Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Empire strikes back

by Don Klein

The Empire strikes back. That’s the way I see the assassination of Osama bin Laden. What do I mean by Empire? And did I say assassination? Let me explain.

There is really only one empire that matters in today’s world and that is the United States. We have our tentacles in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Antarctica. The only continent beyond our direct influence is Australia, and even there, we have reliable allies.

Yet with all that power and influence, the US is still vulnerable to vicious assault. Loathsome unknowns, mostly Muslims, can cause great trauma and long-standing harm as the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 proved.

Historically America has been lucky. During times of great strife we have had the best to lead the country. We had Washington, Adams and Jefferson during Revolutionary Days, Abe Lincoln during the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt during the period of America’s entry into global power and Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression and World War II.

Unfortunately in 2001 our luck ran out. We had incompetents in charge. The Bush-Cheney administration had the dismantling of the America we all knew and loved on their agenda when we were struck by members of the team of terrorists organized and trained by Bin Laden to carry out his awful scheme against us.

Our response was lots of fearless talk and brainless decisions. We gave up early on getting Bin Laden because Bush wanted to fight Iraq to avenge the failed assassination of his father and because Cheney had visions of controlling the vast reserves of Iraqi oil. In other words we used the excuse of the terror attacks in the US to line the pockets of the oil industry so close to Bush and Cheney’s cold hearts.

For the remainder of the Bush-Cheney term of more than seven years we fought an unnecessary war and never got close to striking at the heart of the problem – Osama bin Laden. He escaped a near trap in Bora Bora in December 2001 because Rumsfeld would not release the number of troops needed to encircle him. The Bush gang-that-couldn’t-shot-straight never got close to him again and the country earned the soubriquet “Paper Tiger.”

Then came Barack Obama with a new perspective, It took time to get the ship of state back on course after eight disastrous years, and by his second year in the White House things began to happen. In less than ten months the team under his leadership was able to track down Bin Laden, compose a plan to take him, and find a befitting force to get the job done.

In the end Obama sent in a relatively tight unit of bruising commandoes to do the job that Bush could not do with an army of hundreds of thousands at the peak of the war. The Navy Seals knew their task and never wavered. Nevertheless it was a risky venture.

They went into Pakistan on low-flying helicopters under the cloak of darkness, repelled themselves down into his compound, cut down all opposition and with precision took out the villain of 9/11 with two rapid shots. The wicked beast of al Qaeda was dead. The Empire struck back with exactitude....finally.

Why did I say earlier Bin laden was assassinated? To begin with the Americans we not going to trust a mass murderer like Bin Laden. He could have had weapons hidden in his Muslim robes, or a detonator for a bobby trap, and he was moving towards weapons lying nearby.

It was noted only if he was naked and standing with his hands up would they take his captive. Another observer made the powerful claim that you do not send Navy Seals to make arrests. At any rate taking Bin Laden captive would have given the US too many unnecessary snags.

There would be endless threats against the country while he lingered in jail awaiting trial. The trial itself would cost millions.

Finally, and most convincingly, he was a confessed killer who admitted his guilt to all while gloating over the chaos of the fallen Twin Towers so what kind of defense could he muster? By killing him on the spot we not only eliminated from the world a depraved piece of human trash, but saved the US the demeaning cost of treating him as a human while in custody.

So the Empire struck back and assassinated the leader of deranged plotters against peace. No more “paper tiger” appellatives. It took a courageous American leader who accepted risks his predecessor never considered to end a decade of failures during which the US expended too many lives – both American and Muslim -- and a heavy dose of its wealth.

There are a number of lessons learned during the decade:

1. The US military is extended much to widely and should be withdrawn from all overseas posts in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We are not effective as an empire and we cannot afford the costs anymore.

2. If military action in necessary somewhere distant, instead of sending armies we should use small well trained and well equipped units to do the work and get out.

3. Focus vigilance at home with intelligent, workable plans.

4. Don’t allow anyone to think of this country as a paper tiger again. Attacking the US is not the way to amplify your life span.

5. And finally, only elect dauntless and intelligent leaders to the White House so when the next crisis arises, and it will, we have the right person at the nation’s helm.