Cool Hand Barack

President Obama pulls off an execution of the execrable Osama that would make Mario Puzo proud, with plenty of room for a sequel.

Comments: 125

  1. Now that Obama has proven his bellicose Republican critics wrong, and shown that he can be a Democrat and strong on national security at the same time, let him also prove that he can be just as forceful on domestic issues. He now possesses nearly as much political capital as he did at his inauguration. I hope he uses his new-found strength to press for passage of the DREAM Act, stand up for Elizabeth Warren and her embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, end the war in Afghanistan by summer, and do something about our shameful unemployment crisis. It's time for him to stop his tired old refrain about competitiveness with China while looking only to the G.E. CEO for guidance. It's time for him to acknowledge that we have a growing poverty problem in the midst of capitalistic plenty for the top one percent, and to push hard for a plan to do something about it. Jobs must now become his top priority.

    I would like him to stop campaigning on the "Winning the Future" canard and start living in the present. Now that bin Laden is finally dead, this should also be the beginning of the end of our siege mentality and paranoid security state. And the less I hear him utter the word "bipartisan" the more confident I will feel. The real war will be the one with the fanatical, nihilistic Republicans whose only aim is to enrich their wealthy friends, destroy our social safety net, and deny the president a second term.

    This could be a new beginning for Obama, and for us. Let's all seize the day and make it happen.

    http://kmgarcia2000.blogspot.com/

  2. Thank you for your direct compliments to Obama, for a change.

  3. Finally the phrase 'Dead or alive' uttered by a president who isn't a little boy with a toy gun in his holster and a hat that's too big.

    But that won't stop the dominant right-wing smear and historical revision machines from doing their worst.

    The right, ever mindful of the baleful eye of history, has turned up the heat on the re-writing of historical events that barely qualify as such, to wit, the precision assault mounted at the behest of Barack Obama. An action that happened mere days ago is getting the full revisionist treatment by the right, and these guys know how to rewrite history. It's just about ALL they do.

    At the Cato Institute, the right-wing front founded by the Koch brothers to come up with scholarly sounding teleological support for all manner of nefarious far right machinations is one of many groups who have hit the ground running to make sure their side gets credit for Geronimo EKIA.

    Cato 'Scholars' like busy little right-wing worker bees, are hard at work pointing out that the killing of Osama has been in the works for years (in other words, no thanks to a Democratic president and most especially THIS president), and then go on to finger wag that the proper way to fight terrorism is NOT with a sledgehammer like Obama has been doing, but with a scalpel, as the right has been instructing for years and years. Since memory is a sinkhole for the right, there is no mention that that sledgehammer was wielded by their very own George W. Bush, and they cheered him on for nearly a decade. Where was the mention of scalpels when Bush and Cheney were doing a full-out Curtis Lemay on Baghdad?

    An article on the Cato site on the assault that brought down the subject of the biggest manhunt in history, have not a single mention of the name Barack Obama. In fact, you have to go down to the third paragraph before there's even a mention of the sitting president whose direct order set in motion, two years ago, the action that resulted in the death of the 9/11 mastermind, and then its a tepid reference to the 'Obama administration' not to the president himself.

    After that, it's a lot of Cato patting itself on the back for being right all along.

    And this is from one of the more moderate right wing fear, smear, and revisionist outlets. Many, many others are out of their minds in their hatred of a black Democratic president who did what their white, far right fundamentalist chest beaters could not do in nearly a decade.

    Much more to come.

    Really, it shows the true nature of these people. Hopefully the president is listening. These are not people you could ever hope to have a reasonable conversation with, never mind continue to attempt any kind of detente or bipartisanship.

    They're haters. And now they're crazed haters.

  4. George W. Bush was right to publicly downplay the importance of Osama bin Laden. Where Bush was wrong was to end the hunt for him and leave it -- and many other problems -- to the next president to handle. Despite bin Laden's growing irrelevance, he remained a symbol for some fundamentalist Arabs & a thorn in the side of the U.S., never so clearly depicted as at the Correspondents' dinner when Seth Meyers joked about not finding bin Laden & Obama laughed along appreciatively, all the while knowing exactly where bin Laden was and expecting to capture or kill him within hours.

    What you saw there was not just the smile on the face of the tiger but also Obama's ability to brush off da noise, an essential characteristic for a political leader.

    Obama's ability to ignore his critics, however, has its downsides, as we saw when he called his previously ardent supporters "sanctimonious purists" last December for complaining that he was not even vaguely holding to the policies and principles he articulated during his campaign. Sometimes da noise matters. And sometimes a steely resolve to get something done -- even if it's the wrong something -- is a mistake.

    So far, President Obama has been lucky in that his Republican rivals for the presidency are at best fodder for Gail Collins' mockery. But if Obama continues his appeasement of Republicans, a/k/a "arriving at bipartisan consensus," he is likely to find himself in the position of being a lame-duck president with a Congress wholly controlled by a radical right Republican wing. The Democratic base, whom he has so casually taken for granted, has lost its enthusiasm, largely because of President Obama's repeated capitulations to Republicans & Wall Street. The leader of the Democratic party has lost his ability to "fire up" the base. We are no longer "ready to go." Our only hope is that Republicans will continue to shoot themselves in their proverbial feet with their radical right-wing attempts to take us back to the Gilded Age, and independents, led by seniors, will vote a straight Democratic ticket.

    If he wants us liberals back, Cool Hand Barack should seize the day & use the demise of Osama bin Laden as an "excuse" (as if one were needed) to wind down our military presence in Afghanistan & Iraq. Rahn Emanuel famously said that one should never let a crisis go to waste. The President should not let this opportunity to go waste. Or else.

    The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

  5. So much disdain, and at a time when we all should be pulling together.

    If Sarah Palin wasn't gracious enough to congratulate a Democratic president on a job extremely well done, this Republican is, just as Cheney and Bush both were.

    And nobody ever suggested that Barrack Obama doesn't have style.

  6. The only thing that could possibly undermine President Obama success is over stating his role. Maureen does that here – “But now the president has shown he can lead straight-on and that, unlike Jimmy Carter, he knows how to order up that all-important backup helicopter.”

    The President did not say, "Don't you think we should have four helicopters, not two like you have here in your plan?” Thus causing the Generals to smack their heads and exclaim a collective “DOH! Thanks Mr. President!”

    Give our President credit for his great courage for green lighting the mission. But please give our military and intelligence leaders & soldiers equal kudos for conceptualizing, practicing and executing the plan and the villain.

  7. Condi Rice "shocked" to find Geronimo hiding in plain sight? Sounds like the Condi of old who said "no one could have imagined" using airplanes as guided missiles.

    Sometimes, finding that things don't change is not comforting. I'm glad the Bush regime no longer has its hands on the tiller.

  8. I am not sorry to be please that Osama is dead.The Bush administration should have done this nine years ago and there is no excuse for their failure. At least they had the good taste to congratulate Obama for a job well done.

  9. Rumor has it that in the course of monitoring OBL's compound for months previous to the assault, US intelligence came up with proof positive that high up Pakistan intelligence officials were working to protect and aid OBL.

    Moreover, since the WH wants this information to made public, but does not want to directly offend Pakistan by making this information public, the WH has plans to have this information leaked to wikileaks.

    I imagine that right now, we are all starting to feel a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole.

  10. Unlike his predecessor Obama got the job done, and he did it without all the tough talk and posturing. Congratulations to the President and the all behind the scenes people!

    www.feelgoodtracker.com

  11. Thanks Mo for reminding people that the Bush regime's failure to find bin Laden was just another manifestation of their swaggering incompetence. Obama's cool, calm, clear-headed yet bold thinking is a marked contrast to W's hot-headed impulsiveness. It's no accident that justice was served now, not then.

  12. The analogy of Obama calmly making jokes, while his CIA operatives were on their way to fulfill a mission of slaying an enemy, to the Baptism scene in "The Godfather" is perfect.

    This president has a way of keeping his emotions so hidden that he could be up to anything and no one would guess.

    He is not a dove, that is for sure. And if I were Donald Trump, I would be a little more nervous after this.

    Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes.

    La la la LAH la la la....

  13. Hard to believe that many knew his location and none went for the 25 million dollar bounty. Even in a rich neighborhood in Pakistan.

  14. Someone has a crush ?

  15. "He has said that those who call him a wimp are mistaken, that there is often muscular purpose beneath his diffident surface."

    Too bad the president doesn't demonstrate 'muscular purpose' in dealing with Republicans. You've got your American enemies outside of the US.
    Then there are the American enemies inside the US. He needs to deal more strongly with those inside the US.

  16. Re-directing a large fraction of the $3 billion we currently send annually to Pakistan, to greater needs at home, ought to be something that both responsible Democrats and Republicans could agree on. Given the evidence of complicity or incompetence by the Pakistan military and intelligence services. But of course there is absolutely nothing that they can agree on.

  17. mo: you didn't really think the "queen of don't know anything" would give our president any credit for this extraordinary and courageous decision now did you? that person reminds of those little yappy dogs that wait for all the other dogs in the neighborhood to start and then they begin their wail too.

  18. Nothing but congratulations to the ever-so-impressive SEALS, and our President, who's far far from being a cowboy.

    He is COOL, and has been so through out. That's the kind of temperament we need in a leader.

    What he did manage to do was NOT done in nearly 10 years (even the unit to track OBL down was closed years ago).

    Whether this ends terrorism ? No, not so fast. We've now got to be twice more alert.

    BUT, didn't we retrieve a lot of computers, CDs and other material for follow-up? So, Zawahiri (or whatever his name) and others start counting your hours.

    After $18 Billion in aid to Pakistan to fight terrorism, and this is what we get? I would recommend a penny from here on, no matter the diplomatic babble from oh-so-'embarrassed' leadership in Pakistan for allowing him harbored within a mile of their version of 'West Point' and 'Sandhurst', undetected this long.

    Thank you, Mr. President. Yes, 'We Can'!

  19. President Obama risked all he had, his presidency, to get the job done. If anything had gone wrong or failed his presidency would have been finished and Republicans and tea partiers would have been merciless in their condemnation. President Obama did the right thing for the right reasons and we are grateful for a President who places our country and its citizens first. This is surely one of President Obama's finest hours. Thank you Mr. President.

  20. Read Lizza's article -- in no way do I think the President comes off as "pathetic." The portrait Mr. Lizza sketches is one of a deeply pragmatic, intelligent man who is not - and should not be - ashamed of eschewing "mission accomplished" moments in favor of nuanced, results-driven foreign policy.

    I have to agree with Ms. Dowd on her characterization of the Times article by Mazzetti, Cooper and Baker. It was indeed mesmerizing reading, and the highest caliber of writing I've read in the paper for a long time.

  21. Backup helicopters wouldn't have helped in Carter's case as there was a sand storm that was taking down all the helicopters. But all kudos to the planners who had backups at the ready. It was a great plan, well executed. Good for Obama for not going for the bunker buster.

  22. Still all of this for 200 Al Qaeda operatives! Obama did good to strike the head. finally. 200 is also the number of thermonuclear warheads of this regime that harbored bin Laden in its very heart. Think what it means. The problem of Afghanistan is nothing, was always nothing, relative to that thermonuclear monster of an Islamist state which is Pakistan.

    The thermonuclear fangs of Pakistan were partly paid for by the Bush administration. Now they have to be removed, and Pakistan has to be de-Islamized. There is no room on this planet for regime which have a superstition as constitution, and then build nuclear reactors, just so they can make more "pits" for their thermonuclear bombs.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

  23. Agree with Ms. Dowd. It is totally amazing and unheard of that a secret of this magnitude existed in Washington without being leaked. And for almost 8 months. Give everyone involved the highest medal of honor just for that. President Obama is a pro and no political spin on this great earth can take away from this real 'mission accomplished' moment in history.

    Pakistan has a lot to account for. In my opinion, ther is no way in the world that they did not know bin Laden was in their back yard. And we gave them Billions? Send the Navy Seals back immediately for our full refund.

  24. "This place may be bombed, and we will be killed. We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us." - Osama Bin Laden, 11/26/2001.

    Yes, he really said that. Only instead of bombing him, the US did it with surgical precision, harmed absolutely no one outside of that compound, and treated his body with some measure of dignity and respect for his religion, which is far more than even he expected. We gave him his biggest wish - sounds like he went out doing what he loved.

  25. I wonder what the House Intelligence Committee chair had to say about it or were they scared to brief her ahead of time?

  26. At the risk of repeating what we Indians have been saying along "we told you so". Unfortunately for the US, it has invested so heavily in Pakistan in time, human resources and money, it will find it difficult to extract itself from that country. Unwittingly while fighting a proxy war with the USSR, the US chose, as per convenience, to arm and equip the mujahideen. The consequences of those decisions are there for us to see.

    What matters now is that the west, particularly the US and that faded nation the UK learn from what could be termed as the fourth Afghan War. It has been a country that has been ravaged, torn, bombed, invaded and left economically, culturally, socially and emotionally more barren as it's physical features are. It is at this time that the "powers that be" adopt a policy of nation building there, engage all the stake holders and thereby neutralise Pakistan. This would go a long way to stabilise this part of Asia.

  27. Another name for 'cool hand' might be unfeeling. The events as told today, that Bin Laden was unarmed, cause me a great deal of concern. He was a danger to the world, he fomented hatred by the bushel full. Unfortunately, many blame the West for all of their difficulties. Some blame is warranted, as we have continually sought to interfere and even at times, to mock those of other cultures, as if we understand freedom perfectly, and they do not.

    This killing has all the earmarks of a death squad, intent on silencing and I think, a show of force. We all remember the days of Bush's 'shock and awe'. I just cannot understand how 'cool hand' was given the Nobel Peace Prize. I read the requirements for obtaining that honor, and he appears to have not met any of the criteria.

  28. Americans are overjoyed that Bin Laden has been executed.

    I am not one of them.

    Over 6,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's twice as many as were killed in 9/11. These deaths can be laid at the feet of Bush and Cheney. There have been countless other seriously wounded American soldiers whose lives will never be the same. There have also been who knows how many civilians killed. If we had not gone to war, they would not be dead, injured or harmed in any way. If we are looking to make someone "pay up", why don't we go find these the former President and Vice President and ask why they ignored the warnings that we were going to be attacked? The Neo-cons used 9/11 to enter Iraq to kill Saddam Hossein. Well, they succeeded and the price was just as high as that of the events on American soil on September 11, 2001, but worse, because those deaths were never necessary.

    We are not one whit safer today than we were four days ago. Perhaps, since Bin Laden is seen as a martyr in his country, we are less safe. We could have captured this unarmed man who "resisted" an army of highly armed professional assassins (as if he had any chance of being "captured") and taken him to International Court. Instead, we just added this act to the many that make us not so very different than our enemies. We are willing to kill them in retaliation for them killing us.

    This President is always ending his speeches with "God Bless America". He says he is a practicing Christian. Last time I checked, Christians were not supposed to kill, to covet other's goods (Middle East oil?), or to bear false witness. There's something in those teachings about "turn the other cheek" and "forgive them, for they know not what they do". Christians are supposed to have given up "an eye for an eye" but I guess, when it comes right down to it, revenge gives too much satisfaction. It's more like "Thou Shalt Not Kill Except When It's Someone You Really Hate". I think not.

    Yes, Bin Laden and his ilk are certainly evil, but where is the good in killing your enemy? Where is the good in continuing to wage wars that cost so much in terms of lives, let alone money? Where is the good of celebrating the death of an enemy when his followers will just go on doing what he taught them so well to do, and now with renewed vigor? Where is the good in justifying the use of torture? This violation of the Geneva accord and our own principles is yet another stain on the once great United States.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but I am not alone.

    I continue to be disappointed with Mr. Obama, in spite of the fact that he is heralded as a courageous hero. He didn't hold the gun that shot Bin Laden, he sat in his office and watched on TV. The courageous thing would have been to tell them to capture Bin Laden alive, take him to International Court, and use this as a way to immediately end the wars.

  29. This article, while useful and generally accurate, is sadly unfair to the perenially underrated President Carter. He sent not one but two backup helicopters on the ill-fated Operation Eagle Claw; unfortunately two got lost and a third experienced mechanical failure. The contingent was still one over the absolute minimum four helicopters required for the mission, but the local commander recommended turning back and Carter bravely complied out of respect for the men, despite the enormous political damage that would obviously ensue. Had there been one fewer dust storm in the desert that day, the President who destroyed our nation's credit balance in the 1980s would never have been elected.

  30. Outside the USA we are confused.

    There is no doubt that for any number of reasons Bin Laden could not be brought to trial, if found he had to be killed. However one would have thought that in a so called christian society, for its leaders to sit around a closed circuit television, watch a killing and then rejoice in it was anything but chrstian.

    It is also odd that to an outsider from afar that you have become a civilisation that bemoans intelligence and education whilst praising mediocrity. How has this happened?

    The anaolgy with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire is becoming more compelling by the day. Unfortunately your greatest strength, your constitution has also become your greatest weakness and because of its stremgth there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    It seems that everything is all about money in the end. Anyone can say anything for a dollar and they are protected. Perhaps this is fair enough but only if the Fourth Estate does its bit.

    Don't say we didn't warn you about News Limited. Its proprietor is not unintelligent but purely for money it seems he is prepared to dish up such drivel as Fox News.

    Look at China. It will soon become the worlds biggest economy, not by chance but largely by effort. It has not been afraid to educate its population whereas Americas politicians seem to want to dumb it down.

  31. I'm relieved Bin Laden was finally found and, although I would have liked to see him tried at the ICC, glad he is no longer around to pose a threat to the world.

    However, I've been searching the internet trying to find out what happened to the civilians in that compound, especially the children. I watched the two White House press briefing in full, and there was no mention, then I read some reports saying they were in Pakistani custody and some saying they had been transferred to a "safe location" by US forces. I wish the journalists would enquire about the conditions of their detention (especially the children, and especially if they are being held in Pakistan, where prison conditions are not exactly ideal), whether and in what manner they are being interrogated, have access to legal counsel, etc.

    The success and relief of this mission should not be tainted by disregard for the rights of women and children who usually end up in these situations through no choice of their own.

  32. The simple fact that the Obama Administration kept Pakistani government and military officials out of the loop on this mission screams intelligence finally overcame political correctness. The Pakistani government and military as well as their intelligence services have been so infiltrated and corrupted by Islamic extremists that a non communication order was the real reason President Obama and the the Navy Seals were able to finally catch and kill Osama bin Laden.
    Had we tipped our hand bin Laden would have been gone before we got there. Pakistan is among the most corrupted countries in the world, you have no friends there only an aquaintence and even they cannot be trusted. So President Obama has done what two previous Presidents could not, killed Osama bin Laden. He has also attempted to compromise with the republicans and been rebuffed, abused and disrespected by them. Now the republicans sit on the defensive as President Obama's success overshadows their silly economic plans and he will most likely be re-elected with democratic coattails carrying scores of new democrats into the house and senate and in a second term see real reform in American politics, policy and our stature in the worlds eyes. Bye Bye GOP.

    thomas mcmahon
    millis ma

  33. mo, one of the things you haven't mentioned about the President is that he truly believes he can bring all Americans together. as a President he serves all Americans. so for those who wish him to be more of a Democrat, they need to think again. since his childhood, Mr Obama has learned to be respectful of all viewpoints. He has the ability to weigh in multiole views, including opposing views and then determine what is really best for the country/situation. He does not micromanage, he let's his departments handle their jobs, but when faced with a challenge or dilemma, they come to him and he gathers all the information and solves the problem. That has been his enduring style, it has worked to prevent the nation from dissolving into major crisis. For all those who think he is "missin" or "dithering" or "spine less" or "slow to react and act", they are the ones who are too impatient, who someone thought that by electing a Democrat President, he will out the liberal agenda uppermost. wrong. when you are at the top, it is not so much a liberal or conservative agenda, what matters is what is best for the country, and that sometimes means taking the middle path. Sure, it may have emboldened the Republicans, it may have angered the liberals, but what they need to realize by now is that we are ONE nation and unless we learn to work together, without crushing and demeaning each other in every sentence (just look at the first few comments and you will know what I mean), we cannot move forward in a Constructive way, one that brings people together. Which means a lot of negotiating, compromising, bargaining but make no mistake, from his budget speech President made it clear that under no circumstance will he let the GOP agenda eliminate key and basic social programs, under his watch!

  34. Perhaps the most interesting dimension of our collective response to this action by President Obama is the one by pundits, both conservative and progressive, who have been opining about this president for 2.5 years. They seem to be trying to recalibrate their previous narrative about the man and his leadership style. It has always seemed to me that they operated with the assumption that they knew as much as he did, could project their personal needs, values, and expectations on to him with abandon, and then defended their interpretive comments naively.

    He actually is more intelligent and complex than the people who assume they can divine his motives and thinking. This is merely a case in point.

    Some days I imagine what might have been if instead of spending the last 2.5 years obsessively criticizing everything he has done as president, the fourth estate might have tried to make sense of it and provide news coverage that would inform. It is as if the press is afraid to be caught saying he has done something well. Indeed, they monitor one another and should a colleague affirm any action by this president,they can count on being discredited by their peers.

    This event makes that template difficult to sustain.


  35. Now we see the really bad side of Obama, the side that causes many Americans to wince.

    The questions start arising, some raised by the Administration itself:

    “Did the guy resist? Yes? Was he armed? what about the woman?”

    “OMG!!!! We shot an unarmed man”

    Watch, he is now flipping all over the place looking like an fool, trying to be PC and yet tough.

    Then the question of the pictures.

    Release the pictures already. They are going to agonize trying to figure out how to make it so zero people are offended.

    This guy is taking a PR home run and getting tagged out at third.

    Just like the birth certificate.

    Don't get me wrong, I would have capped bin Laden too. That way there is no question about his final disposition. My point (as with the birth certificate thing) is just how poorly this president represents himself. There is no need for equivocation nor apologies nor PC silliness in the present case yet he seems to be asking permission and second guessing world opinion. Personally, I like a leader with testicular fortitude, a body part that appears to be seriously lacking with him. He should have said that "the body was deposed of on the high seas" and let it go at that. But no, we have to explain how the body was washed and other nonsense. The haters are going to hate us no matter what.

  36. With information obtained through morally repugnant enhanced interrogation techniques (including water boarding) in foreign Rendition Prisons and at Guantanamo Bay and Intel gathered from illegal wiretaps, the President of the United States ordered the military invasion of an ally and the execution of an unarmed foreign national male and female (among others) without reading them their Miranda Rights.

    Enough of this rogue Cowboy Diplomacy that takes a page from the television show “24”. The president should be tried a War Criminal!

    Oh wait, this was Obama?

    What a bold, brilliant tactic!

  37. The President was right not to share information about the raid to the Pakistanis, though this may have reflected a desire to protect trustworthy sources and allies as well as the operation itself. Pakistan's political and military situation seems a trembling, almost nightmarish web of passions and agendas in which few players are themselves entirely safe.

    As for Osama's 'undetected' presence in a military centre - 'hiding in plain sight' was a tactic often used by Irish revolutionary leaders of the past; and I remember being shown through a convent somewhere in Mexico years ago that was situated across the street from the police station during the government's prosecution of clerics there in the early 20th century. Undoubtedly some people knew where Osama was; but not the entire Pakistani administration - and very few Pakistanis. Many of them have as little cause as Americans to protect a man who incited so much suffering.

  38. Since conspiracy theories are popular these days, here is another one. President Bush and the other Republicans were winning elections by scaring the American public about terrorism. So they really didn't want to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. What would they campaign on in the next election after that -- terminating Medicare? It is no coincidence that we didn't find Bin Laden until a Democratic was in office that won on other issues.

    It is also no coincidence that we suddenly found Bin Laden once the Presidential election campaign started.

  39. Congratulations to the Seals who pulled this off with surgical precision almost, congratulations to the White House for keeping the maneuver secret and thank you President Obama for his leadership.

    It's not hard to say but for people like Palin and others who are sore losers and just can't find it in their hard little hearts to give the commander in chief a compliment it's sticks in their craws.

    First it proves all they care about is the 2012 campaign. The Republicans are banking on their next swift boating activity by oh let's say the Donald or the Koch brothers to erase the memory of the accomplishment.

    I'm glad I voted for Obama and I will vote for him in 2012. I'm also of a mind that his policies are what saved this country from economic ruin that the Republican elite brought to our country along with two wars both expensive and unnecessary. They should have gotten Osama 8 years ago but they were more intent on taking our attention of off Osama and focusing on making it look as though Iraq was the threat it never was for the sake of Halliburton, that illusive oil that has so far as I know not one cent of was used to repay us for liberating the Iraqis and what Team Bush thought would be a quick win to take people's minds off the fact that they let Osama go free (probably as a favor to their Arab Oil friends in Saudi, after all Osama was family).

  40. This was an easy political call for the President. Who in the U.S. would oppose it, at least publicly? The method daring but totally worked out, was appropriate. Keeping it quiet, appropriate. But fellow citizens, machismo riding on no opposition at all to the task, is not all that impressive to this American. What would be impressive is true leadership, in the face of opposition, to carry out an agenda that will heal the nation, in the long term. NO torture. More schools, less guns. Narrowing the gap between haves and have nots a bit.

    If we are to heal as a nation, we might want to begin by reflecting on how 9-11 dislocated us from the lives that we knew. We became refugees from our social contracts around rule of law, decency, use of facts, and myriad other things.

    Can we show resilience? Or will we only be impressed that Obama got this particular job done with a very effective poker face? Frankly, I hope our nation wakes up from its shallow stupor, and builds a future we might like ourselves and our children to inhabit.

  41. Of course the recent news has been dominated by Osama bin Laden having been killed in Pakistan; but I think the CIA is in a quandry about how much graphic detail to release. Should they show his image with extensive skull damage? In addition to DNA technology, the CIA has employed "enhanced visual facial technology" software to identify bin Laden. That technology depends upon certain facial characteristics - distance between the eyes, length of nose, etc.

    I can see the following data forthcoming about the same time that we see the graphic pictures of Osama's face post-mortem: "The CIA has conducted enhanced visual facial technology to ensure that, indeed, it was bin Laden who was killed in Pakistan on May 1st. In addition to other parameters, we determined the distance from his eyes to the top of his head. This distance was determined to be more than 3 feet."

  42. Truthfully, Maureen, it seems your article is among the very very few words of the media that will acknowledge and show some kind of gratitude to this president for making the grave decision to utilize the opportunity to finally get rid of Osama bin Laden. As an American, I don't really care about the waterboarding rhetoric, I don't believe in Bush's War in Iraq having anything to do with the War on Terror, and instead of going into Afghanistan full force, he backed down way back when. That old administration poo pooed intelligence as the REAL War on Terror. But what I do believe is that Barack Obama is to be commended and the brave militia assigned to enter this task and make it possible are to be commended. It is this task that can bring peace and justice to those who have waited a long almost ten years, and to those who have suffered from the loss of a loved one, or the responsibility of taking care of their wounded soldier. Thank you for being one in the media that is giving proper thanks. I have no idea where your colleagues are coming from or why they are doing it. But hoping they stop soon and concentrate on the present. I doubt that those who have suffered really want to hear about all that old Bush and Cheney stuff anyhow.

  43. Interesting comparison between the Godfather, Michael Corleone, and Barack Obama. Most of the world (which largely does not like the Americans, nor trust us) will view Bin Laden's death as an assassination when his capture was easily possible. When added to published reports that Obama has ordered the assassination of an American citizen living in Yemen, it is clear that assassination now is part of the de facto, and possibly official, policies of the U.S. government. But as the chief of Napoleon's secrete police said of an earlier assassination, this is worse than a crime, it's a blunder. We say we are spreading democracy and freedom, but we present the visage of murderous gangsters. In this we have transformed ourselves into the equals of Bin Laden. This raises the question of who won in Abbottabad. We may have killed Bin Laden, but the propaganda and moral victories may well be his.

  44. Oh please! Bush and Cheney were making sure his buddies made plenty of money throughout the Middle East. Now that the treasury has been raided beyond redemption, Obama is left picking up the pieces. Osama is a member of a very elite group that are "friends" with the U.S. I wonder if he has been carted off for plastic surgery instead of being dumped at sea. And if he was in fact executed, I find it rather repulsive that the circumstances were just that; a murder of an unarmed man with no chance of a trial by the rule of law. So much for the moral high ground! I am pleased we may have been provided with an exit from the Middle East. If this is the case, all is well, and it is about time! I am hoping for the best. And as you point out, Obama no longer looks like a wus. This is good news (unfortunately many need this) for the Democrats. And they are still the lesser of two evils. Now on to the business of getting us off of the oil tit as soon as possible.

  45. Whenever I hear Al Gore these days, I think, where was that guy in the 2000 Presidential election? I have the same feeling about Bush, who has had the grace to cheer for his country and his President rather than make snide remarks, like Cheney. Dowd uses the word "Oedipal" in her article, and though I don't know what the forces were that made Bush make the decisions he did, I wish he made others. My son says I was obssessed about Bush in 2004, and I was, because I could see no point whatsoever in going into Iraq, where it seemed obvious not only our own blood and treasure would be lost, but innocent people would be killed. If the Bush administration preciptated the Middle East revolutions, it seems to me that they're tired of everybody making their decisions, including the West, which drew the boundaries that exist in that country in this century. Bush wanted to be the boss, but he never quite was, and ultimately, he was caught up in something that he couldn't step back from so that he could understand it. But both he and Obama have shown character. Obama called him. He assumed he cared and would want to know. He invited him to come to Ground Zero on Thursday, though Bush declined. But Fox news and Rush Limbaugh, and yes, the liberals on MSNBC (except for the gracious Rachel Maddow) were back to sniping at each other. Whatever Bush did or did not do, he is no longer President. We should learn from his mistakes (as one assumes Obama should be learning from his), but rehashing his eight years does nothing but drive wedges between them. (I would, however, have drawn the line at asking Wolfowitz about torture, as did the usually fine journalist Anderson Cooper).

  46. Kudos to President Obama and everyone involved in this successful operation, but the President deserves better than to be compared to a cold-blooded Mafia gangster killer. Surely there are better examples to which one compare someone who can make important decisions under pressure and remain cool.

    As for all of this surprise re finding Osama in Pakistan --come on-- surely past history has shown that there are many in Pakistan including at the very top of the intelligence and military hierarchy that openly and secretly supported him and would have provided him with cover and protection.

  47. Strange how a political party that prided itself on its' foreign policy expertise (Republicans; need i say more?) gave up on getting bin Laden while they also couldn't find WMDs in Iraq, and spent a goodly number of years chasing after Saddam Hussein before the military finally acquired him. Now Palin doesn't have the good grace to even mention President Obama while she and Cheney are trying to rewrite history. All well and fine. The Republicans are good at this type of bobbing and weaving and have gotten away with it in the past. Somehow, this is one time I believe that no matte what the Republicans say or do, this time things are going to be different. Obama is dealing from a position of strength on foreign policy, unlike the weak-kneed Republicans, and this may have a carryover effect into how the American voters perceive Obama can handle the economy, given a lessening of Republican and tea-party interference. At the very least, I'd bet that the voters develop a greater patience with Obama's deliberative ways.

    If the Democrats can keep a light shining on foreign policy in 2012, who among the possible Republican candidates can match him? Mitch Daniels? He's a budget slasher, no foreign policy experience. Mitt? No foreign policy experience. Huckabee? None. Palin? Don't make me laugh. Tim Pawlenty? None. They have only one issue, cutting taxes for the rich guys. Well maybe there's a second issue the Republicans can agree on: austerity for all of the rest of us.

  48. Thanks to Obama, his administration and the military for getting a necessary job done, and done with grace, skill and justice. In recent years they have collectively restored a measure of USA honor and competence that had been deeply tarnished by the previous administration. They've also demonstrated that we don't have to abandon our ideals and tradition in order to effectively combat neo-terrorists.

  49. The operation once again demonstrates Obama's superior ability to plan carefully and execute briallintly on his key priorities. As such I'm still mystified why he failed to show the same dedication on single-payer health care and tax cuts for the uber-wealthy.

  50. Marie Burns talks about the president's ability not to listen to what she calls "da noise." My reaction is that so many of us have such big reactions not just to noise but to signal too, including to to Osama bin Laden's demise. Can't we turn it all down a little? Maybe I just don't understand the pleasure derived from extreme emotional responses, but after a certain point it seems to me to blend into the realm of emotional dysregulation and to impede getting on with the next task at hand in a constructive manner. Most of all, isn't it just very tiring?

  51. When can we expect a full accounting for the Crimes against Humanity of the previous Administration, in the interests of completely clearing the air in this post-Bin Laden age we have entered? The unwarranted and much lied-about attack on Iraq left hundreds of thousands dead (on the best epidemiological evidence), even larger numbers injured. Millions were made refugees both inside and outside the country, huge numbers of orphans were created, massive and long-lasting breakdown in basic services such as electricity and water occurred that still persist today. While even Bush now admits that there was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, Cheney still plays the pantomime. This opportunity for a full accounting must not be allowed to pass.

  52. Small wonder GWB did not pursue Osama. It made him a wartime president and that increased his chances for reelection many fold. The cowboy in him just felt the collateral damage was acceptable. And it gave him a golden opportunity to enrich those of the Industrial Military Complex. And continue handouts of military aid to governments who used the money to buy American arms. It was a win, win for him. For the rest of us, it is a different story.

  53. Horse Manure! The milnet is alive with the reality of the situation. Barry O. dithered for two weeks trying to make the decision. When it finally came down to it he tried to pull a Carter and cancel the op when the copter crashed, only he was told that his feed was one way, he could watch but not talk.

    From his point of view the entire op was just a TV show with lots of action and poor production values.

    Cool Hand Fluke is more like it.

  54. Obama’s speech is not very convincing, and shows his ignorance and very little understanding of the world, and the US celebrating public is not much better. It is very clear that the torture camp at Guantanamo is just a reflection of the US disregard for justice, and the camp is a reflection on what is taking place in the US justice system at home, where corruption among prosecutors and judges is the norm. This event and the reaction to Osama Bin Laden killing just underscores the larger problem in the US justice, where scores of innocent people are locked up and/or killed at the hands of a corrupt, for profit, justice system.
    The rest of the world, in particular Europe, is going to see this killing in Pakistan as a failure to bring a criminal to justice. Not with a word did Obama even mention that he was sorry that he was unable to capture Osama alive, and bring him to trial. Failing to plan for justice is nothing short of a astronomical blunder, and just proves how little Obama understands the importance of a credible justice system, and lack of justice in the US as well. I wonder if he even reflected over the ignorant statement; “With Liberty and Justice for All”, or did he not even understand the meaning of “Justice for All”.
    Obama, and the US public, needs to bone up on the history of terror. Religious fanatics, going back to the middle ages, and Pope Urban and the crusaders, who were no better than the Muslims. Things have not changed much, where the US religious right fanatics still exist in today’s relationship between nations. The US is now behaving like trigger-happy cops, where there is little to no understanding that justice must be served, even at the inconvenience of having to consider anyone accused of a crime be considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Obama badly needs to learn what these rights are all about, and start to demand that justice is served, both at home and abroad.
    Taken the low credibility of the US government , I am less than convinced that Osama was killed as described in the news. It is all possible that this was all a lie, just like the destruction of the twin towers was a lie, where the explanation provided by the government, falls short of credibility, and so poorly done that there are a number conflicts with the laws of physics. For this to be credible, Osama should have been taken alive, to stand trial for the world to see, and by that I do not mean not a kangaroo court trial, like what happen with the trial of Saddam Husain.

  55. Before we get too heady in congratulating Mr. Obama one question must be answered in light of the emerging reports that Osama was unarmed:

    Did Obama order that Osama be killed because he would rather see him dead rather than be forced to decide whether (and how) to extract the wealth of information Osama possessed?

    Osama was worth more to the war on terror alive than dead. But Obama ordered him killed. Did Obama put his own ideology - that of not using enhanced interrogation - ahead of the interests of the country?

  56. Having lived in 3rd-world countries for 8 years, I can tell you that large, secretive homes like the one mentioned -- owned necessarily by somoone who is at least very rich and may have multiple homes -- are not rare,and the occupants have a variety of good reasons for this secrecy, not least of which is the fear of kidnapping.

    I have also lived in average American eighborhoods where it is not rare to have neighbors that stay to themselves and some of the occupants of these homes are rarely or never seen.

    Out vengeful and unreasoned imagination about the Pakistanis on this issue has, not surprisingly, gotten out of hand.

  57. Kevin @ #1 - you still don't get it do you? Great changes are not accomplished overnight. The President's philosophy of patience, and strategic thinking is what makes him stand out as a President. We, and I include myself, continue to underestimate him.

    He does not bow to the accusations of weak, wimpy and, as so many have said, not working to correct the problems we want gone overnight. No - his is a measured, focused strategy that yields results. If the democrats and progressives want to stay home because their guy isn't giving them all they want right away - then stay home and don't vote. And then reap the consequences.

    How childish we contine to be!

    On another note I cannot help but be angry that Bush et al took us into a very unnecessary war in Iraq which cost so many Iraqi lives and so much of our own and our dollars. When Obama took office he immediately focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan (something I as a progressive was not in favor) and in less than half of Bush's term he caught bin Laden. Think, just think if Bush had done the same thing.

    Obama's accomplishment makes all the more criminal the unnecessary war in Iraq.

  58. Sweet recapturing the balancing act required to extract this most productive outcome.

    American power, like Obama's, doesn't require braggadocio and self promotion, just the whisper of truth, focus of will and determination - on exhibition as Seals coming in fast and low; that is the strength that will attract our friends and induce nightmares in our enemies - whether home or abroad.

  59. Yes, we can thank God that B.O. finally made a decision. It only took two years and look what it got him. He finally has something to brag about when he's through with his presiency. We can also thank the intelligence that received the information during Bush's administration and especially the troops that went in and took care of it. For some reason Maureen wants to drool on Obama. Let's see now how this same man fixes our nasty economy. Quit spending and you won't have to tax. Do something about gas prices. Easy fix it's called drilling.

  60. Maybe it's time that the nation starts getting used to having a president be consistently right vs. consistently wrong as we did under Bush. President Obama has, so far, stopped the economy from going off a cliff, reversed unemployment, saved the US auto industry, overseen a doubling in the stock market, begun withdrawing troops from Iraq, laid the groundwork for fixing our broken healthcare system, and has now killed bin Laden. What's next? Finding the weapons of mass destruction? Viva Obama!

  61. What astounds me about this whole debate is the complete absence of any historical perspective or comparison. Such an approach would make it clear that both the Arab spring and the decline of Al Quaeda are directly connected to the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. These wars fundamentally re-shaped the strategic positions and forced a much overdue overhaul of the Arab value- and political systems. Juxtaposing the Bush- and Obama administration is petty polictics but explains nothing. Obama was able to build on the work done under Bush, planting the American flag on top of a building Bush dug the foundation for. These jobs are very much connected without comparing to each other.
    This is not at all to endorse the Bush administration. But I find it difficult to judge. I don't have a template on how to wage war in the 21st century.
    However, I do find surprising similarities to Lincoln during the Civil War (McPhearson; Tried By War). Lincoln liberally redefined the authority of the Commander In Chief, suspended Habeas Corpus and pushed for brutal war, because only the destruction of Lee's army could keep the Union together.
    Bin Laden, as a historical figure, seems to me a militant revolutionary, comparable to Lenin, an upper-class child propagating revolutionary war, or Mao-Tse. Both had their revolution of the sort Obama wanted. In both cases initial revolutionary zeal turned into much more civil societies. We are seeing the same process in the Arab world now, albeit much accelerated, powered by social networks.

  62. I think the right wing is genuinely flummoxed by a designated "enemy" who doesn't fight on their terms, internally or externally. That, more than anything, seems to enrage them to the extent that with a few notable exceptions, they are incapable of rising above the squabble to acknowledge any of Obama's accomplishments, even when they clearly serve the entire country's best interests.

    It appears they are so wedded to justifying and preserving their own means and methods, be it from an economic or military or political perspective, that they are incapable of even reviewing and discarding the one's that have worked or are working against them. That goes a long way to explaining the current stagnation in government and clearly, it is going to take more bold moves, this time on the domestic front, for Obama to overcome the stasis.

  63. As posted by Will #24--"This place may be bombed, and we will be killed. We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us." - Osama Bin Laden, 11/26/2001.

    Turns out that it was just tough talk. Otherwise how does one who proclaims to welcome his own martyrdom sulk and hide for nearly 10 years? He killed like a coward, and went out like a coward--it's only too bad that claims that he hid behind his wife couldn't be validated. How would that play in an Al-Queada recruiting film?

  64. Like all political figures, Obama has his faults. He is not, however, either indecisive or timid. More than any other contemporary political figure I can think of, he knows how to make tough decisions, stick with them, and ultimately execute on his plans. He has come under more intense, and often absurd, criticism than any other modern American president, yet he has never lost his cool and continues to make tough decisions with *seeming* ease. The emphasis here is on the word seeming. I'm sure it's not as easy as he makes it look.

  65. In response to the readers who felt that bin Laden should have been captured and put on trial, I have one question: would it have been okay for him to stay at your place until the trial began?

    Simply finding a suitable prison to hold bin Laden until a trial could be arranged would have been horribly expensive. And anyone tasked with guarding him would be at constant risk, as his supporters would certainly martyr themselves attempting to free him. Hasn't bin Laden caused enough innocent deaths for one person?

    Osama bin Laden did not deserve a trial. He never did. He was exterminated as he deserved, with no civilian casualties. I have nothing but respect for everyone involved with the operation.

  66. The sychophant Dowd has returned in full force. Obama is idolized once again, all based on the successful action of our Navy Seals. Yet the economy remains stagnant, real unemployment still exceeds 15%, gas in over $4 a gallon, and food prices are soaring. No matter. The president who can do no wrong in Dowd's eyes has re-emerged, and we all need to get with the program. After all, who are we to complain about the little every day annoyances of life when Ms.Dowd has hopped on the Obama bandwagon once again?

  67. I'll admit to being among that group of taxpayers who is galled that so much aid going to Pakistan was met with so little interest or ability to deal with high-value terrorist targets in their midst.

    But before we talk about cutting off all aid, suppose we do, and the government topples. Who, then, controls the nukes?

    Should this question be part of the equation?

  68. It always amazes me how so many of us, including "leaders" and press pundits alike, who have never viscerally experienced anything like this kind of a violent military operation can sit back and “nit pik” the entire operation to fit their distorted views of the world and politics.

    The SEALS got him. They risked their lives to do so. It was a firefight. People kill or be killed in firefights. Get over it and be thankful he is gone.

    Our President demonstrated he is a leader willing and able to make hard, timely decisions: Case closed

    Our intelligence agencies were just that: intelligent about their intelligence: Finally

    The President's advisors provided great advise: Refreshing.

    Our military performed its mission in superior manner: Thank God

    Our SEALS were professional beyond expectations: Be proud of them

    As a Vietnam Vet I was never ever exposed to this kind of gut testing face to face experience but I saw enough to know that I am better off not necessarily knowing the gory and inhumane details which, in most cases are themselves innacurate and unavoidable in armed human conflict.

    This is a mission accomplished. Thousands made it possible. Be thankful and proud that it ended as it did. Quit arguing over the gory details.

    And let’s quit politicizing it. Sean Hannity, for one, makes me want to throw up.

    Bruce Olson, Vietnam Vet 1969-70

  69. I don't know which is more nauseating, hearing leftists now giving compliments, often backhanded, to Obama after skewering him in the pettiest ways for two years (now ordering him to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and work his will on Republicans as if he had total control of congress and the overwhelming poppular support)or hearing the right falsify history in order to give George Bush and his torture policies credit for the killing of bin Laden. Given the atrocious situation Obama faced on becoming president, he has done remarkably well, passing a helth care reform bill that other Democrats had failed to do since the 1930s. In almost every case that he has failed, it is due to a combination of phony Democrats called Blue Dogs and a ruthless opposition party, led by birthers, conspiracy theorists, and history falsifiers who have shown they would sabotage the country economically and even risk catastrophic default on the national debt in order to defeat Obama as the next election (or the last). I, however, am proud that I voted for this extraordinary American to be president, even prouder that I supported him when it was thought he had no chance against Hillary Clinton. Yes, he can. Yes, he did.

  70. Mr. Obama's behavior is a disappointment. Execution of bin Laden with no attempt to bring him to trial, and now actual consideration of making a grotesque death photo public. Our blood lust is insatiable, and Mr Obama, disappointingly, pandering to the worst in Americans.

  71. Excuse me, how does killing bin Laden bring "justice for the families of the 9/11 victims?" It may bring some satisfaction, as it does to most Americans, particularly those of a vengeful nature. But it doesn't bring back the victims, so there is no justice. Acts of revenge only result in more hatred and more killing. One could make the case that killing bin Laden may prevent the further spiralling of violent actions (by his foes as well as his allies), but killing as a vengeful act can never bring justice.

  72. As another poster noted, everyone is quick to credit the Seals, the CIA, military intelligence and the Bush Administration for the success of this mission, and all should be credited, along with the President and his administration. Yet, had this mission failed, and it very well could have, all the blame, all the blame, would have been placed solely on Obama. He knew, he risked this. That was leadership folks, pure and simple. Thank you, Mr. President. That was presidential leadership at its best. I know the Seals involved must remain unidentified, but I hope you find a way to privately award them all the Medal of Honor.

  73. No point in going much beyond Karen Garcia's comment (#1). I will however add that the G.O.P.'s clumsy and typically shameless lurch to the podium to bask in the light of Bin Ladin's end and keep the President from an exclusive hold on the moment was the sort of cheesiness that has become the signature of the Republican
    Farty.

  74. No, what this president will have to deal with is President Bush's response to a regime of fanatics sheltering Osama bin Laden. "Bushy" demanded they turn that mass murderer over to the US. They refused. They made clear, their allegiance was to the man who sought the destruction of the US. "Georgie boy" then made clear that collaborating with our enemy, made them our enemy and proceeded to kick them out of Kabul. He decimated them and al Qaeda with Daisy Cutters and sent Mullah Omar and his Taliban to hide in caves. He had no trouble communicating.

    It has happened again. OBL was abetted and protected by key elements of Pakistan's govt. It is now time for President Obama to speak the right words and show his mettle. He has not yet.

    Ordering forty armed men to rush a building and overwhelm its inhabitants is what squat teams, all over the United States, do routinely. Sheriffs and police captains make such risky decisions all the time. They are not cheered and hugged, it is part of their job.

    Barack Obama must now require Islamabad to purge itself of those who collaborated with the murderer of thousands of Americans. Those Pakistani officials, who abetted him knowing Osama hoped to kill thousands more. That will show whether our president has backbone and courage.

    Furthermore, it will now become a convenient argument that since the head of the serpent has been cut off, the US can safely depart Afghanistan.

    The opposite is true. Up to now we have had no vital interests in Afghanistan. We did not need that place. It was not strategic. We are there in force only because Obama, in 2008, to mask his misjudgment of Iraq, accused the Republicans of neglecting Afghanistan. He then promised, as a campaign tactic, to turn that side show into the central front in the war on terror.

    Now however, as OBL sank to the bottom of the sea, Pakistan has surfaced as our avowed enemy.

    Consider, we are doing everything possible to keep a regime of fanatics in Tehran, who consider us Satan, from acquiring nuclear weapons. Because Iran's success will endanger us and world peace.

    But Pakistan already has a nuclear arsenal, and ballistic missiles. Moreover, its military hates us enough to shelter our worst foe. Pakistan is very close to being the most dangerous rogue state in the world.

    Suddenly, prevailing in Afghanistan has become a real national security interest of the US. We need it as a base for our troops and aircraft for the coming confrontation with Pakistan. 7:12AM

  75. Cinematic? Exactly, except here the end of the story can keep changing like today's DVD's. I'll wait for the DNA and the photos, before believing in this made for TV movie.

  76. Good now that they got Obama, we can and should pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq; we have the Arab extremists in an uproar already.

    And maybe we can focus on issues at home: unemployment, health care, proposed cuts to Medicare, Social Security, breakdown of services in cities and states, layoffs in government programs to monitor corruption and lack of prosecution in banking industry, drug industry, etc.

    Why do domestic issues get top priority on the front page while misery in US gets relegated to the back pages? War deaths are disappearing from the front page as well as pictures and the problems of multiple tours. If wars are worth fighting, bring back draft and let all eligible fight; if not, bring our troops home now. Voted for Obama once; not again. Democrats are doomed.

  77. I am reminded of the song "Pancho and Lefty," written by Townes Van Zandt and sung most famously by Willie Nelson. Given bin Laden's comfortable ensconcement in Pakistan all these years, art does once again intersect with real life:

    [From Tora Bora]
    All the Federales say, they could've had him any day,
    They only let him slip away, out of kindness, I suppose.

    [And Now]
    A few gray Federales say, they could have had him any day,
    They only let him go so long, out of kindness, I suppose.

    Which begs the question, as Lefty sold out Pancho in the song, who collects the price-tag on bin Laden's head?

  78. Boy! No history buffs here?

    Sand only stopped two helicopters. 1 broke down, which left only 5, below the minimun of 6 considered eseential for success. The accident, which resulted in the deaths of 8 Americans, happened after the abort.

  79. Great article Maureen. Love the analogy. Especially the comparison of Osama bin Laden's corpse to a cannoli! One thing that no one seems to mention is that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad for six years - 2 of them during the Bush administration. Its amazing that the Republicans think they can take any credit for his capture. Obama's my guy. Always was, always will be.

  80. At the time of a significant intelligence triumph that could carry with it some serious credibility, Mr. Obama and is minions are blowing the public relations aspect by a extension of their incompetence in communication.

    All that they need to do is play this straight down the fairway. Get the facts, and get them out.

    But no. What we are seeing is mulligan after mulligan, shots in the rough and the traps as they bungle the facts and have to withdraw or rephrase the statements that they make.

  81. Agree kudos to Obama for a brilliant intervention, well thought out, high risk requiring great courage.
    If only now he can muster same qualities to deal with the Republicans and the Wall Street banksters. The greatest challenge is now that all recognize that Pakistan is our mortal enemy...how do we deal with them? They have nuclear weapons. Yow. We need to cozy up to India a non terrorist democratic country.

  82. Take this action, our rescue of the Rebels in Libya, along with Health Care Reform, the Rescue of GM and Chrysler - and understand that The President is building a quite impressive list of accomplishments.
    The anti Obama Noise machine - know by several acronyms - The American Know Nothings, The Party of Palin, Foxx News and The Foxx Street Journal - can keep the misdirection spinning all they want.
    Real Americans, the ones with their brains not subservient to their Bible Thumping Right Wing Mullahs or their copy of Atlas Shrugged, are beginning to understand not to judge this Presidency by the narrative of it's enemies. This week will go down as Obama's Missiles of October Moment. This courageous decision will open the eyes of all but the Know Nothings to the Great decision made by America in November 2008.
    This moment is the affirmation that our Democratic Republic is alive and well.
    Now, if he can just get the Right Wing Demagogues out in the open on Domestic issues!

  83. I monitor a lot of right wing noise on this matter and they, like Palin, avoid mentioning Obama but put the credit on Bush. The listener called into the talk shows again portray him as clueless, coward acted at the behest of his generals, self-centered, etc. The quiet steadfastness that we seen in this president is a sharp contrast with the ungrateful, ungracious, contemptuous consertatives.

  84. A very good reflection of the process and remaining questions. Maureen's many allusions to stories on screen or famous actors sometimes hits, and sometimes misses the mark.
    Are you aware of the uncanny similarity of the quote and cannoli comment to the presentation this past weekend at the Calandra Italian American Institute annual conference ("The 3 F's in Italian Culture")?
    See especially the live stream of the panel on "Fashioning Style in Reel/Real Life". Today's coluumn may have omitted due attribution.

  85. Obama is cool alright. Very impressive. Congratulations. I'm not surprised Bin Laden was in Pakistan. That country is the world's problem #1. It's complex, strategically situated, ungovernable, unfixable and nuclear. The Middle East is a happy family picnic compared to Pakistan. Nice people (as usual) but a very troubled country.

  86. It's interesting that now the liberals have one of their own in the White House, its suddenly posh to have assassinations, unauthorized warfare in Libya, increased military forces in Afghanistan. If Bush had authorized these events he would have been crucified.

  87. A well written article, good humor, appropriate compliments to the man-in-charge but in the final paragraphs it misses the point and beats too much around the bush (that plant and not George). Yes, we will have to work with Pakistan but don't ever believe that they will change. Corruption and incompetence will always be there. East is East and West is West and ... etc. Same can be said about Afghanistan. Perhaps we should focus a bit more on such reality issues.

  88. Your love and adoration for President Obama are pathetic. A leader of a country can not make one manly decision every two years and be considered a leader. How can one be a leader of a county and have no domestic or foreign policy, and no ability to lead a country out of an economic morass. Leading from behind seems to be his most credible asset. Tell members of your Party not to fret. President Obama has two more years to come from the rear and make a critical decision, i.e., not to run for president.

  89. Those of us who don't fall for symbolic acts are still waiting for our wars to end and for our troops to come home. I'll hold my applause, actually sweet relief, until then.

  90. So all the Swagger and Puffed Up Demeanor of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush from day one was just that. The Mass Murdering Evil Doer was allowed to escape at Tora Bora so they could invade Mexico, or was it Iraq, anyway some place that did NOT attack the US and Posed No Credible Threat to the US. Now we find they made getting take Out Pizza at the Whitehouse a Higher Priority than Getting this Monster. And there are yet Americans who delude themselves into thinking we should Elect Another Republican Reactionary to the Presidency. That just seems like Insanity in its worst form. The Bush presidency has shown itself at every turn to be incompetent and catastrophic for this nation. This is just more proof on that massive pile of evidence.

  91. It is a very meaningful service that you provide in again brushing aside the asinine yet persistent and self-protective paradigm that cruelty can be good and even noble. Such absurdity can only find a momentary haven in the minds of the momentarily or permanently unhinged, like adolescent and sadistic individuals, this dangerous notion possibly the nuclear "crown jewel" of Satan himself that unfailingly finds refuge as patriotism or religious zealotry. Only behind the best can one hide the worst. Your long held and spot-on assesment of George Bush's adolescent maturational arrestment remains intact but the Cheney font is of a more sinister nature and also of a less easily remedied nature. Keep up this valuable aspect of your productions.

  92. Congratulations to the president for overcoming all of his long time publicly stated opinions on interogation techniques, phone tapping , etc. and making the decision that was right for the country (and politically risky for him).

  93. Living far from the Beltway, yet smarting daily from its extravagance and hubris, I expect exactly nothing to change: we Americans will go on forking out megabucks to the feckless 'toon-townish' Pakistanis, and hang out for as long as possible in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our presence in those places comforts influential geo/economic interests and they'll get their way.

  94. it is curious why bin laden was not taken alive, since he was unarmed and apparently did not resist.
    it would have been better to have tried him rather than execute him,
    as he could have revealed much about terrorism.
    i wonder what he could have told us?

  95. Hiding in plain sight, so to speak.

    In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Purloined Letter", the missing missive is discovered to be "right there" on the mantel.

    And where is OBL? A mile or so from a military academy whose members probably drove past his location every day.

  96. "Yes we did" elect a strong commander in chief. Our President is a sophisticated world leader.

  97. You can bet that no one in Congress will ask the really tough questions. How should we change American foreign policy so that extreme hatred and violence by terrorists will no longer be directed at the U.S.

  98. Thanks, Maureen. Someone had to say that this was an execution. And thanks for explaining why it wasn't politically expedient to capture UBL: killing the man allowed Obama to fashion himself as a tough guy and to prove his Republican critics wrong. This tactic will surely pay off in electoral politics, but it is nothing short of a disaster.

    Capturing UBL would have destroyed his legend. There is nothing quite as unglamorous as to be tried, sentenced to death, and executed in federal prison. Capturing and trying UBL would also have sent a strong message that America is serious about due process and the rule of law.

    But shooting and killing an unarmed enemy in his bedroom sends a different message entirely. Next time the Chinese or the Russians set out to assassinate an enemy of their state, they will point to operation Geronimo and the demise of UBL. And they will, with justification, argue that America only sticks to the niceties of the rule of law when it suits the political interests of her leaders.

    Of course, UBL deserved to die. But the difference between a democracy and an authoritarian state is that the killing of an enemy and a mass-murderer has to occur within a legal system that is based on universal human rights. Next time a mob celebrates the killing of Americans, the US no longer hold the moral high ground.

  99. "Four-Square" writing, here.
    All I can say, on Pakistan, is that I feel like a spouse that has been cheated on. The lies. The betrayal. The out-right denial.
    The marriage, for me, is over.
    I feel all dirty.
    Time, for a long, hot shower, or give me the hose and I'll just go wash
    the "car," in poplin.
    "Cheers, Mr. President, and U.S. intelligience!!"

  100. God Bless our President for his courage, leadership and his decency and
    respect when announcing the death, preparation for buriel and buriel at sea of the murderous Bin Laden. Even the death of a bad man is sad and
    only a God-fearing good person acknowledges that.
    I wish the press would write more about the great qualities of our
    President so that the youths who scream and shout in public about this
    death would learn respect and khow when it is more appropriate to be
    silent.

  101. I would really love to know how many political types knew about this operation. Couldn't have been too many, 'cuz it was successfully kept secret ubtil completion.

  102. First of all, kudos Mo on having your track record of predictions/analysis evaluated by Hamilton College, and your very high ranking:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/prognosticate-that/

    take particular note of commenter 19 for details.

    As Obama leads us out of Bush-world, and fulfills campaign promises he made, it is good to have someone who's gut takes him in the right direction - as Mike Barnicle said today, the hard things to get right are the 51/49 decisions in life, not the 90/10 ones.

    We are glad the POTUS is not overcome with hubris, has focus, can lead, can evaluate, obviously takes input/advice, and isn't leading from the rear like some previous ideologists following dogma instead of facts.

    The situation in Pakistan is what we should expect (either incompetence or abetting) as Hillary Clinton and the Chief of Staff have pretty much set out in public comments to them.

    What is surprising is considering the other high-value targets repeatedly found in Pak garrison towns, that the Google Earth images I can pull up on my lap-top have not been more minutely analyzed by our very well funded security apparatus with much better satellite images from multiple vastly better satellites or fly-overs.

    That OBL was ensconced with 3 dozen people sending minions to the market for Nestle milk and the high end personal care products in a Pak military retirement Xanadu, living in a place 800% larger than any other residence around, should have been noted by our analysts.

    Seriously, Google Earth labels the surrounding Abottabad buildings as AMC movie theatre, golf courses, Kakul Military Academy, etc. - hopefully renewed efforts will be made to absorb all these profile data points and map some Pakistan towns which so obviously need mapping.

  103. Religion, money, loyalties, fear of angering the populace - the Pakistani government has been and always shall be duplicitous, and we have known it since that country's formation. So what are they doing with nuclear weapons?

  104. The President should have said "Vengeance has been achieved.". Someday Americans may question whether mafia style hit operations make for a safer world.

  105. Yes, congratulations are due to Obama, but even more so to the Navy Seals who pulled off a daring raid. As for the duplicity in Pakistan's motives and actions, part of the blame lies in that the USA has never ever pushed hard, real hard, on the Pakistanis. It is time to do so.

  106. It's sickening how some die-hard right wingers can't bring themselves to give credit where it is due. They quickly change the subject to "in a few months, no one will care who killed OSB and high gas prices will cause Obama to loose in 2012". They're pathetic.

  107. As for the Godfather analogy,Don Corleone was a ruthless thug, not a hero. Here is one of the most consciously cerebral presidents ever to hold office, a man who has ever so carefully cultivated the deliberate,unemotional persona for which he is both celebrated and criticized. How ironic that the Showdown at Abbottabad Corral may come to be the defining act of his presidency!

  108. It appears that Ms. C. Rice is doing her very best to remove some of the tarnish from her failed image as an important member of a failed Bush administration. The arches of Stanford University in the background as she huffs and puffs to the media do little to help polish a very sad stint as Secretary of State. Of course being surrounded by the likes of a Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, and Wolfowitz, how could Condi possibly have any chance for success?

  109. I would take Pakistan off the hook, if Bin Laden could have been living in Scottsdale AZ buying weapons like mad and nobody would have noticed. In fact, the AZ legislature might have tried to lower his taxes.

  110. Thanks to the President and all the other adults in charge. Finally someone in charge who is able to chew gum and run the country at the same time.

  111. I find it offensive that our government compared Bin-Laden with Geronimo, who fought against theft of his people's lands and possible genocide. If the military compared the two because of their ability to escape capture, I think Jesse James would have been the better name to use, since both Bin-Laden and James were both killed in their homes, in which they had been hiding in plain sight.

  112. I heard Osama was going to put in a swimming pool when the pakistanis got the next 7.5 billion installment from the US.

  113. so what I am hearing is Gitmo should not be closed, the techniques to extract information was right on point and we should continue to waterboard or Maureen has a crush and has lost any sort of journalistic integrity.

  114. Few Republican leaders could muster the grace to acknowledge the president's leadership in this matter.
    Many keep attempting to credit the former administration. But that administration was not as intent on
    finding Bin Laden as it was on making the rich richer. Bush/Cheney left an enormous nightmare mess for Obama's administration to clean up and correct. President Obama and his cabinet are, quite clearly, doing just that.

  115. Executing bin Laden without trial is mafia justice. The Godfather impulses of our leaders drew us into this mess.

  116. Obama did not just have "courage to greenlight the mission." He revived the goal of finding Bin Laden and stopping him one way or another.
    Let's give credit where it's due, to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Navy. He's not a bureacrat, he's not pulling the strings for an oil company or Haliburton. He doesn't simply implemet the best alternative presented during meetings with his advisers or the Joint Chiefs. Obama is the LEADER of the United States of America. His judgment and leadership was a requirement for the successful capture and killing of bin Laden.

  117. if gas prices are high and unemployment is high on election night nothing can save him

  118. Osama bin Laden is dead:

    "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But the Bible also says: "he who lives by the sword, shall perish by the sword."

  119. The question of Pakistan's seeming duplicity has been and will be debated for some time. I think it's possible, however, that the Pakistani government simply has no control over the very powerful ISI. The ISI seems to do whatever it wants without consulting (or informing) the government and certainly without asking permission.

  120. This may be a little off the subject, but I wonder how President Obama explains to his daughters that he had a man killed.

  121. Speaking of Sarah Palin's tackiness, the conservative wings of my family are surprisingly silent on Osama Bin Laden's execution, as if they cannot bear the thought of it being Obama's achievement.

  122. Too bad, Maureen, that we have such a hard time respecting well-directed intellect in our leaders (and teachers), but we get positively orgasmic when they play it like the OK Corral. I'm as happy about the results as the next gal/guy. It's our prepubescent national reaction that is appalling. Let's just see what THEIR reaction to that will be.

  123. Funny how Obama can make these decisions, but it takes years for him to decide to produce a birth certificate. Okay Maureen, go kiss his ring!

  124. The Republicans have no shame. After the news about the long overdue demise of Osama bin Laden spread all over the world, the Republicans wasted no time regrouping to congratulate the man they felt was really responsible for this orchestrating spectacular feat--President George W Bush. They praised the the Navy Seals and promptly started slobbering over how Dubya's tough policies, especially "enhanced interrorigation" of prisoners at Gitmo really brought about Osama Bin Laden's death. Naturally they ignored the man who gave the order for the go-ahead which would finally take out the terrorist mastermind once and for all--Barack Obama, Dubya's successor. Unlike Dubya, who got sidetracked by taking care of unfinished "family" business in Iraq taking out Saddam Hussein, Obama kept his eye on the prize--Osama bin Laden. So while the President let Trump have it at the White House Correspondent's dinner, the Navy Seals were letting Osama bin Laden have it for all the misery, death and destruction he caused.

    Republicans are nothing but crybabies and sore losers. Their favorite talking point of how Obama's weakness on terrorism emboldens our enemies was finally trashed in a hail of bullets was buried at sea along with Osama bin Laden.

  125. Pakistan has what Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy -- a lot of 'splainin' to do." I tend to think that the military and ISI were protecting him for lots of money and keeping that fact from both Musharraf and Sardari so they could plausibly deny the "facts on the ground." I hope the tapes and drives taken during the raid will give the CIA some names that they can then present to the Pakistani leaders, the level of our continued aid to be conditional on the response. I don't favor abandoning Pakistan but I do favor moving the aid from military to humanitarian (like decent non-religious schools offered free of charge so that parents don't have to send their kids to madrassas for an education).