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The Success and Failure of a year ago

President Obama went to Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s capture and killing by US Navy Seals a year ago. There’s been lots of political analysis and talk about this raid and the President’s visit overseas on the anniversary. Here’s the bottom line from this former Mideast War Planner.

First, I’ve received a lot of info about how Mr. Obama made his decision to go after Osama. My opinion, Mr. Obama did it right. He considered all the options and made the call. Things can always be done better, especially with the benefit of hindsight, but I feel Mr. Obama acted very properly for the Commander In Chief. Maybe it could have/should have been done sooner, but, it was his call, and he made it. And it worked. He deserves the credit for making the right decision; that’s what we pay presidents to do. If it had failed, he would have to have taken the blame. It worked. The world is now rid of Osama thanks to US Special Operations Forces.

Mr. Obama’s trip to Afghanistan at this time has been picked on. I agree with it. He went there to rally and encourage the troops; this is something the Commander in Chief should do.

The document he signed with Afghan President Karzai is quite another thing. Mr. Obama’s plan is for us to cut and run. We’re saying the war is or is about to be over—only problem, the enemy doesn’t know that. Karzai has been doing little but trashing the US this past year—what would you do if you knew Big Brother was leaving shortly and the bad guys were staying forever? While our operations were and are working very well over there—in the countryside, they weren’t and aren’t working in the very, very corrupt capital of Kabul. So Afghanistan will soon become a home for Radical Islam, as it has been in the past. But, that, too is off my subject.

The big thing that has been almost totally left out of the news analysis this week is, to me, perhaps equal to the killing of Osama. When our great Special Operators took out Osama they also brought home a huge amount of great intelligence information. The data included such things as bank account numbers used by Osama’s folks, names and locations of many leaders, plans for future operations, and the like. This was a treasure trove of data we had no idea about.

And, it’s seems likely that at least many senior folks in Pakistan’s government didn’t know Osama was nearby. The only way Osama’s network heard from him was by occasional messenger—and very, very few of his people knew where he was. So, the fact that we got Osama could have easily have remained a secret for up to a couple of weeks. Think what we could have done with that intelligence information if we’d kept quiet about the hit for, seven to ten days. Bank accounts could have been wiped out and people using them traced. Subordinate leaders could have been identified and even taken out. Future operations could have been dealt with by planned counter-attacks. The list goes on.

But what did we, the good old US of A, do? We blabbed the whole thing to the world instantly. Would it not have been just as big a coup—indeed, a bigger one, to tell the world we got him and cleaned up a bunch of his subordinates, etc? We threw away all that benefit, and we, and many peoples around the world, are paying for that goof with human lives, because once the word was out, of course, the bad guys closed their own accounts and moved people and assets—wouldn’t you?

The real anniversary of this past week was the killing of Osama and the dumping of perhaps the biggest intelligence coup of the war. Folks, let’s never let that happen again. That was institutional strength stupidity.

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