Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bin Laden Dead

As more of the details of the Bin Laden killing come out it looks like we need to extend our congratulations backwards to any of our classmates in particular, and our military, intelligence and political community more broadly, who set the conditions to make the operation successful. Anyone who played a part in the capture and interrogation of KSM that led to the identification of the courier that proved the vital piece of evidence to get Bin Laden deserves our thanks, as well as those who made the difficult decisions to authorize the success of that intelligence-gathering effort in spite of vicious criticism.

It also appears from public accounts of those in the know that some of the changes in procedure made by officers like Stan McChrystal in the early-to-mid 2000s paid dividends long after his departure. I suspect he is the type of guy who doesn't really care whether we thank him or not, and I doubt he gets the call of thanks from this administration, but I believe we should remember his efforts and those of his proteges.

And even those of us who have not been supporters of our current president should be wise enough to extend our congratulations and realize that even though he was given the full plate, he had to make the tough decision. Obama was surely aware that the last time we knew exactly where Bin Laden was (1998) we could not muster the political courage to order his death and the result was Sept. 11th. He most likely did not want to repeat that failure in leadership and while we will learn over time how long he dithered or what conditions were put on the raid, for the time being we owe him a well-done.