The Third Year of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions and Discussions

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by kingthlayer, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    I had a whole post discussing what our gov't (CIA, military) had done vis-a-vis Bin Laden, but the focus seems to be on arguing over credit and discussing why each party has sucked over the past ten years (I'm not saying this isn't important, but IMHO it misses the point).

    Bottom line is the CIA/military goes about it's business not really giving a &!@! about politics. The gist of what I hear on right-leaning news is that due to the Bush administration we caught Bin Laden, as if they invented intelligence gathering, when it was probably this guy* (warning: He's French). The Bush administration certainly did a lot to fight AQ (I can provide a list if necessary), but it's not like they invented the CIA** or Navy SEALs***.

    The intelligence was gathered, analyzed and a decision was made to make a surgical strike with our best soldiers and at least one very cool helicopter (see the Military thread for more info). My understanding (I think this was in one of Bob Woodward's books, but I don't recall exactly) is that what helped beat back insurgents in Iraq were similar operations...SFs taking out the leaders in 'quick strikes'. The Israelis often do the same thing, granted not always in 'quick strikes'.

    Anyway, I think the Obama administration did the right thing in inviting President Bush to the ceremony, my understanding is that he wants to stay out of the spotlight. Fair enough. I'm sure if this happened during the Bush administration, we'd hear about it non-stop from Fox News and every Republican, and Speaker Boehner would declare 5/1/11 a national holiday in honor of Bush and Reagan (just cause Reagan deserves credit for everything good)...and he would surprise everyone by NOT crying for once.

    So I know it bothers the Obama haters, but hey, that's politics. [face_mischief]

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugène_François_Vidocq

    ** President Truman via National Security Act of 1947 (Source: wiki)

    *** President Kennedy (Source: navyseals.com)
  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Fair enough. I'm sure if this happened during the Bush administration, we'd hear about it non-stop from Fox News and every Republican, and Speaker Boehner would declare 5/1/11 a national holiday in honor of Bush and Reagan (just cause Reagan deserves credit for everything good)...and he would surprise everyone by NOT crying for once.

    While I know you're joking here, Saddam Hussein was captured while Bush was President, and nothing remotely close to any of that happened. Now, bin Laden and Hussein weren't exactly the same. One was the leader of a nation/state, the other was figurehead of a 3rd party organization, but still, the importance was comparable. In fact, Hussein was turned over to the Iraqis, who benefited from the catharsis. Besides his one foray into bravado-his "mission accomplished" moment which backfired anyway, Bush was always more private and reserved.

    I'd wager a lot of the pent up release of emotion due to bin Laden being killed was because there was so much time that elapsed for closure. If bin Laden was found in the mountains of Afghanistan, say back in Jan 2002, I don't think there would have been nearly as strong a reaction, no matter who was President.
  3. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    I agree with most of that. But I'd also say that when Hussein was finally caught, it was almost anti-climatic. Support for the war in Iraq had dropped, whereas nearly everyone (Congress overwhelmingly supported going after Bin Laden, Democrats and Republicans) wanted to get Bin Laden. When Milosevic was caught during the Clinton administration, there wasn't a huge reaction. I think people assume when we invade a country, eventually we will capture their leader. As you pointed out, OBL was a man without a state, proved incredibly elusive, and was responsible for the worst attack on American soil in our history. So they are comparable, but there are obvious substantial differences.

    I'd add that in addition to 'Mission Accomplished', there was 'Bring em On'...I think Bush learned the lesson of such public bravado. Then again, all and all, I think Bush's presidency was certainly better during the second term than the first.

    I'd also add that with everything else going on during the past few years...the economy, bailouts, the tea party, birth certificates...one piece of extremely good news that most everyone can relate to was just a collective sigh of relief. This IMO intensified the reactions.

    Politically speaking, it's a foreign policy 'victory' for a Democratic administration whereas Republicans have, generally speaking, considered foreign policy 'their turf', hence part of the reason IMO they are digging in their heels, so to speak.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I absolutely agree with all of that. Although I would point out that Milosevic was captured during Bush's term, not Clinton's, despite the fact that involvement in the Balkans had been going on for years at that point. (Bush was in office about a month or so when he was captured) So does that mean that Bush took over and cleaned up Clinton's mess? [face_whistling]

    But I would also suggest that democrats better be careful with what they wish for. Capturing a single figure does not equate to assuming the mantle over an entire issue. Or if it does, then democrats are famous for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. There are still a lot of foreign policy uncertainties out there, and any number of them will cause the "bin Laden bump" to come crashing down in the other direction, which is the reality of any administration.
  5. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    Although I would point out that Milosevic was captured during Bush's term, not Clinton's, despite the fact that involvement in the Balkans had been going on for years at that point. (Bush was in office about a month or so when he was captured) So does that mean that Bush took over and cleaned up Clinton's mess?

    Normally I'd say yes, since I'm completely unbiased. Except that Milosevic was arrested by Yugoslavian authorities. So no. :p [face_beatup]

    My memory isn't great, but I thought he was indicted in 1999/2000 and had to testify, and was then formally arrested in early 2001. Then again, I forgot that he had died in 2006 until I googled his name.

    There are still a lot of foreign policy uncertainties out there, and any number of them will cause the "bin Laden bump" to come crashing down in the other direction, which is the reality of any administration.

    Right, but either way, at the very least politically it's a huge plus for Obama.
  6. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I've completely changed my mind about Obama since he was elected. I think he is a fraud. He can deliver a good speech but that's about it. What happened to Bin Laden is just a sad confirmation of the continuing vacuum of principles within the US government. My recollection of Obama's victory speech was that he emphasised that it is possible to keep the US safe from harm without damaging the fundamental principles which serve to differentiate the US from the thugs.

    This apparent course of action with Bin Laden and the "yay, kill him by any means" response is just sad.
  7. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    The United States is not the United Federation of Planets.

    I think a lot of people expect it to be, but it's not.
  8. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm really getting the impression that the last, say, 4 months, the way Obama is viewed outside the U.S. has taken a bit of a dive.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    He's not a fraud. He's genuinely unprincipled.
  10. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    His perception has taken a nosedive here as well. At least until recently. And I've viewed him as a fraud before now. The whole Osama thing...'eh...I could care less about. Not that it isn't disturbing that the President can unilaterally invade the sovereignty of a nation just to put in some hitmen to carry out a contract, but this isn't unusual. No, the fraud part comes with all of the bull**** he's spouted before this. Aaaand I'm gonna vote for him again. Mainly because there are no viable candidates and I'd rather light my genitals on fire before ever voting for a Republican presidential candidate or a Libertarian.
  11. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I'm not one of them but I expect a few basic principles to be adhered to when conducting a "War on Terror"[face_flag] . Such a war necessarily divides the parties to the conflict into different camps. The 'terrorist' camp is defined by its utter contempt for the rule of law and its "the end justifies the means" approach to achieving its goals. The opposing camp should, conversely, be defined by its adherence to the rule of law and its concern for upholding fundamental human rights and due process, regardless of the horrors inflicted against it.

    An earlier generation discovered, following WWII, that millions of men, women and children perished in concentration camps and gas chambers. Not three thousand, but six million. Yet the perpretrators of those crimes were apprehended and given public trials. The US and her allies insisted on adherence to the rule of law and due process and in so doing asserted their moral authority and superiority.

    What we have seen since 9/11 is a headlong retreat from those basic principles. There appears very little now which separates the US from Al-Qeada. I thought Obama recognised this and sought to effect change. But clearly not.
  12. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    The difference being that Germany was occupied and no longer a threat.

    Anyway, the US wasn't especially moral during WW2, what with the bombing of 200,000 civilians, and the internment of 100,000 American citizens.

    We've always kind of been jerks. But, then again, maybe you have to be...
  13. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9

    Seriously? I don't think anybody at Nuremburg had any illusions about what the end result was going to be; the US insisted on a trial, but from what I've read, it was basically window dressing. IIRC Hess was the only one who escaped death by hanging and that was because he was clearly mentally ill.
  14. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    No, a lot of Nazi higher-ups were exempted or acquitted at Nuremberg, and many of them went on to roles in the West German government, because the West wanted anti-Communists in those roles, and hey, where can you find better anti-Communists than Nazis?
  15. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Re: Nuremberg, Wikipedia highlights the main trial of 24 war criminals. Of the 22 that stood trial (one medically unfit, one committed suicide), 12 were sentenced to death, 3 received life imprisonment, 2 received 20 years, 1 received 15 years, 1 received 10 years, and 3 were acquitted. So, that's hardly the case that everyone KNEW what would happen.
    The follow ups apparently still had 35 acquittals of the 185 defendants.


    That aside, procedure is key. It matters that things are done the right way.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Beyond the U.S.'s apparent lack of commitment to the international rule of law, due process is allegedly a foundational, constitutive U.S. value. And that foundational principle has fractured badly under the weight of the war on terror: gitmo, domestic wiretapping, military tribunals, roving CIA hit squads, Seal assassination teams, etc.

    We did not try to put bin Laden on trial for the simple reason that we dared not. It would have been too much like putting the U.S. on trial.
  17. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    What is going on with Libya now? I cant seem to find much in the news about it.
  18. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I just posted this in the Muslim Revolution thread, since this topic really belongs there, but Gadhafi's planes have bombed Misrata's fuel tanks. Which makes me wonder, what happened to the No Fly Zone?

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/05/201157112432539341.html
  19. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    what would another commander in chief have done differently?

    What DID another Commander in Chief do differently?

    Bush had this man in custody for years. He was actully quite useful to us before with the information he gave us without being tortured. Then we started torturing him, and he never gave up the courier. Under Bush, we remained under the delusion that Bin Laden was holed up in the mountains somewhere. Bush "wasn't all that worried about him." Under this Commander in Chief, he was subjected to normal interrogation. By all firsthand accounts, he was not tortured to give up the courier. So at the very least, it distinguishes Obama in this respct. And that is saying something, considering there is already a poorly sourced article claiming that this was only accomplished because Panetta and Clinton circumvented a reluctant Obama's authority to get this done.

    http://socyberty.com/issues/white-h...panetta-issued-order-to-kill-osama-bin-laden/
  20. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    Under Bush, we remained under the delusion that Bin Laden was holed up in the mountains somewhere. Bush "wasn't all that worried about him."

    AFAIK the Bush administration was fairly certain as early as December 2001 that Bin Laden had escaped into Pakistan. I think it's hard to underestimate the difficulty in finding one person in a sovereign nation of 170 million that is friendly to said individual and hostile towards the people that are looking for him.

    And I think that quote was another one of President Bush's 'brilliant' glib comments that, while certainly stupid, I don't think should be taken literally. I find it extremely hard to believe that he hadn't ordered the CIA to locate Bin Laden to be a number one priority.
  21. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    I find it extremely hard to believe that he hadn't ordered the CIA to locate Bin Laden to be a number one priority.

    You may also find it hard to believe that, after having Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, Bush would call off that mission and instead civert the military's resources to invading Iraq, ostensibly to avenge their role in 9/11 and to remove weapons of mass destruction that weren't there. But the facts say that he did. You are on a Star Wars board, so just realize that having Bin Laden alive to scare us was as politically useful to Bush as Count Dooku was to Palpatine.

    Republicans up until recently insisted that Pakistan was our ally in the war on terror. Finding Bin Laden within walking distance of several military installations strongly suggests the opposite. And yet John McCain was flabbergasted, accusing Obama of wanting to invade our great ally.

    And while the Bush administration may have believed OBL was in Pakistan, as I said before, they believed he was hiding in some mountain cave, not living a life of luxury in a house that close to the seat of government. We could have found that out, as we ultimately did so by interrogating KSM, who was captured during Bush's term. But Bush's administration thought it would be more fun to waterboard him, than to actually get useful information from him.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    You may also find it hard to believe that, after having Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, Bush would call off that mission and instead divert the military's resources to invading Iraq

    Well, in reality, the battle of Tora Bora occurred in Dec 2001. (It was the week around the 12th) Iraq wasn't invaded until March 2003.

    But it's fairly obvious to see what happened. Those troops involved in Tora Bora were called off of that mission at the last minute, only to spend 2 years in a holding pattern over Iraq until the go ahead for that was finally given. Literally, the US military had no other troops available between the 2 operations. Because If anyone happens to talk to veterans of Tora Bora, the one thing that they'll mention is how mind numbingly boring it was to spend 2 years just waiting around Iraq under explicit orders to ignore Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

    But this does prove an earlier point that for as crazy as conspiracies are in general, there's no shortfall of people who will create them, no matter what the topic is.
  23. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    If the US held back on Bin Laden, I would surmise that it had more to do with keeping the region from becoming a huge radiation crater than anything to do with Iraq. Iraq was more of a target of percieved oppertunity (that being of a flawed perception).

    Remember that if this had happened closer to 2002/03, there would likely be internal DEMANDS in the US for war with nuclear armed Pakistan. And wouldn't you know India would be all over that. And although they would probably stay aloof, Chinese neutrality could not be assured.

    Best case scenario would have been only one section of the continent somewhere unlivable for centuries to come with many millions dead, that's all.
  24. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    Highly unlikely, given that we stayed out of Iran and North Kores BECAUSE of the possibility of nukes.
  25. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I wouldn't say that, we just stayed out of those two countries because Iraq proved to be more than just a "cakewalk." Even then, there was still talk about going into Iran in the last years of the Bush presidency, and even McCain brought it up during his campaign. We also almost went to war with North Korea last summer. I also believe that Bush administation officials threatened to nuke Pakistan after 9/11 if they didn't cooperate.