Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obama´s no hero (but he could be)

The real significance of Osama Bin Laden´s demise is not so much the blow to Al Qaeda or the avenging of 9/11, it is the spotlight it has cast on the ambiguous role of Pakistan in relation to Islamic terrorism. It could be a real opportunity to shake up what has become a depressingly unproductive and pointlessly bloody campaign in the region. But many of the headlines have been grabbed by President Obama´s role and the supposed strength, courage and leadership he has shown.

It is very puzzling that he has been lionised simply for making some rather obvious decisions in his own and America´s interests. Is it so surprising that he asked his intelligence service to prioritise finding America´s biggest bogeyman since Hitler? Was it so courageous to order his special forces to kill or capture him once he was tracked down? Should we credit him or the Pentagon for the fact the raid went so smoothly from a US point of view?

It is said that he made "a gutsy call" over whether or not to send troops to the ground rather than bomb the suspected hiding place. But since a bombing would have obliterated the evidence Obama needed to show his electorate and the world, he was always going to choose the dramatic option.

Risky? Perhaps for the special ops guys going in but any soldier in the world would want to be part of such a potentially glorious mission. If it had gone wrong all Obama had to do was tick the no publicity box.

I have nothing against the man and am certainly no wild-eyed "birther", but Obama has been over-praised on this one. If he really wants to show some courage he should take on two much bigger questions both of which have been allowed to drift for too long: the war in Afghanistan, which is achieving far too little for far too much, and the aforementioned role of Pakistan.

The mission itself showed that the US has the power to project force in the region without occupying Afghanistan or giving a blank cheque to Pakistan. Time to quit letting Pakistan play the West for fools and quit Afghanistan fullstop. Now that would be courageous.

From the Advoco website: Contracting in Spain


  1. I agree with your summary, however, it appears to me that Obama has summarily avoided publicity on this one. I haven't seen him and his cronies doing excessive claims of merit.

    Seems to me (comparatively), they've taken a pretty low-key approach when others would've stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier claiming glory.

  2. Fair call - he hasn't been overly milking the operation since. No sign of much change to the status quo in Afghanistan or Pakistan though which is what I would like.


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