Rod Blagojevich Would Have Traveled To Afghanistan To Kill Osama Bin Laden

Secret Agent Man

No one should be surprised at the theatrics that are taking place during the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich.    But even the most hardened watchers of this event had to be startled with the latest news.

He has compared himself to Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He has drawn parallels between himself and Winston Churchill as well as Abraham Lincoln. 

But during his fifth day on the witness stand, even Rod Blagojevich managed to startle observers with a new one: 

If he had appointed himself to the U.S. Senate seat in 2008, he would have traveled to Afghanistan to try to hunt down one Osama bin Laden. 

His lawyer, Aaron Goldstein, asked if Blagojevich talked about appointing himself to the Senate “in exchange for going to Afghanistan and hunting down Osama bin Laden.” 

“Yes,” A straight-faced Blagojevich replied, bringing yet another prosecution objection, hushed snickers and head-scratching in the courtroom.

Democrats Should Not Over-React To ‘Vulnerability’ With International Relations

With the killing of Osama bin Laden it is argued that Democrats have a chance to again define their leadership with foreign policy.   I am a bit perplexed at the ‘need’ to showcase a muscular stance in an effort to demonstrate a thoughtful way forward with international affairs.  While I understand that there are many voters who view the Clint Eastwood approach as the ‘manly’ way, I have always found the kid on the playground who could talk his way out of a fight with words and a powerful presentation to be much more the hero.  That is the type of person I want leading my nation.

So the past week’s back and forth about the way Democrats need to latch onto the killing of bin Laden to underscore Democrat’s resolve to ensure the nation’s security seems rather lame.  While I am pleased that bin Laden was dealt with in a most dramatic fashion, I am also very content with the step-by-step leveraging that seems to be underway regarding peace efforts in the Middle East.  It is after all that slow and seemingly stodgy way of working through international disputes that we should encourage.

At the end of the day it is the brains, and not the brawn, that will allow our nation and world to work more harmoniously together.  It will be the efforts with our international partners at limiting climate change, or curbing  cyber-terrorism that will require the best minds and the most creative options.  While we will always need the military to step in when all else fails, and the Libya air campaign is one such example as after all we are far from perfection as mere humans, we should always first mightily strive to reach diplomatic accords with those we have issues with.  To do that we need the best and brightest engaged in government, and especially in the diplomatic corps.

I am not sure exactly what those who would have the Democrats present themselves more forcefully on international relations have the party do to look more like leaders.

Lets recall the brawny Republican adventure of invading Iraq squeezed needed resources from the real war on terrorism in Afghanistan.  As a result of the Iraq War instability continued bubbling in Afghanistan, and the Taliban was able to refocus their efforts at controlling regions of that country.

On the flip side of how international affairs can be handled, and even using Republicans to make the case, was the opening to China that President Nixon and his most able Secretary of State Henry Kissinger accomplished in 1972.  If there was ever a time to praise the efforts of dialogue and out-reach that would be such an example.   That would be the model that our government, political party aside, should work to emulate.

The world needs a lot of things right now, but more political/military bombast is not one of them.  To attempt to beat the Democratic chest harder and prove we growl louder than those on the other side of the aisle is short-sighted and not worthy of the voters time.

Latest Version Of How Osama Bin Laden Was Killed

The aspect of the Osama bin Laden killing that is not running anywhere near as perfect at the SEALS operation in Pakistan, is how the White House remains unable to convey the whole story in a seamless fashion. 

Thursday a new version of the bin Laden killing was released.  I am not sure if this series of missteps lands at the feet of the new White House Chief of Staff, or the head of the CIA, or perhaps even the Defense Secretary.  But from a political point of view this is not the way the information about this foreign policy success should be handled, or passed out to the nation.   The information flow aspect to this story has been dreadful.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the 40 minutes it took to kill bin Laden and scoop his archives into garbage bags were all recorded by tiny helmet cameras worn by each of the 25 SEALs. 

Officials reviewing those videos are still reconstructing a more accurate version of what happened. We now know that the only firefight took place in the guest house, where one of bin Laden’s couriers opened fire and was quickly gunned down. No one in the main building got off a shot or was even armed, although there were weapons nearby. 

The SEALs first saw bin Laden when he came out on the third floor landing. They fired, but missed. He retreated to his bedroom, and the first SEAL through the door grabbed bin Laden’s daughters and pulled them aside 

When the second SEAL entered, bin Laden’s wife rushed forward at him — or perhaps was pushed by bin Laden. The SEAL shoved her aside

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.

Sarah Palin Says President Obama Should Not Be “Pussy-Footing” Over Osama Bin Laden Photos

Looks to me that Sarah Palin feels she has not had enough attention given all the news about the killing of Osama bin Laden.  So in her usual Wasilla-Hillbilly way Palin makes a play for the headlines. 

What Palin does not understand is that the last few days have demonstrated the amount of intellect and fortitude required to be President of the United States.  President Obama has been masterful in his job, and we are well aware that the last many months have been one long series of manuevers to make for the events that unfolded Sunday. 

There is no doubt Palin does not have the  mental skills required for the Oval Office.  In addition, Palin’s track record of  quitting in the middle of an elected term underscores her lack of resolve.   What would the men of the SEAL unit have done had Palin decided to quit and go shoe shopping on the day the tapping of bin Laden was to take place?

No one has ever accused Palin of being ‘Stable-Mable’.  Therefore to have her enter into any discussion at all about the events that this nation is now watching unfold is just amusing.  It goes to show Palin’s inordinate fascination with herself has no bounds, and that headlines are about all she can create.

Sarah Palin, on Twitter:

“Show photo as warning to others seeking America’s destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama;it’s part of the mission”

What Type Of Islamic Training Did Osama Bin Laden Have?

Many have long stated, flat-out, that Osama bin Laden, and others like him bastardize Islam and the teachings of the Prophet.  I think that to be very true.  Bin Laden did more to shame Islam and the religious people who observe the faith than anyone else in modern history.

In so doing, bin Laden and those like him have undermined Islam by giving the religion a false face.  Bin Laden allowed certain demographics to think what he was doing with his fanatical bent was in some way reflective of Islam itself.  In fact, it was not! 

 Bin Laden led a lot of folks down the wrong path, be it a citizen in America who thinks all of Islam is corrupt and violent due to bin Laden, or some poor sap who thinks a suicide-laced pair of underwear on a plane will get him closer to God..  

So with the killing of Osama bin Laden it is time again to ask about the religious background of this leader to many, and danger to all.  What moral underpinnings did he subscribe to for the life he lived?

Osama bin Laden had no official religious training but developed his own theology of Islam.

“We don’t know that (bin Laden) was ever exposed to orthodox Islamic teachings,” said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University.

The writing of ideologues in the Muslim Brotherhood influenced bin Laden heavily, Moosa said.

“He takes scriptural imperatives at their face value and believes this is the only instruction and command God has given him – unmediated by history, unmediated by understanding, unmediated by human experience. Now that’s a difference between Muslim orthodoxy and what I would call uber- or hyperscripturalists,” Moosa said.

The vast majority of Islamic scholars and imams say the teaching of the Prophet Mohammed happened in historical context that needs to be understood when reading and interpreting the Quran.

“If the likes of bin Laden, if they had spent one day or maybe one month possibly, in a madrassa (Muslim religious school) and understood how the canonical tradition is interpreted, they would not go onto this kind of destructive path they go on,” Moosa said.

In the entire leadership structure of al Qaeda, “no one has had any sort of formal religious training from any seminary,” said Aftab Malik, a global expert on Muslim affairs at the United Nations Alliance of Civilization. He is researching a Ph.D. on al Qaeda.

“What you had was an engineer and a doctor leading a global jihad against the whole world,” Malik said. “That would never happen in normative Islam. It’s just such an aberration.”

“What bin Laden ends up doing is saying anyone who disagrees with him, any Muslim, is in fact an apostate,” he said. That includes Muslims who would not join his fight, he said. “It’s a distortion of the traditional teaching, and it just extends the parameters and the consequences in order to legitimate how when you’re fighting on the ground you’re fighting against your own people.”

Malik said, “The key issue is of apostasy,” referring to when a person leaves a faith. “One of the things Osama bin Laden deviates from is calling those people who do not implement Sharia, or God’s law, on the planet as apostates. If they did not implement Sharia, they deserved death. This is a major departure from normative Islam.”

“The second major deviation is the targeting of noncombatants. Even when you read in the Quran there are injunctions for fighting. But before and after the injunctions for fighting are calls for restraint. ‘Do not attack monks, do not attack women, do not attack children.’ And these are numerated heavily in the Hadith, which are uncontested,” Malik said, referring to the sayings of the prophet and his close companions.

“What bin Laden has done is ignored those injunctions,” he said. “The reason he has ignored them, in Osama bin Laden’s theology it’s basically a theology of anarchy.

“Once you let the genie out of the bottle you can’t put it back in, and that’s the big difference between al Qaeda theology and normative Islam. Normative Islam has heavy constraints – very, very heavy.”

What Would Media Do With Pictures Of Dead Osama Bin Laden

If the United States government were to release a picture of the body of Osama bin Laden, and if it was gory as has been described, what would the media do with that image?

I have been pondering that in my mind off and on over the past two days, and I still have no firm bottom line about how to proceed.  I am suspecting most major news operations are feeling the same.

Should I expect to see such a photo on the front page of The New York Times?  While internet searches, and blogs such as this one very well may use the released picture, would I want any kid in America to see this image on the newstand in the market while shopping with mom?  Probably not, depending on the age of the kid.  I can only image the onslaught of phone calls and nasty emails from outraged folks nationwide if newspapers plastered the image above the fold.  I really do not, in any way, think this will happen.

Yet the pictures are the very definition of news, and I have long argued, on every issue, that more information is always better.  My gut  tells me to use the photo, in some way, if they are released. We are mature nation, and can handle the truth.

That the photos themselves are controversal before the potential release of them adds to the value they serve as a new story.  Some people around the world think they need to see the pictures to prove bin Laden is dead.  That is not the case for me, or for many millions of others in this nation.  But given that there is uncertainty among some about the death of bin Laden, the ‘need’ to see the photos in and of itself is now a news story, and so the release of any picture would be a major part to the story.

Whatever else happens, one thing is for sure if the pictures are released.  There will be many discussions over time if the right call was made about how they were treated in the media.

Just another spoke of one of the most interesting stories the world has had in a very long time.

Osama bin Laden may be more interesting in death than he was alive.

Was The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden Legal?

International intrigue.

The use of deadly force against Bin Laden is unlikely to be challenged in an American court. But the White House’s account of the operation suggests it is mindful of legal issues. The al-Qaeda leader is said to have “resisted during the raid” – although it is not clear how he did so, as he is also said to have been unarmed.

Assassinations are banned under both US and international law. Extrajudicial killings are only allowed in an armed conflict.

According to British law professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, much will turn on what Pakistan knew and authorised, what the US objectives were, and what happened when they confronted Bin Laden.

Until the facts are established, it is unclear whether the raid and its consequences were legal or not, Mr Sands adds.

The US can certainly argue that it was entitled to take action to protect its citizens against a deadly enemy.

“Even if the use of deadly force was unlawful, international law recognises that there are exceptional circumstances where necessity precludes wrongfulness, and this will be said to be one of those case,” Mr Sands told the BBC.