Alexander's Column

Bullet Points: OBL's Termination

Geronimo-EKIA -- One Victory in the Long War against Jihadistan

Mark Alexander · May 5, 2011
“[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.” –Benjamin Franklin
Navy SEALs

Osama bin Laden’s terrorist career was terminated with extreme prejudice on 2 May (apx Zulu+5) at his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. Though Barack Hussein Obama interrupted his golf game to claim credit for the mission (perhaps hoping the $25 million FBI reward would fund his 2012 campaign), reliable sources indicate the operation was actually carried out by one of the Navy’s four DEVGRU SMU Tier One SEAL teams, the Gold Squadron Jedis from Little Creek, Virginia, commanded by JSOC.

From their operation base in Jalalabad, the SEALs arrived at “Palm Beach,” under cover of night and Navy radar scramblers, aboard Razor 1 and 2, Stealth Hawk helicopters piloted by 160th Special Operations Aviation Regimental operators (Fort Campbell). Two Chinooks followed on for support. Within two minutes of abseiling onto the roof above Osama’s sleeping quarters, 12 SEALs forced entry, determined Osama’s location, and killed him as he was reaching for his AK-47.

According to our sources with SOCOM, the last thing that went through OBL’s mind before fading to black, were two high velocity 5.56mm rounds of justice from an M4, followed by an assurance round once he was down. The SEAL who fired this shots radioed the Commander, U.S. Special Operations, Adm. William McRaven, “For God and country, Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo. Geronimo, E.K.I.A. (Enemy Killed in Action).”

Allahu Akbar!

Turns out that OBL had been hiding in plain sight, though his compound was located just a short stroll from Pakistan’s national military academy, a few miles northeast of the nation’s capital of Islamabad (translates “Abode of Islam”). However, the SEAL assault was conducted with no official Pakistani assitance. In fact, despite Obama’s assertions about our “friends” there, sources told me that only a handful of “trusted Pakistani military leaders” were advised in order to ensure their forces “stayed clear any operations” less they suffer significant airborne “collateral damage” to neighboring military infrastructure.

Of note, however, according to CIA Director Leon Panetta, there was plenty of assistance from Gitmo detainees interrogated under Bush administration orders prior to 2007, mostly from one al-Qa'ida terrorist who was captured in Iraq (where as you may recall, the Democrats insisted there were no al-Qa'ida terrorists).

Osama had been living in his defensive compound since its custom construction for him in 2005. U.S. intel confirmed his whereabouts prior to December of 2009, by various methods, including the assistance of satellite imagery analysis of “the pacer,” Osama’s NRO nickname. Action was withheld for almost 18 months pending the collection of counterterrorism intelligence leading to other al-Qa'ida operatives. The success of many “hunt and kill” operations in Afghanistan, and other parts of the world, is directly attributable to surveillance of traffic in and out of Osama’s compound. Additionally, the after-action cleanup produced a mountain of intel from computers and other material collected at OBL’s compound.

That being the case, our military and intelligence sources question why Obama announced Operation Neptune Spear’s success (other than for its value as campaign fodder) because the information collected at OBL’s compound after the mission would have supported many additional specops against other key al-Qa'ida terrorists in the following weeks. Pakistan was certainly not going to announce Osama’s death…they claimed no knowledge of his whereabouts. His compound cohorts certainly would not have announced his death, and Osama’s body was not left at the scene for confirmation by anyone else. But Obama tipped al-Qa'ida off.

Osama’s death marks a long-awaited triumph for the United States, but it came much too late and at too high a price. Michael Scheuer, former CIA chief of the bin Laden hunt team, confirmed with great disdain that SpecOps had not one but two opportunities to kill OBL before 9/11. Yet with Osama literally in their sights, Bill Clinton ordered that we hold fire in both of those operations. Consequently, OBL’s 9/11 Jihadis were able to settle into our suburbs under Clinton’s watch.

Within hours of the operation’s success, OBL’s remains were dumped at sea (no doubt fodder for conspiracy theorists who will claim it was not Osama). However, as a rule of thumb, it’s always good to quickly dispose of the remains of enemy martyrs, as there is a direct correlation between the time one holds onto a corpse and the amount of insurrection stirred up in response.

So, now that OBL is out of the way, what next? Here are some bullet points to help distinguish between BHO’s rhetoric and the reality of asymmetric warfare.

1. What is the significance of OBL’s demise? Osama was a metaphor for Islamic terrorism around the world, most notably the al-Qa'ida brand and its franchises. While significantly symbolic, his death is a short-lived victory in the Long War. We must continue to prosecute vigorously against Jihadistan to ensure our National Security at home and critical national interests abroad. It is vital that we remain focused on who we fight and, no less so, why we fight.

As President George W. Bush outlined in his Doctrine of Pre-emption back at the dawn of Operation Enduring Freedom, “This is a long war, and we have a comprehensive strategy to win it. We’re taking the fight to the terrorists abroad, so we don’t have to face them here at home.” Fortunately, that doctrine was largely continued by BHO, however reluctantly and in contradiction with his “soaring” presidential campaign rhetoric.

The perennial question about this Long War strategy is how to balance our response to asymmetric threats versus symmetric threats – when do special operations suffice versus frontal assault. Al-Qa'ida and its manifestations are clearly asymmetric threats that will require SpecOps well into the future. But what do we do with the Taliban, and can we do it without 100,000 troops committed to Afghanistan?

For certain, OBL’s “capture or kill” file can now be closed, but we have a long list of al-Qa'ida leadership successors to terminate, including Osama’s heir apparent, Ayman Al-Zawahri in Pakistan, native son of New Mexico turned Jihadi terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, and Egyptian Saif al-Adel.

2. Who deserves the credit? The short answer is the operators who assaulted OBL’s compound – though you might not know it given the assertion of Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, that Obama’s (read: “Leon Panetta’s”) approval of the operation was “one of the … gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory.” (Indeed, a “very gutsy call” according to Sen. Diane Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intel Committee.) For the record, “gutsy” would describe the entirety of the SEAL Team operation, and particularly the point man on the final assault against OBL. It would not, however, describe a U.S. president putting other men in harm’s way from the safe and comfortable confines of the White House.

As to the question of whose policies should be credited with hunting down and killing Osama: If Obama, with full Narcissistic Personality Disorder in bloom, had not been so quick to claim credit, that question would be irrelevant. “Shortly after taking office, I [made] the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority,” he said Sunday night, though there is no evidence to back up his assertion. And apparently BHO is under the false impression that killing Osama was a low priority for the Bush administration since 12 September 2001. It was certainly not the top priority three years into OEF because OBL was no longer in control of al-Qa'ida. For once, BHO should have “blamed Bush,” for it was clearly the extension of Bush’s polices that resulted in the death of OBL. On the bright side, perhaps BHO will now take full responsibility for everything else happening on his watch, and stop blaming Bush!

By way of review, then-Senator Obama and later candidate Obama actually led the condemnation of the Bush administration for “torturing” 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other high-ranking al-Qa'ida terrorists. However, Obama used the results of those interrogations, after shooting water up their noses (waterboarding), to track down and execute the apparently unarmed Osama bin Laden without so much as reading him his rights and ensuring him due process of law in a New York courtroom. If BHO deserves any credit, it is for keeping Bush policies largely intact. (As for all the Leftmedia handwringing over the fact OBL was not armed when shot, as I recall, neither were the 2,977 Americans he murdered on 9/11.)

3. In his speech on OBL’s death, BHO claimed that in the aftermath of 9/11, “no matter what God we prayed to … we were united as one American family.” Actually, there were many instances of Muslims within the U.S. expressing elation over the attack. Even Obama’s “spiritual mentor” Jeremiah “G-D America” Wright, a close confidant of the Nation of Islam’s consummate anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan, claimed, “White America got a wake-up call after 9/11. White America … came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just disappeared as the great white West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.” “God Bless America?” asked Wright. “No, no, no, g-d d— America!”

Further, though Obama claimed that Osama did not represent Islam, he personally ordered that “the burial of bin Laden’s remains be done in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,” which means Osama was cleaned, wrapped in white, and lowered into the sea after a lengthy service under the supervision of a Muslim chaplain.

(Of course, it did not take long for SpecOps to make hay of his disposal at sea: At a favorite watering hole outside Hampton Roads, there is a new drink, “The Geronimo,” which contains two shots and a splash.)

Obama claimed, “We must also reaffirm that the United States is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.” That’s nice, but about 150 million Islamist adherents believe they are at war with us. As the imam at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque made clear this week, “Today the dogs of the West are rejoicing at the killing one of the lions of Islam. … We say to them, from Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the heart of the Caliphate, which, Allah willing, is soon to come: ‘Dogs should not rejoice at the killing of lions. A country of dogs will always remain a country of dogs, while the lion remains a lion, even after it is killed.”

Muslim street prayers in New York

4. From the “hypocrisy files”: Despite Obama’s claim that “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy,” BHO is making the celebrity campaign rounds this week touting his victory, including a photo-op stop at the hallowed memorial of Ground Zero, and countless media interviews. (Perhaps he can check on progress of the Ground Zero Mosque?) Though Obama has been to New York numerous times for other campaign events, this marks his first ever visit to the Ground Zero memorial.

Additionally, upon denying requests to release photos from the OBL raid, BHO said, “Imagine how the American people would react if al-Qa'ida killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet.” Memo to Barack: Al-Qa'ida has killed our troops (not to mention beheaded American citizens) “and has put photos (and videos) of the body on the internet” MANY times, but Americans have yet to strap on explosives and self-detonate amid crowds of Muslim civilians. Maybe Obama should ask families gathered for his Ground Zero stop how they felt about watching the collapse of the WTC towers upon their loved ones.

For the record, George Bush declined Obama’s invitation to join him at the Ground Zero today. Having some knowledge of W’s character, I conclude that, out of humility and respect for the victims of 9/11, he did not want to dignify BHO’s campaign stop.

Friday, BHO will make a stump appearance with SpecOps at Ft. Campbell, where he will assert that OBL’s death justifies his campaign promise to begin a troop drawdown this summer.

Typical of the hypocrisy from other Useful Idiots on the Left is the response from Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, when the Bush administration was hunting OBL, she concluded, “[E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. To capture him now I don’t think makes us any safer.” However, Monday she changed her tune: “The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qa'ida. I salute President Obama … in achieving this major accomplishment. … [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic.”

5. Speaking of “Useful Idiots,” while Obama is campaigning in New York this week, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, will be holding hearings on the “inappropriate and devastating” choice of “Geronimo” as the codename for the OBL mission. Seems appropriate to me, as Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache fugitive, evaded capture by U.S. forces for almost 30 years. Problem is, “Geronimo” was the name Mexicans gave to the Chiricahua leader whose real name was Goyaale, which means, “one who yawns.” Memo to Sen. Akaka: Do your homework. And hope they don’t catch wind that the Black Hawk helicopters used in the mission, like most helicopters in the U.S. inventory (Iroquois, Apache, Chinook, Kiowa, Creek, Lakota, etc.), also have Indian names, with the exception of the Black Hawk modified for BHO’s use, which is named “White Hawk.”

6. What is the reaction from other Western nations? It took less than a New York second for Euro-Socialists to condemn the killing of OBL. Europe’s leading newsmagazine and Germany’s top news site, Der Spiegel, led with this headline the day after OBL’s demise: Justice, American Style – Was Bin Laden’s Killing Legal?, expressing “serious doubts about whether the targeted killing was legal under international law and the laws of war.” Sounds like the kind of UN pandering we generally hear from BHO and Hillary Clinton. In any case, one wonders whether Der Spiegel would have raised the same concerns had Americans killed Der Fuhrer. Sauerkrauts!

In London, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams opined, “I think the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling.” Unfortunately for OBL, the feeling was fleeting.

And last, because al-Qa'ida must now assert its relevance in the absence of its symbolic leader, the success of the OBL mission elevates the danger of terrorist attack on CONUS or U.S. facilities and citizens abroad,. No doubt OBL has left a written and recorded message to be played posthumously, giving charge to his adherents.

As of this writing, according to unclassified accounts, the DoD, CIA and FBI have thwarted 38 planned al-Qa'ida attacks on the U.S. since 9/11. With continued vigilance, perhaps future Jihadi plans for attack will also be added to the “thwarted” category.

A closing note: Today is our National Day of Prayer. We have much for which to be thankful.