbogast, famously said to Norman Bates, shortly before Norman stabbed him to death, "My mother used to say, 'If it doesn't gel, it isn't aspic,' and so far this ain't gelin'".

Why Navy Seals? I know they're trained to operate on land, but aren't there adequate Army Special Forces around? I can see it being a question of security, namely, all their preparation occurred in the US and their only footprint was on an aircraft carrier in the ME. Any answers?

Why the change in the story the next day? First day: bin Laden is armed and using a woman as a human shield. Next day: he's unarmed and the woman got shot in the leg when she charged the Seals. Obama got shot in the chest and the head, because he "resisted" but no real details of what that resistance consisted of have been released.

That change in the story is really, really interesting. It makes us look bad on two counts: 1) we can't get our story straight, and 2) it turns out we shot an unarmed man. Why go to the trouble to make us look bad, when there's nobody around who can challenge our version? Who had the power to force a change in the story? I, for one, believe the only people who could have forced it were the people in the room.

Clifford says there could have been an autopsy. Definitely. Why keep it a secret?

Is anyone else ill at ease? I am very willing to be called nuts, today and every day.

Maureen Dowd has a column today where she compares Obama to Michael Corleone. She doesn't mention that bin Laden sleeps with the fishes.

Don't get me wrong. Bin Laden was a mass murderer. The plan was to kill him. No problem. I see it as a successful mission. But it has a funny feel to it.

Patrick Lang

arbogast

The WH has screwed this up by not keeping their mouths shut until all the debriefings could be sorted out. Initial reports are often incorrect in details. That is all this is. There is nothing to hide here. Or on the other hand maybe JW Booth did escape and live out his days in S. Francisco as a restaurateur. As to why SEALS. The helicopter guys were all from the 160th SOAR, an Army unit. The ECM guys from USAF, etc. The choice of ST-6 probably had a lot to do with the little fact that the SOCOM and JSOC commanders are presently Navy admirals. pl

William R. Cumming

It will cost millions to secure the WTC site for the President's visit. His first there.

arbogast

I sincerely thank you Colonel Lang for getting me back to reality. My mind works too hard.

Booth was a pretty good actor. Maybe he played dead.

Charles I

". . . could have been an autopsy.. surely I'd bet on it, I'd be ordering them to figure out where his food and drink were comiong from.

In Bohica somebody's got his nose and his brain.

Arbogast, why keep it asecret? b/c the shouting for pictures, relics would never cease, for one thing. B/c evry detail would be an indignity to some jihadi for another.


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