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05 May 2011

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William R. Cumming

Agree completely PL but if we had proof of UBL presence perhaps an airstrike would not have been so chancy as to result. But hey it worked out despite loss of high tech copter and no dead or injured so perhaps that was the best choice. Now let's hear from you and others as to what options for USA opened or closed by the event?

linda

this endless 'analysis' by the washington dc press corpse is insulting to the men who carried out the operation.

the ignorance displayed by these chattermonkeys is frightening/funny/pathetic.
i think this question posed by one of them to jay carney at yesterday's white house press briefing is illustrative -- i do wish the transcripts identified the reporters:

Q Bin Laden -- Sunday when the raid happened, was there any opportunity for U.S. officials to question him before he was shot?

Basilisk

Well said.

jonst

Personally, for all the reasons you articulate, and others, I have no problems about the tactics of this raid. Will not second guess those on the ground.

What I DO have some questions about the event (even if just questions for myself) that I find curious:

The house looks like a dump to me. Not a mansion. The structure of it to me seems to cut the residents of the 3rd floor off from any 'reasonable' chance of escape. Especially if one is sickly. That jump out the window would be a challenge. I wonder who designed this as 'your full time home for Ad infinitum? A mastermind with a ton of resources? Not likely. Yet that is how OBL is presented all these years.

I wonder about 500 Euros sewn in a shirt, or some such thing? That sounds to me like a pimp or a bookie planning a get away.

I wonder about the lack of armed personal there. I wonder about the lack of a firefight. Or, more succinctly, anyone to carry out a firefight. If the latest version, the fourth I think, of the story is to be believed.

I'm starting to ask myself, all over again, who was this guy? And was he REALLY the guy capable of planning the mission that brought down the Towers. Especially in light of the fact (now proven, in my mind, anyway) that OBL was a 'protectorate' of the Pak Military.

Just curious...just curious.

Just questions I have for myself.

William R. Cumming

jonst! Suppose UBL had guarantees of warning and security from Pakistani ISI or others but that promise either not honored or double cross?

Halteclere

Jonst,
Some things to consider:

1) Don't judge a country's "mansion" using a US or European idea of a mansion as a reference, especially a country such as Pakistan.

2) Armed personnel would draw attention to the house, which is exactly opposite of what the occupants intended.

linda

hahaha ... i presume you meant the comment about the nypd as a joke. you think there's controversy about the shootout now, the friggin' nypd would have left the compound looking like swiss cheese; and osama bin laden an unidentifiable mass of goo.

optimax

The SEALs wouldn't leave weapons near the body, in fact, would take control of them so nobody else could use them. Even if they weren't armed, I doubt they had their hands in the air intending to surrender. This raid was lightening fast and the SEALs took advantage of the confusion. It worked as planned.

WP

As a person who is not in the intelligence community, I have a question for the Col. Lang or FB Ali or someone else with real knowledge and experience with Pakistan.

Time and again, the "Pak Military" is referred to as a unitary, monolithic organization much like the U.S. military, but is it? Could it be that the "Pak Military" is really a non-unitary, non-monolithic collection of separate fiefdoms, each operating from its own ideology and for its own goals and purposes? Could one fiefdom of the "Pak Military" be protecting guys like Bin Ladin and other fiefdoms be trying to kill such guys so that the "Pak Military" is in some cases working against "itself" and really has no single goal or agenda?

Richard K. Armstrong

UBL was no more capable of planning AQ attacks than Trump was capable of architecting Trump Tower.

Both are rich guys that financed things and loved to then make claims about how cool and smart they were.

The video of UBL being taken out isn't available yet however, I'm betting that WikiLeaks will have it for us sooner than one would think.

The video of Trump being taken out is quite popular (over 6.5 millions views) on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9mzJhvC-8E). Start at 9:35 mark.

It's no wonder that Trump has publicly called for images of the deceased UBL to be released. I'm sure he feels it is unfair that his demise is getting so much traffic on YouTube.

Back to the topic, I agree that it is disgusting the chattering classes are wringing their hands over the operation in Abbottābad.

Laura Wilson

Agree completely. Soldiers know that both they and their targets are expendable...that is exactly the point. All this "coulda shoulda whoulda" is fun for the armchair generals and presidents but the rest of us should praise the soldiers and be proud that our President is paying attention to his job.

Nancy K

jonst if it looked like an arsenal and was surrounded by armed guards it would have stuck out.

Charles I

jonst, have you ever been a criminal? On the run for ten years? A homicidal wackjob? I'm 2 for 3. Its hard to cover every base 24/7/365 x 10. I haven't seen any reporting that said he'd been there for the post 9/11 duration, or that the dump looked equipped for ad infinitum. Somebody else bought and built the house its reported. Besides, it was in a nice neighbourhood. who needs a tunnel.

Besides, I thought KSM was the criminal mastermind, OBL the emcee.

alnval

Col. Lang:

Thank you. IMO your post’s subtext is really about this country’s and its media’s lack of education, training and experience in things related to why we have a military in the first place. A good argument, I think, for a return of the draft.

Given this egregious lack of knowledge it’s not surprising that the media keep translating what the military does into terms of reference they’ve acquired from other sources such as TV, film or uninformed civil libertarians. For example, I read yesterday an article in the NYT by Lander and Mazzetti titled “Account Tells of One-Sided Battle in Bin Laden Raid.” In the body of the article the authors then describe “the raid” as “extremely one-sided.”

The author’s (editor’s) implication was clear. We did not give the other side a chance to win because we did not engage in a “fair” fight. What nonsense! As if this were a cricket match with a field of play and rules to be honored. Words fail me.

The Twisted Genius

We don't know exactly what happened in this raid and never will. There will be bits of truth released or leaked. There will be guesses, educated or otherwise, put forward. There will be deliberate lies told to further any number of narratives. The only ones who truly know what went down are those who were there and they live by the motto STFU.

Do you know how assault teams normally clear a room? The first thing in is one or more grenades. You don't know what's on the other side of the wall. I have a fairly informed idea of what ST6 is capable of doing. The skills, nerve and discipline of these operators are damned near beyond comprehension. They were operating deep inside a potentially hostile country, facing an unknown foe with unknown capabilities in the dark. It would take an ignorant jackass to second guess their actions. Unfortunately, the world is full of ignorant jackasses.

Fred

"The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday, ...The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures to Reuters."

Dear Reuters, how much did you pay? Did you bother to ask this 'anonymous' official a) did you move the guns before taking the photos? B) who did? C) Did you plant the green squirt gun? D) When the Corps of Cadets at the Pakistan's West Point, 700 meters away, march down the street in parade did Pakistan's "Best and Brightest" do an 'eyes right' every time they marched past bid Laden?

Can some one please get the US Ambassador to Pakistan to bluntly tell our 'ally' that there's a USAF C130 at the airport, send all, and we mean all, of the helicopter debris over since we don't expect our 'ally' to act like that other 'ally', Israel, and sell any of that material to our enemies - like Israel did with the material Jonathan Pollard stole.

Speaking of allies, did you hear the Israeli Ambassador on NPR? Our 'best ally'. Can NPR please ask him, since he holds American citizenship, why he thinks it is the proper conduct of an ally to take secrets stolen by Jonathan Pollard and sell them to the USSR? Why, after he was convicted of multiple crimes against the USA does he think Israel is an 'ally' if it then gave citizenship to a traitor to America? Why as an American citizen did you refuse to sign up in the US armed forces but joined a foreign army instead? When are you giving up US citizenship since you put the interests of a foreign country first and have since 1979?

jonst

William C,

As far as I'm concerned the Pak govt, indeed most govts, are incapable of a double cross. To have a double cross one has to rely on the word of the govt in the first place. You would have to be a fool to do so. You can't double crossed by a country...only 'crossed'.

Halt....be I right or wrong ,I am judging the premise by Pak standards in so far as I can grasp those standards. It looked like a dump, albeit a costly dump, that was poorly designed, AND stood out like a sore thumb. To say nothing of the fact that it probably was one of the few dwelling in the world that, SO I AM LEAD TO BELIEVE, had no 'internet connection, mobile or otherwise, and no phone, mobile or otherwise, connected to the premises. Again, SO AM LEAD TO BELIEVE, there was only one stairwell up to the 3rd floor. A death trap if I ever saw one.

Halt, Nancy K

I could just as well argue that LACK of armed guards, in a place like this, would draw attention in Pak. Pak is not the US...armed guards are a dime a dozen. But the alleged fact that there were NO armed guards? Come on. If that was so, that was odd.

Charles, I may have seen erroneous reports that the US indicated he had been there years....but I did see numerous ones saying that.

I'm repeat myself Charles, but the design of that house was trap in the making.

I'll repeat myself again....I wonder who this guy was. That's all.

oofer

I titially agree with Col. Lang's post.

The military isn't a tool for nation building, police operations, or civilian relations.. The military, ESPECIALLY, highly trained commando units such as JSOC, SAD/SOG, Delta, SEALS, etc. aren't deployed to "make nice" normally.

They are where they are to be the very sharp end of a bloodied spear.

These are very highly educated and trained personnel. They are chosen from a large applicant pool. They are trained to be efficient and deadly.

Do things go wrong or missions sometimes change? Yes. These men and women can be used as liaison or trainers but don't ever misinterpret their intent or their primary training.

Like the Col. says the mission of the military is to kill, destroy, and push hard.

War is the fundamental result of social failure. It isn't pretty or nice. It isn't a video game, or an imaginary exercise.

We have been at "War" too often and for too long, but, as a disabled vet, I wouldn't make the mistake of being deluded as to the nature of what we call 'War" or its place in the human psyche.

Medicine Man

Well said, Colonel. Thanks for this.

I would like to add that training and equipping police like you would a military unit is also a bad idea, but that is probably another topic entirely.

Twit

The title of this post is of course also true on its flipside: when soldiers are cops (or when the police act like an army), it's pretty hard to maintain a democracy.

walrus

1. Typical "Mansions" in Third world countries have the staircases between levels barred and locked at night with the family quarters on the top and servants sleeping on the lower levels as security.

2. At least some Soldiers are trained in what was called "Snatch patrols" to capture prisoners for intelligence.

3. However, if Bin Laden had been taken alive, a wave of kidnappings and beheadings of Americans hostages, along with futile calls for Bin Ladens release, would have started within hours. Besides, what would you do with him? Some sort of atavistic lynching ritual in Manhattan? Do we really need another martyr?

Bin Laden was a legitimate military target. What he got was mercifully quick.

Cloned Poster

To misquote PL

If you want to start using policemen for soldier's work, remember that soon after you begin doing that they will no longer be policemen. Remember that in the future when you need people who will destroy your enemies,

America

Pirouz

That's very true, Colonel.

This is the main difference between Iranian and "Arab Spring" establishment responses to "unlawful assemblies".

In the Iranian case, NAJA (the police) have been the primary force restoring order. Whereas in the Arab countries, they've all resorted to the military, a force not well trained--if at all--for such contingencies.

The same applies for Operation Geronimo and any other operation where applications of force are delegated as either law enforcement or military.

Patrick Lang

linda

I hadn't thoiught of it that way. I think paramilitary police units like SWAT teams are very dangerous creations. These two functions IMO should be kept rigorously separated. pl

arbogast

I thought "unarmed" meant they tore his arms off before they shot him, and I was disappointed they gave him a chance.

The thing that is radicalizing me is the pictures of the people mourning him. You don't mourn Pol Pot and you don't mourn bin Laden.

What should we do with the bin Laden mourners? Keep a damn close eye on them at the least.

And make damn sure we have the capability, whatever you want to call it, to kill them wherever they are.

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