The military raid on bin Laden's Pakistan compound, the superb professionalism of the Navy Seals, the swift terrible vengeance of bin Laden's death, and the President's announcement of the successful action were, all of them, moments to make Americans proud. For a moment, the President stepped out of the Jimmy Carter Incompetency Paradigm and acted with decisiveness to protect the nation. Now, merely a couple of days later, the veil of Leftist incompetence has been drawn around the action and the President and his administration stumble around, making a mess of the whole episode.
The President's speech which spoke of absolute certainty that bin Laden lived in the compound is now seen to be after-the-fact rationalization. The Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA and other intelligence services were acting on hunches of high probability, but not certainty. What were the Seals' orders? Were they ordered to kill bin Laden, as they, as agents of the United States, certainly had the right and moral obligation to do? We are at war with Al Qaeda and bin Laden, as much as Hitler or any other leader of a declared enemy, was a target to be killed. Now the account of bin Laden's killing is muddied. On Sunday, the White House said Obama ordered bin Laden to be captured if he did not post a threat. Initially, he was reported to have been armed and shooting, so he was killed. Now that account is corrected; he was unarmed. Now Attorney General Holder, a card-carrying Leftist of the Internationale, who has adamantly maintained that we are bound to treat all nonuniformed enemy terrorists by the Geneva Accords, says that killing unarmed bin Laden was right. So now the Director of the CIA says that bin Laden was making threatening gestures that warranted the Seals shooting him, rather than taking him prisoner. Threatening gestures? What the hell are they? Spitting at the Seals? Shaking his fist at them? Ordering his wife or 12-year old child to attack the Seals? This is nonsense. It implies the President didn't know what he was doing. Will death-photos of bin Laden be released to prove that he was indeed killed? A death photo, originating in a leak and published in an Arabic media source, is already circulating on the Internet. It is clear that eventually a death photo will have to be released, so that the Arab street can't believe in the lie that the Navy Seal death raid is a hoax. Why not do it now? Why drag out opposition to the inevitable? Is Obama's infantile response to requests to see his birth certificate--denial that reasonable people can see a problem, obsfucation, opposition, delay--actually Obama's normal mode of reacting to the need for decision? Apparently so. The post-episode political treatment of the episode has revealed the President and his highest staff to be a bunch of clowns, who can't manage a straight story. The President can't even run his own administration. They stumble around in contradiction of their steadfast Leftist statements of just a few months ago, and compromise our victory. For a few moments, we thought Obama had grown some spine, had turned away, at least for that moment, from his anti-American ideology in order to defend American security. Now the moral right and strength of this Victory is dribbled away. The President has returned to his normal flaccid state.
The experts are mounting a new interpretation of contemporary history that is, because of its optimism that the Muslim world has turned a corner, gaining uncritical acceptance. Their notion is that the eruption of street protest democracy and demands for freedom in North Africa and the Middle East, along with the toppling of several anti-democratic regimes, indicates that the average Muslim, or, at least, the average young male Muslim, who represents the politically volatile element in Islam, has turned away from anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism as motivating ideologies. And the killing of bin Laden, though obviously only symbollic in political terms, promises that Jihadism and Islamism have begun to wane as a power in Islamic social movement.
The problem with this happy interpretation of events is that it ignores the basic religious character of Islam, which remains unchanged. And that character is supersessionism. Islam is based on the belief that God's convenant with ancient Israel and God's covenant with gentiles through Christ, have been abrogated and superceded by God's covenant with Mohammed. From the Muslim religious point of view, there can be no Islamic tolerance toward Jews and Christians, no toleration that accepts the basic claims of Judaism and Christianity, until Jews and Christians renounce their blasphemy, which is their claim that their covenants with God remain valid. From the Judaic and Christian point of view, God has only made another, separate covenant with the Muslims through Mohammed, without cancelling his earlier deals with Jews as God's People and Christians as saving of gentiles through Christ. There was a supersessionist element in early and Medieval Christianity, but modern Christians reject it. Islam has not and shows no signs of rejecting its supersessionist ideology. As a consequence, Islam remains hostile to toward those societies--Europeanized West and the United States--which are Christian. That supersessionist hostility is like a store of gun powder, always ready for the lighted match.
Further, while the supersessionist passion might otherwise abate in the breast of Islam, as Islamic societies mature, it will not, because the most dynamic religious force in the World today is Christian, specifically Pentacostalism. Pentacostalism challenges Islam for religious allegience precisely in the marginal societies of the world, which are unsettled by the social shift to modernity, from rural to urban social arrangements, from agricultural to industrial work. Hence we see the flash points of religious violence meted out by Muslims in Africa and Southeast Asia, where Pentacostalism is most vibrant.
Only when Islam begins the modernizing task of critically interpreting its foundational religious text, as the West did in the nineteenth century in the intellectual movement known as historical criticism, and renounces supersessionism as a historical mistake will Islam end its anti-Westernism and its anti-Americanism. There is no evidence that Islam is ready for this task. To the contrary, the Arab Spring is providing the opportunity for a profoundly fundamentalist and stridently ignorant religious party, the Society of Muslim Brothers, aka the Muslim Brotherhood, to obtain political power to mobilize Muslim states for its avowed purpose. It's putative renunciation of violence to achieve its aim does not mean that it will not seize the power of the state to achieve it. Watch for the Arab Spring to lead eventually to the further spread of anti-semitism. Violence will follow. And watch for the Arab Spring to lead eventually to more anti-Christian violence, especially in Africa, geographically close to influence from the Middle Eastern home of Mohammedanism.
The operation could have been another failure on the scale of Carter's aborted effort to rescue US hostages in Iran; but it was not. It was a stunning success. We need to recall that the operation was built on a decade of work in Afghanistan and Pakistan begun under Obama's predecessor, President Bush. It was President Bush who gave the order to kill, not capture, UBL. And I'm sure Obama did not want to go through a political drama about trying UBL if he had simply been captured. So the order to kill stood. The real story that needs to be known is how US intelligence came to know that UBL was living outside Islamabad. He had been living there for five years, so Pakistani intelligence and political elite knew, but hid the information from us. Since the operation to kill UBL originated in Pakistan, it is clear that the Obama administration must have applied compelling force to Pakistan to obtain permission for the operation in Pakistan's sovereign territory. That behind the scenes discussion, the pressure applied, the arguments made, the force applied, is the other real story of the day, yet to be known.
UBL might be dead, but Al Qaeda has plenty of higher commanders, as well as a decentralized organization, to survive and continue terrorist attacks on America and the West. Further, Al Qaeda was not the Taliban and had been hosted in Afghanistan by the Taliban. We can be sure that if the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan, it will allow Al Qaeda and sister terrorist organizations to work. And the Taliban exists in force in Pakistan, where they work to destablize that Muslim nuclear power. We cannot leave the region. Our work there must continue.
For 5 years, UBL has lived in a large, walled, fortified town north of Islamabad. Of course, the Pakistani intelligence services, military, and highest political officials knew. And tolerated it. Lots of pointed questions need to be asked in Pakistan.
My children who lived, who evacuated Manhattan on foot across the Brooklyn Bridge, who have been shaped and haunted by the mass murders and horror of that day. UBL is dead! May the rest of Al Qaeda follow him to their graves. Carry on, American troops and security.