by Phil Giraldi, 12 May 2011
The execution-style slaying of Osama bin Laden has been touted as a great success for United States intelligence operatives and also for the special operations soldiers, sailors, and airmen who executed the plan. But it also leaves one feeling a bit uneasy about where this is all going now that the world’s most wanted fugitive is dead. A retrospective look at the fifteen year manhunt mounted by the US government estimates that it cost something like $3 trillion to kill him. An effort is being made to confirm that bin Laden was still a very dangerous man, plotting with his associates and “coming up with ideas” about attacking transportation hubs in the US, but there is little to suggest that the aging terrorist was well positioned to mount any effective operations against anyone. As he relied on couriers to communicate his wishes he was not even able to send instructions or advice to his remaining associates in under a week, hardly qualifying him as a hands-on master of terror.
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But what is particularly disquieting about the bin Laden story is how it is being used by some media commentators and politicians to support the reactionary war on terror policies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In the press and on Capitol Hill there have been suggestions that the successful tracking of bin Laden came about because of torture, that the key information that led to his hideout in Pakistan was developed in a CIA secret prison. Demagogic politicians like congressman Peter King are extolling the virtues of enhanced interrogation and calling for more of it.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D. is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served 18 years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain.