Barack Obama

Donald Rumsfeld Called Out for Bin Laden Hypocrisy That Isn't Really


known knowns

Over at Politico, Glenn Thrush is dismissing Donald Rumsfeld's characterization of the decision to kill Osama bin Laden as an "easy call" because of the former Defense Secretary's decision to call off a raid in Pakistan in 2005. Thrush writes that Rumsfeld's reasons for canceling the raid were "many of the same factors that Obama administration officials [say] complicated the OBL mission." What were the reasons?

From the 2007 New York Times report Thrush cites:

Mr. Rumsfeld decided that the operation, which had ballooned from a small number of military personnel and C.I.A. operatives to several hundred, was cumbersome and put too many American lives at risk, the current and former officials said. He was also concerned that it could cause a rift with Pakistan, an often reluctant ally that has barred the American military from operating in its tribal areas, the officials said.

The bin Laden raid, on the other hand, was conducted by a team of about two dozen Navy SEALs under the direction of the then-CIA chief Leon Panetta. As for the "rift with Pakistan," it had begun to grow significantly in the time period after the cancelled '05 raid. From the 2007 Times article:

Details of the aborted 2005 operation provide a glimpse into the Bush administration's internal negotiations over whether to take unilateral military action in Pakistan, where General Musharraf's fragile government is under pressure from dissidents who object to any cooperation with the United States.

Unilateral military action in Pakistan, of course, was kind of a lynchpin of candidate Obama's foreign policy in 2008, by which time General Musharraf's government had been toppled and the popular civilian opposition leader and Presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. Her ineffective husband rules in Pakistan to this day, though his grip on power is tenuous at best. President Bush's relatively limited unilateral actions in Pakistan,, meanwhile, were ramped up by President Obama nearly immediately, with a significant uptick in drone strikes beginning in 2009. 

With the Bush Administration's professed concerns about unilateral military action entirely dismissed by the Obama Administration's approach to Pakistan, a significant hurdle in the 2005 raid is cleared. The participation of a few dozen Navy SEALs, as opposed to a contingent of several hundred military and CIA personnel, and the targeting of Osama bin Laden and his potential compound, instead of the potential Al-Qaeda meeting considered in 2005, rounds out the biggest differences between the 2005 decision and the 2011 decision.

his foreign policy's always been the same, different

Nevertheless, Republicans' attempts to deflect the bin Laden mission as an attack on the Presidential campaign trail betrays their weakness on the foreign policy front. Though Republican candidates may talk a tougher kind of talk on issues like Iran, by embracing the ideological underpinnings of the Bush foreign policy while disposing of the inflammatory rhetoric, President Obama has been able to neutralize the advantage Republicans have held on the who's got the more bloodthirsty foreign policy front. The bin Laden raid may have been an "easy call," but the President's embrace of his predecessor's foreign policy and the subsequent creation of a bipartisan consensus on the issue made it so.

All of which should mean more play for candidates like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. Except, of course, for Barack Obama's blinding cool factor.

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  1. What’s the difference between the parties again? Domestically, I know one prefers the fast blow to the economy, while the other likes the slow kindjal, but foreign policy-wise, it seems both like massive interventionism and blowing people and shit up.

    1. Dems respect the Right to Privacy while the GOP and even Ron Paul oppose it.

      1. Why not just write Abortion (you can even capitalize it like that if you want) instead of “Right to Privacy” every time?

        1. Its not just abortion. Look at the SCOTUS cases. Sodomy, stem cells, drugs, and contraception rights depend on privacy.

          I have no fucking idea (other than fealty to old man Paul) why the LP opposes privacy rights.

          1. shrike|5.2.12 @ 7:11PM|#
            “Its not just abortion. Look at the SCOTUS cases. Sodomy, stem cells, drugs, and contraception rights depend on privacy.
            I have no fucking idea (other than fealty to old man Paul) why the LP opposes privacy rights.”

            You have no fucking idea what you’re posting about.
            See the LP proposing outlawing abortion? Sodomy? Stem-cells? Drugs? Contraception?

            1. No, the LP is certainly not. The LP just denies the RIGHT to privacy.

              Its part of the Originalist crap spewed by the conservative wingnut hyper-Christian Federalist Society.

              I keep up with this shit.

              You could learn much from me – just listen instead of biting air.

              1. shrike|5.2.12 @ 7:27PM|#
                “No, the LP is certainly not. The LP just denies the RIGHT to privacy.”
                Sanctimonious, stupid liar.

                1. Perhaps the LP sees that a judicially created right to privacy is a fragile and incomplete replacement for a government of limited enumerated powers which lacks the authority to interfere in those things protected by the “right”.

                  1. thank you for proving my point, RC. You are always a willing dupe.

                    Our rights are merely “mirages”? although the 9th Amendment says that some of our rights are not yet revealed.

                    We know we have more rights than the founders knew of.

                    1. Did he use the word “mirage” or otherwise say that the “right to privacy” was false? No, he says it’s fragile and incomplete. Nice try on putting words into someone’s mouth.

                    2. And as for the Libertarian Party’s stance on privacy, try this.

        2. I do capitalize it every time. Thanks for noticing! I think privacy is that important!

          I will direct you to the best discussion of this on the Tube if you wish – its on Dope (rational site – no LP lean)

          1. shrike|5.2.12 @ 7:16PM|#
            …”I think privacy is that important!”
            Correction: A sanctimonious liar.

          2. if you like privacy so much, please explain why:
            1) Obama opposes gay marriage
            2) the parade to control what folks eat is almost exclusively populated by the left
            3) stem cells is a red herring and you know it – the GOP objections rests with public dollars, not private.

      2. Is that why Obama has dismantled the Patriot Act and other surveillance programs?

        1. Dude. He has a right to privacy. Not hoi polloi. Or Republicans.

        2. If Obama’s followers really gave a shit, well, they would have given a shit about this:


          Will you see them disavow the administration after that cock and bull nonsense? No, because they have no soul. It is pointless to speak to or acknowledge their autonomous selves anymore than that of the zombie you have caged in the tool shed.

    2. One is represented by a donkey, and one by an elephant, ProL. See how different they are?

      1. Yes, that’s a fairly significant different. I stand corrected.

        1. Even a significant difference. But not differently significant.

          1. Dude, one TEAM is red. The other is blue. They couldn’t be more different.

            1. Jeez…what more does he need?

      2. One mascot is stubborn and only does something when prodded with a material reward while the other tends to leave a mountain of shit over everything.

  2. I’m beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better for Washington if bin Laden was still alive. (And by still alive, I don’t mean just in the secret camp where they have him stored for no good reason, I mean still hiding under America’s bed.)

  3. The thing is that Obama talked out of both sides of his mouth when it came to foreign policy during the 2008 campaign, so none of this should really surprise anyone.

    He said that using our military to fight terrorists in Iraq was bad but good in Afghanistan, even it was the same terrorist (see: Zarqawi). So he condemned the surge in Iraq, but ordered one in Afghanistan.

    He said that he would close Guantanamo because it was a stain on America but then said he would invade an ally if he could take a shot at Osama, stains be damned I suppose. Then he stepped up the drone program that would eliminate any need for Guantanamo because he would just kill anyone suspected to be a terrorist and anyone standing next to them.

    1. The thing is that Obama talked out of both sides of his mouth…

      you know…damn near any topic could follow that opening phrase and you would be just as correct.

  4. I am predicting this lame chest thumping about Bin Laden is going come up during the debates.

    1. It is his move.

  5. So was Bush a war mongering lunatic who wanted to build the new Roman empire or a wimp who would have been afraid to whack the most hated man in the world?

    Every time I think Obama and his campaign cant’ get any more stupid they prove me wrong. This is just sorry.

    1. He was a feckless ignorant puppet. Happy to clear that up.

      This had a good chance of going bad for Obama. Instead, unlike his predecessor with his many years of opportunity, he made exactly the right call and got the job done and there’s really nothing to fault about it all things considered. Just suck it up. Your team isn’t going to win on this, because on the “who caught bin Laden?” question, the answer isn’t your team. Mitt Romney’s campaign is smarter than you and are trying to get away from this.

      Describing Bush consistently is quite simple. He was consistently bad at everything he attempted, whether running wars or catching bin Laden, among many other things.

      1. Your team

        You mean being anti-TEAM? Wow, that IS rather…. heretical. Good thing we have the mighty, righteous, INFALLIBLE Donks to defend us. Or are you the Drips? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.

      2. Agree Bush was terrible. But I don’t know why you support a guy who is essentially Bush 2.0 in terms of public policy. Being a Team Blue hack must be really blinding.

      3. There was little to no chance of this going bad for Obummer. If a squad of our best guys got wiped out by some ignorant cavemen, we have a lot bigger problems as a country.

  6. OK wow so who comes up with all that stuff??

  7. Your team

    You mean being anti-TEAM? Wow, that IS rather heretical. Good thing we have the mighty, righteous Donks to defend us. Or are you the Drips? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.

    1. Hm, that should have been a reply.

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