On May 18, 2009, The Cobra nicknamed by The Dubster during the '00 campaign aka Maureen Dowd of the NY Fishwrap's Op-Ed page was outed as a plagiarist and this blog did not feature her stuff thereafter. Read about the Dowd-disgrace here. Then, October 17, 2010, The Cobra sank her fangs into one of this blogger's favorite targets: TRW True Republican Women. Read that snark here. In today's NY Fishwrap, The Cobra wrote about the POTUS (44) sending the Navy SEAL Team 6 into Pakistan last weekend. The Cobra's back and this blog is pleased to welcome her back. If this is (fair & balanced) Op-Editry, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
Cool Hand Barack
By The Cobra (Maureen Dowd)
Tag Cloud of the following article
No wonder the president’s top generals call him “a Cool Hand Luke.”
After giving the order for members of a Navy Seals team to execute a fantastically daring plan to, let’s be honest, execute Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama put on a tuxedo and gave a comedy speech Saturday night in a Washington ballroom of tippling journalists and Hollywood stars.
If we could have seen everything unfolding in real time, it would have had the same dramatic effect as the intercutting in the president’s favorite movie, “The Godfather,” when Michael Corleone calmly acts as godfather at his nephew’s baptism at church, even as his lieutenants carry out the gory hits he has ordered on rival mobsters.
Just substitute “Leave the copter, take the corpse” for “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
The president’s studied cool and unreadable mien have sometimes distanced him from the public at moments of boiling crisis. But in the long-delayed showdown with Public Enemy No. 1, these qualities served him perfectly.
The timing was good, blunting the infelicitous remarks made recently to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza by an Obama adviser, who described the president as the un-John Wayne ushering a reviled and chastened America away from the head of the global table. The unnamed adviser described the Obama doctrine on display in Libya as “leading from behind,” which sounds rather pathetic.
But now the president has shown he can lead straight-on and that, unlike Jimmy Carter, he knows how to order up that all-important backup helicopter. He has said that those who call him a wimp are mistaken, that there is often muscular purpose beneath his diffident surface.
Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, who was so tacky that she didn’t mention Obama’s name in her congratulations, tried to draw credit to the Bush administration.
But there can be no doubt that justice for the families of the 9/11 victims was agonizingly delayed because the Bush team took a megalomaniacal detour to Baghdad.
A pigheaded Donald Rumsfeld, overly obsessed with a light footprint, didn’t have the forces needed at Tora Bora to capture Osama after the invasion of Afghanistan. To justify the switch to Saddam and the redeployment of troops to Iraq, W. and his circle stopped mentioning Osama’s name and downplayed his importance. When the White House ceases to concentrate on something, so does the CIA.
The hunt got so cold by 2005 that the Bin Laden unit at the CIA was disbanded and overhauled. Four years after the monster felled the twin towers, the Bush team finally put more officers on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In his East Room address Sunday night, President Obama made it clear that he had shooed away the distracting Oedipal ghosts.
“Shortly after taking office,” he said, “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda.”
Many famous invaders throughout history, from Genghis Khan to Tamerlane to Babur, have marched along the same route the Navy Seals took on their moonless flight, going from Kabul to Jalalabad to Peshawar.
The mesmerizing narrative stitched together by The Times’s Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Peter Baker begins with CIA agents getting the license plate of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier in Peshawar. Peshawar is the ultimate mystery town, famous for secrets and falsehoods. It’s known for its bazaars, especially the Story Tellers Bazaar.
And that is exactly where President Obama now finds himself. He will now have to sort through the bazaar of Pakistan’s deceptive stories and deal with lawmakers angry about giving $20 billion since 9/11 to a country where Osama was comfortably ensconced. For years, top Pakistanis have said that Osama was dead or in Afghanistan.
Even Condi Rice proclaimed she was shocked to find “Geronimo” settled in Abbottabad for six years, living in plain sight in a million-dollar house in an affluent suburb near a military base and the Pakistani version of West Point. As one of Osama’s neighbors put it: “It’s the closest you can be to Britain.”
At a House homeland security subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Representative Patrick Meehan asked the question about Pakistan that is ricocheting through Washington: “Does it reflect to some extent some kind of divided loyalty or complicity in some part, or incompetence or both?”
Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation, who used to advise the U.S. military in Afghanistan on Al Qaeda, replied with equal bluntness: “Whether there was complicity, or incompetence, at the very least there has not been a high priority in targeting the senior Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan. Based on the threat streams coming from this area, those interests have to change.” Ω
[Maureen Dowd received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1999, with the Pulitzer committee particularly citing her columns on the impeachment of Bill Clinton after his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Dowd joined The New York Times as a reporter in 1983, after writing for Time magazine and the now-defunct Washington Star. At The Times, Dowd was nominated for a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, then became a columnist for the paper's editorial page in 1995. Dowd's first book was a collection of columns entitled Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk (2004). Her second book followed in 2005: Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide. Dowd earned a bachelor's degree from DC's Catholic University of America in 1973.]
Copyright © 2011 The New York Times Company
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