Video: Memebusters, OBL edition

posted at 1:36 pm on May 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The mission that killed Osama bin Laden didn’t end the war on terror, but it certainly was a big step along the way. That step came as part of a series of efforts and strategic decisions, as Bill Whittle points out in his latest Firewall. Bill deconstructs the media memes that have emerged — or in some cases, re-emerged — in the ten days since we took out the al-Qaeda chief. It’s a lengthy video, but like all of Bill’s work, well worth the time invested:

I’d like to add a couple of points. First, I think that Bush would have been delighted to get bin Laden before, during, or immediately after invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein. Whittle is spot-on with both his North Africa and Yamamoto references (I’ve argued the former and especially like the latter), but we got OBL when we found him. I don’t think Bush would have put off an opportunity like this regardless of the status of his global strategy.

Second, while I think Bill is right about Bush’s gutsy calls, I still think Obama’s was gutsy as well. The evidence supporting bin Laden’s presence in the Abbottabad compound was not cut and dried, as former Bush-era CIA Director Michael Hayden explained a few days ago; instead, it was entirely circumstantial. The reaction to the Desert One failure in 1980 demonstrated just how badly it would go for a President who ordered a failed military incursion, and there was no guarantee that the mission wouldn’t start a shooting war between Pakistan and the US, however briefly. The right call can still be a gutsy call, and I think that was the case here.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

So gutsy that PBHO dragged Panetta from his office and ordered “You make the call, Leon.”

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Bill Whittle is the man! Says it all and says it right.

wb-33777 on May 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Not so much “gutsy” as nah,nah,nah,nah Bush I got Osama!Now I’ll be re-elected. Nah,nah,nah,nah,nah…

sandee on May 12, 2011 at 1:49 PM

I still think Obama’s was gutsy as well. The evidence supporting bin Laden’s presence in the Abbottabad compound was not cut and dried, as former Bush-era CIA Director Michael Hayden explained a few days ago; instead, it was entirely circumstantial.

yep. There was no hard evidence of OBL being there other than the tangential celebrities who happened to frequent the joint. That is hardly evidence. Acting upon that evidence is putting someone’s neck on the line. Obama, McRaven and the CIA gambled and won on this one.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Rock…

visions on May 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

whether Panetta made the call or not, had this gone down like Operation Eagle Claw, or if our SOF got goatroped into a shooting war with Pakistan, it wouldn’t have been Panetta’s testicles getting turned. It would’ve been Obama’s. He gets credit (and blame) via proxy.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

I just put a half a tank of $4.50 gas in my car, and I was wondering who made the gutsy call.

faraway on May 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

I don’t ever recall reading of a President who suddenly got “gutsy”.

And it sure as hell isn’t in Barry’s background.

Ain’t buying Barry made any “gutsy” call at all.

GarandFan on May 12, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I just put a half a tank of $4.50 gas in my car, and I was wondering who made the gutsy call.

faraway on May 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

heh.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Rasmussen today: 47% approval, down from 51% last week.

The dead cat’s bounce is just about done. Turns out $4.50 gas didn’t turn into $2.50 gas after OBL was assassinated by Obama. Turns out the 20 million people out of work are still out of work. Turns out the $14T is still #14T.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Ed…I hate to say this, but you’re wrong.

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it. The only reason we even know about it was because it was a success.

The MSM tends to “report” little of the war(s) these days. Remember the days of the “daily death tolls”….don’t hear so much of that anymore, do we?

Not only doesn’t the MSM hardly “report” any war news, but there’s little, to no follow up of any of the said reports……heard any follow up on the 9 American troops that were killed “assination style” at the airport in Kabul?…nope me either.

So…gutsy call, I think not.
Dropping the bomb on Hiroshima…..now THAT’S a “gutsy” call.

BTW…Whittle’s video….terrific, and should be viral.

tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

16 hours.

Rebar on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it. The only reason we even know about it was because it was a success.

tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Agreed. Good point.

faraway on May 12, 2011 at 2:02 PM

I still think Obama’s was gutsy as well. The evidence supporting bin Laden’s presence in the Abbottabad compound was not cut and dried, as former Bush-era CIA Director Michael Hayden explained a few days ago; instead, it was entirely circumstantial.

So? Say he hadn’t been there. Where was the downside for Obama? It’s not like anyone would ever have found out about the operation had it failed.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 2:03 PM

So? Say he hadn’t been there. Where was the downside for Obama? It’s not like anyone would ever have found out about the operation had it failed.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Osama there or not, we still have a helicopter sitting in his front yard. Can’t hide that.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Rasmussen today: 47% approval, down from 51% last week.

The dead cat’s bounce is just about done. Turns out $4.50 gas didn’t turn into $2.50 gas after OBL was assassinated by Obama. Turns out the 20 million people out of work are still out of work. Turns out the $14T is still #14T.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 1:59 PM

It can turn into a negative in the end, because it’s played up by the sycophants but it doesn’t effect day to day life that much.

the_nile on May 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

If this mission failed, they would have dropped a missile on the compound.

faraway on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

“The attempted arrest of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, an operation that resulted in the unfortunate deaths of 14 Navy SEAL’s and the capture of at least 5 others by the Pakistani Army, was initiated on the advice of several members of my national security cabinet.

Leon Panetta has accepted full responsibility for what occurred and has given his resignation, which I of course immediately accepted. Further resignations are expected and I hope the nation can then move past this event and win the future.”

-PBHO

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Scooter had no choice. The information available would have leaked, probably before the 2012 elections. Those people can’t keep their mouths shut. He was in a corner. He couldn’t afford to let that happen without taking action. How about we call it involuntary gutsyism?

a capella on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

How about we call it involuntary gutsyism?

a capella on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

ok

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it.

tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Yep. Just like we never heard about Black Hawk Down or Eagle Claw.

Oh wait…

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

The mission that killed Osama bin Laden didn’t end the war on terror, but it certainly was a big step along the way.

A farcical statement, but in its own farcical way, it has some truth. For while the underlying existential war has no end, why would Islamics wage a sensational and costly “war” they can’t win when they are slowly and quietly winning on every other social, cultural and legal front around the world.

Second, while I think Bill is right about Bush’s gutsy calls, I still think Obama’s was gutsy as well.

Question: when will we get the “gutsy call” over Hezbollah in Mexico. Hezbollah is more potent and extensive than al Qaeda. The FBI estimates they’re operating in almost 40 US states. But I guess since the “War on Terror” is over (pardon me, I mean the “Overseas Contingency Operations”), we have nothing to be concerned with. Phew.

rrpjr on May 12, 2011 at 2:13 PM

I like the idea, but man is this guy’s manner of speaking annoying.

Abby Adams on May 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

There’s a difference between “gutsy” and merely risking. angryed is right, if OBL had not been there, the SEAL Team would have left anyway, and a cover story of some sort was probably already prepared in case of any information leaking out. Maybe for Obama it was “gutsy”. I mean 16 hrs to make the call. It must have been excruciating for Obama!

cartooner on May 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Gustsy video…

Seven Percent Solution on May 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Can this thing load any more slowly? I’ll try to view it later.

Sekhmet on May 12, 2011 at 2:20 PM

It must have been excruciating for Obama!

cartooner on May 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I’ll give him a pass on this one. This was not the first, nor the last cross border mission into Pakistan. Many have been planned, few have been executed. Drone strikes, other covert raids, intel gathering and such–its all being done. That doesn’t make it any easier because each mission is, by nature, extraordinarily risky. Each may have a high payoff, coupled with a high level of risk–politically and militarily. That’s the nature of special operations. We have to compensate for the unknowns with hyper expensive gear, hyper qualified and lethal guys and a foggy intel picture. There’s only so much we can control here and that’s why we send our best, in order to reduce the risk factor on things we can control.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it.
tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

More likely PBHO would have followed in the footsteps of the demorat President’s who presided over BHD and Eagle Claw, and ignominiously retreated like a whipped dog.

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it.

tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Yep. Just like we never heard about Black Hawk Down or Eagle Claw.

Oh wait…

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

But how many heard about the failed US attack on Somalia 3 months before Black Hawk Down? You know, the one where the US fired TOW missiles and thousands of rounds into a house because they thought Aidid was there? He wasn’t, but 60 people were killed.

As for Eagle Claw, the press didn’t have a chance to break the story. The WH announced the failure before the press had a chance to do anything. Quite possibly the sanest decision Carter made!

Del Dolemonte on May 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Yep. Just like we never heard about Black Hawk Down or Eagle Claw.

Oh wait…

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Do you seriously think that, between this Obama’s administration and the “objectivity” of the MSM, that we would have heard anything about this mission?

How many “covert” missions over the years, failed or successful, do you know about?

Come on….you know this wasn’t a “gutsy” call. I bet you can think of many other decisions past POTUS have had to make that were truly “gutsy”.

tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Long time Whittle fan. Thanks Ed.

Caststeel on May 12, 2011 at 2:47 PM

The reaction to the Desert One failure in 1980 demonstrated just how badly it would go for a President who ordered a failed military incursion

You mean when Carter’s popularity went up a bit?

John Deaux on May 12, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Just watched this. Great vid.

catmman on May 12, 2011 at 3:12 PM

You mean when Carter’s popularity went up a bit?

John Deaux on May 12, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I think the results of the election that November put that meme to rest. Dead-cat bounce, much?

gryphon202 on May 12, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Osama there or not, we still have a helicopter sitting in his front yard. Can’t hide that.

ted c on May 12, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Have you met our MSM lately? Not only would it be hidden, if it came out it would have been spun as a heroic attempt to get OBL that would have worked, hat the GOP not made cuts to the SEALs program.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 3:21 PM

My point was that he got a bump from showing some spine. Doing something was preferrable to the electorate than doing nothing. Had Obama’s mission failed, he likely would not have suffered for the attempt, except from the extreme left.

Ed’s making it sound as if Carter suffered because of the failed mission. I submit that it made little difference.

John Deaux on May 12, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Yep. Just like we never heard about Black Hawk Down or Eagle Claw.

Oh wait…

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Black Hawk Down was during a Republican president, so course the MSM was all over it.

Eagle Claw – as someone else mentioned – was announced by Carter himself. Had he not, we most likely never would have known about it.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Good show Mr. Whittle, how soon I forgot the back story on the Mission Accomplished meme. I also agree with ted c that it was a gutsy call for Obama to make. If Leon Panetta had not been at CIA it may not have been made though.

fourdeucer on May 12, 2011 at 3:28 PM

If the “killing of OBL” had failed, the American public NEVER would have heard about the mission, let alone the failure of it.
tencole on May 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

That would only be true if they went in, found found no bin laden and left without killing anyone or anything. If a gunfight broke out, or a helicopter crashed, etc., it was going to get out. Pakistan would be unlikely to keep it quiet.

Monkeytoe on May 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

When you’re as inept as bammy….shaving your own face is a “gutsy call”.

Tim_CA on May 12, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Black Hawk Down was during a Republican president, so course the MSM was all over it.

….no.

Eagle Claw – as someone else mentioned – was announced by Carter himself. Had he not, we most likely never would have known about it.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM

You know this how?

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Love the woman at the end… Her eyes say it all. And Bush was right.
-

RalphyBoy on May 12, 2011 at 4:00 PM

That would only be true if they went in, found found no bin laden and left without killing anyone or anything. If a gunfight broke out, or a helicopter crashed, etc., it was going to get out. Pakistan would be unlikely to keep it quiet.

Monkeytoe on May 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

-
Perhaps… that some kind’a mission went bad. A one day second page filler piece. But never the details… ‘Osama got away!’ headline… Would not have happened.
-
Who would have leaked that info?
-

RalphyBoy on May 12, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Whittle is a national treasure. In a fair world, he’d be the star of 60 minutes and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

bonnie_ on May 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Speaking of memes, here’s one that Whittle subscribes to: The islamic world can be turned into a liberal democracy by killing a few jihadists.

Reality check: Liberal democracy, and all that jazz, is a unique product of western thought going back to the Greeks and before. These ideals do not resonate in other cultures, and certainly not in the arab world, pre- or post- Mohammad. Our values are anathema to other cultures.

keep the change on May 12, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Our values are anathema to other cultures.

keep the change on May 12, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Because they’re longing to be opressed?

Bet if you gave ‘em a choice (without a Despot holding a gun to their heads)you might be surprised.

Tim_CA on May 12, 2011 at 4:36 PM

If this mission failed, they would have dropped a missile on the compound.

faraway on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Should have anyway, knowing that they left a chopper there.

Why wasn’t a missile targeted there within an hour of our guys being gone?

And now Pakistan is going to let the Chinese look it over (heard that on the news yesterday), wtf?!??

Midas on May 12, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Black Hawk Down was during a Republican president, so course the MSM was all over it.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Um, no it wasn’t. Unless I recall incorrectly, it was under Clinton?

Midas on May 12, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Bill Whittle is fantastic. I’m sending this clip over to a young lady I work with, who confessed ignorance of politics but seemed alarmed and interested when I began to talk about the debt abyss that her generation is about to fall into.

I can’t promise to knock on doors or bring 10 people to vote, but I work my influence when I can.

disa on May 12, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Whittle needs to have his own weekly show. On any network. Well, except MSNBC.

stevezilla on May 12, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Exactly. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower had two speeches prepared for the day after the D-Day Invasion. One for victory, one for total defeat.

I am pretty sure that Panetta had his mea culpa resignation prepared had the deal gone down badly. Come on, Crr6, do you really, really think a narcissist like Obama would have taken the blame? Thank God we will never know . . .

BigAlSouth on May 12, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Because they’re longing to be opressed?

They oppress themselves. But they don’t see it as oppression. Democracy itself is incompatible with islamic principles. So his individual freedom. They don’t believe in pluralism, gender equality, the principles of English common law, or really anything else that makes the West the west. Even something as basic has keeping a pet, a dog or a cat, is alien, and even repulsive, to their way of thinking and living. Their cultural values are very much different. While some people think everybody values the same thing, this is not true. In fact, most people on the planet belong to cultures that are not like ours, and have never been, and never will be.

keep the change on May 12, 2011 at 9:33 PM

keep the change on May 12, 2011 at 9:33 PM

I hear what you’re saying…but the people you speak of have been under the boot-heal of tyrannical despots for generations…you can’t just ignore that.

I know a a first and second generation immigrant family (kids came over, brought parents over, now have American children) from the region (all Muslim), and they couldn’t be more grateful to be here. They could tell you stories that would make your hair grey.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Tim_CA on May 12, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Black Hawk Down was during a Republican president, so course the MSM was all over it.

….no.

Eagle Claw – as someone else mentioned – was announced by Carter himself. Had he not, we most likely never would have known about it.

angryed on May 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM

You know this how?

crr6 on May 12, 2011 at 3:57 PM

As much as it pains me, I must say that cr is right about BHD. Her response of “No”, is the truth.
But it’s not the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

(One would think as a law student cr would be familiar with that concept. Oh well.)

Here’s my shory synopsis of her omission,

Bush 41 initiated the Somalia action as a humanitarian mission.

Clinton admin. creeped up the mission to include a typically half assed Clinton form of nation building.
(Mostly chasin’ Aidid)

A big part of that half assedeness was Les Aspin’s refusal to introduce American armor into the theatre.
(Mighta been seen as “provocative”, doncha know.)

Result, after the ‘Hawks were downed the Rangers and Delta Teams had to wait hours for UN approval to send Pakistani armored vehicles to attempt a recovery.

That delay cost Soldier’s lives.

soundingboard on May 12, 2011 at 10:40 PM

The meme that Obama made the call is what’s gutsy here.

This was a “boost Obama for 2012 show” with someone else making the call, of that there is no doubt.

Mcguyver on May 12, 2011 at 11:10 PM