Here is former Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi on the importance AND insignificance of the late Osama bin Laden:
Then, September 7, 2006: “[E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done ... is done. And even to capture him now I don't think makes us any safer.”
Now: “The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. ... I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. ... [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic…”
Note the use of the word “historic.” Anything that happened yesterday is historic. This overused locution parallels the word “interesting” in modern times.
If your wife or GF, having dyed her hair blue with bright streaks of orange and yellow, asks you “What do you think of my hair do?” you are expected to show sufficient enthusiasm. In a pinch, you might mutter “Interesting,” but generally this will be regarded by your wife or GF as a failure of nerve, and you may expect the usual dressing down.
In using the word “historic,” a vacuous emotional place holder, Mrs. Pelosi was simply following political protocol: One of her aides had shoved a statement under her nose; she read it. We should not be too hard on her.
The truth is that, operationally, Mr. bin Laden was and is dispensable. He had outlived his usefulness. The occasional grainy videos had become… well, interesting.
The news media is now fluttering around the question: HOW was Mr. bin Laden dispatched.
Early propaganda from the White House had Mr. bin Laden cowering behind the skirts of his wife or possibly armed with a knife in his teeth or fingering a grenade in his pocket. The brave woman stepped forward; she was shot in the leg. Mr. bin Laden took a bullet above one of his eyes, creating a “gruesome” gash that has itself become problematic. Pictures were taken, apparently to convince terrorist doubters that the right man had been sent heavenward by Navy Seals.
It turns out that some of this was bunkum. Mr. bin Laden was unarmed. In the confusion of the moment, he had failed to raise his hands in surrender. Had he done so, his life would have been spared. Possibly he might have been transported to the United States and given a civil trial, as recommended by presidential campaigner Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, now a Hollywood lobbyist, and other Democrats who, at the time, favored wrapping terrorists in the rights and immunities available under the U.S. Constitution to non-terrorists citizens of the USA.
Among the people gathered at the White House watching the assault on the millionaire’s well fortified compound, a hand grenade’s throw from one of the principal military institutions in Pakistan, was the president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, et al. Mr. Dodd was addressing the Media Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based think tank and didn’t make the showing as a Hollywood guest. The group was watching the historic event IN REAL TIME, which means they likely saw Mr. bin Laden stubbornly refusing to surrender.
And yet, the news-shapers at the White House still got it wrong.
The gruesome gash left by that bullet hole in the forehead presents yet another problem.
Pictures of Mr. bin Laden after he had been assassinated had been taken. One shows Mr. bin Laden being deposited in the ocean. In deference to Islamic burial rites, the body was washed and wrapped in a shroud before being fed to the fishes. It appears that burial at sea was a faux pas; according to some Islamic scholars, the body should have been properly interred or delivered to a relative who might have accepted it. Another picture showing Mr. bin Laden’s facial wound is said to be GRUSEOME.
Should the pictures be released or not?
The United States has not developed a protocol concerning the publication of gruesome assassination pictures.
Perhaps Ms. Pelosi might be urged to venture her unscripted opinion on the matter.