For the Nation, and for Obama, A Moment to Savor

As Nicholas Kristof notes in the New York Times, the nation's paper of record, writes in his op-ed this morning, "despite the foreign policy triumph for the United States, it isn’t the end of terrorism." Already Taliban leaders are vowing to avenge Osama bin Laden and no doubt his death does not change the fundamental situation on the ground in Afghanistan though for Pakistan hard questions must be asked.

How did the world's most wanted man live in a luxury compound in the hill resort town of Abbottabad just a 62 mile drive (35 miles as the crow flies) from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad? Moreover, the compound built in 2005 was just a stone's throw from the major Pakistani military training school. Most tellingly, the Pakistani government was not informed beforehand of the US special forces' raid. This inability to trust even the highest echelons of Pakistan's civilian-military-intelligence establishment is, in my view, the single most disturbing takeaway from this incident. It portends hard choices.

Still, it is clear that from the start President Obama and his national security team took a focused, hands-on pursuit of Osama bin Laden and a measured, cautious approach with our erstwhile ally Pakistan. US-Pakistani relations have been rocky, perhaps not yet even at a nadir, for most of the Obama Administration. The fault may not entirely lie with the Pakistanis but it is evident as the Wikileaks cables suggest that Pakistan's ISI is a rogue filled cancerous organization not to be trusted. The realists in the Obama Administration fully understand this and act accordingly. The Administration, from the President on down, may deliberate incessantly as seen from the outside but their approach is diligent, measured, effective if painstakingly time consuming. This is a results oriented Administration.

John Dickerson over at Slate points to the not so obvious but increasingly evident:

Obama's critics have said that he is a weak leader in general and in particular does not understand what must be done to combat terrorism. " They are very much giving up that center of attention and focus that's required," said former Vice President Dick Cheney in March 2009, in a typical remark. Yet what emerges from the details of Bin Laden's killing (offered, like the heroic accounts of the Bush years, entirely by officials who work for the sitting president) is that from early in his administration Obama was focused on killing Osama Bin Laden and that he was involved in the process throughout.

In June 2009, Obama directed his CIA director to "provide me within 30 days a detailed operation plan for locating and bringing to justice" Osama Bin Laden. By August 2010 intelligence officials had identified the suspicious compound where Osama lived. Thirty-five miles outside Islamabad, the walls were up to 18 feet high and topped with barbed wire. The largest structure, a three-story building, had very few windows. Though the house was valued at $1 million, it had no Internet or phone service. Its residents, unlike their neighbors, burned their trash.

As he has so often been in the past, Dick "they will welcome us as liberators" and "last throes" Cheney was wrong. We may not see what's going on in the battle against terrorism but this success suggests a diligence and a laser-like focus by the Administration. It again speaks to the competence of the President himself. It is a moment to savor for Barack Obama, and for the nation, though I am sure that for him and his national security team, their focus remains on what is yet to be done, not what has been accomplished.

Tags: President Barack Obama, US Foreign Policy, Afghanistan War, Osama Bin Laden, al qaeda (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Sort of like a winning baseball coach

A good baseball coach has to make tough decisions. Obama made some really great ones here, to be sure. But let's face it. We elected him, and in a landslide . We Americans saw what he was all about.

And of course. There were at least two or more NAVY SEALS involved in the operation.  Any time you get more than two SEALS you're going to have some serious trouble for the bad guys. :)

 

I like this post because it finally points to WikiLeaks as well. Wikileaks has been an enormous resource for us all. We finally get to see Pakistan for what it really is, and to be sure, there are many there in Pakistan whom we could not trust. But my view of it is that of the president's - we couldn't have done this without them, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

True islam, peace and harmony and justice - democracy and positive change are sweeping the region. This proves , about Wikileaks - what we knew all along: Telling the Truth is an Act of Patriotism.

A moment to savor? No. It is a milestone. We did not savor receiving the sword of lord Cornwallis on the Yorktown Peninsula. General George Washington received his sword with highest solemnity.  This is a solemn day for an organization that was dedicated to higher causes, but perverted by a dark and twisted leader.

 

The head has been cut from the snake. But in the greater context of history,  it is the revolution coming at the middle east from all sides - that ignores radical organizations such as Al Qaeda - and goes straight to the heart of how to set up modern government - that should be the call of revolution not only for the entire middle east.

But also our own country.  Our president was elected on a tidal wave of change, and he represents that change - but he is like any other - an elected representative and we have much work to do here in our own country.  BP America causes the largest environmental catastrophe in the history of our country and the very next year, it posts a record profit. What does that say about us?

We need to remove those who were elected last year on a tidal wave of corporate cash, and find a way to establish real democracy. The fact that Obama heard our cry to take out the one responsible for our wars does not remove from us the problem that the effects of the corrupt bush republicans that have installed enormous governmental machinery to destroy our civil rights - operates still and X-rays us as we walk through the airport. Radioactive. Toxic.

It's an afterglow. Just Not the kind of glow you really want to keep.  Let's finish the job here. We need to take this as a wakeup call that corrupt men and women can and will get their head handed to them on a silver plate - if we get the right people in power.

We need another 100 obama's this next election cycle, and we don't need big corporate money putting them there.

Hit the Bat!

 

by Trey Rentz 2011-05-02 01:17PM | 0 recs
Quite frankly, I am more qualified than a lot of politicians

It's funny to see all the media put Pakistan's complicity in focus just today. Where was this serious discussion for the last 10 years? I have been ridiculing the war on terror for years and have used the way Pakistan has duped the Bush administration in the past as one of my examples as to why this war on terror as being a joke. It took Bush's people until the second term to realize Pakistan was just using the US for the money and arms and would never really help the US in any meaningful way to turn in Osama and the other terrorists.

by Pravin 2011-05-02 08:17PM | 0 recs

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