Two years ago, The New Yorker’s Pulitzer prize-winning Hersh denounced the JSOC by calling it Bush-Cheney’s “executive assassination ring”: “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days … they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring, essentially. … That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”
Intel from Bush detainees — “Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” writes the AP, “detainees in the CIA’s secret prison network told interrogators about an important courier … who was close to bin Laden. … Then in 2004, top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. … It was a key break in the hunt for bin Laden’s personal courier. ‘Hassan Ghul was the linchpin,’ a U.S. official said.”
For purposes of consistency, even if it’s insincere, the all-praise-to-Obama crowd should couch their euphoria: “Yes, we celebrate the death of a villain. But his death in no way validates the use of methods and practices that violate human rights and send the wrong message about our principles and values as a people. The ends do not justify the means.”
But, no. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a leading waterboarding-is-torture and Bush-is-evil-and-incompetent critic, raised no reservations and was oblivious to the contradiction: “The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. … (T)he death of Osama bin Laden is historic.” Impressive.
Finally, Bush-haters deny him credit with the “Bush took his eye off the ball” assertion. After all, Bush did say, “I am truly not that concerned about (bin Laden).” President Obama, however, said much the same thing, assuming — it turns out incorrectly — that bin Laden “was in a cave somewhere.” To the Bush-haters, “not that concerned” translates, of course, into not giving a rip about bin Laden and abandoning the hunt.
But Bush never quit. He was briefed on bin Laden at least once a week. Two weeks before he left office, Bush confidently predicted that bin Laden would “of course, absolutely” be found by a future president. “We have a lot of people looking for him, a lot of assets out there. He can’t run forever.”
And on May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden stopped running. Forever.
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