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General News    H2'ed 5/6/11

The Liquidation of Bin Laden: A Military or Media Operation?

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Even as the cover stories about what happened fell away into the foggy soup of covert action and its contradictions, it devolved into to a case of excuses about haste-- 'he said that but didn't mean it'. Even as the raid inspires mass euphoria and self-righteous blood lust, the full meaning of it is missing in a media that is much better at the how than the why.

First of all, this operation reflected the reorganization of the national security state with the CIA taking over from the soldiers. This operation was Leon Panetta's last hurrah as Spook-in Chief before he uses his covert ops portfolio to takeover the Pentagon.

Second, that most hyped soldier's soldier, Generalissimo David Petraeus, who has failed to end the insurgency in Afghanistan (and who is now warring on Pakistan) is being moved into Panetta's job. A Navy Seal Commander has now been promoted to the Central Command.

The bottom line: public accountability and open disclosure has become a thing of the past. No wonder the ongoing campaign to 'get Wikileaks' before it exposes more secrets.

As the military privatizes wars, and, in effect, goes underground, there is a recognition that, despite the size of our forces and the power of our technology, we have, in effect, been losing to peasants with suicide belts and unconventional tactics we continually underestimate.

Writes former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts, "Americans are too busy celebrating to think, a capability that seems to have been taken out of their education.

"Americans are so enthralled over the death of bin Laden that they do not wonder why information gleamed years ago would take so long to locate a person who was allegedly living in a million-dollar building equipped with all the latest communication equipment next to the Pakistani Military Academy. Allegedly, the "most wanted criminal" was not moving from hide-out to hide-out in desolate mountains, but ensconced in luxury quarters in broad daylight. Nevertheless, despite his obvious location, it took the CIA years to find him after claiming to have gained information of his whereabouts out of captives in secret prisons. This is the image of the CIA as the new Keystone Cops."

Like the Canadian Mounties, in the end, Navy Seal Team 6, armed with lethal weapons and an attack dog, got their man--with not inconsiderable collateral damage -- in what the New York Times called an "extremely one-sided encounter."

It was, let's admit, a liquidation, right out of the KGB playbook.

Politically-- and yes, there was a political agenda here too: the bin Laden operation was part of a chain of calculated presidential promoting exercises including the announcement of his re-election campaign and massive fund-raising effort, his deals with the Repugs on the budget, the release of his birth certificate, his interview with Oprah, his shakeup of sorts of the Pentagon, his bringing the CEO of GE and William Daley into the White House, on and on.

The "new" Obama wants to be seen as a warrior, not a wuss, as long as he is not forced to go after Wall Street. Right now, his victory is viewed widely for what it is; vengeance. Or in the words of the street, "payback."

Nailing Bin-Laden has to be seen in the context of his Spring offensive grounded in symbolic advances, to get his poll numbers up and his campaign rolling, to make him look invincible, and to "triangulate," by moving to the center and pre-empting/co-opting the right.   He now has Bush and Cheney praising him.

 Concludes Roberts, "Obama needed closure of the Afghan war and occupation in order to deal with the US budget deficit. Subsequent statements from Obama regime officials suggest that the agenda might be to give Americans a piece of war victory in order to boost their lagging enthusiasm. The military/security complex will become richer and more powerful, and Americans will be rewarded with vicarious pleasure in victory over enemies."

Adds Tom Engelhardt, "Consider it an insult to irony, but the world bin Laden really changed forever wasn't in the Greater Middle East. It was here. Cheer his death, bury him at sea, don't release any photos, and he'll still carry on as a ghost as long as Washington continues to fight its deadly, disastrous wars in his old neighborhood."

News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. He is the author of When News Lies; Media Complicity and the Iraq War. Comments to Email address removed

Disclosure:   In case you wonder, I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter, sympathizer or rationalizer of Usama bin Laden's violent Jihad. The fact that I feel I have to even write this should give readers insight into the climate of   permissable discussion. I am not unhappy to see UBL moving on to the next world. even as some belive he really died long ago. I agree: Good Riddance, but we need to analyze this event more closely. Will it help end the war or will "our success" convince the Pentagon it needs to be expanded? The issues of the raid's legality need to be discussed.

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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