The in­sult to the Amer­i­can sol­dier

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - Opin­ion by Wes­ley Pru­den

“Can’t any­body here play this game?” The pres­i­dent, re­veal­ing him­self to be Barack Obun­gle, has done what no­body else could have done, not even the spec­tac­u­larly hap­less orig­i­nal New York Mets, who drove Casey Sten­gel to his fa­mous cry of ter­mi­nal frus­tra­tion.

The White House con­verted a pic­ture-per­fect mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion into a pub­lic-re­la­tions disas­ter that will be cited as what not to do and how not to do it in flack­ery text­books for a hun­dred years. Days af­ter the raid on Osama bin Laden’s “man­sion” they still can’t get the “fact pat­tern,” in the lan­guage of the White House, even close to straight.

Even that ubiq­ui­tous pho­to­graph of the pres­i­dent, the sec­re­tary of state and as­sorted min­ions bravely watch­ing the op­er­a­tion in “real time” looks now to have been a “photo-op” taken af­ter the fact. This is the scene that the goofy John Bren­nan, the pres­i­dent’s anti-terrorism chief, de­scribed as one of un­bear­able ten­sion en­dured hero­ically by the magnificent min­ions. Hil­lary seemed to be clutch­ing her throat, chok­ing back ter­ror as she watched the raid un­fold, but now Leon Panetta, the chief of the CIA, re­veals that 24 min­utes of the 40minute video were “blacked out” by some kind of elec­tronic mal­func­tion. Maybe she was only wish­ing she had or­dered pep­per­oni with ex­tra cheese when the pres­i­dent sent out for pizza.

What a roller coaster ride: Osama bin Laden en­gaged the SEALs in a fire­fight. Well, no, ac­tu­ally, it turns out he didn’t. But he did seize a woman, prob­a­bly one of his wives, to use as a hu­man shield. Uh, well, ac­tu­ally he didn’t do that, ei­ther. But he was armed, we know that for sure. Ummm, no, not re­ally. OK, but we’re pos­i­tive that woman was killed. Uh, not ex­actly. But we def­i­nitely, pos­i­tively, ab­so­lutely know that Osama is dead. We have the pho­to­graphs to prove it and the pub­lic can see them. Er, no, not quite. The pres­i­dent has them but you can’t see them. Ev­ery­body will just have to take his word for it.

That won’t hap­pen, ei­ther. There was a time when ev­ery­body took a pres­i­dent’s word for ev­ery­thing. But no­body trusts the gov­ern­ment on any­thing any­more. Lies have with­ered pub­lic pa­tience. Too bad, Mr. Pres­i­dent, but you’ll have to show us the death cer­tifi­cate. No rea­son­able man can doubt that Osama is dead, dead, dead, but we’re talk­ing now about the Mid­dle East.

You might think the pres­i­dent would have re­hearsed his min­ions in a story, even if con­cocted, so ev­ery­body would tell it like it is. The White House fi­nally shut up with the ex­pla­na­tion that “the fact pat­tern” is still be­ing eval­u­ated. It’s only now dawn­ing on the pres­i­dent that he has done ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to guar­an­tee an en­dur­ing world­wide ha­rangue over whether Osama is in fact dead, how he was killed, whether dump­ing the body in the sea was wise, whether how he died vi­o­lated the de­cen­cies of in­ter­na­tional cus­tom, and whether burial tra­di­tions of Shariah law were fol­lowed be­fore Osama be­came the ultimate fish din­ner.

Alan Der­showitz, the Har­vard law pro­fes­sor and one of the most dis­tin­guished crim­i­nal lawyers in the land, says “bury­ing his body at sea con­sti­tuted the will­ful de­struc­tion of ev­i­dence.” The doubts that will be con­trived by Mus­lim red­hots would have been pre­vented if Osama’s body had been sub­jected to the usual forensic test­ing, ex­ten­sive ex­am­i­na­tion of en­trance and exit wounds, and paraf­fin test­ing for gun­pow­der residue. “Dead bod­ies,” he writes in an es­say in the Wall Street Jour­nal, “of­ten talk more loudly, clearly and un­am­bigu­ously than live wit­nesses.” He notes that when a Mus­lim or a Jew is mur­dered in the United States “re­li­gious con­sid­er­a­tions do not trump civil cir­cum­stances.”

But the real of­fense of the Wash­ing­ton wim­pery is push­ing a weak­ling’s ca­nard against the mil­i­tary, as­sert­ing that the pho­to­graph can’t be shown be­cause it would make Mus­lim ter­ror­ists cross at us. But surely the Army and the Navy can take care of them­selves; sol­diers, sailors and Marines aren’t Camp­fire Girls. Can any­one imag­ine FDR and his gen­er­als can­cel­ing D-Day be­cause an in­va­sion might in­fu­ri­ate the Ger­mans? Or that a Mus­lim ter­ror­ist will now salute an Amer­i­can sol­dier in Afghanistan and put down his ri­fle and grenade launcher, telling him “we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate your pres­i­dent’s keep­ing that ugly pho­to­graph to him­self.”

Amer­i­cans come from Mars, so the wit­ti­cism goes, and Euro­peans are from Venus. But that doesn’t in­clude this pres­i­dent and his bungling min­ions. They’re weepy refugees from Pluto.

Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.