May 02, 2011
The Price for Bin Laden’s Head

In my morning email was this, from Merry: “I really want to read your take on the ‘killing Bin-Laden’ story.’” Naturally I was excited, since no one had previously given a rat’s fundamental orifice about my take on anything. So here:

I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction was to wonder what effect the assassination would have on the 2012 election. This was narrow, parochial, and in all respects unworthy, but I’m still counting the news cycles till the Republicans start asking the president what took him so long. Maybe because Obama rhymes with Osama? Hmm?

My second reaction was to wonder how much we will wind up paying Pakistan for selling Bin Laden to us. After all, the Saudi millionaire wasn’t hiding in some remote frontier wilderness where the writ of law runneth not. He was in Abbottabad, which turns out to be as far from Islamabad as Manassas is from the White House.

Furthermore, many of Abbottabad’s residents are army personnel and all of them must be blind. (For this and the following details, go here.) The elusive 6' 5" terrorist lived in a million-dollar mansion built five years ago, apparently to hide him. It had 18-foot high walls topped with barbed wire and was “roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area.” None of this seems to have come to the attention of all those army personnel, or of the Pakistan intelligence service.

A suspicious person might reach a tentative conclusion that Bin Laden had been held in a sort of country club jail until the price was right, and then ratted out to Pakistan’s hated enemy, the United States, for a price that will never be disclosed.

Once again we play the battered wife, submissive and forgiving. Our abusive husband this time is Pakistan. Next time it will be Israel or Saudi Arabia. We cannot bring ourselves to admit that it is these three countries which pose the greatest actual threats to America’s actual security. Unhappily this pathology is bipartisan. There it lies at the heart of our national security policy, unuttered and unutterable.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 02, 2011 12:25 PM
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Yes, color me skeptical as well. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had a piece in the Washington Post this morning claiming Pakistan played its part in the capture and killing. Hmmmm. Okay, and Secretary Clinton is being over backward to make that same point because...well, hell, I guess we think we need Pakistan. But, as you say, why didn't the Pakistan authorities come forth in 2005 when the monstrosity of a compound was built. Shouldn't the military have sauntered down the street and checked that place out? You'd think...

Posted by: Jerry Lavey on May 3, 2011 10:03 AM

Who knows what the truth is? Maybe with our good graces Pakistan was harboring him and he finally died or was about ready to kick the bucket so they said come on and get him now. How many people live on dialysis for ten years or more? The average life expectancy for someone on dialysis is typically quoted as 3-5 years but a small number of people stay on it for decades. So maybe the end was near and that opened up the opportunity to put on a nice show and so "we got him". Notice from Google maps that a hospital is right up the street from where he is purported to have lived.


He actually did deny being involved in the Trade Center attack a few days after 9/11. But one never knows about such people. We have plenty of liars here in the US as well. See: http://articles.cnn.com/2001-09-16/us/inv.binladen.denial_1_bin-laden-taliban-supreme-leader-mullah-mohammed-omar?_s=PM:US
Who can forget those videos of him that came out right before elections during the Bush administration? The last one had him with dyed beard and looking very unlike his previous incarnations in the videos. It was said at the time that fanatical Muslims who shared his purported beliefs would never dye their hair.

I suspect though, that the terror theme will be with us for the rest of my lifetime whether that's five years, 20 years or 40 years or whatever. We've got to have some excuse to keep that bloated military industrial complex that we don't need to be kept on artificial life support so the folks making money in this scheme had to come up with something. So our leaders create fear of the extremely improbably as a diversion. Just go to any airport to see how much they invest in perpetuating that fear.

Posted by: Buck on May 4, 2011 8:22 AM
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