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Basking in Bin Laden’s Death Was a Big Mistake For Obama

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It’s becoming increasingly clear that making the killing of the Jihadist Porn King public was a big mistake. Thereisnoplan has been saying this since the attack, generating much mirth amongst friends and associates. But I stand by the notion. Obama screwed up.

If you remember, on the big night back in May, Obama made an unscheduled late night White House appearance to give us all the good news and earn a nice little approval bump in the process. Great theater. Great Politics. Sure, that poll bump has gone, but at least now nobody can accuse the President of not being decisive. He rolled the dice on the killing of UBL and won.

Unfortunately, basking in the glow of the biggest targeted assassination in history has one major strategic downside; as a result, the wheels are definitely coming off the crucial relationship with Pakistan. It needn’t have been so.

Obama was right to keep Pakistan out of the loop on the killing of UBL. They can’t be trusted. But he was dead wrong to make the attack public. By keeping it under wraps, even after losing that chopper during the attack, the info could have been controlled, we’d have earned the more willing support of Pakistan, prompted their army and intelligence services, who would have been eager to avoid the intense embarrassment of having UBL living down the road from the Pakistani Army West Point since 2005. Make no mistake, Pakistan would have been delighted to have the opportunity of covering it up themselves. Plus we’d have had a nice little sword of Damocles to hang over their heads. Play nice on our Afghanistan supply lines and keeping the lid on your militants or we expose the truth about where Bin Laden was watching videos of himself.

And if some enterprising foreign journalist had dug up the truth, the US and Pakistan could have called it yet another hoax. “There’s simply no way Pakistan would  have allowed Bin Laden to live peacefully so close to Islamabad”. And everyone would have believed them.  Add in the useful intelligence coup of having UBL dead without anyone knowing, and we’d have been able to essentially create our own ‘shadow’ UBL, with all the intelligence advantages a Trojan Horse would have given us in helping to misinform  and bring down dissipated and de-centralized Al Qaeda franchises.

And there’s another more important but related matter. Sustaining a manageable relationship with Pakistan is critical in one other crucial respect. They have nukes, and we need to keep tabs on them. That relationship has always been symbiotic at best, but since January it was getting increasingly strained. Making the UBL attack public may have killed the goose for good.

Why? Because Obama chose not to take the high road, and made a big song and dance about killing UBL, who was clearly a marginal figure, living, bizarrely enough for a super-terrorist, in retirement.  It was a case of pure revenge, a national blood-letting, totally understandable after the unforgettable outrage of 9/11, but nevertheless, a brief moment in time that resulted in limited political gains at home for the President, and more importantly a dangerously, and perhaps permanently toxic relationship with Pakistan. That compromises US withdrawal plans in Afghanistan at the worst possible time, and reinforces the power of those rogue elements of the Pakistani Army and ISI who nurture and coddle Pakistani Taliban and other militants for their own nefarious and overblown nationalistic purposes.

I’m sure people are still giggling at the idea that we should have kept the UBL killing under wraps, but in the light of the arrests of Pakistani Army officers and other intelligence assets the US used to set up the Abbottabad attack, perhaps one or two are changing their minds.

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Written by coolrebel

June 16, 2011 at 12:59 am

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