Great article from Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times is worth reading in its entirety.
I especially like his assertion that governments only govern based on either Fear or Trust.
The Arab world is losing it’s fear of government and we have lost our trust in government.
That makes for a scary and complicated time ahead….
Here is a brief excerpt from the middle of the column:
In America, President George W. Bush used the post-9/11 economic dip to push through a second tax cut we could not afford. He followed that with a Medicare prescription drug entitlement we cannot afford and started two wars in the wake of 9/11 without raising taxes to pay for them — all at a time when we should have been saving money in anticipation of the baby boomers’ imminent retirement. As such, our nation’s fiscal hole is deeper than ever and Republicans and Democrats — rather than coming together and generating the political authority needed for us to take our castor oil to compensate for our binge — are just demonizing one another.
As the Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi points out, governance is based on authority “that is generated in one of two ways — by trust or by fear. Both of those sources of authority are disintegrating right now.” The Arab leaders governed by fear, and their people are not afraid anymore. And the Western democracies governed by generating trust, but their societies today are more splintered than ever.
via The Bin Laden Decade – NYTimes.com.
Well, I guess it’s nice to know we all finally agree on something….
Even in a Fox News poll…
From Poll Watcher:
Since the rise of Islamic extremism, there has been a much-repeated belief that Muslim martyrs would go to Heaven and be rewarded with 72 virgins, although scholars have argued that this was a mistranslation of a word in the Koran that really meant “raisins.” But even if accurate, an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t believe that Osama Bin Laden will enjoy those pleasures.
How do we know that?
A Fox News poll conducted May 15-17 about the killing of Bin Laden asked the usual stuff about whether voters thought it was the best outcome and whether President Obama was taking the right amount or too much credit.
Then it slipped in this question:
Do you believe Osama Bin Laden was greeted by 72 virgins in Heaven or did he meet a more negative end?
(We suppose the “negative end” was having to make do with the raisins after a career of death and destruction and life on the lam).
Eighty percent said he had met a negative end and only 3 percent believed he was greeted by the virgins. Seventeen percent admitted they didn’t know.
Democrats, Republicans and independents, for once, were all in agreement: no virgins.
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via The Verdict of Public Opinion Is In: No Virgins in Paradise for Bin Laden « Poll Watch Daily.
I’ll post this without comment also….
Except to say, that I’ve read, in numerous places, about the unexpected issues many fundamentalists of all religions have with porn…
From the London Daily Mail:
First it emerged Osama Bin Laden spent hours watching videos of himself as he callously planned new terror attacks against the ‘decadent’ West
But now it appears the Al Qaeda mastermind may have watched something else as he hid in his squalid lair – pornography.
Today officials revealed U.S. Navy SEALs discovered a stash of x-rated films in the terror leader’s final hideout.
What was he watching? Today it emerged U.S. Navy SEALs found a stash of pornography videos in Osama Bin Laden’s squalid lair
It’s the latest in a series of chilling revelations about the years Bin Laden spent in the specially-built compound, as investigators trawl through the treasure trove of evidence recovered by the SEALS.
According to officials, the commandos found a ‘fairly extensive’ collection of modern porn films as they searched the building after Bin Laden was shot.
via Osama Bin Laden’s stash of X-rated pornography found in his squalid lair | Mail Online.
And as a follow-up to my previous post…
MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Tuesday that former President George W. Bush had a “wise ass” attitude about terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
“I’m not a Bush hater, but that was wise-ass behavior there,” he said. “Just wise-ass. I mean this is the rich kid acting like I don’t care about that old girlfriend that dumped me. That was behavioral weirdness right there.”
Matthews’ guest Joan Walsh suggested Bush tried to downplay the importance of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden so that Americans would focus on Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
via Chris Matthews: Bush was ‘wise ass rich kid’ about bin Laden | Raw Replay.
Interesting information here….
Confirms what I always suspected….
The Bushies wanted binLaden free so they could use him to drive fear and their political agenda…
Former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Wednesday that President George W. Bush wasn’t interested in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
“I don’t think they really wanted to get bin Laden,” Wilkerson said.
“You could be very cynical and say he didn’t want to get him because once they got him the war was over and that left all the political advantage gone,” he added. “Or you could say that they knew that it was almost an impossibility to get him given what they had done to the intelligence and other aspects of the government that you needed to get him. They just about ruined it.”
via Former Colin Powell Chief of Staff: Bush didn’t want to get bin Laden | Raw Replay.
I love the President’s comment….
The odds that Osama bin Laden was the mysterious figure seen walking around the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan were estimated by U.S. intelligence at between 60 and 80 percent. When the Navy SEALs shot the tall figure on the upper floor of the compound, fatally hitting him in the chest and near his right eye, the next step was to get a positive ID. They planned to use several reference points, including facial recognition and eventually DNA when the body was transported back to Bagram airbasein Afghanistan.
Another measurement was to determine the height of the corpse. Bin Laden is listed on his FBI most wanted poster as being between 6-feet 4-inches and 6-feet 6-inches and weighing about 160 pounds.
However, the heavily-armed, electronically wired SEALs didn’t come with a tape measure to get an accurate height reading. According to reports, a Navy SEAL of about 6-feet laid out next to bin Laden’s corpse to gauge the Al Qaeda leader’s height. The corpse was several inches taller.
The Washington Post’s legendary reporter Bob Woodward came up with some inside the Situation Room conversation while the raid was underway and the president and his team were watching a muted feed of the action.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House (Credit: AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)
After Mr. Obama learned of the improvised height measurement technique, he reportedly said, “We donated a $60 million helicopter to this operation. Could we not afford to buy a tape measure?”
The helicopter in his remark was the stealth technology-outfitted bird that crash-landed as the raid began and had to be destroyed by the SEALs.
via Navy SEALs forgot to bring a tape measure – World Watch – CBS News.
Even more good news….
This is now the longest war in U.S. History.
Hopefully, now we can get the hell out…
Word from the Obama administration is that with al Qaeda spiritual leader Osama bin Laden dead, U.S. forces may now have found the fast-track to exit the Afghan occupation.
It won’t be easy, and it will require more than just political capital in the U.S., but unnamed officials tell The Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran that, with a negotiated settlement between America and the Taliban, the Afghan war’s “endgame” will be nigh.
On one key front, the president can now put negotiators at the table with Taliban forces without being criticized for “negotiating with terrorists,” Chandrasekaran noted. On another, Taliban faction leader Mohammad Omar will likely be under tremendous pressure to end his alliance with al Qaeda, breaking another key barrier to U.S. withdrawal.
“Bin Laden’s death is the beginning of the endgame in Afghanistan,” an unnamed senior official reportedly said. “It changes everything.”
via Osama bin Laden’s death may end Afghanistan war sooner than planned | The Raw Story.
Talk about Man’s Best Friend….
From The Huffington Post:
Of the 80 member team that was deployed to take down bin Laden, few draw more speculation than the one on four legs.
Most likely a Belgian Malinois (though officials say it could also have been a German Shepherd), there was one non-human member of the SEAL team that raided Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to the New York Times. The heroic pooch was strapped to a Navy SEAL as they were lowered from a hovering helicopter.
The news of the dog’s use in the raid broke Wednesday, but like the other members of the team that was deployed, its identity remains unknown.
While the dog is known for its bomb-sniffing prowess, it has other capabilities that make it a wonderful dog-of-war. According to the Atlantic, the dog may have been trained to “sniff out enemy troops from up to 2 miles away.”
The sensory perception brought by these dogs in a wartime situation is unparalleled. “The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine,” General David H. Petraeus said last year, calling for more use of dogs.
But the coolest thing about these guys? Many SEAL dogs come equipped with “titanium fangs capable of ripping through enemy protective armor,” at a cost of “about $2,000 a tooth,” according to the Daily. That’ll get the job done.
via Belgian Malinois: The Dog That Took Down Osama Bin Laden?.
Nice to see other folks thinking along the same lines as my personal thoughts in my earlier post about how bin Laden changed us….
I do hope we can all grow up now that the boogie man is dead….
From The Nation:
We can use the occasion of bin Laden’s death to grasp back for the moment when the world seemed simple, or we can turn away from that impulse. We can say that with his death, we return to the world as our adult eyes see it, shot through with suffering and complexity. We can feel compassion for the thousands of innocents who died by bin Laden’s hand as well as our own, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time in places like Bagram and Baghdad. We can remember that just because there is evil in the world that we are fighting—and bin Laden was a mass murderer and war criminal—that does not mean we are purely righteous. We can reject relativism and still embrace nuance. We can have the courage to speak and act like adults, to put away childish things, to once and for all banish the bad guys from our nightmares.
via After Osama bin Laden’s Death, An End to ‘Bad Guys’ | The Nation.