Readers Doubt We'll Catch Bin Laden
Craig Whitlock writes from Pakistan this morning that U.S. and Pakistani officials have discerned that their inability to develop informants who can lead them to Osama bin Laden isn't getting the job done. They have decided to rely more on unmanned drones to fire missiles into suspected al-Qaeda positions.
This news, as we approach the seventh anniversary of 9/11, has caused our Readers Who
Comment to take a rather skeptical view of the change in tactics. Some wonder if it isn't geared to the upcoming national election -- seeing the capture or killing of bin Laden as a political benefit for Republicans. Several worry about "collateral damage," the euphemism employed to describe strikes that kill friendly forces or civilians. A number of comments note that going after bin Laden was Job One before President Bush decided to invade Iraq.
Finally, one reader blames the Post for reporting the change in tactics and thus tipping off al Qaeda to something I suspect it has already figured out.
We'll start with nestmaster, who wrote, "Yeah, right. Bin Laden is going to be caught/killed because drone strikes have moved into the dozens in a year? We didn't get him before due to a lack of boots on the ground and less than needed determination. Results speak louder than words."
MikeMcNally said, "I see Bush has taken Barack Obama's advice again. It's nice to see a true intelligent leader again, not a bunch of lying little children that have been running the US for the past eight years."
And Pepto-Bismol suggested that "Now Bush has adopted all of Obama's foreign policy and terror war views. Logical handoff come January therefore is Obama."
But YouSee had a somewhat different spin, asking, "Are we gonna' catch this Osama guy just in time for the eve of election?"
And ronrod17509 said, "This is political hogwash. They have had these drones for years, why, now, in the waning days of the Bush presidency has the hunt for Osama Bin Laden suddenly become so urgent?... I predict they will find Osama Bin Laden and kill him or capture him before the November elections..."
motiv8ed wrote that "John McCain has stated, "I will go to the gates of hell to get Osama bin Laden" and "I know how to get him."
Why then hasn't he shared this information with those in a position to act on it..."
SGlover910 said, "Great. So we can blow up lots more wedding parties, kill lots more civilians (any male corpses, we call "militants"), and keep on doing Osama's recruiting for him!..."
treetopflyer wondered "What is the signal lag between a drone and its controller back here in the States?... Is the delay enough for someone to fire at a terrorist, but hit civilians? Is the effectiveness and ability of this system to single out hostile targets as opposed to innocent civilians being oversold?"
Speaking of collateral damage, July_4th_1776 wrote, "I don't care how they do it, and don't care how many "innocents" get blown away while going after Osama Bin Laden. Since suicide belts and car bombs used liberally by terrorists doesn't seem to bother them, why should some collateral damage bother us...."
But lichtme wrote, "...this Terminator 1 approach will surely bag Bush 100s of innocent civilians! go get 'em Christian Soldiers! gotta kill fast to bring on the End Times!"
But savetheworld0879 said, "You-kill-my-son-Ill-kill-your-son approach, huh? Times have chamged. We are not living in 5000 B.C any more. Loss of innocent lives CANNOT be justified in the name of revenge, for revenge is for the evil minded."
notabeliever wrote, "Only took 7 years to change the course. What a bunch of bumbling idiots."
webg said, "To give bin Laden a fair chance, I guess it's good that the Washington Post printed our new strategy for catching him."
We'll close with jccrandell, who asked, "...So how much money have we spent on this search for the Arabian Waldo while our economey sinks lower? Did he say that his purpose on September 11, was to destroy the American economy? Mission accomplished."
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