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Author Topic: Osama Hypothetical
Paladine
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Most of us believed the President when he said that the United States had killed Osama bin Laden; I'm not disputing that it happened. But suppose for a second that, hypothetically, Osama had been captured alive. If you were the President, what would you say? What would you do?
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Paladine
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Personally, I'd want to extract information out of him without tipping my hand to his network. I'd announce in a very public way that he'd been killed and that we had proof of this in the form of DNA evidence. I'd say that we'd disposed of the body in a way such that it couldn't be found, and that we had proof that we'd done that too. I'd have him taken to a remote location (definitely not Gitmo) where I'd get everything I could from him before executing him and burning the body.

If given a choice between killing him and taking him alive, I'd certainly opt to take him alive. I think that, if our government had taken Osama alive, they would have acted pretty much identically to how they've acted thusfar.

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Aris Katsaris
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I would say "Osama bin Laden has been captured alive."
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Paladine
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That'd be pretty dumb. People who knew things that he knew would be much more careful about changing their plans and patterns if they knew you had him and were trying to extract information from him. That announcement would seriously harm our national security interests.
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MattP
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But we also announced the discovery of a treasure trove of intelligence data at the site. That's inconsistent with a plan to give members of his network a false sense of security.

[ May 10, 2011, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Aris Katsaris
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Do you likewise believe it "dumb" that America revealed it had captured Saddam Hussein alive? Or that Turkey revealed it had captured Ocalan?

There are atleast as many opportunities in a truth as there are in a lie. Instead of thinking how you would be able to use a lie, why don't you spend atleast 5 minutes thinking of ways that you could use the truth?

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AI Wessex
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I think the double-think is unnecessary here. Capturing him alive and declaring it would drive a whole lot of people underground for a long time and would force many plans and organizational arrangements to be changed. It possibly would also lead to a purging within the ranks to eliminate "weak elements" who might be caught and would talk, with or without extraordinary interrogation methods. I can't see how announcing his capture wouldn't be a good thing, but since it's pretty much an incontrovertible fact that he's dead, it's moot.
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Paladine
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Interesting point, Matt. The computer bit's always confused the hell out of me, to be honest. Why would you announce something like that? I'm sure someone was thinking the decision to announce that through and had some idea in mind (it's not much of a public service from where I'm sitting and it does harm the value of whatever information we actually get from there; I'm not helped in the slightest by knowing that we have Osama's computer but other interests certainly suffer).

The only hypothetical I can construct where it makes sense to announce that we have the computer files is if there's a significant amount of misinformation on there and we want to fool them into thinking that we're going to devote massive amounts of our resources to chasing down false leads, but Osama seemed like a bit too much of an ego maniac to consider that he may be captured or killed and have a computer full of bad information in anticipation of that eventuality.

The only other thing that seems plausable to me is that someone dropped the ball and leaked that we had his computer, and the administration wanted to get out in front of it by announcing it. I'm not too sure about this one though.

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JWatts
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It's a political move. The administration needs a big political boost and this was a real, substantial gain they could point to. Obama can rightly say that Osama was killed on my watch and we also obtained critical information on the al Qaeda network.

There might have been some good reasons to keep that info top secret, but it's likely to have leaked anyway. Since leaking was likely eventually in any event you might as well take the most visible, well publicized credit possible immediately.

This isn't meant to be a criticism of the administration. It's just real politic.

As to secretly keeping Osama alive, that seems unlikely, since that information would have eventually leaked also. It was too publicized an operation with too many eyes watching it.

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Paladine
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quote:
Do you likewise believe it "dumb" that America revealed it had captured Saddam Hussein alive?
No; that was a fundamentally different sort of situation. Precisely nothing was hurt by the public knowing that he'd been captured, and it was a big PR boon both at home and, more importantly, in Iraq where bringing the dictator to justice in a public way was an important part of moving forward.

quote:
There are atleast as many opportunities in a truth as there are in a lie. Instead of thinking how you would be able to use a lie, why don't you spend atleast 5 minutes thinking of ways that you could use the truth?
I can't think of any, to be honest. Telling the truth about that would be worse for our national security, would cost a boatload of money and pose numerous logistical problems at no appreciable gain of any sort.

quote:
Capturing him alive and declaring it would drive a whole lot of people underground for a long time and would force many plans and organizational arrangements to be changed. It possibly would also lead to a purging within the ranks to eliminate "weak elements" who might be caught and would talk, with or without extraordinary interrogation methods.
What you're saying here is that giving them more information about what we have and what we know is actually to their disadvantage. That just seems like fundamentally flawed thinking to me. If you tell them that we have a major intelligence asset and they get to plan around that, it seems like they can perform more effectively than if they don't know we have him.

quote:
but since it's pretty much an incontrovertible fact that he's dead, it's moot.
It's a fact because the administration said so? You can believe it if you want, but when you start saying that things are "incontrovertible facts" with no evidence other than the say-so of some politicians, I think you've lost a bit of the healthy skepticism people ought to have towards government.

For my part, I think that, if he is dead, we really dropped the ball. We'd have gained much more by taking him alive and interrogating him before killing him.

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AI Wessex
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"What you're saying here is that giving them more information about what we have and what we know is actually to their disadvantage. That just seems like fundamentally flawed thinking to me. If you tell them that we have a major intelligence asset and they get to plan around that, it seems like they can perform more effectively than if they don't know we have him."

Spoken like a poker player who knows that a good bluff is sometimes stronger than a good hand. But sometimes you really do want to hit them right between the eyes with a 2 by 4. It would give us opportunities to go in and mess with them while they were in a weakened state.

"It's a fact because the administration said so?"

Please, please don't start this crap on yet another front. I get way too much exercise boxing with shadows as it is. But, if you want to entertain that possibility, also consider that Obama might want you to think that he faked it so that he can move forward on his plans to eliminate AQ while you're distracted chasing these shadows. He probably learned how to do that effectively back in Kenya.

"For my part, I think that, if he is dead, we really dropped the ball. We'd have gained much more by taking him alive and interrogating him before killing him."

That I do completely agree with. 'Tis a shame he died so quickly.

[ May 10, 2011, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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ken_in_sc
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I think that announcing that a treasure trove of intelligence was recovered was a mistake. For political purposes, it would be better to wait and release that info closer to the next election. Doing it now is a sign of incompetence and makes other anti-terrorist efforts more difficult.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by ken_in_sc:
I think that announcing that a treasure trove of intelligence was recovered was a mistake. For political purposes, it would be better to wait and release that info closer to the next election. Doing it now is a sign of incompetence and makes other anti-terrorist efforts more difficult.

Waiting till closer to the election would be rightly interpreted as a purely political move. I think your only viable moves would be to release immediately or classify it and let it remain so for years. And I can't imagine that the terrorists in question wouldn't assume that we obtained a lot of information in any case.

Also, consider the fact that the intelligence agencies might well be using the news of the intelligence coup to give cover for other sources. If you go after a terrorist now with information from a source who might otherwise be compromised, how are the bad guys going to know where the information really came from.

But, honestly, we could second guess this all day. It was an Executive decision. Obama made the call. That's his job. Without some kind of evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume he made the best decision with the information he has.

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Grant
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There are so many options or scenarios available that I don't think I can put them all in. There is the tactical choice, the political choice, the expedient choice, the psy warfare choice, and the Christian choice (also called the mess with their heads choice).

I believe the administration took the expedient choice, the one with the least amount of legal problems. This doesn't surprise me in the least. The President is a lawyer. The Vice President is a lawyer. The Sec State, Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor, and the Director of the CIA are all lawyers. The only person in the room not a lawyer was probably Robert Gates. I'm surprised that the Chief of Staff of the Army isn't from the JAG Corps.

I'd probably be tempted to take the tactical choice. The tactical choice would have been to swipe him clean off the face of the earth, take all the intel, then leave evidence that is was conducted by some other competing Islamic fundamentalist group. I would start spreading disinformation that he was indeed killed by another Islamic group, complete with video if I had to. I would come forward and tell the nation that the CIA had evidence that OBL was indeed killed by disgruntled members of AQ. Then I'd watch the insanity.

In the mean time, I'd have Osama nicely interrogated, no torture, all the while keeping him nice and comfortable. After all was done, I'd give him the choice of execution or life imprisonment. If he wanted execution, I'd have him killed in whatever way he chose, and buried at sea. If he chose life imprisonment, I'd have him shipped to a remote station in the Antarctic, to spend the rest of his life alive but relatively miserable.

Now I don't know if I'd take that route or not. Because it raises huge legal problems for me and my administration if it ever comes out, which I'm sure it eventually will. I might settle on a compromise by ordering the hit on OBL, burying him at sea by kicking the corpse from the helicopter before it hit the carrier deck, and then telling everyone that disgruntled members of AQ killed him. Problem with that is that eventually somebody is going to talk, too many people on that carrier knew what was going down. The chance of keeping that operation a secret was zero.

The expedient method used really was the one with the least complications as I see it. Plus it gave a nice political boost, which was like a cherry on top for the administration. That's the reason I believe that Osama was never given the opportunity to surrender, and that the mission was a hit from the beginning, dispite commentary to the contrary from the white house.

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DonaldD
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The military did not kill everybody in the compound, did they? I think the news of his capture or death would have spread pretty quickly, no matter what the US government said.

And regardless of OBL's status, the secret of the capture of information would have been even more difficult to control. It is pretty clear that the US government believes that there are elements within Pakistan who knew of OBL's whereabouts. His capture would have become known pretty quickly, and the assumption would then be that all his intel would have been captured as well; that would be independent of him being dead or alive.

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PSRT
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It is way, way too hard to keep the secret that someone you claim is dead is actually alive unless you are killing them about 2 minutes later. And even then its difficult. Getting Osama to, say, Gitmo is going to require that several hundred people, at a bare minimum, have a good idea or sure knowledge he is still alive. Keeping all of those people quiet is unlikely at best, and impossible to ensure.

It is possible, but unlikely, that Obama announced that Bin Laden had been killed after he was assuredly dead, but that we held him prisoner for a short time before he died. Again, this is a lie that is way too easy to have exposed.

Simply looking at the odds of keeping a secret of that nature for an extended period of time suggests that Obama did not lie about it.

Not impossible that Bin Laden is still alive, but extremely unlikely.

If I were president and we had captured Bin Laden alive, there is no possibility I would say anything about the capture, or his death, if I were planning on interrogating him.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
I can't think of any, to be honest. Telling the truth about that would be worse for our national security, would cost a boatload of money and pose numerous logistical problems at no appreciable gain of any sort.
Have you spent actually 5 minutes thinking about it?

For starter have you considered the fact, that if Osama knows you called him dead, you have *nothing* to barter with him, because he knoews you're going to kill him soon anyway?

Here's several ideas that spring to mind, after a a few minutes of thought.
- The possibility to get him to renounce violence in return for taking the death penalty off the table. It may not be a very likely scenario, but it happened for Ocalan so there's precedent.
- The possibility to hold him as effective hostage against future terrorist attacks. (Death penalty on hold for him, unless there's any attack on American civilians by muslims ever again)
- The fact that his former officers, and even whatever members in Pakistani forces that were allied with him, will keep on not knowing how much information he has revealed information or may yet reveal on them, may cause them ALL to be nicer to America, when an interrogated Osama may not give you a hundredth of that information.
- The moral boost itself of the fact that America captured Osama Bin Laden alive, (which is a greater victory than merely killing him), and the chance to photograph him in an orange jumpsuit.
- The very fact that you don't lose credibility by lying to your own public.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Here's several ideas that spring to mind, after a a few minutes of thought.
- The possibility to get him to renounce violence in return for taking the death penalty off the table. It may not be a very likely scenario, but it happened for Ocalan so there's precedent.
- The possibility to hold him as effective hostage against future terrorist attacks. (Death penalty on hold for him, unless there's any attack on American civilians by muslims ever again)
- The fact that his former officers, and even whatever members in Pakistani forces that were allied with him, will keep on not knowing how much information he has revealed information or may yet reveal on them, may cause them ALL to be nicer to America, when an interrogated Osama may not give you a hundredth of that information.
- The moral boost itself of the fact that America captured Osama Bin Laden alive, (which is a greater victory than merely killing him), and the chance to photograph him in an orange jumpsuit.
- The very fact that you don't lose credibility by lying to your own public.

Ehhhhh, what about the trial? Can't acknowlege that you're holding him without giving him a trial right? Who do you give him to? New York? The Feds? Military tribunal? They're all going to find him guilty and kill him anyways. The only way you might be able to swing it is to insist that it take place in a federal court and have the AG offer the immunity in turn for his "renouncing violence".

You can do that. But then you won't get re-elected.

Holding him as a hostage won't work. These people kill themselves all the time in the name of Jihad. I'm sure they'll have no problem at all with killing other muslims for Jihad.

There won't be a moral boost for seeing him in an orange jumpsuit in America. I'm afraid most Americans wanted his blood, not his imprisonment.

And finally, lying to the public without losing credibility is almost in the job discription for President of the United States.

The President knew all this. That's why he ordered the kill. Everything all wrapped up in a neat bow.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Can't acknowledge that you're holding him without giving him a trial, right?
If you're talking *morally*, holding him without giving him a trial is still better than capturing him then executing him in cold blood without giving him a trial.

If you're talking legally, for all intends and purposes America has already decided that habeas corpus only applies to American citizens; perhaps not even to them.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:

If you're talking legally, for all intends and purposes America has already decided that habeas corpus only applies to American citizens; perhaps not even to them.

Mmmmm, no.


And I suppose you could call him a POW all you like but that's not going to stop the New York DA from being all over the networks calling for him to be turned over.

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PresidentJack
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Al -

"What you're saying here is that giving them more information about what we have and what we know is actually to their disadvantage. That just seems like fundamentally flawed thinking to me. If you tell them that we have a major intelligence asset and they get to plan around that, it seems like they can perform more effectively than if they don't know we have him."

Spoken like a poker player who knows that a good bluff is sometimes stronger than a good hand. But sometimes you really do want to hit them right between the eyes with a 2 by 4. It would give us opportunities to go in and mess with them while they were in a weakened state.

I think a more apt analogy would be spoken like a poker player who doesn't tell the other players that he can see their cards. I think that the way you hit them in the eyes with the 2 by 4 is using that information against them, not by letting them know you have it.

Paladine -

What would you do if there were (relatively) innocent people there still alive after Osama was secured, e.g. his wives or his men's wives?

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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Personally, I'd want to extract information out of him without tipping my hand to his network. I'd announce in a very public way that he'd been killed and that we had proof of this in the form of DNA evidence. I'd say that we'd disposed of the body in a way such that it couldn't be found, and that we had proof that we'd done that too. I'd have him taken to a remote location (definitely not Gitmo) where I'd get everything I could from him before executing him and burning the body.

If given a choice between killing him and taking him alive, I'd certainly opt to take him alive. I think that, if our government had taken Osama alive, they would have acted pretty much identically to how they've acted thusfar.

This occured to me as well but since Al Queda is saying Osama's dead I would presume he is.
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Paladine
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quote:
For starter have you considered the fact, that if Osama knows you called him dead, you have *nothing* to barter with him, because he knoews you're going to kill him soon anyway?

:facepalm:

I'd cleverly get around that one by not letting him watch CNN while in detention.

quote:
The possibility to get him to renounce violence in return for taking the death penalty off the table. It may not be a very likely scenario, but it happened for Ocalan so there's precedent.
I don't much care if he repudiates it; he's not going to be committing it again.

quote:
- The possibility to hold him as effective hostage against future terrorist attacks. (Death penalty on hold for him, unless there's any attack on American civilians by muslims ever again)
I actually love this idea, Aris; but our liberals would have a cow if we were to do that. "How can you kill him for someone else's crime? We're no better than terrorists!!!!"

quote:
- The fact that his former officers, and even whatever members in Pakistani forces that were allied with him, will keep on not knowing how much information he has revealed information or may yet reveal on them, may cause them ALL to be nicer to America, when an interrogated Osama may not give you a hundredth of that information.

The computer leak serves a similar function to this. I still don't much like it though.

quote:
- The moral boost itself of the fact that America captured Osama Bin Laden alive, (which is a greater victory than merely killing him), and the chance to photograph him in an orange jumpsuit.
We should make a Muslim Terrorist Jumpsuit Calander and make him Mr. January. This is a good point. [Wink]

quote:
The very fact that you don't lose credibility by lying to your own public.
I actually hope we're being lied to about this one. The alternative is that we screwed it up.

quote:
Paladine -

What would you do if there were (relatively) innocent people there still alive after Osama was secured, e.g. his wives or his men's wives?

That's a thorny problem, PJ. I'd be inclined to say that we should have gone in with less-than-lethal force for this. I don't know much about the technology a group like the SEALs or a CIA team would have availabe to them, but I'm guessing some really powerful tranquilizers or stun guns aren't out of the question. Knock everyone out, make a bloody mess of Osama and drag him back to the chopper and away to a secret prison in Iraq or something.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
I'd cleverly get around that one by not letting him watch CNN while in detention.
Perhaps I'm just wrong on this, but I think you're likely underestimating someone's capacity (given the evidence of their own treatment) to figure out the difference between "they want to make me disappear so that noone knows what really happened to me" and "they want to show me around and thus take pride in my capture".
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cherrypoptart
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Many people think this targeted killing of Osama bin Laden was entirely illegal. Could the UN charge President Obama with an international crime?

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/2011/05/curtis-doebbler-illegal-killing-obl.php

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Many conservative Americans insist that waterboarding led to Obama's location. If he were captured, and if that were true, could it be used to get the case thrown out of court?

Let's say he's a common criminal and he is hiding out at an abandoned house. One of his accomplices is caught and only gives up the location of the hide-out after being waterboarded. Would the newly captured criminal have his case thrown out of court because torture was used to facilitate his capture?

-----------------------------------------------

Of course, by the time you give a terrorist like Osama bin Laden time to surrender, instead of putting his hands up he could push a button that blows up the entire house and the Seal team with it. That he didn't indicates he might not be as committed to his cause as he wanted others to be, but not his own children as he makes clear that he doesn't want them to join al-Qaeda. Not that his lack of commitment ended up doing him much good. Perhaps it saved his wives though.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Many conservative Americans insist that waterboarding led to Osama's location.
Current evidence seems to be that waterboarding is what made America give up on tracking Osama, because you were given false information that Osama was just a figurehead, communicated with the outside world only once every twice months.

"Al-Libbi told interrogators that the courier would carry messages from bin Laden to the outside world only every two months or so. “I realized that bin Laden was not really running his organization. You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months,” Rodriguez says. “So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.”

In short waterboarding seems to have made Osama more secure. Instead of leading to Osama's location, waterboarding secured him for 10 years.

Nice job, torturers. You couldn't do a better job if you were at Al Qaeda's employment. But since torture-advocates don't actually care for results any more than they care about truth, they just support torture because they are sadists, I doubt that will make them reevaluate their stance on torture.

And I doubt the lying liars who lie will ever remember this little tidbit, that all torture seems to have got you the supposed information that Osama Bin Laden was just a figurehead, and therefore there's no pressing need to capture him.

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Pyrtolin
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On top of that, waterboarding and such measures also made potential informants much, much less likely to cooperate and actively created more opponents in the process.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
Many people think this targeted killing of Osama bin Laden was entirely illegal. Could the UN charge President Obama with an international crime?

There is a very very good case that the action was against international law. [Smile]

We flew right into Pakistan without a by-your-leave, and they're already saying that it was invasion of their sovreignty. Which it was. [Smile]

If it's true that Osama was not armed, then the killing was against military law and constitutes assasination. [Smile]

If he had been seized the siezure could be seen as unlawful, thus kidnapping. Great stuff if he had lawyers, which I'm sure he'd have the best in the world. Which he would be entitled to and would be their job to get him free. [Smile]

Every day I'm more impressed with the administration's decision to cap this guy rather then have a HUGE international law mess with the circus trial of the century ready to take place. This way, Pakistan and the UN can grump all they want, the guy is dead, and I don't think that President Obama or the majority of America is sorry about that [Big Grin]

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AI Wessex
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Maybe Obama broke every law on the books, but nobody will deny OBL needed killin'. This was more like vigilante frontier justice. Pakistan is going to calm down and play along for the simple reason that they were entertaining him, witting or not, for all those years. They were either incompetent or corrupt, and they would rather the world pick one but not both. If I were them, I would pick corrupt because people expect that. If India thinks they're incompetent, who knows what might happen next.

[ May 11, 2011, 08:52 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
They were either incompetent or corrupt, and they would rather the world pick one but not both.

Every time I think of Pashtun/Punjab competence I can't help but think about that poor Afghan prison guard, looking down that hole where 430 prisoners escaped, with that look of confusion. Like "what did they go"? or "what did we do wrong"?


An interesting side story about India and Pakistan...

On the night the twin towers went down, I was in the O Club, but I heard later this story. We had an Indian soldier in our Battalion, previously in my own platoon, by the name of Patel (go figure right?). Patel winded up being transferred out of my platoon to be the Battalion Commander's personal driver. The reason of course being that Patel was mentally better equipped them most Americans to handle the chaotic traffic and driving styles of Koreans. For Americans driving in Korea took time to learn and could be stressful and dangerous. For Patel it was the safest roads he'd ever been on in his life, outside of Ft. Lee, Virginia.

Anyways, when the towers fell, Patel had either been drinking or started drinking heavily. At that point he started running around the barracks, busting stuff up, breaking bottles, and generally raving about how it was all the fault of the Pakistanis, and that the Pakistanis had done it. Of course the CQ had him restrained and threw him in a closet for a while to sober up. We all heard about it but figured, "whatever, of course he thinks it's the Pakistanis, he's Indian, right"?

I guess in the end, almost 10 years later, I'd have to say that PVT Patel was alot smarter then the rest of us.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Current evidence seems to be that waterboarding is what made America give up on tracking Osama, because you were given false information that Osama was just a figurehead, communicated with the outside world only once every twice months.

"Al-Libbi told interrogators that the courier would carry messages from bin Laden to the outside world only every two months or so. “I realized that bin Laden was not really running his organization. You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months,” Rodriguez says. “So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.”

In short waterboarding seems to have made Osama more secure. Instead of leading to Osama's location, waterboarding secured him for 10 years.

Nice job, torturers. You couldn't do a better job if you were at Al Qaeda's employment. But since torture-advocates don't actually care for results any more than they care about truth, they just support torture because they are sadists, I doubt that will make them reevaluate their stance on torture.

And I doubt the lying liars who lie will ever remember this little tidbit, that all torture seems to have got you the supposed information that Osama Bin Laden was just a figurehead, and therefore there's no pressing need to capture him.

There is one thing that I believe could make your argument stronger, Aris.

Where you say:

quote:
Current evidence seems to be that waterboarding is what made America give up on tracking Osama
I think it would help if you could show some sort of evidence that the American Intelligence and Military apparatus actually did give up on tracking and finding OBL.

Next, you said:

quote:
because you were given false information that Osama was just a figurehead
In that case, it would help to show some sort of evidence that OBL was not a figurehead, and was somehow actively involved in tactical planning of AQ operations, rather then the operations being planned by someone else.
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MattP
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quote:
I think it would help if you could show some sort of evidence that the American Intelligence and Military apparatus actually did give up on tracking and finding OBL.
quote:
Al-Libbi told interrogators that the courier would carry messages from bin Laden to the outside world only every two months or so. “I realized that bin Laden was not really running his organization. You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months,” Rodriguez says. “So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.”
http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/04/did-torture-get-the-us-osama-bin-laden/#ixzz1M3ZOjSxI

Later that year:
quote:
Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/washington/04intel.html

Certainly they didn't completely give up on finding him, but it was definitely deprioritized.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:

Certainly they didn't completely give up on finding him, but it was definitely deprioritized.

I'm sorry Matt, But I've read each quotation, and each article, several times, and I still can't see where they said or implied that the search for OBL was deprioritized.

The first quote:

quote:
“So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.
I've read that over and over again. There is nothing about calling off or deprioritizing the hunt for OBL. The key comment is "So that was significant." There is nothing implied, other then they believed that the information was important.

The second quote:

quote:
Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.
The key comment here is "agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and was not a sign that the effort had slackened." This seems to be directly in contrast to your assertion that the search for bin Ladin was "deprioritized."
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MattP
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quote:
The key comment here is "agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and was not a sign that the effort had slackened." This seems to be directly in contrast to your assertion that the search for bin Ladin was "deprioritized."
Their actions don't match their words and even some of their words don't match their words. The shut down the Osama-specific unit and stated that "the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals".

They were clearly changing their focus. Whether they wished to say the "priority", however that was defined, hadn't changed for Osama is really beside the point. "I've stopped paying an extra $100 on my mortgage every month and bought a sports car, but owning my home free and clear is still a top priority!"

In other news:
quote:
The United States had requested Khadr's extradition to Boston, where is wanted on charges of providing weapons to Al-Qaeda to be used against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
He was released in August 2010, at which time Justice Christopher Speyer said Khadr had suffered "shocking and unjustifiable" human rights violations, including being physically mistreated and abused.

But the Ontario court suggested that releasing Khadr to the United States would be tantamount to being complacent with his alleged torture.

The United States paid Pakistani intelligence services half a million dollars to abduct Khadr in Islamabad in 2004, according to court documents.

During his 14-month detention at a secret site in Pakistan, Khadr admitted under interrogation that he had purchased arms for Al-Qaeda. But he later claimed he had been tortured during his detention.

"The rule of law must prevail even in the face of the dreadful threat of terrorism," said Justice Robert Sharpe, writing on behalf of Justices John Laskin and Eleanore Cronk.

"Because of the requesting state's misconduct, proceeding with the extradition committal hearing threatened the court's integrity."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g2h00i3ltDr16pWUK1NH5f5jm_6A?docId=CNG.0ade78defc2875bf3eb3e6867300e47f.c41
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Their actions don't match their words and even some of their words don't match their words. The shut down the Osama-specific unit and stated that "the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals".

They were clearly changing their focus. Whether they wished to say the "priority", however that was defined, hadn't changed for Osama is really beside the point. "I've stopped paying an extra $100 on my mortgage every month and bought a sports car, but owning my home free and clear is still a top priority!"

I think you're assigning meaning to statements made to fit your premise. Just because the CIA disbanded the unit does not mean that they deprioritized the search. It could simply mean that they realized that the unit was ineffective, and was the wrong way to go about hunting him. It could mean that the responsiblity for finding OBL was taken away from the CIA and given to JSOC. I will admit that it could also be double speak, and that the CIA and US government really did deprioritize the search at some point. But your entire claim hangs on inference into a single statement with contrary information given in the sentence just before.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
I think it would help if you could show some sort of evidence that the American Intelligence and Military apparatus actually did give up on tracking and finding OBL.

This article from 2006:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/washington/04intel.html

The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.
...
The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said,


----

In short, in 2005, Al-Libbi is captured and tortured, and he gives testimony that convinces people that Osama is just a figurehead. Very soon afterwards, the unit seeking Osama is disbanded, based on this conviction.

How amazingly *useful* American torture has been in the hunt of Osama. Useful *for* Osama that is.

quote:
In that case, it would help to show some sort of evidence that OBL was not a figurehead, and was somehow actively involved in tactical planning of AQ operations, rather then the operations being planned by someone else.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384596/Osama-bin-Laden-directing-al-Qaeda-operations-right-death.html

Documents show that Bin Laden was giving strategic directions to Al Qaeda's affiliates as far away as Somalia and Yemen, senior U.S. officials have said.

Not only did he have an active role in leading the group, but the base in Abbattobad was also the command and control centre for the terrorist organisation's movements.


[ May 11, 2011, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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AI Wessex
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You won't find many public statements like "May I have your attention please. From today forward we are not going to expend significant energy trying to track down Mr. bin Laden. We don't think he's worth the effort. That is all."
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Grant
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Aris,

I think I've cast some doubt on the claim that the disbanding of Alec Station was actually a discontinuation or deprioritzation of the hunt for OBL. Every statement concerning the disbandment does not mention OBL as a figurehead, or information gleaned from Al-ibi. On the contrary the reasons given for the disbandment of Alec Station seem to run along the lines that it was not "the right tool for the job."

I think your daily mail article shows fairly conclusivly that OBL was not a figurehead, and exercised some operational and strategic control over AQ. I will only say that it is probable however, since the analysis was made by a reporter on information gathered from outside sources on the intelligence information obtained on the raid. I don't know how good the particular reporter is in making analysis of captured intelligence that he only knows about from sources.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
You won't find many public statements like "May I have your attention please. From today forward we are not going to expend significant energy trying to track down Mr. bin Laden. We don't think he's worth the effort. That is all."

I agree. But a statement such as "between (time X) and (time y), the United States reduced/eliminated it's priority to find the location of Osama bin Ladin" would suffice.
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Aris Katsaris
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Here's another article from 2008.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/06/bin-laden-hunt/

And the renewed CIA push to attack Bin Laden, "Operation Cannonball," is still being treated like a second-tier priority in the Agency, two years after its creation.

Giant Quonset huts were erected outside the cafeteria on the CIA’s leafy Virginia campus, to house a new team assigned to the Bin Laden mission. In Pakistan, the new operation was staffed not only with CIA operatives drawn from around the world, but also with recent graduates of… the agency’s training center…

"We had to put people out in the field who had less than ideal levels of experience," one former senior CIA official said. "But there wasn’t much to choose from."

One reason for this… was that by 2006 the Iraq war had drained away most of the CIA officers with field experience in the Islamic world… "We were all hurting because of Iraq."


----

Here's a video from 2006 about Osama not being the top priority: http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/14/barnes-osama/

----

I doubt there's anything that will ever be completely conclusive. But everything seems evidence towards Osama being strongly reduced in priority by the Bush administration -- until Obama made it again the top priority in public statements and otherwise: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/capturing-or-killing-osama-my-top-priority/386833/

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