Suddenly, It's Okay If Osama bin Laden Gets to Live

| January 15, 2009 | 2 Replies

You know, it’s almost like we elected George Bush to a third term.

Couric: How important do you think it is, Mr. President-elect, to apprehend Osama bin Laden?

Mr. Obama: I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America.

Just a couple of months ago he was singing a different tune and castigating President Bush for taking exactly the same stance that he’s taking today. No need to take my word for it. Take his.

  • October 7, 2008: “We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority…”
  • September 26, 2008: “In 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda.”
  • November 18, 2008: “I think it is a top priority for us to stamp out al Qaeda once and for all…And I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al Qaeda. He is not just a symbol, he’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets.”

So what happened between then and now? My guess is that he and his people got a good, long look at the unabridged intelligence and realized that they’d better grow the heck up in a hurry. Hunting down one guy in some of the most forbidding terrain in the world makes it difficult to stroll into the bin Laden domicile like Hercule Poirot surrounded by inspectors, proclaim the mystery solved, and clean things up with a hastily-muttered “take him away”. If it were as easy as Barack Obama has been saying it is, if it merely took a greater exertion of will to off Osama, then George Bush would have done it seven years ago. Bet on it.

It’s nice to see that our President-Elect knows reality when he sees it. I only wish our electorate had seen it earlier.

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