Sunday Open Mishmash

Hi guys,

Few good things to read:

Usually I can’t really stand Maureen Dowd, but this is spot on:

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We briefly celebrated one of the few clear-cut military victories we’ve had in a long time, a win that made us feel like Americans again — smart and strong and capable of finding our enemies and striking back at them without getting trapped in multitrillion-dollar Groundhog Day occupations.

But within days, Naval Seal-gazing shifted to navel-gazing.

There was the bad comedy of solipsistic Republicans with wounded egos trying to make it about how right they were and whinging that George W. Bush was due more credit. Their attempt to renew the debate about torture is itself torture.

W. preferred to sulk in his Dallas tent rather than join President Obama at ground zero in a duet that would have certainly united the country.

Whereas the intelligence work that led to the destruction of Bin Laden was begun in the Bush administration, the cache of schemes taken from Osama’s Pakistan house debunked the fanciful narrative that the Bush crew pushed: that Osama was stuck in a cave unable to communicate, increasingly irrelevant and a mere symbol, rather than operational. Osama, in fact, was at the helm, spending his days whipping up bloody schemes to kill more Americans.

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The really insane assumption behind some of the second-guessing is that killing Osama somehow makes us like Osama, as if all killing is the same.

Only fools or knaves would argue that we could fight Al Qaeda’s violence non-violently.

President Obama was prepared to take a life not only to avenge American lives already taken but to deter the same killer from taking any more. Aside from Bin Laden’s plotting, his survival and his legend were inspirations for more murder.

If stealth bombers had dropped dozens of 2,000-pound bombs and wiped out everyone, no one would have been debating whether Osama was armed. The president chose the riskiest option presented to him, but one that spared nearly all the women and children at the compound, and anyone in the vicinity.

Unlike Osama, the Navy Seals took great care not to harm civilians — they shot Bin Laden’s youngest wife in the leg and carried two young girls out of harm’s way before killing Osama.

Morally and operationally, this was counterterrorism at its finest.

We have nothing to apologize for.

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Long and very interesting Newsweek story:

Commander in Chief

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Obama decided to reveal how he would fight Al Qaeda in a speech at the Woodrow  Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2007. Clarke and Rand Beers, a counterterrorism expert with three decades of experience in Democratic and Republican administrations, met with Obama to outline his political objectives.
First, he had to get out in front of any terrorist strike that might occur
during the campaign. Clarke, who runs a global-security consulting firm, was
regularly tapping his network of spook and counterterror sources to measure the  threat environment. He believed the odds of an attack were high and potentially catastrophic to Obama’s campaign. “We told him quite explicitly to get on the record putting the blame on the past administration,” Clarke tells NEWSWEEK. “We wanted him to show causality between what the Bush administration did and the continuing terrorism threat.”

Second, Obama had to show he was willing to use
force, prudently but confidently. Obama understood the need to project strength, and he embraced it. At the same time, he argued that a strategy that relied solely on kills and captures would produce Pyrrhic victories. His goal, he told the audience, was to “dry up the rising well of support for extremism.” He pledged billions in aid for poverty reduction and education to counter the radical madrassas.

But beneath its softer talk of values and economic empowerment, Obama’s speech was shot through with steel. Near the halfway point,
the senator, his voice rising, accused the Bush administration of fecklessness
in the fight against terrorists—and vowed, in a rare display of machismo, that “if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

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Less obvious is the fact that Abbottabad might also vindicate Obama’s broader approach to presidential leadership, which has always emphasized calculating, technocratic, goal-oriented tenacity over “Mission Accomplished” theatrics. The problem with the Obama-Carter comparisons, which have been regurgitated by 2012 hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty in recent months, is that they overlook the real-world results of Obama’s supposedly knock-kneed management: universal health care, Wall Street reform, a depression-averting stimulus package, the end of the Iraq War, and now, bin Laden’s head. As much as Pawlenty & Co. might disagree with Obama’s policies, it’s hard to deny that the president has a knack for getting (most of) what he wants.

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Inside President Obama’s Meeting With Special Ops

U.S. Special Operations officials used a scale model of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound to brief President Obama on Friday, giving the commander-in-chief a detailed minute-by-minute account of how the assault that killed America’s most wanted enemy had unfolded days earlier, according to a government official.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other White House officials traveled to Fort Campbell, Ky, for a chance to thank the unnamed members of the assault team for their successful mission. But the meeting was more than just an expression of gratitude. At the start of the roughly two-hour encounter, special operations officials delivered an in-person briefing for the president, the vice president and their staffs.

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Thanks, ncsprach, for this great letter to the editor:

Quite a few Republicans this week have tried to claim that the death of Osama bin Laden is due to the efforts of George W. Bush, not Barack Obama. The same Bush who spent eight years chasing wild geese from one end of Iraq to another? Bush chased bin Laden with angry words and empty threats; Obama chased him with Navy SEALs.

These same Republicans will say that the recession is Obama’s fault, even though the economy began its fall in early 2007, two years before Obama became president. Now they would have us believe Bush is somehow responsible for bin Laden, even though that took place two years after Bush left office. The only way this illogic makes sense is if they believe America had two presidents at the same time for the past four years, Obama in charge of domestic policy and Bush in charge of foreign policy. That way Obama can be blamed for all the failures of the last four years and Bush can receive credit for all the successes.

Barack Obama, the guy Republicans claim is an illegal Kenyan, a secret Muslim, an unelected president, a conspirator to bring a Shariah dictatorship to America, the guy who wants to take away all our rights and guns and make big government control our lives — he’s the guy who took down America’s greatest enemy. He got the job done when your hero Bush could not or would not.

Richard Wilkinson

Amory, Miss.

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Wow, President Obama Got Bin Laden.

It is so amazing, it just starts to sink in. Therefore I’ll say nothing about the embarrassment that people like Michael Moore are causing  us, reality-based-Liberals.

Have a nice weekend, everyone. Get some rest.

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David Rothkopf

“…His finest hour. Decisive. Cool. Able to both strike hard and do so with the kind of American values and restraint that elevated the mission and stands in stark contrast to the bombast and recklessness of some of his predecessors”.

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Paul Krugman:

For the most part I’m staying away from the whole Osama thing, in part just because the field is so crowded, but just to say the obvious: isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair?

It’s particularly striking if you remember the atmosphere from 2001 through until 2004 or so. Back then, any hint of criticism of Bush’s War on Terror, or even a failure to show sufficient enthusiasm for his leadership, led to accusations that you were unpatriotic and somehow warped by your partisanship.

Now Obama actually gets his man — and does it in what seems to have been a truly gutsy fashion — and all we get is carping.

I can’t actually say I’m surprised, but it’s still kind of amazing.

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2.7 terabytes of data recovered from bin Laden compound

A law enforcement source tells CBS News that 2.7 terabytes of data were recovered from the laptops, computers, hard drives and other storage devices seized from the bin Laden compound. It’s unclear whether all of the 2.7 terabytes are original files or if there are multiple copies of files. To put the amount of data recovered in perspective, just one terabyte of data could hold about 2,000 hours of audio or 220 million pages of text.

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Among the material confiscated was al Qaida propaganda material including al Qaida messaging strategies to inspire and recruit new Jihadists. There is some indication that bin Laden was continuing to develop his strategy to utilize homegrown operatives that were intimately famiilar with the countries in which they lived. There was also material on current events, in an apparent effort to keep bin Laden abreast on news from around the world. Sources say it could take weeks or months to get a handle on what the U.S. has and what the value of it is.

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