The bin Laden whacking has produced a wonderful range of reaction, most of it predictable, but still not without its entertainment value. Here are some of the funnier tangents:
That place was a mansion? Good point. What a shithole. There is some comfort to be derived from knowing that Osama was cooped up for years in a toilet so vile that squatters in the South Bronx would have moved elsewhere. No cable TV? He missed every episode of House.
The ISI (Pakistan’s CIA) didn’t know he was there. Okay, boys. We know you have to say that. But come on — the world’s most wanted man is camping less than a mortar round away from your national military academy, in a country notoriously suspicious of strangers, living in a “million dollar house” with no phone and no cable wires and you weren’t the teeniest bit curious? By the way — any thoughts on Mullah Omar?
Bush blew it, but Obama got it right. That “Mission Accomplished” bit was probably the dumbest thing G. W. did, so it’s a bit of a surprise to hear Obama try to assert that it was his diligence that brought Osama down. “I made it a priority….” Do you really mean to assert that George said “Well, let’s not worry about Osama right now. Focus on Saddam instead?” Regarding Iraq and OBL: one was a war, the other was a manhunt. Suggesting that one had to be neglected in order to pursue the other is inane.
Muslim Burial At Sea? We admit this puzzled us, thinking that traditional Islamic rituals for disposing of bodies probably did not contemplate large bodies of salt water, until we remembered latter-day and historic Tunisian pirates. Frankly, we only mention this because one genius on Twitter pointed out that the combination of bin Laden’s nautical disposal and Japan pumping millions of gallons of radioactive waste into the ocean created wonderful possibilities for a horror movie.
Frankly, we think it’s unlikely that the truth about this episode will come out for a long time. We were told that the raid seized volumes of secret stuff like hardcopy documents and computer drives. We were there, according to the information thus far released, for forty minutes. Did we, in that short amount of time, really uncover every hiding place information would be concealed? (Yes, they wanted to get out with the body as quickly as possible — and one chopper crashed — but it somehow strains credulity that we couldn’t leave a few people behind for a more thorough search. Of course, maybe we did.)
One interesting thought that has been mentioned from time to time: since 9/11, the US has not suffered one successful attack of any importance at the hands of al Qaeda. When the possibility of assassinating Hitler arose, it is now widely reported that both Churchill and Roosevelt argued against it, feeling that Germany with Hitler in power was far less dangerous than Germany with Hitler removed. Given the remarkable ineptitude of every al Qaeda effort since 9/11 — in western nations, at least — it may be that the West took the same attitude towards bin Laden, and quietly but effectively penetrated al Qaeda so thoroughly that it was rendered harmless. The reason we were not more thorough in Pakistan might have been that we already knew everything we need to know.
Unfortunately, this kind speculation is what that we usually lampoon, and we quickly point out that we are even less qualified than most to indulge it, as we make a point of remaining uninformed on matters where information is generally unreliable. On this note, therefore, we leave the topic before we find ourselves, like bin Laden himself now, in very deep waters indeed.