Osama Bin Laden Killing Could Have Included Fighting Pakistan Military Forces

This is a huge nugget to the story of killing Osama bin Laden.

The fact is the United States needs, for better or worse, Pakistan.  The region can not allow for this country to fall into the hands of those who have no sense of modernity.   Like it or not we need to play ball with the government of Pakistan, and not allow the forces that seek to undermine the region to gain sway.

Having said that it makes the following story from CNN even more troubling.  The last thing Pakistan needs at this time is to be further humiliated on the world stage.  As much as we may have substantive issues with Pakistan I am trusting that much of the hard-nosed lessons that Pakistan needs to better understand can take place through diplomatic and behind the scenes moments.

The Obama administration had “very detailed contingency plans” for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Their names are not disclosed because of the sensitive intelligence information involved.

“No firepower option was off the table” during the Navy SEALs’ 38-minute mission on the ground, or during the time U.S. helicopters were in the air, one official told CNN. “We would have done whatever we had to in order to get our men out.”

The two U.S. officials also told CNN about the plan if bin Laden had been captured alive, which included taking him to Afghanistan and then out to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

All of the senior U.S. officials in the White House Situation Room during the assault were prepared to call their Pakistani counterparts if fighting between U.S. and Pakistani forces appeared imminent, one of the officials told CNN. The SEALs at all times retained the right of self-defense, and they could have fired at the Pakistanis to defend themselves.

The New York Times Obit For Osama Bin Laden

On days like this we turn to the newspapers for obituaries that are written of the ones who have shaped the world for good or evil.  This is a day for newspapers akin to the times when the death of Stalin or Hitler were announced.  There is no where else that so many words of this nature can be shared than within the pages of a newspaper.  Radio and television can talk endlessly about the death of Osama bin Laden, but it is only the long-form spaces of the printed page where an obit of the type The New York Times penned can be printed.

On days like this we understand better why newspapers still matter in our world.

 I do not have a word count on this obit, but word counts of New York Times obits amuse me.

From the lengthy obit of Osama bin Laden I ripped a few paragraphs.

Long before, he had become a hero in much of the Islamic world, as much a myth as a man — what a longtime C.I.A. officer called “the North Star” of global terrorism. He had united disparate militant groups, from Egypt to Chechnya, from Yemen to the Philippines, under the banner of Al Qaeda and his ideal of a borderless brotherhood of radical Islam.

Terrorism before Bin Laden was often state-sponsored, but he was a terrorist who had sponsored a state. For five years, 1996 to 2001, he paid for the protection of the Taliban, then the rulers of Afghanistan. He bought the time and the freedom to make Al Qaeda — which means “the base” — a multinational enterprise to export terror around the globe.

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Bin Laden began traveling beyond the border into Afghanistan in 1982, bringing with him construction machinery and recruits. In 1984, he and Mr. Azzam began setting up guesthouses in Peshawar, which served as the first stop for holy warriors on their way to Afghanistan. With the money they had raised in Saudi Arabia, they established the Office of Services, which branched out across the world to recruit young jihadists.

The men came to be known as the Afghan Arabs, though they came from all over the world, and their numbers were estimated as high as 20,000. By 1986, Bin Laden had begun setting up training camps for them as well, and he was paying roughly $25,000 a month to subsidize them.

To young would-be recruits across the Arab world, Bin Laden’s was an attractive story: the rich young man who had become a warrior. His own descriptions of the battles he had seen, how he lost the fear of death and slept in the face of artillery fire, were brushstrokes of an almost divine figure.

But intelligence sources insist that Bin Laden actually saw combat only once, in a weeklong barrage by the Soviets at Jaji, where the Arab Afghans had dug themselves into caves using Bin Laden’s construction equipment.

“Afghanistan, the jihad, was one terrific photo op for a lot of people,” Milton Bearden, the C.I.A. officer who described Bin Laden as “the North Star,” said in an interview on “Frontline,” adding, “There’s a lot of fiction in there.”

U.S. Military Needs To Be Slapped Down, Psy-Ops Wrong

This is clearly outrageous.  The military needs to better understand its place and role.   The negative reaction this story is creating will cost the military far more than what they hoped to gain.

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan intends to order an investigation into whether a three-star general responsible for training Afghan security forces inappropriately used members of a psychological operations team to influence visiting U.S. senators into providing more funding for the war.

The U.S. command in Kabul issued a statement Thursday saying Gen. David H. Petraeus “is preparing to order an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue.”

The investigation stems from an article published early Thursday on the Web site of Rolling Stone magazine alleging that Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the head of the U.S. and NATO training operation for Afghan forces, used an “information operations” team to “manipulate visiting American senators” and other visitors, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen.

The article is based on the claims of a lieutenant colonel who served on a psychological operations team in Afghanistan last year and who alleges he was subjected to retribution when he resisted the assignment.

A spokesman for Caldwell denied that he had done anything improper. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan declined to comment on the matter, citing the impending investigation.

Among the senators allegedly targeted by the team were John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. All four have been long-standing supporters of more funding for training Afghan security forces.