Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Random links on the big story

No, I don't mean the wedding. I have said all I wanted to say on the subject and on all related subjects though, probably, more of that was said in Russian on the day than in English on this blog. That's the way it crumbles cookie-wise.

No, I am still talking about the ending of Osama bin Laden and I hope that this will be my last posting on the subject for a little while as I should like to return to other issues. However, let me, first of all say that I think there is something a little weird about President Obama and his Cabinet watching the raid and killing of bin Laden in real time as if it were some adventure film and have themselves photograph watching it.

On the other hand, there seems to be some problem about details being revealed on the basis of that film-watching and quite a lot of the original information has now been modified. Should we accept that there is fog of war here (even though the information did not come from anybody who was out there in the fog) or shake our heads at the ridiculous speed with which colourful details were given to the media and at the White House team's inability to create a coherent narrative? Of course this could be yet another bungle by Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan. Michelle Malkin seems to be going for that. Nevertheless, one can't help feeling that the information part of this operation should have been planned a little more carefully. At the moment, it is amateur hour.

What else has come up that is interesting? Well, there is the suggestion (here and here) that the raid happened a little sooner than it was planned (possibly for this time next year) because of a Wikileak. That would be somewhat ironic, if true, though there may have been a few other events that made swift action imperative.

It would seem that on an immediate count, President Obama's popularity is not exactly being affected by the Osama factor. The truth is that, as we have seen in Canada, it is usually domestic issues that elect leaders. Or, as someone said, "it's the economy, stupid". The Washington Post thinks so, too.

Among the plethora of coverage there are a few interesting articles and this blog (rather pompously) recommends them. First, there is the curious information that, apparently, it was in Gitmo through the questioning of those prisoners that the track to bin Laden was found. Was Obama told this and also informed very forcefully that if he wanted that coup on his watch he had better forget about closing the place down?

Then there is the curious aspect of the special team sent in to get bin Laden. Apparently, in the past they have been known as Dick Cheney's special assassination squad. No longer, one assumes.

That's enough entertainment. Let's get on to the more serious stuff. What the effect of bin Laden's death will be is still unknown but it is clear that long before that the man had failed. What signs are there, apart from the overwrought imagination of some commentators (and I use the word loosely) of a world-wide khalifate? Those Arab tyrants whom bin Laden hated and attacked may be falling but not because of the strength of Islamic feeling, though it is not at all certain that democracy of any kind will prevail in places like Egypt, Tunisia or Libya.

Fouad Ajami describes him as a weak horse - a terrible insult in the Arab world. Amir Taheri writes of bin Laden's ideology collapsing long before the man's death.

I think I shall ignore the many other comments, at least for the time being. Tomorrow, I hope, it will be possible to resume normal service.

No comments:

Post a Comment