1. Obama obviously wants to ride this Bin Laden Raid Wave as long as he can. His numbers are poor, he’s been humiliated, and this gives him a significant arrow in the upcoming election. The Republicans can’t accuse him of being soft on terror or national so-called defense.
2. Despite his parading around, I have to give him credit. He’s a class act. He could have made a victory lap speech at Ground Zero. Instead he was pretty dignified about it.
3. It’s interesting that for years Bin Laden was described as merely symbolic but essentially irrelevant. Now that they’ve captured all the materials from his compound, the new story is that he was directly involved in operational matters. How convenient. Pardon my skepticism, but in light of the White House’s complete fumbling of the story, and the way they keep changing it…I am more than a little doubtful regarding this claim. It would seem that by building Bin Laden up, they are
A. Increasing the administration’s prestige in getting him. The old build your enemy up tactic to make yourself look stronger. And,
B. They may be trying to set the stage for a phased exit. The drones will continue to fly and there will be bases, but this may provide the exit opportunity the leadership has been waiting for. If they can make a big enough deal about Bin Laden’s death, they can declare victory and run. They’d probably like to push hard, bomb the Taliban badly and then come to the bargaining table with a strong hand, but the Pakistan situation is so volatile, they can’t push too hard.
It doesn’t seem likely that Bin Laden was really involved in the operations. The couriers took months to get to him and to get the messages out. It sounds like he was functioning more as Al Qaeda’s Elder Statesman/Senior Consultant. I realize those roles are not analogous to Al Qaeda but I trust you see my point. Operational sections may have been briefing him out of respect and asking his opinion, but it seems really unlikely that he was actually giving orders.
What I’m getting at is……I think we’re being spun. Obama as we should expect is playing politics and strategy. I think a lot conservatives have no problem seeing this political maneuvering…except the ones who think he’s a Marxist Muslim, whatever that is.
But why don’t they see these games when someone like George Bush or Ronald Reagan is in office? With Nixon his sinister record couldn’t be more clear, but there are many that still defend him. For years I defended Nixon and castigated Clinton…that schemer. He was. He’s a politician. And guess what, there are many more behind each of these men that are also scheming. In fact to them the politicians aren’t wielding power, they’re commodities to be bought and traded.
At this point, the military as much as they love war, needs to re-scale these conflicts. It’s reaching the breaking point. I imagine they want a few years to re-group and reform. America is broke and at this point the missions they want to accomplish can be executed by drones, special ops, cash, and proxies. Minus the drones, that’s how it was done for many years.
The question is…will a re-elected Obama tone down the militarism for four years? I doubt it. He will be hesitant to put boots on the ground. Instead I would guess we’ll see more Clinton-esque wars, bombing operations akin to what we saw in Sudan, Bosnia, and Kosovo. We shall see.
Pakistan is reaching the boiling point. America has got to get out of the region to take the pressure of Islamabad. The Taliban will probably be fought from the air and through allies. The Tajiks and Uzbeks in the north and west will probably continue to receive weapons and cash and the Taliban will restricted to the Pashtun homelands in the south and east, where Kabul will have very little influence. Too bad for the people there. When this is all said and done, they will probably end up no better off than they were on September 10, 2001. For them it was just ten more years of suffering. They would have been better off just remaining as they were. The lessons of war are never learned.
America will want to keep some troops there. That’s strategically important in relation to the Pakistan issue…quick strikes if the situation becomes too volatile. They’ll want them there to keep Iran out and most important…there’s an intense game being played just to the north. Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, India, and the United States are all playing the grand game in Central Asia. It’s complicated and probably one of the most under-reported stories out there. There’s considerable evidence to indicate America was looking at Afghanistan for some time before 2001.
Obama is riding high for the moment, but the poll numbers on the economy still don’t look good. And that may be his undoing.