May 10 2011
Since it seems the puppets in the new media are going to refuse to explore the paralysis of the Obama administration when it came time to bringing justice to Osama Bin Laden, this will probably be my last post on this matter. As sad as this entire episode makes me, it seems the rot in DC is so extensive that it really is Nineteen Eighty-Four now. This lowly blogger has no hope of fixing leaders and media puppets more than willing to turn a blind eye to a dangerous truth. The nation is being run by incompetent amateurs who are barely surviving on the art of propaganda and misinformation.
Let me demonstrate. On May 3rd, the day after a wooden and emotionless announcement by the President that Bin Laden was dead, ABC News reported this aspect of the story:
Sources tell ABC News that in March President Obama authorized a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound with two B2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on the compound.
But when the president heard the compound would be reduced to rubble he changed his mind.
ABC News is clearly reporting that there was at least one prior order to take out Bin Laden, an order later rescinded as the White House wrestled with its paralysis. What struck me in this marginal factoid was its pure fiction. As I noted at the time, 24+ 2,000 lb JDAMS would obliterate the town. One 2k bomb would more than do for the small compound where Bin Laden was hiding out.
The exaggeration was so thick I could not help but wonder why this fiction was being added to the narrative. It seems to be a preemptive cover up for something that happened on the lead up to the attack on Bin Laden.
Then later on the same day, a rumor from an unverified source made the extraordinary claim that the attack on Bin Laden was actually ordered by departing CIA head Leon Panetta. In that narrative the March bombing order and later pullback was explained quite differently:
I was correct in stating there had been a push to invade the compound for several weeks if not months, primarily led by Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and Jim Clapper. The primary opposition to this plan originated from Valerie Jarrett, and it was her opposition that was enough to create uncertainty within President Obama. Obama would meet with various components of the pro-invasion faction, almost always with Jarrett present, and then often fail to indicate his position. This situation continued for some time, though the division between Jarrett/Obama and the rest intensified more recently, most notably from Hillary Clinton.
Nothing changed with the president’s opinion – he continued to avoid having one. Every time military and intelligence officials appeared to make progress in forming a position, Jarrett would intervene and the stalling would begin again.
Panetta was receiving significant reports from both his direct CIA sources, as well as Petraeus-originating Intel. Petraeus was threatening to act on his own via a bombing attack. Panetta reported back to the president that a bombing of the compound would result in successful killing of Osama Bin Laden, and little risk to American lives. Initially, as he had done before, the president indicated a willingness to act. But once again, Jarrett intervened, convincing the president that innocent Pakistani lives could be lost in such a bombing attack, and Obama would be left attempting to explain Panetta’s failed policy. Again Obama hesitated – this time openly delaying further meetings to discuss the issue with Panetta.
This different recollection of events in March is not actually in conflict with the ABC News reporting. It provides disturbing details on how the bombing order came to be pushed, and how it was later rescinded. One would think this to be unsubstantiated rumor, until we get to the President’s own words on 60 minutes:
So by the time they came to me they had worked up an image of the compound, where it was and the factors that led them to conclude that this was the best evidence that we had regarding bin Laden’s whereabouts since Tora Bora. But we didn’t have a photograph of bin Laden in that building. There was no direct evidence of his presence.
Here we have the first hesitation. Was the person at the compound Bin Laden? The President was not convinced. But this looks to have happened in the fall or winter of 2010, not in March of 2009:
And so the CIA continued to build the case meticulously over the course of several months. What I told them when they first came to me, with this evidence was, “Even as you guys are building a stronger intelligence case, let’s also start building an action plan to figure out if in fact we make a decision that this is him or we’ve got a good chance that we’ve got him, how are we gonna deal with him?”
Obama is providing the umpteenth version here, but he clearly notes the call for action from the hawks in the administration began months ago – not just in March. He also begins his awkward and clumsy effort to appear pro-active. If he had been discussing options for months, he would not have ordered and then rescinded the order to bomb the compound. Again, the narrative seems to be a CYA effort, not a recollection of actual events.
In fact, in the very next sentence the President changes the narrative again:
Well, they first came to me in August of last year with evidence of the compound. And they said that they had more work to do on it, but at that point they had enough that they felt that it was appropriate for us to start doing some planning.
And so from that point on we started looking at what our options might be. The vigorous planning did not begin until early this year. And obviously over the last two months it’s been very intensive …
Again, why order a bombing in March and then change it to a surgical strike IF you have been debating options for many months? The word ‘incoherent’ comes to mind. The President’s narrative gets really pathetic in this next section, where the interview itself appears to provide him a way to dodge the question of paralysis:
KROFT: How actively where you involved in that process?
OBAMA: About as active as any project that I’ve been involved with since I’ve been president. Obviously we have extraordinary guys. Our Special Forces are the best of the best. And so I was not involved in, you know, designing the initial plan. But each iteration of that plan they’d bring back to me. Make a full presentation. We would ask questions.
We had multiple meetings in the Situation Room in which we would map out and we would actually have a model of the compound and discuss how this operation might proceed and what various options there were, because there was more than one way in which we might go about this.
Models and questions – oh my! Again we get a hint of the paralysis, because we know from other reporting the intelligence never ever got any better. Obama himself confirms this:
At the end of the day, this was still a 55/45 situation. I mean we could not say definitively that bin Laden was there. Had he not been there, then there would have been some significant consequences.
Finally, Oabam admits the dissension in the White House ranks, and also confirms the one aspect of the rumored revolt wherein the cadre of Bin Laden hunters kept the action from the rest of the resistant administration.
KROFT: It’s been reported that there was some resistance from advisors and planners who disagreed with the commando raid approach. Was it difficult for you to overcome that?
OBAMA: And so the fact that there were some who voiced doubts about this approach was invaluable, because it meant the plan was sharper, it meant that we had thought through all of our options, it meant that when I finally did make the decision I was making it based on the very best information.
It wasn’t as if any of the folks who were voicing doubts were voicing something that I wasn’t already running through in my own head.
And so very few people in the White House knew. The vast majority of my most senior aides did not know that we were doing this.
Maybe I am being cynical, but the more I read this transcript the more I see Steve Kroft leading the witness in a well rehearsed testimony. And Obama’s answers are at times pathetic.
As a reminder, this is not the only version of the March bombing raid narrative. Yesterday Bob Woodward, media puppet, came out with another version of events:
Obama and his advisers debated the options, officials said. One option was to fire a missile from a Predator or Reaper aerial drone. Such a strike would be low-risk, but if the result was a direct hit, the pacer might be vaporized and officials would never be certain they had killed bin Laden.
This time it was a Predator strike with smaller munitions. But as one of our readers noted, Predators were probably not allowed in this area of Pakistan, so this revision smells funky too.
So is this enough to be concerned about the veracity of reporting and recollection surrounding these events? Probably not, until you add in the consistent obsession the President has with Leon Panetta. In his speech the night of May 2nd and in his 60 minutes interview, the President goes out of his way to claim the obvious – that he ordered Panetta to make Bin Laden a priority of his administration. Is it coincidence that it is Panetta who also plays a key role in the narrative where hawks initiates the action on Bin Laden despite a paralyzed President?
This is a very strange and irrelevant detail that bears further examination. What President would not want to capture Bin Laden if the opportunity presented itself? And we know the lead on Bin Laden’s courier was actually unearthed in 2007, under President Bush and General Hayden. Why the continued emphasis by Obama on ordering Panetta to follow through with an obvious, high priority target? One might even conclude that it was Panetta who needed the extra push to follow the Bush-era lead!
I think the shifting story line and the President’s obsession with Panetta portrayed as being under orders to do the obvious gives the strong appearance of trying to cover up the actual events. The original stony face announcement, the ridiculous anecdotes and comments in the 60 Minutes interview, all these details begin to build a picture of a White House that almost did not act against Bin Laden.
If the media is unwilling to expose this mess and instead continues to run interference for this White House, then we have no hope of learning the truth. Unless some high level Democrats decide their country is more important than their party. Something that I doubt will happen.
It seems again the President and his cohorts who were inflicting the paralysis to act are trying to compensate and rewrite history. Them may even be trying to convince themselves they are or were in control of events. It is like the left crowing that Obama acted at all – a minimal expectation for any President with a good lead on enemy number one.
What should concern everyone is if the rumors are true, and this nation is being led by incompetent and hesitant amateurs. And that even the most obvious actions require near treason on the part of dedicated leaders. And that mistakes or near mistakes, can be so willingly covered up with pure fictional propaganda. Because that is what we had here in the case of the March bombing narrative – pure fiction. Unnecessary, CYA fiction. And no one is worried that this puts on a slippery and dangerous slope when it comes to honor, honesty and transparency.