I always assumed that the official tale of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was bullshit. There were too many holes in the White House and mainstream media narrative, but the holes were papered over in the rah-rah and the gushing over the heroics of Seal Team 6. I frankly didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Yes, Osama bin Laden was a sociopath – no argument there – but what’s the essential difference between the murder he organized and the murder inflicted on Gaza by Israel two times in the past five years?
The killing of bin Laden was a political opportunity, and Barack Obama used it to paint himself as a decisive military leader. It was his Bush “Mission Accomplished” moment, but did it bring the absurd, wasteful and counterproductive War on Terror to an end?
Of course not. The War on Terror is a bonanza for the military-security complex and a host of private intelligence and mercenary corporations, and as long as the money flows, the war will go on.
Let’s not forget that Osama bin Laden was a fugitive for nearly a decade after claiming responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. He was the world’s most wanted criminal, prime target of every intelligence and military asset the US and its allies possessed, but all that time he eluded detection and capture. Ironically, it appears the Pakistanis – our stalwart allies in the War on Terror (wink, wink) -- knew where bin Laden was for almost five years.
Seymour Hersh, one of the greatest investigative journalists ever, has written a 10,000 word article for the London Review of Books that yanks the pretty wrapping paper from the official bin Laden story. The White House immediately issued a classic non-denial denial, meaning Obama’s spin-doctors ignored specifics and condemned the whole; numerous pundits have jumped on the bandwagon to discredit Hersh.
If Hersh’s sources are reliable, bin Laden was, for all intents and purposes, neutralized, under virtual house arrest by the Pakistanis. He wasn’t masterminding deadly Al Qaeda operations, and when the Seals blew his shit into the next world, he wasn’t armed, either. The most dangerous terrorist on the planet went down without a struggle. The Seals never came under fire.
The truth of the bin Laden raid is too mundane for the Pentagon and Hollywood. What was needed was a tale of American bravery and daring: the Pakistanis had no idea the US was coming, Osama bin Laden was armed to the teeth, the CIA located him with the help of “enhanced” interrogation techniques, etc.
Governments lie, they always have, they always will, and that is why an independent, inquisitive press is so vital in a democracy.