Musadeq Sadeq/AP (A street scene in Kabul on Monday)
On Monday, after getting a few details about Sunday’s raid, my first thoughts went to the Hornet. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain.)
Of course there will be many questions arise out about this assassination of Osama bin Laden. One, was he in fact “assassinated?” I prefer to think so, so will call it that.Â Some say he was unarmed, shielded by a woman, while others say he was packing and refused to go quietly.
I think even the Obama team could find no profit in spiriting bin Laden back to Guantanamo. There had to be a kill order.
Whether that order was issued Sunday, or the previous Sunday is of no moment to me. But it will be to others…
…for as expected, a new group of conspiracy theorists will arise, every one of them already knowing the Acme Company Ready-to-Use Field DNA Test Kit had been rejected by Warner Bros as “too improbable” for their latest Wile E. Coyote cartoon. So no, they say, that “99.8 match” stuff won’t work with this bunch if Obama died this past Sunday.
They will hang on every inconsistency relating to the raid and build a pyramid on the internet before our very eyes…the permutations for the inconsistencies alone as to how Osama died, how he was buried, if it was in fact him, will spiral into the thousands by nightfall Thursday.Â “If not that, then why this…” is the mating call of the too-clever-by-half, so theÂ Birthers are finished…for awhile, and this bunch, the Deathers they will be called, will move center stage for awhile.
And the hamfisted inability of this administration’s various agency spokesmen in getting their stories straight will only subsidize this process of fertilizing these paranoid nitpickers in vitro.
Why can’t they get those stories straight?
(As we already know with the libels about the birth certificate, I foresee a great meeting of the minds here between true conspiracists, who are good at drawing out inconsistencies, but can’t draw a straight line toward a plausible conclusion if their lives depended on it,Â and old codgers who can…tell a phony cover story when they see one. I’m a big one for cover stories when a lie is involved. Use them all the time, in fact. I even approve of many lies, and unlike the birth certificate issue, can see many possible justifications for lying here. I just wish it were done more artfully…by sober grown-ups, preferably.)
The trivial aside, on a more serious note, and more importantly, questions will also arise as to whether there was any political purpose in the timing or manner of the raid?
Of course there was, but you may ask, why not? Everyone else does it.
Well, yes and no.
At best, this sort of up-tick in Obama’s sinking popularity (it’s so bad I’m told Kenyans are now saying he was born in America) is fleeting, less we forget how quickly 911 was to Democrats. It only took them 3-4 days to walk out of their love-in with the Oneness of America, going back to the drawing board to continue dividing it.
I’m afraid the killing of one symbolic figurehead doesn’t have fifteen months worth of legs to overcome the broad array of negatives Obama’s performance in office has earned him. My next fill-up will be Friday.
So then, consider the potential downside of political acts not entirely thought out, as they can be powerful in the other direction.
Which brings me to the Hornet.
Let me explain.
On April 18, 1942, only four months after Pearl Harbor, 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet to drop their loads over Tokyo.
A failure as a military raid, but with huge morale consequences to both the American and Japanese people at each end of the benefits spectrum, it was a closely guarded secret, not just before, but well after the raid.
The original New York Times report, on the 19th, said they had launched from the Shangri La (a fictional ship). And the Hornet was accompanied by a task force of heavy cruisers and destroyers, and one more carrier, the Enterprise, who flew air cover, and their names, too, were a closely guarded secret as they returned to Pearl a week later. There was a reason. You see, we knew the Japanese military took such things personally.
But they were spotted, and by the end of 1942 6 of the original 16 of the Doolittle Raid Task Force had been sunk, the Hornet specially targeted. She was sunk by two attacks at the Battle of Santa Cruz Island, 26 October, 1942. A lot of seamen died.
It’s my understanding that Islamists, like the Japanese, take these things personally. But already, just three days after this raid, (or ten, no matter) too much is already known about an event…units, names? families?, with photos to follow?…which probably never needed to be revealed at all.
I can think of all sorts of intel and military benefits in never revealing that we had “got him” at all…I sure didn’t need to know, nor feel a bit better because of it…which far outweigh the few purely political purposes in letting the world know even the slightest amount of news.
For a man and regime that has been built entirely on symbolism, it’s entirely understandable why they would put so much stock in wanting to publicly kill another symbol of equal value, but quite frankly, the rest of our lives are not much affected, as we’ll shortly find out, when we have to fill up again. I never cared who killed J.R., either. Or JFK, or Princess Di. But I do care about the price at pump.
So, the potential negatives far outweigh these forays into childish symbolism, and Obama may yet rue the day.
If I had had my way, I’d have announced that the raid had been carried out by Cmdr Aragorn and 40 Volunteers of Dunharrow, arriving in Pakistan flying Corsairs. Then let the few mullahs who can actually read figure out the rest.