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Does CIA Assassination of Bin Laden Make Obama a Shoo-In for 2012?

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As readers know, I’m not fan of the Obama Administration, but its success in killing Osama bin Laden, just announced on multiple news services and the subject of an imminent Presidential announcement, would seem to be a major positive for the beleagured chief executive. At this juncture, the Washington Post headline, “Source: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead, US in possession of body; Obama to speak Sunday night,” says more than the article:

Al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden is dead and the United States has his body, a person familiar with the developments says.

President Barack Obama is expected to make that announcement from the White House late Sunday night.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak ahead of the president.

How does this development change the election dynamics for 2012? Does this, as some correspondents have suggested, give Obama a lock for 2012, or could a flagging economy undo the boost he will get from this success? How does this change the prospects for various Republican presidential candidates?

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177 comments

  1. eightnine2718281828mu5

    Donald Trump will be on tv in the next few minutes telling us how proud he is for having pulled this off.

    1. Andrew not the Saint

      He will also send a $1T bill to the Afghanis, payable in oil or gas.

    2. lambert strether

      If proof were needed that 2012 is going to be even more vile and degrading than 2008 were needed, framing OBL’s death as a political riposte to Trump provides it.

      In fact, the #trump framing is so universal that one can almost believe that Obama delayed the announcement to pre-empt the Apprentice.

    3. Cedric Regula

      I’m afraid it will depend on how many Osama sightings we get between now and election day. It happened to Elvis, it can happen to bin Laden.

  2. Deus-DJ

    Yes, I just said this on my facebook status…there is no way a conservative could make an argument against his commander in chief credentials now. He’s a shoe-in, period.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      «It’s the economy, stupid.» as the saying goes. This wont help him very much if the economy doesn’t improve for most of the people before the election.
      The good news is that at least bin Laden can’t make another video to influence the US elections as he allegedly did in 2004.

      1. MsnDC

        Perfect point- Bush One had a spectacular win against Hussein, that time periods’ personification of a to powerful nationalistic Arab, it couldn’t be savored long enough to beat an unknown governor of an inconsequential state like Arkansas. However, this might be different as OBL was on our radar for 10 years and a direct threat to the U S. Obama best move is to underplay this mission, keep pumping the military with unnecessary weaponry, and divert the population from the bigger threat which is financial unregulation, pay for play politics.
        But two observations are: the audacity of a daytime mission; Bush Two is now thoroughly the worst President this country has ever witnessed. I wouldn’t be surprised is the 25 million on OBL head was saaved as well.

    2. lambert strether

      Facebook is so over. Twitter is where it’s at now. In RL, the effect will be zip for 2012. If winning an entire war didn’t re-elect Bush I, then killing one guy won’t re-elect Obama.

      The only real effect will be to let Obama’s rump Ds kick out any leftists that remain in the party. That’s actually a good thing.

      1. CE

        Bush I is definitely the right comparable (Foreign success, domestic failure) but Saddam Hussein came out of no where and that whole war never had any element of difficulty associated with it. The hunt for OBL has been ten years long and is associated with the most or second most traumatic event in our nation’s history.

  3. Dave of Maryland

    Did they brag the day after they killed Jesus? I wonder.

    Since you asked. Net effect on the election: Zip. Nobody’s buying that manure.

    1. Deus-DJ

      Liberals will still dislike Obama for being a complete tool when it comes to financial regulation of any sort, but the hatred against Obama will slightly lessen due to this and that will make the difference.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        Osama dead is bread & circuses, except we ain’t got no bread.

        I don’t care what the news is. SHOW ME THE MONEY.

        1. Dave of Maryland

          Now I read they dumped the body at sea.

          Game. Set. Match. The story is as phony as a $3 bill.

          Who, precisely, identified the body? How, exactly, did he do that? What concrete evidence did they remove from the corpse? Where is that evidence, now?

          This was a body, remember, which had been forcibly killed. Meaning, shot bullets in its direction. Or maybe flying shrapnel.

          This was a face which hadn’t been seen in public for years. This was traditionally a heavily bearded man. Beards obscure most facial features.

          But, no matter. Hours, or maybe a single day after the execution, the body was dumped. Not in grave, where it could be exhumed, but at sea, where it would be lost forever. And in the meanwhile the Brave & Resolute Obama – who never had a draft card, and so who cannot be called a coward, like Bush or Cheney, cannot produce a

          SINGLE SCRAP OF HARD EVIDENCE !!!

          Scuttlebut was that Osama died years ago of kidney failure at a hospital in Pakistan. Ask Robert Fisk.

          1. Paul Tioxon

            http://gdayworld.thepodcastnetwork.com/2009/05/20/seymour-hersh-talks-about-cheneys-death-squads/

            Pakistan is being defanged, a nuclear free zone, by virtue of failing as a state, its weapons are placed beyond reach, under the guard of The US MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT PER NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947, AS REVISED, THE DE FACTO AND DE JURE 4TH BRANCH OF THE US GOVERNMENT.

            In order to decode the Bin Laden saga, stop thinking that we are executing US policy and start thinking that we have been dragged into a Pakistani-India Cold War. Anything that happened to us is collateral damage in the fight to the death between those 2 countries. Pakistan falls apart at the seams, as India becomes more powerful, wealthier and closely aligned with the US, in ways it has never been before. Meanwhile, Pakistan murders its pre emminent political figures at an alarming rate, has a standing foreign army and CIA drone base operating on its soil, all but hanging a sign around its neck, that it no longer functions as a nation state, and is a ward of US Military commanders.

            India’s intel service provided these detail through its state of the art IT industry we are so well aware of to spy on communications coming from Pakistan’s military when it flew planes into Tora Bora to evac their own military and Osama Bin Laden as well. See today’s New Yorker for Sy Hersch reports from almost 10 years ago on this matter.

            What did or did not really happen will be difficult to decipher in the immediate days. Bin Laden is definitely dead, no matter when or how it actually happen, that fact is now being used. What it will be used for will be seen in the coming days and weeks as new policy and budget initiatives surface for public viability. To be sure, the firing of the former Commander of the Joints Special Operations Command, Gen Mc Chrystal played a part in this. By either putting in an effective commander who would go in and kill Bin Laden in Pakistan, in the midst of Paki Military Command bases or be willing to go along with his death now, after the fact of his real death when ever it may have happened, the right man for this job was not Stanley McChrystal.

            This is a huge win for Obama’s administration, his re-election, and the get the fuck out of that part of the world factions in Congress.

        2. Cynthia

          Apparently Empire Obama failed to learn from his Roman predecessors that you can’t win over the masses by numbing their minds with circus tricks without first filling their bellies with breadcrumbs. Otherwise, he would know to feed the masses a happy meal before showing them this flying trapeze act straight out of Abbottabad, Pakistan.

  4. PQS

    Oh, I can’t wait to see how the RW twists this around into a failure of some kind. That will be quite a show.

    And I agree that this is a huge feather in the re-election cap, BUT if the economy doesn’t improve pretty measurably, nobody will be thinking about it at election time. Americans, like everybody I suppose, vote with their wallets. And their wallets are pretty light right now.

    1. earnyermoney

      Love the progressive hypocrisy with this story. It only took intelligence from Gitmo to identify the couriers that lead to the compound 10 years later. Bush installed the infrastructure that Obama leveraged to kill this thug.

      This story means squat for 2012. $1 Trillion dollars from the bankstas will ensure Obama’s election even with the economy in the crapper.

    1. Deus-DJ

      True, but if you’re a conservative saying this then you’re a piece of sh1t, just FYI.

        1. Deus-DJ

          No, because conservatives would and have said the opposite(taken credit) for something someone else did if they were the ones in power.

    2. KFritz

      If there were a disaster on BHO’s watch, you’d replicate this evaluation, right? (-;(-;(-;

      Word has it that Leon Panetta’s marching orders were to find bin Laden. Whatever one thinks of Obama’s other apppointments (as little as possible, here), Panetta is one of America’s most capable civil servants. It’s gratifying to compare his performance to the ideologically based ineptitude of the Bush Admin.

      All the best Mr. Panetta is his new post @ the Pentagon!

      In fairness, Hillary Clinton @ State, Lisa Jackson @ EPA, & Susan Rice @ the UN, have all had moments of competence, if not brilliance.

      1. attempter

        If there were a disaster on BHO’s watch

        Exactly what has happened on Obama’s watch which hasn’t been a disaster for the productive people and humanity in general (as opposed to the criminal vermin)?

  5. Peripheral Visionary

    Aggressively pursuing the war in Afghanistan has been one of the few points where Obama and the various Republican hopefuls agree, so I don’t think this changes the calculus much. It could change things if Obama makes moves to begin withdrawing out of Afghanistan, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

    The reality is that the campaign right now is focused on economic and budgetary issues first and foremost, with some other issues like immigration and regulation being distant seconds. This barely qualifies as an issue at this point.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Here is commentary from just before public awareness of the Bin Laden Killing. An excerpt from Immanuel Wallerstein monthly writings.

      “At the moment, here is where we stand on the race for the presidency. Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate. He is unchallenged within the party. The Republican picture is quite the opposite. There are ten to twelve candidates for the nomination, and not one of them is a clear favorite. The party race is wide open.

      What does that mean for foreign policy? Ron Paul is seeking the nomination. In 2008, he had almost no support at all. Now he is doing much better in the campaigning. This is in part because of his strong positions on fiscal policies, but his positions on the war are attracting attention. In addition, a new candidate has entered the ring. He is Gary Johnson, former Republican Governor of New Mexico. Also a libertarian, he is even stronger on the war issues than Paul. Johnson calls for total and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

      Given the wide spread of support for the various potential candidates, there are undoubtedly going to be television programs where all the Republican candidates will speak and debate. If Johnson makes the war issue his big campaign argument, this ensures that all the Republican candidates will have to address it.

      Once that happens, we will discover that the so-called Tea Party Republicans are deeply split on the war involvements. Suddenly, the whole of the United States will be debating this issue. Barack Obama will find that the centrist position he has been trying to maintain has suddenly moved leftwards. In order to remain a centrist, he too will have to move left.

      This will be a major turning-point in U.S. politics. The idea that the troops should come home will become a serious possibility. Some will fume with anger because the United States will thus be exhibiting weakness. And in some ways this will be true. It is part of U.S. decline. What it will remind U.S. politicians, however, is that fighting wars requires serious support in public opinion. And in this combination of geopolitical and economic pressures that everyone is feeling, war-weariness is a very serious factor from here on in.”

      http://www.iwallerstein.com/warweariness-united-states/

      The implications are clear, we are out of Iraq in toto, and we can not afford to stay in AfPak with Bin Laden dead. This is a automatic budget cut of extraordinary military line items on the budget. He can tell the rep to kiss his “I just toppled Al Qweda and you din NOT accomplish the mission” ass. Hopefully, the money will go to direct cash rebates next tax season. I’m hoping for $2000/married couple.

        1. kares

          For those with short memories, Wallerstein was wrong on Israel; I remember him writing in the Nation that the Israeli occupation was going to end just like in Rhodesia, oh, around 1976 or so. Well meaning fellow, but discountable “futurist.” Voted for Ralph since he chose to run. and the country has gone down hill since.

  6. Glen

    Will not do much of anything for Obama in 2012. He’ll win that because Republicans will run a nut job.

    But both Obama and Republicans seems to be bound and determined to kiss Wall St a$$ and send our country down the tubes.

    So it’s not like it matters that much who wins.

  7. Gregor

    Predictions 2012: (1) People who are brainwashed to vote republican will vote republican regardless of candidate. (2) People who are brainwashed to vote democrat will vote democrat regardless of candidate. (3) The 5% of people who would actually consider switching their vote will be regarded as insane by the 95% of Americans who are brainwashed to vote only one way.

  8. Spooky Gloofus

    Maybe the CIA whipped out the body, as planned, at the right time, which turned out to be now.

    1. lambert strether

      From the Department of No! They Would Never Do That!

      NOTE I’m pleased to see DeusDJ’s ubiquitous faithiness in our current political economy. It restores my belief in human nature. Of a sort.

      1. Deus-DJ

        There is nothing to suggest that is the case…if there was then all the conspiracy theories are welcome. O/w, like I said, whatever makes him sleep at night.

  9. Paul Tioxon

    Obama was a shoe in for the Presidency when capitalism did not put the USA at the bottom of the sea with Atlantis when Wall St self destructed over 3 years ago. The Great Nationalization will receive fresh funding from the peace dividend now that the war on terror is over. Paul Ryan’s budgetary assumption are as relevant as our presence in the AfPak theater. And an awful lot of Orly Taitz next book will be in rewrite for it’s nEw title: “THE MAY SURPRISE: HOW THE DEMOCRATS CONSPIRED TO USE THE MILITARY TO PROTECT THE REPUBLIC AGAINST THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION.”

    1. Lil'D

      Perhaps we should get a pool on when the first of these hits the stands… in fact, perhaps we should hold a competition; let’s each submit one & use the proceeds for 9/11 families

  10. Vesta

    I’m not pleased with Obama either but I think this news makes him a lock for another 4 years. This capture, dead or alive, justifies all the military action going on over there: the drones, the CIA hits, Blackwater and other contractors.

    It keeps the remaining troops over there and justifies building more embassies and stealing their natural resources and minerals.

    I don’t think We the People even count in the grand scheme of things unless we collectively hit the streets. What Pol is going to be able to “top” this in a year, short of Obama taking away SS and Medicare?

  11. Dirk77

    I’ve given up trying to guess where this country is going and nothing that happens in DC surprises me anymore. All I wonder about is whether this means a decrease or increase in the SMIC (Security-MIC). I hope for the former, but again nothing will surprise me.

  12. scharfy

    Unless there’s a violent double-dip. He’s in.

    Plus the Repubs have no candidate.

    Hopefully Osama can lie for eternity with the Infidels.

    Good job Barrack.

  13. Ridiculous

    Black Nixon, at this moment, is out Bush-ing Bush with a poignant “it was all worth it” chanting. All worth the dead bodies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the total hell we’ve created, the massive wasting of resources and treasure to blow the shit out of the natives to control their resources? Yes. God bless us.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s an insult to Nixon!

      1. He was in favor of a negative income tax (thought it would be cheaper to administer than welfare)

      2. He did got to China

      3. He was a piece of work, psychologically speaking, which gives him an excuse for his really bad behavior

      4. He did think deeply about foreign policy, while I don’t think Obama has ever thought deeply about anything, despite all the fawning commentary about how smart he is

  14. Rex

    I just saw on the TV machine, a big group of people are gathered outside the White House, cheering like we just won the big game.

    Osama probably deserved it more than most of the people we have killed for mom and apple pie, but I find it a bit twisted to see this level of public celebration.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree, the cheering is really disturbing. As the Israelis say: “Love your enemy, for you will become him.”

      1. Salviati

        It reminds me of the end of the brilliant Verhoeven movie Starship Troopers.

        If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s special.

    2. Andrew not the Saint

      One Osama Bin Laden was killed today, a thousand more were born.

    3. Mel

      Cheering people have votes too. He’ll probably pick up independents that want a strong leader, and don’t want to take the risk of decoding complicated and potentially tricky policy statements.

      It also gives him cred as a leader who can get things done, even without a lot of PR, hoo-hah and rah-rah. He can argue that the economy isn’t fully recovered, but after eight years of looting it has to take time to come back.. and he’ll bring it back, like he always does. Perhaps the steps his administration took were a little too much like the looting itself to really suit y’all, but the argument has legs, and ought to convince a few more people now than it would have before.

    1. ce

      At the very least it gives Obama more political capital, he may or may not have the power to do better things with the additional power and credibility he’ll have now.

      1. attempter

        Yes, he was waiting for a better situation than the first months of 2009 when he had an electoral mandate for radical change, Wall Street was tottering, the Republicans were down for the count and demoralized, the MSM was waiting for its marching orders, his party held both houses of Congress, and therefore he and the Democrats had de facto one-party rule to enact anything they chose.

        Yes, you’re right, he couldn’t do “better things” then. He didn’t do then and since nothing but exactly what he wanted to do. But he’ll have “additional power and credibility” now which he didn’t have then to do all the better things he’s always secretly wanted to do, but which he mysteriously didn’t do then.

        Mental illness in this form, the infinite delusions of the “progressives”, is the real mystery.

        1. Rex

          Well he has some cred and breathing room now, so he can get serious about fixing the national debt with some wicked slash and burn on the peons.

          The sheeple should lie on the tracks quietly while they’re all happy about his new found machoness.

          1. attempter

            Yes, the corporate liberal swine will certainly play this up all they can to misdirect liberals in general (most of whom are chickenhawks) away from his worst policy crimes.

            It continues to amaze how liberals are exactly the same as the non-rich conservatives in books like What’s the Matter With Kansas? Brain-dead partisans of one of two identical criminal parties, almost effortlessly duped into supporting and voting against their interests.

        2. CE

          attempter, I guess its just my belief that Obama is a political animal who makes political calculations based on the varying political pressures that surround him. This event certainly changes those pressures, and maybe dramatically.

          It may not last long, but for the moment, Obama will get a poll boost that will lessen the chorus of criticism against him. He’s getting a ton of positive analysis on the news networks right now. I think its fair to say that a changed environment in Washington will yield changed leverage. Given room, I expect Obama to take it. Lets see what happens. Watching these emotional late night street interviews on CNN its hard not to think that just like “9-11 changed everything” maybe “9-11 Closure changes everything” is just as apt, even if it could never match the impact of the fall of the twin towers.

          1. attempter

            I think its fair to say that a changed environment in Washington will yield changed leverage.

            What could possibly be more of a changed environment than the environment from November 2008-January 2009? But from literally the day after the election Obama made suppressing this environment and continuing the entire Bush agenda his top priority. So it’s insane to expect anything different from this triviality.

            Obama’s a political animal? Then why didn’t he and the Democrats smash Wall Street and corporate power once and for all? Why didn’t they enact the policies the people actually want? Because Obama’s a corporatist ideologue and a status quo elitist, and he exalts these even above politics. The Democrats in general proved that they’d rather lose their congressional majorities than enact popular policies, because they hate the people. This is a principle transcending political advantage for them.

            Obama’s clearly a conscious Republican at heart. His entire policy agenda proves it. And all the evidence, for example in the NYT magazine piece, demonstrates how much he hates the Democratic party. Not just the “progressive” wing, but the whole thing. So his political animalism went only as far as attaining the presidency. From then on he’s seen himself as nothing but a servant of corporate elites, regardless of political advantage or disadvantage.

          2. CE

            attempter (couldn’t reply to your post for some reason), Obama couldn’t smash Wall Street because they got him elected, just like any other President our current system could yield. That’s the nature of the beast right now, right?

            He’ll have more leverage for a limited amount of time. I don’t imagine he’ll do anything dramatic with it, but in our current political environment I hope for small changes that make a difference rather than impossible large changes (like smashing wall street? Cmon).

          3. attempter

            Wall Street got him elected? So did “progressives”, and he’s taken great pleasure in kicking them in the teeth. (I must admit they deserve it on account of their cowardice and slavishness.)

            So Wall Street among others got him elected – so then he was elected. What does the one have to do with what you do subsequently? News flash: Politicians sell out their campaign supporters all the time. (I refer you again to those wretched “progressives”.) It’s rather pathetic that you don’t know that.

            smashing wall street? Cmon

            Why not? In Obama’s position I would have. By now Wall Street would no longer exist, and America would be free.

            But it’s clear that a world not tyrannized by the banksters is as utterly incomprehensible to you as it is to Sein Fuhrer.

      2. lambert strether

        Obama never had more “political capital” than immediately after he was elected. Look what he did with it. He’ll use this new infusion to double down on everything he did then.

  15. Psychoanalystus

    >>> How does this development change the election dynamics for 2012? Does this, as some correspondents have suggested, give Obama a lock for 2012, or could a flagging economy undo the boost he will get from this success? <<<

    This is definitely an Obama lock for 2012. Now that Bin Laden is dead, Obama is certain to immediately stop the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen, he will surely dismantle the DHS, scale back the TSA, and half the DoD and CIA budgets, saving us trillions in the process. All that money saved will undoubtedly be reinvested in rebuilding this country’s crumbling infrastructure, fully fund our public schools, hire more policemen, and expand Medicaid and Medicare to cover the 50+ million Americans without insurance. This will unquestionably lead to a miraculous economic recovery and a new century of unparalleled American prosperity.

    I am pretty sure all this will happen right away…lol

    Psychoanalystus

  16. Rowe

    Wouldn’t it have been far more interesting to have him alive?
    He could write a book: ” Here’s how I did all those things !”

    1. P

      Im kinda glad they didnt get him alive. I mean where would we try him and regardless of fairness it would create the appearance of a show trial in much of the world. I dont really think anything good could come of his capture.

      1. ambrit

        Fiendes;
        Absolutely right. He might have told the world who in the Arab States supported him, the real story of Tora Bora, and some amusing anecdotes about the late Charlie Wilson. The man would have been too much of an embarresment to let live. Now we’re left with “the official version” of binLadens career. Don’t forget, just like Saddam Hussein, he used to be our man on the scene.

  17. dameocrat

    he will do well with the prowar prowallstreet neocon type of dems that already tended to like him. It is a wash with liberals and independents.

  18. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Wow.
    No clue what it means for 2012.
    It’ll be interesting to see how different media outlets cover it.

    I doubt we’ll ever get all the puzzle pieces, but it seems rather odd that after all these years of the Pakistanis being unable to locate bin Laden, suddenly the man actually turns up. Something very weird must have occurred behind the scenes.

    1. Andrew not the Saint

      Not only turns up, he turns up on the doorstep of Islamabad, the capital.

      Maybe he was hiding across the US embassy all along.

      1. Dikaios Logos

        He was not on Islamabad’s step, where he was killed is farther, in all senses of the world, from Islamabad than Greenwich is from New York or Langley is from Washington. But still, someone else’s concerns were disregarded. But they might as likely be US concerns as Pakistani.

  19. Ashley

    Jesus, can’t you sharks put away your teeth for one day? Let’s just have 24 freaking hours to celebrate that this mass murderer is finally dead and his terrorist organization just suffered a serious loss.

    We can continue the blood bath on May 2nd.

    1. FatCat II

      Maybe you should grow up and realize that OBL was simply a front man, as are all the other actors on the public stage, for a group of very evil humans.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      We happen to be waging a war in three countries. I don’t see this assassination as bringing our troops home any sooner. And we killed a LOT of civilians with drones in Pakistan, with OBL as one of the excuses.

      The word on the sites I read was that OBL was far less influential than he used to be. This event has far more PR than substantive value.

      1. CE

        You can call it PR, but I think this event has a lot of symbolic power. I think not capturing OBL really was the source of cynicism for so many people, and if you believe in fuzzy things like a national cynicism maybe our nation as a whole will benefit from an act that is undeniably positive as that cynicism abates.

        1. Rex

          “I think not capturing OBL really was the source of cynicism for so many people”

          Well, personally, I don’t care much what those people think. Anyone who was still bothered about the fact we hadn’t squashed OBL yet will happily dance to the tune of what ever melodrama gets shove into their empty heads next.

        2. attempter

          You think the people shouldn’t be cynical toward the kleptocracy, as a stage toward total rejection of it? You hope this non-event hinders the evolution of cynicism and therefore prolongs the crimes and the agony?

          You sound like a Goebbels Ministry cadre.

        3. DownSouth

          CE said: “…I think this event has a lot of symbolic power…”

          That’s the only power it has. A viewing of Adam Curtis’ movie The Power of Nightmares is certainly in order here. Curtis makes a fairly strong case that bin Laden’s value to the Bush administration never was anything but symbolic, that his importance, as well as that of Al Qaeda, were fabrications of the Bush administration.

          That said, symbolic thinking, when it comes to human social organization, is of utmost importance. We could not organize ourselves into nation-states without it. Some observations:

          1) Human beings are the only animals capable of symbolic thought.

          2) Symbolic thought is a key ingredient in social organization on a mass scale.

          3) Bin Laden has symbolic value for people outside the US, so it will be interesting to see whether, in the long run, his ‘martyrdom’ will have more symbolic value for them or for us.

          4) Bin Laden’s death, other than symbolic, has little connection to events on the ground. As Joseph Stalin famously said: “How many divisions has the Pope?”

          5) Symbolic thinking can depart from factual reality, but it cannot depart from practical reality. The impact of Bin Laden’s death on factual reality is miniscule. The impact of Bin Laden’s death on practical reality is yet to be determined.

        4. pebird

          Symbolic power only retains power as long as the symbols repeat. That is why you have to hear ads over and over again.

      2. Andrew not the Saint

        After 2001 the Al-Qaeda, the American-named group of ~200 people were pretty much routed. All the news you hear about Al-Qaeda since are some random bunch of people who believe in the same cause (or just random folks fullstop).

        Now that he’s killed as a martyr he WILL be a big influence to the disgruntled Muslim youth.

      3. Minh

        It’s just another show, like the killing of Sadam. If you know somebody that really understand the physics of freefall movement of the three WTC buildings, no matter how many shows you made, it’s futile. I haven’t seen any truther to reverse his belief on LIHOP or MIHOP hypothesis.

        But Obama chance to reelection may just be a little better than of George Bush in 92. It’s the economy …

        Let’s see how silver/gold move after this show.

    3. paper mac

      Jesus Christ, you people are deluded. In order to deal OBL’s terrorist organisation (which the US indirectly financed and armed) a “serious loss”, they’ve created literally dozens of new ones, killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, and ensured that much of the middle east and central asia will be in violent turmoil for decades. Congrats, break out the fucking champagne, Pyrrhus!!

    4. Dameocrat

      Nobody is stopping you from partying if that is how you feel. Why hunt for nonconformists on the web?

    5. attempter

      Let’s just have 24 freaking hours to celebrate that this mass murderer is finally dead and his terrorist organization just suffered a serious loss.

      So one giant mass murderer killed a far lesser murderer. Whoop-de-do.

      As for any terrorist organization suffering a serious loss, you’re just demonstrating your ignorance. The bin Laden version of al-qaida hasn’t been operationally significant or provided organizational leadership in many years. Their significance, such as it still was, has long been merely symbolic and propagandistic.

      Like I said in another comment, if anything the most important result of this will be to provide a propaganda boost for the flagging jihadist movement in general.

    6. LeeAnne

      Show me the money.

      ‘… the body’s been buried at sea.’ There was every opportunity for doing the deed with irrefutable proof of time, place, and method of death, evidence and witnesses that should have been simultaneous with the announcement and demanded by responsible media.

      That’s sure to come. But don’t hold y9ur breathl.

      Any assassination announcement as flashy as this one in the middle of a quiet Sunday night without proof can only be because there is no proof.

      I fully expect an announcement that to celebrate this event and prove immediate benefits to the American people and people all over the world who want to travel in dignity, with their civil rights in tact, that naked body scanning them and groping them at the airports have ended.

      ‘the war on terrorism is over.’

      There should be no problem proving that. I’m with Psychoanalystus on this one.

      …for starters.

      This is definitely an Obama lock for 2012. Now that Bin Laden is dead, Obama is certain to immediately stop the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen, he will surely dismantle the DHS, scale back the TSA, and half the DoD and CIA budgets, saving us trillions in the process. All that money saved will undoubtedly be reinvested in rebuilding this country’s crumbling infrastructure, fully fund our public schools, hire more policemen, and expand Medicaid and Medicare to cover the 50+ million Americans without insurance. This will unquestionably lead to a miraculous economic recovery and a new century of unparalleled American prosperity.

      I am pretty sure all this will happen right away…lol

      Psychoanalystus

  20. KnotRP

    Does Obama have a lock on 2012?

    Choose and perish!

    What do you mean, choose? We don’t understand!

    Choose! Choose the form of the Destructor!

    Oh, I get it. Real cute! [to the others] Whatever we think of– if we vote for J. Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover will appear and destroy us, OK? So empty your heads, don’t think of anything. We’ve only got one shot at this.

    The choice is made!

    Whoa! Hold on!

    The next President has come!

    Nobody chose anything! Did you choose anything?

    No.

    Did you?

    My mind is totally blank.

    I didn’t choose anything.

    Ray?

    I couldn’t help it. It just popped in there.

    What? What “just popped in there?”

    I–I–I tried to think…

    Look!

    No! It can’t be!

    What is it?

    It can’t be!

    What did you do, Ray?!

    Oh, shit!

  21. tim

    The news cycles are too fast. This will be out of people’s consciousness in weeks. The only way Obama gets re-elected is if the economy continues to strengthen and gas prices go down, both of which will probably happen. I am optimistic of his chances.

    1. wunsacon

      Agree. This is too early to help Obama much.

      The only way Obama makes hay out this for more than a year is if he uses it to declare the WoT over and brings serious numbers of troops home.

  22. Mo

    Its amazing how Obama just made a statement that we did not ask for a war but was pushed into one, and that we would fight for our country at any cost even if it ment going into war with any country, yet when Bush sent us to war to fight for this country after Sept. 11 he was made out to be the worst person that had ever ran the USA. ( We caught Osama Bin Ladin by sending flowers).I thank Bush for having the (COJONES) to stick up for our country doing what he felt was right for the American People!!!! Bravo Mr. President!!

    1. tim

      Mo, I think very few people questioned the wisdom of shutting down the Taliban in Afghanistan and going after Bin Laden. It was the war in Iraq that was questioned, and I think rightly so given the lack of evidence of Saddam’s WMD capability. I’d have to say an Iraq without Saddam is a much better place, but could it have been done like it was done in Egypt or is being done in Libya, with no US boots on the ground? I’d like to have been able to find out. In any event, Mr. Bush failed in his original objective of getting Bin Laden, and Mr. Obama has not. That doesn’t make him a better President, but in the crucial area of crippling Al Qaeda, he is one better.

      1. doom

        At the time I recall thinking, the plans are perfectly buttoned down on the shelf but what’s the chance that Bush won’t cock them up? I didn’t have much hope that he would blanket the country with the follow-on reconstruction and capacity building that was needed, but I didn’t anticipate that Bush would hollow out the force for aggression against Iraq and let the AF-Pak region sit and fester.

      2. Eureka Springs

        What makes you think there are no boots on the ground in Libya, and that there will not be more boots before it’s over (CIA, military training and Dog knows who else from several countries)? What makes you think the Iraqi people would not have faced great violence from Saddam if they rose up like Egyptians? It’s nothing short of a miracle Mubarak/Sulieman didn’t blow their people to kingdom come.

        And you forget the likes of Saddam, Qadaffi, Mubarak, Bin Laden etc. are all our design. What makes you think we have learned anything from those most egregious mistakes?

    2. Paul Tioxon

      MO, I think it’s interesting that Republicans all but tore down Mt Rushmore for the greatest president of all time in their humble opinion. Ron Raygun. I think it’s interesting that all he did was give a pretty speech in front of the Berlin Wall and when it fell, the conservatives fell all over themselves claiming personal victory for the reactionary geezer in single handedly defeating Communism. Now, during Obama’s watch, a similar momentous political event has come to pass. The world now knows that not only can we flatten a nation the size of Iraq in 72 hours, our asymetrical warfare capacity is developing to the point where we can reach the most remote valley at the roof of the world in Pakistani Himalayan region and kill one man and bring his body back for public display. A simple thank you will suffice.

      1. gmanedit

        My guess is the Pakistanis turned him over. If it was him. (Benazir Bhutto said he’d been murdered, years ago.) There will be no public display; any evidence has been dumped at sea.

  23. Tertium Squid

    I can’t help but note that getting Bin Ladin changes nothing. We are still fighting endless wars in a half dozen countries, and nobody’s any safer than they were before. What was accomplished here, exactly?

    But if a series of strategic bankruptcies and a stupid celebrity reality show certifies electability, then revenge-killing a figurehead bogeyman might as well too.

  24. cui bono

    As soon as the domestic terrorists involved in the Banking Industry are brought to full heel and forced to be held accountable for their responsibility for the financial terrorism of the American People, Obama will have a true victory. There is no power in faulty managment. Only smoke and mirrors. Next up. Foreign off shore accounts seized: Banks forced to pay back all the stolen money.

    1. Rex

      Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
      Benjamin: Yes, sir.
      Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
      Benjamin: Yes, I am.
      Mr. McGuire: Paragraphs.

  25. Uhh... What?

    This reminds me of one thing, and one thing only, which actually answers Yves questions.

    1991, or more specifically post-Gulf War I, and G.H.W. Bush’s re-election prospects.

    Which were pretty good – until an unknown governor of insignificant state won the Democratic nomination by default… and then the Presidency.

  26. attempter

    Nobody’s cared about bin Laden for a long time, and I’ll eat my hat if anyone cares about this in 2012. This criminal probably will win in 2012 if he’s up against anyone from the current slate of Republicans, but only by default on account of how repulsive they all are.

    I suppose it’s not surprising that stimulus-response Americans in general, always desperate for a novelty to give them a temporary rush, are momentarily excited over such a non-event. (As a few have pointed out above, bin Laden hasn’t had any operational significance in many years; he’s long been of only symbolic significance. Indeed, while his death means nothing from America’s point of view, his symbolic martyrdom may be more influential to the declining jihadist movement than he was alive as a has-been.)

    I hope people can turn that momentary enthusiasm to good effect by insisting, “this means the objective of the war is complete and we can end the war now.” That’s nonsense, of course. The purpose of the war has nothing to do with actual terrorists, who are merely a pretext. Obama hopes he can score political points with a momentary proclamation of victory but still continue the wars unabated. Maybe for once this kind of scam won’t work.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      The media are certain to keep this football in slo-mo replay and milk it ad nauseum right through 2012. Even now, there are crowds in DC and NYC celebrating the killing like a sports victory, patiotically waving flags and cheering. Very surreal. And of course we will find a new arch-villain (Qaddafy, Assad, Zawhiri?) to justify our insatiable appetite for war and profit.

      As for Republican candidates, in the imperial theater of staged democracy, Obama could not possibly have picked a more looney opposition troupe if it were type-cast by practiced puppeteers. Trump, comb-over and all, is the cartoonist’s dream. “Look at me! Look at me!” he cries as the media swarm. And what about the other lunatic fringe candidates, various caricatures of cultists, whiplash villains or South Park buffoons, projecting their own bizarre scripts to the nosebleed seats.

      Against such a foil of stooges to make SNL look solemn, Madison Avenue’s Obama could not possibly look more presidential. Even gutting Social Security, entirely self-funded and off-budget, looks sane and reasonable. It is an entertaining farce that the banksters, war-profiteers and media moguls have staged for us in order to present Wall Street’s water-boy as the only possible choice to lead this confederacy of dunces. America’s version of royal pageantry makes Britain’s charade of gaudy uniforms and silly hats look positively inspiring.

      The assassination of OBL wraps up BHO’s re-election with a tricolor ribbon and bow. Only a complete economic collapse might change the calculus, but even that may only pull the glove off the fascist fist as the imperial president officially inaugurates the shock doctrine in his second term.

    2. wunsacon

      >> he’s long been of only symbolic significance

      By my calculation, that’s why we didn’t kill him until Americans were already so tired of war that the politicians felt they had to discuss pulling out.

      Imagine if Bush had killed OBL before invading Iraq!

  27. Le Cashier

    Osama bin Laden !?! What the heck!?! I thought Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

  28. SqueekyFromm

    But the war will not end because of this, and so the Liberals and Progressives will have to go to the polls knowing our Nobel Peace Prize Winner is still fighting in 2 wars. Gitmo is still open. The Bush Tax Cut Extensions are still in effect. Add to that the economy, which this is NOT going to improve.

    Why does his base vote for Obama??? Just to NOT vote for a Republican??? I think the election is still the GOP’s to lose.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  29. Mo

    The point at hand war isnt right for any president.
    I can understand on some point war is needed to gain peace. I am not a Republican nor Democrate, just an American seeing the flip flopping on every top subject in this country. Congratulations to our military in the service.
    By the way (Regan was a great president if you have any doubt ask the Poland, German, Russian people. May god be with us!!!!

    1. ambrit

      Dear Mo;
      I sincerely hope that was a cynical post. The East Bloc was well on its way to the trash bin of history long before the Alzheimers President shuffled onto the national political scene. Economic and logistical analyses of Russia and East Europe in the early 80′s showed unmistakeable signs of fatal decline. That old fraud knew well in advance that the wall would fall of its own accord, without help from the Kitchen Cabinet. As a long established shill during his official acting days, Ronnie must have heard H. G. Wells famous quote about advertising; “Advertising is legal lying.” Regan just applied that logic to American governance. Look where it got us.

  30. Jackrabbit

    They’ll be a short, patriotic boost for Obama. But I doubt that it lasts to 2012 unless the public sees the benefits of our “victory,” via bringing home the troops, relaxing the police state, and cutting the defense budget (thereby saving social programs from the Repub. axe), etc.

  31. IF

    I find it mostly irrelevant, but then again I am not a voter. For the election it hardly is a decisive factor. But I think it is a credential that will not be forgotten and should give BHO some breathing room on the right. Maybe he could use it to open up his package a bit more to the left because of this? (I don’t think for ideological conviction, just to appeal to a broader base.)

    1. Rex

      “Maybe he could use it to open up his package a bit more”

      OK (straight man) I won’t lob back any of the lines that come to mind.

  32. Hugh

    This may give Obama a bump for a month. It will be irrelevant to the 2012 election. Job figures come out this Friday. If they’re bad or mostly the Mcjobs, the good feeling could disappear faster.

    You see politically this is an extraneous event. It won’t suddenly justify the very unpopular war in Afghanistan, or Libya. It will raise questions about the Pakistanis. How could the local authorities not know about such a large estate? How could the ISI not know? It won’t help the mess in Libya. It won’t decrease oil prices. It won’t create any jobs or put any banksters behind bars.

    So really just some good but evanescent feelings. That’s it.

    Obama’s best chance to win in 2012 remains the absence of a credible Republican challenger and a supine left that refuses to primary him.

    A final thought: Remember that Bush I had all kinds of positive feedback for the first Iraq war and still lost the following election.

  33. Dikaios Logos

    I’ve been to Abbottobad and seen the famous bagpipes…I’ve known a few ISI and CIA types. I’m tempted to not weigh in on this until I’ve thought a bit about it, but I would be very, very reluctant to take anyone’s first impressions too seriously. Mostly OBL is old news but taking him down has to be a sign that someone else has been thrown under the bus. I wouldn’t be entirely sure who that is just yet.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      It may be a cover-up. If bin Laden has been dead for some time – as some people assume – and they knew about it but didn’t tell anyone, they may have decided to officially get rid of him now as a matter of convenience.

      According to Turkish Intelligence he has been dead since December 2007, but, of course, they may be wrong.

    2. earnyermoney

      Could this be cover for the Raymond Davis settlement? Raymond Davis kills 2 ISI agents, then a deal is reached to release Davis with follow on stories about the deteriorating relationship between ISI and CIA. I’m wondering if Pakistan has demanded the CIA stop the drone program and exit the country?

      1. Dikaios Logos

        Could be, though I think this, like the Raymond Davis dust up, makes the ISI/Jihadist clique look weaker than they’d like.

        As the link from Asia Times shared by Yves suggested, OBL might just be a casualty of the recent Arab revolts. The Saudis might have given him up to take the heat off of themselves.

  34. Tom Shillock

    To me the question is not whether Obama is relected but why it would make any difference to the lives of the bottom 95 percent of Americans? It’s not too late to learn from the Egyptians and Libyans.

  35. Skippy

    Obama-sama….

    Faux Newbs just swallowed a goat, the digestion will bring much needed humor in these troubled times.

    Oh…Bin Laden, yeah…Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, after some slimfast, escaped with only bedsheets and sporting a beard was executed at a Paki day spa today.

    Skippy…ummmm where to find (cough…manufacture) the next great mortal enemy of the United States, running out of stereotypes aren’t we…can the West even function with out one any more.

  36. Name (required)

    According to the news broadcasts I have heard the President of the United States of America ordered the death of Bin Laden.

    This was not an arrest that went wrong, an attempt to bring a fugitive to justice that was violently resisted resulting in death (although it might have become so). This was an extra-judicial execution, ordered by the President of the United States.

    This was not justice, this was revenge.

    This is what Roman Emperors did, what crime bosses do. To celebrate it, as I am watching Americans doing, I find quite appalling. At best it was an evil necessity to have been taken only with the greatest of reluctance, and regretted. At worst it is the exercise of power and violence without moral restraint.

    To many outside the US the sight of Americans celebrating is yet another win for Bin Laden.

  37. kevin de bruxelles

    This may just create a “deather” movement which tries to convince the public that the person killed was not in fact Osama bin Laden!

  38. Hubert

    An Osama Bin Ladn alive was more useful to US war policy than a OBL dead. This apparently has changed – otherwise he would have stayed alive. I am convinced they let him get away at least once before ….
    On a more positive note: As Afganistan looks helpless from a military point of view this really could be the beginning of the end of the campaign there. But what do I know …..

    1. Dikaios Logos

      I’ll offer a slight variation on what you have written: someone is less important to US policy than they were before, so killing OBL is easier than it used to be. This is akin to how letting Lehman go was easier come September 2008 than it was before.

  39. RebelEconomist

    Yes; that was my immediate reaction on hearing the news. As he showed at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday, Obama has the wit to put down his blundering conservative opponents. He tends to make progress on his key issues with relatively little hoopla.

    But what I want to find out Yves is, why did you include the link to the Daily Mail story about Bin Laden yesterday? What did you know, and when did you know it?

    1. Dikaios Logos

      Dude, go further upstream. Why did the Daily Mail run a story about the prior administrations f-ups now?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m have some useless psychic abilities. I regularly think of someone about 30 seconds before they call me. Not a terribly helpful, and not 100% foolproof either, but seems to operate way more than chance (more accurately: I get plenty of calls when I have not been thinking of anyone in particular, but when I think “hhm, wonder what’s up with so and so” or “hhm, wonder why so and so hasn’t called me back” and I get a call just about immediately, it’s almost always the person who just crossed my mind) . When I ran my little department at Sumitomo, I’d also call in just when the troops started to gossip about me. It was apparently pretty predictable, it was a standing joke with them.

  40. roger

    My mind wanders back to this interview with Lawrence Wright in Time magazine, Christmas issue, 2006
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1570699,00.html

    “TIME: Did the failure to capture Osama bin Laden play a role in the decision to go to war?
    GORDON: I was at Tora Bora at that point, in December ’01. The desire to have a war plan for Iraq has already been telegraphed to [General] Tommy Franks at Centcom. Franks is actually struggling with Tora Bora, with his unhappiness with the results in Afghanistan, just as he is on the eve of returning for a very important meeting at Crawford with the President. I think they made a very quick decision that in principle Iraq was next on the agenda.
    WRIGHT: Al-Qaeda essentially was dead after December 2001. The war on terror, you know, had succeeded. [If we had] captured the leaders, I think people would’ve felt a sense of finality and might not have had that impulse to roll into Iraq. I’m not sure [the Administration] would have had the public support.”

    The war between al quaeda and the U.S. served both sides. OBL knew, after he escaped on a pony from Tora Bora with no attempt by the U.S. to guard the border with Pakistan and with no bombing of the mountain passes behind Tora Bora (in spite of the satellite info that there were campfires there, 10000 feet up in the middle of winter – CENTCOM later claimed that they didn’t know if these were ‘shephards’ – that he had a place in the world. He could attack any target outside of the U.S.’s own borders, and this would play very well with the Bush determination to make the GWOT last for a very long time. It turned out to be three trillion dollars worth of time. But the synergy between OBL and the U.S. went cold after Obama was elected – thus, OBL was doomed.

    Here’s an interesting snippet from reporter Sean Naylor, of the Army Times, about Tora Bora:

    “The Generals in Kuwait recommend[ed] bombing the positions as soon as possible. But Franks and his staff did not see it like that. “They might be shepherds,” was Control Command’s attitude, according to two officers who sat in on the video-teleconferences in which the matter was discussed. At CFLCC that theory didn’t wash. The idea that scores of shepherds were tending to their flocks at 10,000 feet in the middle of winter was implausible.’

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      How do we know that bin Laden was ever at Tora Bora? The answer is we don’t.
      The vast bunker complex, of which there existed many, according to Rumsfeld, didn’t exist at Tora Bora either – or anywhere else in Afghanistan or Pakistan, for that matter.
      That was a full lie. Maybe the lied about bin Ladens whereabouts too?

    2. Externality

      In 2008, CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed the US military officer who commanded the Delta Force detachment at Tora Bora. He recounts submitting plans ranging from having his 50-person team don oxygen masks and attack Tora Bora from the back to air dropping mines into the mountain passes that were obvious escape routes. All were rejected by some unnamed Pentagon official. (The Pentagon also refused to identify the official to CBS.) They were ordered, instead, to rely on poorly-trained, pro-Bin Laden militiamen who were largely untrained, uncooperative, and unashamed of their pro-AQ sentiments.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/02/60minutes/main4494937.shtml

  41. Dan

    Zero effect on the election. With the short attention span of the media, 2 months from now it will be like this had never happened. And by the end of the year nobody will care because it is old news.

  42. LeeAnne

    Obama has done nothing for the American people heretofore. There is no reason to believe he will do anything for the American people now.

    The TELL? Announcing the killing followed by “the war on terror is over.” Why does that sound so hollow when it is so obviously meant to make the world’s ordinary people not being paid by Washington’s lawmaking warmaking powers look up in wonder at our dear leader?

    …the man comes across more everyday like a cheap suit attempting to emulate the world’s great dictators and petty tyrants. Even at that, he fails. He’s got ‘handlers’ behind the curtain written all over him.

    1. nickwolr

      Delusional people are not worth listening to. Your over! We have a
      good President, a successful Commander in Chief…..he will be re-elected!
      Your lies are like chicken hawk farts!

      1. Ensendada Slim

        nickwolr says: “We have a good President, a successful Commander in Chief…..he will be re-elected! Your lies are like chicken hawk farts!”

        They should make you King of the Morons, except you’d probably try and stick the crown up your butt.

  43. Pat

    Americans are SO gullible — they will believe anything the government says.
    OBL actually died almost 10 years ago. Pakistani officials stated this on the record. He was in poor health in 2001 and had to travel with a portable dialysis machine. The story of him at Tora Bora was probably fabricated. The “messages” that he sent out in the intervening years were pathetic fabrications. The photos of him after 9/11 are fakes, they don’t even look like him. (See atimes.com for details.)
    In this supposed raid, he was killed outright and his body conveniently dumped at sea. So there’s no way to tell if it was him — unless the government issues some made-up information. So far there’s been no photos of him dead, and no names of any eyewitnesses, no names of the units or soldiers who killed him. (Why didn’t Obama name names and discuss the details of the operation?)
    OBL was supposedly hiding under the noses of the Pakistanis, so this will keep the Pakistanis from raising questions about the raid.
    The timing is certainly convenient. It comes when Obama’s popularity is at a low, oil prices are high based on expectations of Middle East tension, and the election season is starting. (And Obama is reshuffling the CIA and military heads). So OBL’s death will let Obama declare victory over terrorism, and start pulling out of AFPAK.
    It’s funny how the news comes out just at the right time. On a Sunday night, so that it splashes all over the Sunday night tv and Monday morning newspapers. But close enough to the Monday news deadline so that no one questions the details.
    In my opinion Obama was probably just embarrassed to go on any longer with this ridiculous story of Al Qaeda and OBL and global war on terror centered in Afghanistan. Obama acquiesces to various “big lies”, because he has no choice — save the banks at all costs, don’t touch the mortgage problem, etc. But the OBL / Al Qaeda “big lie” had outlived its usefulness.

    1. Cynthia

      Seeing film footage of red-pill popping rubes whooping it up in the streets with their flags, guns, bibles and bud-lite, and blindly chanting “USA! USA!” following the state-sponsored killing of bin Laden reminds me of the rabid and crazed sheeple of the totalitarian superstate of Oceania cheering the execution of the “agents” of Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984:

      “As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counterrevolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even — so it was occasionally rumoured — in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.”

      http://www.msxnet.org/orwell/print/1984.pdf

      We’ll continue to stay lost in this state-sponsored delusion as long as our Two-Minute-Hate show remains on the air:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Goldstein

  44. ForgottenPsuedonym

    Americans, especially the clueless “independents” have very short memories and attention spans. They base their choices on whatever they heard 3 minutes before voting. So I doubt this guarantees anything like re-election for Obama. In fact, the right wing will probably criticize him because killing bin Laden did not give us a chance to torture and behead him. They will find some reason to convince the rabid true believers that this is a failure.

    At any rate, now Obama is even more free to ignore, belittle or otherwise insult a large portion of his former supporters, you know, “the professional left” i.e. the ones who foolishly confused his campaign rhetoric for the real deal.

    The next election will simply be a choice between a sane Republican (Obama) and a far right or perhaps batshit crazy Republican. Either way people who actually work for a living are screwed.

  45. Pat

    “In February, 2004, Iranian state radio claimed Osama bin Laden had been captured in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan “a long time ago.” Pentagon and Pakistani officials denied the report. “Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election,” the radio report said.
    Osama bin Laden died of kidney failure soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks. In 2002, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said bin Laden had kidney disease, and that he had required a dialysis machine when he lived in Afghanistan. That same year, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official, Dale Watson, said, “I personally think he is probably not with us anymore.”
    A Taliban leader told the Pakistan Observer on December 21, 2002, that Bin Laden was suffering from a serious lung complication and died in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief, according to Fox News.
    Alex Jones was told live on the radio in 2002 by high-level Council on Foreign Relations members that Osama Bin Laden had died of kidney failure in early 2002.
    “I have it from high level [sources] from inside the Bush administration…that bin Laden died of natural causes and that his family has given the body to the CIA, that they’re gonna roll him out right before the election, that he’s on ice right now. They will claim they killed him right before the election,” Alex said at the time.
    “Jones gave a caution that the intelligence could be disinformation but claimed that his base in Austin was extremely close to the Bush administration and similar information received in the past had been credible,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote in August of 2002.
    During the 2004 election, CNN reported that Democratic insiders had been told that George W. Bush was going to use the Bin Laden body as an ace-in-the-hole if he thought he was in danger of losing the 2004 election. This confirmed the evidence that Jones had been given by the CFR and others.
    In 2003, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Fox News Channel analyst Morton Kondracke she suspected Bush knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and was waiting for the most politically expedient moment to announce his capture.
    Obama’s announcement follows the release of a highly suspicious birth certificate last week. Both events represent psychological operations that possibly portend more significant events in the days ahead as the U.S. dollar continues to lose its reserve status, the economy fails to recover as promised, and wars expand in Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
    Obama’s propaganda stunt arrives as the Democrats kick off their leader’s presidential reelection bid against a number of Republicans contenders who have been highly critical of not only his perceived handling of the economy, but also his management of the manufactured war on terror.”

  46. ScottW

    Watching the Phillies v. Mets game last night when the news of his death was announced, and seeing crazed fans start chanting, “USA, USA, USA,” only reminds me of what a blood thirsty, small minded, retribution driven country we live in. What a crazy Country we live in.

  47. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    When my sister phoned me with the “news” at 11 PM last night and told me, I hung up, shrugged my shoulders, and went to bed.

    The War on Terror is not over… It will never be over because there is a frightening logic to the military-industrial-security complex that is independent of any one person. Osama bin Laden is no exception. If he hadn’t existed, it would have been “necessary” to invent him. There has to be a devil – an enemy! Love is hate. War is peace.

    I remember watching the Twin Towers crumble on Sept 11, 2001 and remarking to a friend thereafter that it reminded me of the Reichstag Fire. “It” was the Enabling Act… But now that the war on terror is over will the Department of Homeland Security be abolished/dismantled and the Patriot Act repealed/rescinded? Will the “peace dividend” materialize and render “reform” of Social Security and Medicare unnecessary? We all know the answers to these questions…

    The only thing that could derail Obama’s election is the ECONOMY stupid! And Bernanke will do whatever it takes to keep the zombie banks breathing on a respirator and walking on one leg. If Rand Paul makes the argument to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, etc and reduce military spending to a war-weary public only to extend the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats will argue that “reform” of Social Security and Medicare must not come at the expense of the middle/working classes. To argue that these two programs must be cut in the wake of this “peace dividend” will not win an election, especially if the Bush tax cuts are extended. It’s political suicide for Republicans.

    The only way Republicans can “win” is if the economy tanks and unemployment surges upward allowing them to argue that the current economic policies of this administration have failed. But that would likely pit Wall Street against Main Street, something the Republicans would want to avoid, and perhaps with unpredictable results. On the other hand, if the economy rebounds suddenly and unemployment drops a few percentage points before November 2012 – neither likely – then the Democrats will emerge victorious regardless of what Republicans do. So, we’re stuck with anemic economic growth and 8-9% unemployment.

    The question that probably needs to be asked is how the Democrats can lose in 2012? Even if Obama wins, how many seats will the Democrats pick up in Congress? We’ll still be stuck with the lesser of two evils. Whether the right wing bullet train to austerity – RBTA – can be slowed down a bit with Obama’s reelection is the most we can hope for. Divided government suggests that it may accelerate in some areas and decelerate in others. But continuity is the rule in American politics, regardless of whether it’s with a ‘D” or an “R”. And the rightward drift in American politics over the course of the past 40 years is NOT going to be undone by Obama in 4 more years. So for the infantile disorder that still believes revolutions can be made at the ballot box in this country, my only advice is buy a pair of boots for the long march ahead and reread the US Constitution [separation of powers/checks and balances for those on the outside looking in].

    Until we win the hearts and minds of the American electorate going forwards – not backwards – permanent positive change will be problematic. Teach your children to teach their children to teach their children…

  48. nickwolr

    The second conspiracy lie to go down in flames in one week!
    Obama is a secret muslim working with Al Quida and Bin Ladin?
    really?
    How many times do we allow the third fake tea party, Faux Spews and /or
    the Republican Party of Kings to lie in our faces….before we don’t listen
    to them anymore? Personally I hate being purposefully lied to! No more
    Beck,Hannity, Fox or Tea Bag racism……America’s had it with you proven
    liars. You will all be un-elected next year or removed before! You have
    been exposed and will now shrink like the Wicked Witch of the West!
    Your toast!
    Of course Obama will be re-elected, can you imagine any Republican
    capable of this much successful multi-tasking? You should all get down
    on your hands and knees and ask Gods forgiveness for bearing false
    witness against another Christian patriot!

    1. LeeAnne

      One more Obama lie. Dictated by his CIA/MI6 oops, now SIS handlers. All this name changing.

      Where are the photos? Where are the witnesses? Where’s the body?

      Give me a break.

      1. LeeAnne

        party affiliation is immaterial at this point; just grist for the mill of multinational corporate and banking hooligan propaganda to keep fooling most of the people most of the time.

    2. earnyermoney

      I’ll bet nick has an O 2012 and War Is Working bumper sticker attached to the door of his office door on Wall Street. LOL

  49. kravitz

    Yves, we’re not of the same party affiliation, but even you have to admit even you couldn’t run against him after last night. BTW, “Hope” was eliminated on that birthed guy’s show last night. You cain’t make dies sheep!

  50. andrew

    FWIW, I saw my first Obama 2012 bumper sticker on the way to work this morning. Probably opportunism/coincidence rather than conspiracy, but at any rate it happened.

    In a vacuum, I can’t believe this makes any meaningful difference to his chances. I try to imagine the voter who wouldn’t have voted for him before, but would vote for him now, and I come up with nothing. Perhaps when there’s a Republican rival (or, God willing, a rival from somewhere to his left), things will be framed such that it becomes a point of importance for some people. For now I don’t see it.

  51. Eureka Springs

    Any sentient voting American must ignore the kabuki, rejecting it at all cost. Restoring rule of law along with much of our lost liberties under the war on emotion are as important as “fixing” the economy… which includes changing our MIC, energy, trade and health ways.

    The only certainty is that neither major corrupt money party will allow this. But they will both raise billions to spend convincing you otherwise.

    If you are considering a D or R candidate in 2012 (perhaps ever again), you are part of the problem.

  52. Was this another fake ?

    What would happen if fake bin Laden tapes reappears on Al-Jazeera ? Will Jimmy Carter lash out in the style of the late Francesco Cossiga ? “Circles close to Palazzo Chigi [the Prime Minister’s office], the nerve centre of the Italian intelligence services, point out that the fact that the tape is a fake is proved by the fact that Osama bin Laden ‘confesses’ that Al Qaeda was the author of the attacks of 11 September against the twin towers in New York, whereas all democratic circles in America and Europe, especially those of the centre-left in Italy, now know perfectly well that that disastrous attack was planned and implemented by the American CIA and Mossad with the help of the Zionist world in order to put Arab countries in the dock and induce the Western powers to intervene in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [Corriere della sera, 30 November 2007]

  53. PJ

    This operation was apparently based on information obtained from KSM at Guantanamo in 2007. I would not credit the Administration; as American Foreign policy seems to be under control of the Military, probably the best alternative given Mr. Obama’s total lack of experience. Unfortunately our economic policy is seems to be under control of the banks probably the worst alternative given Mr. Obama’s total lack of experience. This will be old news in a year as will Mr. Trump’s political career.

  54. ScottS

    Headline on Google Finance news ticker:
    “Osama Bin Laden: Experts Fear Revenge By Al Qaeda or ‘Lone Wolf’ ”

    So this is the beginning of round 2 of the GWOT.

    “Just when you thought it was safe…”

    I mean, unless Communists make a surprise come-back, we need some nebulous foe to stoke fears and keep us pliant for sweeping legal changes coming after the next financial crisis.

  55. ghastly

    This is ridiculous. Both bin Laden and Donald Trump will long be forgotten by November 2012. It’s the economy, stupid.

  56. Chaz Sanderson

    First, the American public has a very short memory. Second, remember that George Bush Sr. had very high approval numbers after the first Gulf War in 1991, but lost the election in 1992 to Bill Clinton. Yes, I know Ross Perot got 18% of the vote and many of those votes were probably Republican votes – but Daddy Bush had a poor economy and that caused him to lose popularity among independents. Since it is likely that the economy will be poor in 2012, it is likely Obama will lose, unless there is a 3rd party candidacy pulling votes from the Republicans. People vote their walllets!

  57. Gary

    So .. just who “killed” Osama (again), anyway? The CIA, or the military? You media scammers really ought to get your story straight ROFLMFAO

  58. stevelaudig

    The parallel that strikes me is not the USG’s capture of Hussein in the middle of a losing war in Iraq but the prompt capture of the OKC bomber which seemed to be a turning point for Clinton.

  59. frances snoot

    The death of metaphor or should we say cliche? And the wanton grasping of the sirens.

  60. frances snoot

    Let’s put the day within brackets: a phenomenological reduction. It rather makes one realize that man’s nonsense is only limited by the range of attention drawn to the clause at hand. Nature stands apart. Indeed: there is no essence to the form written.

  61. Tao Jonesing

    The whole point of claiming OBL is now dead is to remind Americans to be scared of terrorists and to keep driving that point home during the upcoming election cycle while reminding everybody that Obama got OBL.

    Am I saying that Obama didn’t get OBL? Not at all.

    I’m just saying that the focus of reviving the forgotten bogeyman in order to kill him was to remind Americans to be scared, and they need to be even more scared now that other terrorists will seek revenge for OBL’s death.

    1. frances snoot

      The point to terror is this: terror is nameless. So call up the bogeyman in whom faith has been lost to induce faith in the nameless fear.

  62. Westcoastliberal

    I believe about 1/2 of the stories about what really happened on 9/11, but since Osama Bin Laden took credit for it, then I think this is a really big deal.

    If Obama could now shift his position more to the progressive side and reshuffle his advisors (getting rid of the Wall St insiders and hiring more Elizabeth Warren types), then I would vote for him without question.

    I would guestimate a lot of disappointed Dems would do likewise, but then again it depends on the field of candidates. If Bernie Sanders ran I would vote for him in an instant.

  63. anon2

    Chris Matthews [after listening to Obama's speech that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and speaking on behalf of the entire MSM of the United States]: “My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. Obama, you make my pee-pee maker t-t-tingle. You m-m-m-mmm-m-make me happy…USA USA USA USA

  64. ian

    To those who think this will win him the 2012 election, I have this to say: $5/gallon gas.
    Sure, its nice to have ‘closure’ on this – whatever that means. But the simple fact is, it doesn’t really affect your daily life one bit. If you had a job the day before, you had one the day after. If you were unemployed, you were still unemployed. It didn’t put one extra red cent in my pocket.
    ‘Closure’ doesn’t pay the bills.

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