Its that Question Again
What did the President Know
And When Did He Know it?
by Dan Ehrlich

Osama Raid Poses More ? than Answers
American politicians are accusing Pakistan of harboring Osama Bin Laden at the same time the official story about the deadly raid keeps changing, "in the fog of war," as a White House press rep said. Where the US claims there was a lengthy gun battle, Pakistan says there was no evidence of a fight and that Bin Laden was executed in"cold blood."

Now, no one can doubt or fault the performance, under orders, of the top secret Navy Seal team that staged the raid. And, the public should know that top secret Seal teams don't talk to the media or give a press conferences. That BS has become normal for the US governmental bureaucracy that in the end seems to be screwing up things for what was presented as a picture perfect operation.

And, when you examine the various stories from both the US and Pakistani side, another possibility emerges, one where life imitates art...such as Bourne Trilogy....That elements of America's bloated intelligence community knew Bin Laden was at that compound for some time, information they received from the equally inefficient and devious Pakistani intelligence agency.

This would seem to back up an older Senate report claiming the GW Bush White House also knew where Bin Laden was.  How long did President Obama know Bin Laden's location?

In an allegedly open democratic society that America is supposed to be, bringing criminals, even terrorists, to justice in open court has been a measure of our civility as a nation and, in this case, a way of proving we got our man and how we captured him. Now, as time passes, more stories and more doubts about this raid will surface, with Bin Laden likely ending up a heroic Islamic Robin Hood character.

Was there or wasn't there a long gun fight? And if there wasn't why not? Stealth helicopters or not, the prop and engine noise would surely have alerted Bin Laden's men. Yet, no Seal team members were wounded. Was the Al Qaeda leader used to having various aircraft hovering over his compound? these questions could have been answered under a state of habeus corpus...Obama's living body in custody, not at the bottom of the sea.

It would appear Osama Bin Laden's usefulness to America as a living person had run its course. He was finally seen to have more value dead. But, this may have been a shortsighted act. Alive, the terror chief could have been put on trial for his crimes, humiliated and denied a martyr's status,  while the CIA extracted valuable information from him about Al Qaeda.

With the US involved in another Middle East conflict and  revolts going on throughout the region, America needed a trump card to tell the Arabs we're still a major factor there.The fact that the US has taken a backseat in the Libyan action hasn't worked out the way we had hoped. You might say killing Bin laden was our brand of gunboat diplomacy, reasserting our presence in the Muslim world.

According to that Senate report, there was a time when our forces could have smashed the Al Qaeda leadership and captured Osama Bin Laden. But, we let him escape by order of GW Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

The reason was simple: Bin Laden was more valuable to the war effort and less trouble by being on the loose. This devious logic is even stretching it for such an underhanded regime in the White House. We had to have an identifiable enemy to keep chasing. The war effort would then switch to Iraq and Dick Cheney’s patriotic pals at Halliburton would become that much richer before moving their headquarters to Dubai.

But that's ancient history. Barack Obama is a different leader at a different time. And he has no ties to the oil industry. Now, with an uncertain and scary new dawn breaking over the Middle East, some order must be impressed on the region to rein in the murder and mayhem.

Remember, in a global market, all major players can be affected by actions anywhere in the world.  This is a chance for America to engage in a bit of old fashioned British style imperialism. As was so vividly portrayed in the sci fi novel "Dune," the spice must flow. In the future, as the world becomes smaller and smaller, the major players will have less tolerance for regional conflicts that may affect global commerce and energy sources.

Killing Bin Laden is something the Arab masses will understand and the Saudi Royal family will applaud, since his main goal was to overthrow the Saudi government. His death could regain considerable respect for America and its determination to gain justice for 9/11. Oh,  and its probably Obama's biggest re election coup. It will be hard for Donald Trump to top  this firing.

But, as I said, it may have been a rash move, one that may leave him a martyr for Islam instead of just an evil racist spending the rest of his life on death row.

As the President said, “For over two decades, Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol. The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

The downside is it may mean revenge attacks attempted by Al Qaeda. This will insure the war on terrorism will continue whether or not we are engaged in Afghanistan.

Palestinian Issue Upstaged
By Middle East Revolts
by Dan Ehrlich

Arab-Israeli Conflict Had Little Bearing on Upheavals
Solving the Israel-Palestine problem for decades has been seen as an all-purpose Middle East fix. The current upheavals in that region have debunked this argument and highlighted the real issues facing more than 300 million people.

Everyone from the newly appointed CIA Director General David Petraeus to President Bill Clinton felt a peace between Arabs and Israelis based on a Palestinian state would secure the region and its oil reserves, the only real reason we are involved in this world that time forgot.

This now appears to be wrong thinking. If Israel never existed the Arabs would still be faced with the same bad governments and poverty many are rebelling against today. They just wouldn't have an all-purpose scapegoat on which to blame much of it.

However, through  the now routine blind and shortsighted American and European thinking, the simmering discontent in the Middle East went unnoticed amidst the fruitless shuttle diplomacy for an Israel-Palestine peace deal. Our concern wasn’t in keeping the Arab populations happy, but rather maintaining good relations with the various dictators who ruled the people.

A routine part of their autocratic rule was the blame much of their shortcomings on Israel and the Western Infidels. Before the creation of Israel in 1948 there wasn’t the hated of Jews as seen in Europe. Arab potentates stoked this up after successive humiliating lost wars against Israel.

As we have been witnessing, one by one these rulers are in the process of either being removed or reformed through revolutions, which have nothing to do with the fate of Palestinians. Probably the biggest bearing Israel has on these upheavals is its relative affluence compared to the general poverty of Arab nations west of Suez.

These upheavals have caught the West and Iran off balance without a proper response since the scenario is now completely different and far more complicated. On one hand, we are happy to see democratic changes taking place, even at the expense of our long-standing dictator allies. However, will we back democratic change that may install hard-line anti western Islamist regimes?

It’s obvious that the kiss and make-up between Hamas and Fatah, the two major Palestinians factions that hate each other, was due largely to the current state of the Middle East and the fact the once overriding Israel-Palestine conflict has now taken a back seat to various the revolutions in the region.

Not used to being upstaged the leaders of the West Bank and Gaza have buried the hatchet, for the moment. They will let the ballot box do the talking with a joint poll that will decide the fate of a united Palestine in preparation for statehood, a status the UN may confer on the territories this autumn.

But what if Hamas wins the election? It is regarded as a terrorist group by the US and some European nations. It’s dedicated to destroy Israel. Can the UN proclaim such a state?

With the UN these days anything is possible. But under enough pressure it might withhold its proclamation unless Hamas agrees to modify its warlike stance.Yet, any promise from such a group would not be worth the paper upon which it was written.  Yet that  means little to the UN. BS and signed agreements are all that count. The UN's record of enforcing agreements isn't good.

As for the Palestinians, they see the game changing for them, too. Old allies such as Syria and Libya may have different views about them following revolts in those countries. People such as Palestinian godfather Mahmood Abbas feel the time for statehood is now or possibly never. His eyes are cast towards Jodan, and its overwhelming Palestinian majority, realizing the West Bank was part of Jordan before 1967.

He also realizes a Palestine divided between his landlocked West Bank and the coastal Gaza Strip would not be a very viable nation or a shining example for the UN to sponsor.

Yet, overall, a lot now depends on what happens in the greater Arab world, something that now worries Israel more than the creation of a  future Palestinian state. It's also something that concerns the industrialized world, one that can no longer put up with rogue states threatening to disrupt world trade and energy resources.


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