Home / General / An Effective Repudiation of the Bush Approach

An Effective Repudiation of the Bush Approach


Jennifer Rubin provides the inevitable spin, arguing that the killing of OBL vindicates the Bush approach of using military force — including an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no significant security threat to the United States:

Third, this is why we went into Afghanistan and why George W. Bush decided that the United States would go on offense in the war against Islamic terrorism. We cannot sit home, play defense and hope for the best. It was President George W. Bush’s insight that we would need to take the fight to the jihadists. Without doing so, we could not have obtained the intelligence needed to kill the man behind Sept. 11.

A nice trick — putting things at this level of abstraction (“go on offense”) justifies any possible military reaction without requiring any actual argument. But the reality is rather different:

Yet it was not our sheer military or technological strength that finally finished off Osama Bin Laden on Sunday; it was human intelligence, careful preparation, and patience. We don’t know the whole story yet, and we might not hear it for some time. But according to first reports, an intelligence tip-off led U.S. analysts to Bin Laden’s trusted courier; observation of the courier then led special forces to Bin Laden’s compound, which has now been under surveillance for many months.

In other words, the killing of Osama Bin Laden did not take place in a hail of bombs and bullets, or after a shoot-out involving hundreds of troops. It was the result of careful preparation, followed by the competent execution of a plan.

Precisely why it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to obtain this information remains…unclear.

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  • Simple Mind

    Just to remind the readership that according to Tariq Ali, OBL was recruited on a request from Zbigniew Brzezinski back when the USA was recruiting Islamists to fight the commies. In fact, the entire ISI structure was probably recruited and exploited by the USA to fight commies in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. One cleans up one’s own mess..

  • c u n d gulag

    And there’s 27+% of the people out there who’ll say Obama faked this whole thing, and the OBL is still alive – or that Obama found out that he was killed while Bush was still President, and did this to get credit for it.

    I’m sure it won’t be long before Trump is asking for the long-form death certificate as proof, and Corsi will have a new book out called “Swift Helicopter Veterans for Truth,” about how this was all due to Little Boots and Darth Cheney strategic genious, and how the Kenyan Usurper is trying to politicize OBL’s death.

  • elm

    General Keane on Fox News last night said that killing bin Laden was big news because it was our first clear victory over al Queda. He clarified that we had beaten them every time we took them on, such as in Afghanistan and “in Iraq which had become their stronghold,” but that these victories were, somehow, unclear.

    I marvelled at his choice of tense for the Iraq statement. Nice hair splitting of what caused Iraq to become their “stronghold” while making it seem that we invaded Iraq to fight al Queda.

  • ploeg

    Mission accomplished. That’s all I’m sayin’.

  • howard

    why, it’s almost as if right-wingers have no grip on reality….

    • Chai Latte

      OK, that made me LOL.

  • mark f

    There is a downside, according to Mark Steyn and readers. The president is still a Democrat and black.

    • Pastafarian

      Hey, mark, my reading comprehension isn’t nearly as good as yours. Maybe you could help me out and link or excerpt to show me precisely where the word “black”, or any synonym, is used in this article or in the comments.

      • Well, troll, in the context of Trump-style attacks on Obama’s uppity negritude, writing things like Obama wasn’t “businesslike” or “Churchillian” enough, “Obama’s malignant narcissism,” “Obama’s view of himself as some kind of gifted narrator,” a cute “teleprompter” reference, and Obama’s inability to be “real” and “plainspoken” – all fits into the prevailing narrative pretty effectively. But then you probably don’t believe that the use of code words has replaced yelling “nigger, nigger, nigger.”

        • Pastafarian

          Sounds like you hold African Americans in pretty low regard, “commie atheist.”

          I’m not sure how that makes Steyn the racist, and not you.

          You apparently think that if anyone calls any black person stupid, that’s racially motivated; because you, yourself, think that all blacks are stupid. It’s this same condescension that explains why you think the black man needs a hand-out from you (or rather from producers of wealth, via people like you.)

          You flatter yourself, white boy.

          And you LG&M moderators might want to delete this obvious racist’s rantings from your comments, unless you choose to endorse them, complete with epithets and spittle.

          • mark f

            Who farted?

            • Pastafarian

              Thanks for that link/excerpt, mark. I understand exactly where you’re coming from now. I think we all do.

          • Oh, look, the “You’re a racist for noticing racism” canard.


            • Pastafarian

              It’s actually the “You’re a racist for equating stupid with black” notion.

              Silly, isn’t it? Absurd, really.

              You should really try Breathe-right nasal strips, you’ll get more REM sleep, and you won’t disgust us all by showing us your scrap-filled molars and pustule-covered glottis with your incessant, rude yawning.

          • DrDick

            I am sure that they would be delighted to delete all of your posts. All you needed to do was ask nicely like this earlier.

          • Anonymous

            You apparently think that if anyone calls any black person stupid, that’s racially motivated; because you, yourself, think that all blacks are stupid.

            “Man in Black: You’re trying to trick me into giving away something. It won’t work.


          • hv

            Were you trying to rebut commie atheist’s code word theory but just didn’t understand it very well?

            Or was it time to strategically move the goalposts?

            (I don’t want to elaborate on the theory if there is no real need.)

            • Pastafarian

              hv, I know you’re not stupid. I’m not sure how you could fail to understand what I’ve written.

              I pointed out that when someone considers “stupidity” or “narcissism” as codewords for black, that says more about the person categorizing them as codewords than it does the person using those perfectly race-neutral words and concepts.

              That seems to me to be a pretty thorough rebuttal of his “code word theory.”

              But do continue to defend someone who closed his comment with the word “n*gger.” It’s not racism if your side does it, after all.

              • Whereas sticking an asterisk in the middle totally deflates all racist intent. Genius!

              • hv

                If you don’t even understand the difference between “use” and “mention”… I feel very comfortable ignoring your racial theories.

                The use/mention distinction permeates all areas of rigorous thought, from pure logic to applied semantics.

          • Troll say what?

            • Pastafarian


              A troll is someone who posts insulting, inflammatory, or off-topic comments. It doesn’t mean “someone who disagrees with most of us here.”

              I called you out for your obvious racism. You equate “stupid” with “black.” You close your comment with a string of racial epithets. You’re beneath contempt and beyond insult; your comment was the inflammatory comment; and my comments have all been on-topic, either to the topic of the post, or the topic of the comment to which I’m repying (as was the case here — mark brought up race, not me.)

              • God, you really are a moron.

              • DrDick

                Actually, you are the only one to make that particular equation. Just saying.

              • hv

                Technically, at the very worst, he is saying that others make that equation with their language.

                Can you see how that is a different claim?

                Ok, now that you can see the difference between the two claims, can you see how your knee-jerk attempts to paint this equation are either a) racist or b) trolling?

              • mark f

                Actually, you are the only one to make that particular equation. Just saying.

                Exactly. “Stupidity” wasn’t even the thrust of the Steyn piece. His complaint, and that of the guy he quoted, was that Obama speaking at all was offensive. There are, it should go without saying, valid criticisms of Obama as there are with any president. There are even non-racist invalid criticisms. But the idea that Obama, in acknowledging and acting like he is the duly elected President of the United States – and therefore head of state, head of government and head of the military – is him speaking out of place and out of turn? That’s racist.

  • TT

    When it comes to the comic stylings of Jennifer Rubin, I defer to Wanda Gershwitz: “I’ve know sheep that could outwit you! I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs!”

  • Rubin writes: It was President George W. Bush’s insight that we would need to take the fight to the terrorists.

    No, it wasn’t.

    The September 2001 AUMF, authorizing the war against al Qaeda and the invasion of Afghanistan, passed with massive bipartisan majorities. There was nothing remotely unique or controversial about “taking the fight to the terrorists.”

    The only “insight” George Bush provided was the wisdom of ignoring and downplaying the war against al Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan in order to start his irrelevant distraction in Iraq.

    • hv

      I agree with this wholeheartedly.

      I still get in arguments with friends who try to attribute some quality of “leadership” to frothing at the mouth about revenge fantasies. Usually, they admit they have lost when they realize that they can’t describe any alternative that would’ve been more “pandering.”

  • Pastafarian

    “Precisely why it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to obtain this information remains…unclear.”

    I’ve read reports (perhaps speculative) that the source that gave up the courier’s name was a former major in Saddam’s army, captured and interrogated at Gitmo 4 years ago. If this is correct, then this should clear things up for you.

    I hope, for the sake of you and your commenters, that the poor fellow wasn’t waterboarded into giving up this information. Your heads might explode. He probably had read stories of the horrible torture he’d have to endure; maybe he read those stories right here in this blog. And he caved before they ever had to administer a single swirlie.

    • wengler

      My head might explode if a million people had to die to get one former major in Saddam’s army(which has connections to bin Laden how?) to tell the name of a single courier that would lead the US down a dirt road that led eventually to two bullets in Osama’s head.

      If Ayn Rand was alive, she’d give you the Willam Edward Hickman award for bravery.

      • Pastafarian

        So if all that was achieved in Iraq was this scrap of intel, should we infer that you consider the freedom of 25 million Iraqis to be valueless?

    • So that means Bush had four yrs. to get bin Laden, but didn’t?

      Think about that for a second.

      • Pastafarian

        Obama’s known his exact location for over 6 months. Ponder that. It reminds me of the pirate/hostage situation, where President Wonderful was so incapacitated by his enormous intellect that he couldn’t pull the proverbial trigger on a decision and the commander of the naval vessel, after waiting and waiting and waiting, finally had to give the order to the seals to take a shot without any authorization from above.

        And then President Wonderful went out and took victory laps over the outcome.

    • Not to mention Bush disbanding the CIA’s OBL unit in 2006.

      • Pastafarian

        That probably had something to do with the fact that the CIA had been rendered useless by all the political appointments from Clinton that infested it throughout Bush’s presidency, causing the CIA to undermine him at every turn, either deliberately or due to incompetence.

        • DrDick

          Care to provide some actual evidence to support that patently absurd claim? I mean other than something that you or some other wingnut pulled out of their ass.

        • Malaclypse

          causing the CIA to undermine him at every turn, either deliberately or due to incompetence.

          I know. Like that time when they did this just to make Bush look like a total idiot more interested in his vacations than worrying his empty little head over things. Total set-up by Clintonistas.

    • hv

      Pasta, your remarks make very critical assumptions about when OBL would’ve been captured in the absence of the dishonor of Iraq, Gitmo, etc. I consider this to be an open question, and can easily imagine that OBL could’ve been captured much earlier without Bush at the helm.

      Don’t feel bad, though, lots of people have poor understandings of how to reason counter-factually. Conservatives prey upon it.

      • Pastafarian

        Yes, hv; had we not invaded Iraq, we could have sneaked up on him with a big butterfly net. He never would have seen it coming.

        And without the “dishonor” of Gitmo, we could have found that courier so much more easily, by…by…um…Bush was stooooopid!!!

        Godel just emailed me, he’d like his picture back.

        • DrDick

          Again evidence that this is even remotely true, please? I am sorry, but in the real world you do not get to make your own reality or the men in white coats came along and lock you up (or at least fill you full of drugs).

          • Pastafarian

            You want evidence that the long-dead Kurt Godel emailed me to demand his likeness back from the undeserving hv?

            Cite, cite!

            • DrDick

              Nice try, but the goal posts remain firmly in place. Either provide actual evidence that this information was obtained by torture or STFU.

              • Pastafarian

                This piece from that neocon propaganda outfit, the AP, suggests that it was the waterboarded KSM that gave up the name of the courier.

                Oh, snap. That’s gonna leave a mark, as hv might say.

                Is it proof, in the mathematical sense? No; that’s not often obtainable outside of mathematics.

                Maybe the intel came from magical faeries, that left it under President Wonderful’s pillow. Yeah, that’s it.

              • Pastafarian

                The linked story cites unnamed sources; but they’re apparently multiple former and present government officials. Present, like in Obama administration officials.

                And I realize that you’re just scary-smart and stuff, but the people that actually, you know, work for the government might just know more about what the fuck is going on in the world of international intrigue than would Dr Dick.

              • DrDick

                In contrast, this (also from unnamed highly placed government sources) suggests that the information did not come from detainees.

              • DrDick

                There is also this, which indicates that the intelligence leading to Bin Laden had no connection to Gitmo.

              • Tirxu

                This piece from that neocon propaganda outfit, the AP, suggests that it was the waterboarded KSM that gave up the name of the courier.

                Because, as we all know, KSM was captured as a consequence of the invasion of Iraq.

              • mark f

                This piece from that neocon propaganda outfit, the AP, suggests that it was the waterboarded KSM that gave up the name of the courier.

                Indeed, it does suggest that. You know what it doesn’t say? That KSM gave up that information as a result of having been waterboarded. In fact the AP piece is careful to state the two salient facts here – that KSM offered up some information and that KSM was waterboarded – in discrete sentences.

                Did you know John O’Neill served on the same boat as John Kerry?

              • hv

                Oh, snap. That’s gonna leave a mark, as hv might say.

                For someone stalking me, you don’t know me very well.

                This is the kind of thing that I would say is going to leave a mark.

        • hv

          You have failed to provide a date, so I can’t answer your question about whether the difference in timing was worth the cost.

          I am surprised that you have been able to.

  • George

    Considering that the reason Obama was killed yesterday was because we got information through enhanced interrogation from Gitmo prisoners, it’s tough to see how the Bush Admin was “repudiated.” Rather, it is lawfare that is repudiated.

    • Holden Pattern

      Freudian slip much, torture-fan?

      • Pastafarian

        That’s funny — in another thread this same slip was made my a liberal. Another liberal commenter labeled it a typo, and I called it a Freudian slip.

    • You just made that up. There isn’t the slightest evidence that the information was acquired through “enhanced interrogation.”

      You are just pretending that every piece of information acquired by interrogators was acquired through torture.

      • DrDick

        In fairness, that was not an unreasonable assumption during the Bush administration.

        • I love the sentiment, but no, that’s not true. Even during the Bush administration, most of the information gathered by intelligence and military agencies didn’t rely on torture.

          • DrDick

            Never said it was accurate, just not unreasonable.

        • You are so awomese for helping me solve this mystery.

      • djw

        You just made that up.

        In fairness, someone else probably made it up, and he’s dutifully passing the fantasy along.

        • hv

          The saddest part is, that doesn’t embarrass him in the slightest.

        • Malaclypse

          In fairness, someone else probably made it up, and he’s dutifully passing the fantasy along.

          Don’t say Her Name.

          • Pastafarian

            Damn those reich-wing Rethuglikkkan neocon hacks at the Jew York Times!!

  • Davis X. Machina

    Precisely why it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to obtain this information remains…unclear.

    The information was buried under a pile of 2004 presidential polls from 2002, and Exxon common stock.

    • wengler

      And a couple bricks of cash that they liked to toss around like a football.

      • Pastafarian

        And buried under a metric ton of yellow-cake uranium, and 20 tons of components to centrifuges. Right next to the vats of acid used for gentle persuasion of political opponents.

        • Malaclypse

          And the tailored suits to be worn by the Reverse Vampires.

  • Ms. Rubin doesn’t note that the United Snakes losing its shit & attacking anyone we could following 9/11 has cost us more in American lives & money than any further bin Laden attacks could possibly have, as well as making us look like idiots & draining what reserves of good will we had.

    As mentioned here.

  • LK

    Saying that OBL was caught through information obtained by torture does a huge disservice to the members of the intelligence community who worked so damn hard to pull off a flawless operation. Their work did not involve slapping some guy around to find a secret. It involved careful observation and interpretation and it was effing difficult. Please treat these people with respect, especially since they kicked ass on this one.

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