Pity Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the Republican right wing led by the forlorn slate of candidates gearing up to challenge Barack Obama in the next presidential election. They lost their cherished patriotism card as a means of deflecting attention from an economy that exploded on their watch. Beating up on Medicare won't cut it as a platform when you don't have the specter of Osama bin Laden to scare voters.
Unfortunately Obama, too, was quite willing to rush off to escalate unnecessary wars, as in the ramped-up conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan, while bin Laden was being protected by our ally Pakistan. But for the moment there is joy in witnessing the more zealous Republican hard-liners humbled by the success of a president they continuously derided as weak on defense.
There is no sane way for them to explain away how the brainy Democrat with the questioned citizenship and the oddball, Muslim-sounding name, who had dared originally to doubt the wisdom of invading Iraq, ended up succeeding where a warmongering, patriotism-on-my-lapel, Republican president had failed so miserably.
The death of bin Laden in Pakistan renders ever more ludicrous that iconic image of then-President George W. Bush strutting aboard an aircraft carrier under a banner proclaiming "Mission accomplished." What mission had this Wrong Way Corrigan accomplished except irrationally invading Iraq, a country that had banned al-Qaida, while he cozied up to a Pakistan that had long provided bin Laden and his Taliban sponsors with critical support?
Just how long was revealed in a State Department memo declassified in 2007 that said the Pakistani government had been supporting the Taliban at least since 1995--even under ostensibly pro-U.S. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose husband now runs the country. "Pakistan has followed a policy of supporting the Taliban," noted one State Department cable, adding, "U.S. intelligence indicates the ISI is supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel and food." ISI refers to the hugely powerful and secretive Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which backed bin Laden from his first emergence in Afghanistan and is the most likely explanation for his having received such secure sanctuary in Pakistan after 9/11.