Noam Chomsky does the Noam Chomsky thing (according to Chomsky, bin Laden never stated that he was involved with 9/11) and then Ann Althouse does the Ann Althouse thing:

This is the kind of thing that Barack Obama might have said before he became President. (Or do we only imagine that he used to say things like that?)

(Emphasis supplied.) That would be the "imagining" thing there, Professor Althouse. In fact, Obama promised to do what he did "before he became President." It was actually the Bush Administration that asked for "permission slips" for American military action in Pakistan against Al Qaida.

Speaking for me only

< Gail Collins' "They Said It" Quiz | Forget Osama's Home Videos, Let's Talk About Pakistan >
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    An honored campaign promise. (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sat May 07, 2011 at 07:11:55 PM EST
    How many here remember this one?  

    It was a big deal at the time (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:49:48 AM EST
    You may have even read about it here a few times.

    Oh yes, I was not happy about that (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:38:12 AM EST
    statement. Score one for Obama.
    So what's on the agenda for next week: Obama decisively declares that cutting SS benefits is on the table?! Just wondering.
    Doesn't he seem just a wee bit schizoid, politically speaking? IMO, he's not really a wimp on domestic policy. He's either pretty much with the Republicans, or he doesn't care very much what happens.

    The military did such a good job of (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:44:18 AM EST
    successfully eliminating bin Laden, Obama will reward military personnel by raising the amount that they must pay for health care under Tricare.

    Desperate to cut spending in Washington's time of fiscal austerity, President Barack Obama has proposed increasing the fees for working-age retirees in the decades-old health program, known as TRICARE. After years of resisting proposed increases for the military men and women who sacrificed for a nation, budget-conscious lawmakers suddenly are poised to make them pay a bit more for their health care, though not on the president's terms.

    The current fees, unchanged in 11 years, are $230 a year for an individual and $460 for a family. That's far less than what civilian federal workers pay for health care, about $5,000 a year, and what most other people in the U.S. pay. link

    While initial increases will be modest, "future increases starting in 2013 would be pegged to rising costs as measured by the national health care expenditure index produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which projects 6.2 percent growth." The Republicans are making hay on this issue by recommending tying any future increases to military retirees' cost-of-living adjustment, which this year was zero or rejecting any increase at all.

    "I strongly believe military retirees have made significant down payments through their dedicated service to the nation," said the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. "In view of that service, it is not right for the nation to ask them to pay more for the health care for which they are entitled as all citizens are being personally challenged financially by rising gas prices."

    That "promise" was a big event (none / 0) (#17)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:52:28 PM EST
    During one of the debates with McCain, Obama said:  "kill Bin Laden; crush al Qaeda."

    The bluntness and strength of the comment took me aback at the time.

    Also, what did the Mittster say about this in 2008?

    Here is what he said:


    REID: Romney also made headlines when he slammed a Democrat, attacking Barack Obama's foreign policy, accusing the Illinois senator of being wildly inconsistent.

    ROMNEY: [video clip] I had to laugh at what I saw Barack Obama do. I mean, in one week, he went from saying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies. I mean, he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week.

    Obama was roundly (none / 0) (#18)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:57:45 PM EST
    criticized by many including McCain, Romney and, yes, Hillary, for this position.  It showed he was inexperienced and naive, they said--the reason he could not be trusted to answer the 3:00 a.m. phone call.

    Chomsky's interesting perspective. (none / 0) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sat May 07, 2011 at 08:23:11 PM EST
    The article by Chomsky linked to above had this paragraph which expresses very succinctly something I have wondered about for some time:

    We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic...

    They'd be as justified as we feel we are (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat May 07, 2011 at 08:52:53 PM EST
    What sentient being could argue they wouldn't?

    They'd also, IMO, have a stronger moral claim.  We've killed enough innocent people to make bin Laden look like an amateur.  

    And few, if any Americans, can handle having that conversation, as it requires the kind of ugly honesty that would force us to change.

    Can't have that.


    If we had that conversation, and were (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by observed on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:41:36 AM EST
    honest, we'd be executing scores of people for war crimes.

    Yeah, I didn't think we did political (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by masslib on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:51:18 AM EST
    assassinations.  I'm supposed to be impressed that Obama disobeyed the rule of law.  I'm with Chomsky.  I'm not impressed, which according to Obama means I need my head examined.  

    No doubt some on the left would cheer (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:40:18 AM EST
    and few would shed a tear. (come on, maybe Glenn Reynolds would be right, for once).

    Good thought experiment, but few in the US will see the relevance.


    Bin Laden was not the President of Pakistan (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:02:20 PM EST
    ....or former President of Pakistan.  

    The kidnapping of Eichmann would be a closer analogy.


    And Eichmann was kidnapped long (none / 0) (#20)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:12:35 PM EST
    after the Nazis ceased to be a threat.

    Yamamoto is perhaps best example (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:16:32 PM EST
    Eichmann was kidnapped (none / 0) (#22)
    by Peter G on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:07:52 PM EST
    so as to put him publicly on trial for his responsibility in planning and carrying out crimes against humanity of incomparable scope.  He was not summarily assassinated for those crimes, nor was anyone around him killed for being there at the time.  On the other hand, as you note, MKS, there was no longer an ongoing struggle against the genocidal Nazi regime, and no reason to believe that Eichmann was still, currently organizing and directing such crimes at the time that the Israelis found and captured him.

    In an ideal world we could try Bin Laden (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:33:46 PM EST
    ...but we do not live in that world.

    The kidnapping of Eichmann is not fully accepted by all international law practioners....jurisdiction by kidnapping is troublesome.....but Eichmann was a unique case I would argue.

    We could put the Nazis on trial because the war was over and we had won.  Bin Laden and al Qaeda were still operational and plotting against us.

    If we could have taken out Hitler, is there any doubt that would have been the right thing to do?

    The raid on Bin Laden was a raid on the headquarters of the enemy's commanding general.  Killing people is never a fun thing....But war   is hell and we avoided the killing of a lot of  civilians....


    Honestly (none / 0) (#28)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:12:14 PM EST
    if you really want to break it down the Eichmann kidnapping was quite possibly a more serious violation of international law than the US killing Bin Laden.

    His perspective is interesting (none / 0) (#26)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:10:59 PM EST
    except in that its almost entirely wrong- first, Bin Laden unlike Bush was not a head of state or former head of state- something which actually has quite a bit of significance in terms of International Law, second, I can't get over the same thing BTD mentioned where Chomsky has this little cutesy "Osama never stated he was involved" BS when he quite clearly did.

    Yes, BTD ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Robot Porter on Sat May 07, 2011 at 08:51:03 PM EST
    Obama's aim was always to push the Neo-con agenda another few steps forward.

    Destroying Al Qaida (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat May 07, 2011 at 09:14:12 PM EST
    is the Neo Con agenda?

    Sheesh. Some of you are just ridiculous.


    Some of us? (none / 0) (#6)
    by me only on Sat May 07, 2011 at 11:03:59 PM EST
    Name two who aren't ridiculous.

    I, for one, am not ridiculous... (none / 0) (#8)
    by oldpro on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:44:37 AM EST
    nuts, but not ridiculous.  Well...sometimes, maybe...but that's just the chemo.  It's not me.

    And I could name others but will leave it for them to out themselves.

    Oh, and since Bush disbanded the 'get Osama team' long before his term was up, I guess it probably wasn't a goal after all.  Getting Saddam was a goal.  Anybody think we'll ever leave Iraq?  Or Afghanistan?  Or...?


    It is ridiculous (none / 0) (#7)
    by Robot Porter on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:14:18 AM EST
    A lot of truths are ridiculous.

    Nothing true in what you wrote (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:48:43 AM EST
    Just ridiculous.

    Yeah, ridiculous ... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:51:40 AM EST
    Obama meets with neo-cons prior to speeches, gets praised by neo-cons after speeches.  But he has no interest in advancing the neo-con agenda.

    Yeah ... right ... that bridge over my left shoulder, it's for sale too.

    And that's on top of the endless wars.  Endless detentions.  Orwellian campaigns from Homeland Security, and use of false or trumped up statistics.  Forcing the TSA to buy equipment that feathers neo-con beds, and was admitted in Congressional testimony not to work.

    And on and on and on ...

    The amazing thing to me is they're not even trying to hide this.  And yet they'll still get intelligent people like you to deny it's happening.  

    The emperor's clothes get more beautiful every day.


    I'm sorry (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:16:27 PM EST
    so what Foriegn Policy orientation- in World History, not just US, World History would have failed to attempt to engage and destroy an autonomous military group which had multiple times over the course of a decade and a half launched deadly military raids against its citizens? Seriously, tell me about this enlightened alternative approach to foriegn policy because I consider myself to be pretty well-informed on the subject and the only times i can think of things like the Cole, African Embassies and 9-11 attacks not be answered with military force is when the victimized side has no real military option (see: S. Korea after N. Korean actions in the last 50 years)

    You're not very well informed ... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Robot Porter on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:50:55 PM EST
    you should re-examine the '83 marine barracks bombing, Lockerbie, 1993 WTC, etc..

    All generated no response or only legal response.  This was the standard U.S. policy on non-state actors prior to the neo-con hegemony.


    What is true is that 9/11 isn't and wasn't listed (none / 0) (#14)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:02:22 AM EST
    on the FBI page for Osama:

    Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.

    FBI---Usama Bin Laden Link

    Obviously, that's because of the overwhelming evidence pointing to Osama as the originator of 9/11.

    (according to Chomsky, bin Laden never stated that he was involved with 9/11)

    Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden's "confession," but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

    OBL was listed by the FBI as "wanted" (none / 0) (#23)
    by Peter G on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:23:25 PM EST
    for the embassy bombings because he was an indicted defendant in that case, and a fugitive from that indictment.  That was their lawful authority to arrest him -- which was bad enough, involving hundreds of deaths and many severe injuries of innocent bystanders.  Many fugitives on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list are listed as "wanted" for crossing state lines to avoid arrest or imprisonment, because that's what the federal warrant for them is based on, even though the real charges they would face, after being caught, are far more serious.  Bin Laden was not one of those named in the December 2009 indictment filed in federal court in New York against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others for conspiring to cause the 9/11 massacres.  If the government had chosen to arrest rather than to kill him, I'm sure a superseding indictment would have been filed soon enough adding him, however.

    More logic problems (none / 0) (#32)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:32:47 AM EST
    with Chomsky:

    There is much talk of bin Laden's "confession," but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon.

    Not really, unless Chomsky had either previously won other major marathon contests or had been instrumental in training or funding their winners.


    Not really the point... (none / 0) (#34)
    by masslib on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:53:02 AM EST
    One can claim responsibility for a crime but until they do so in a court of law in this country they are still presumed innocent.

    Disagree. (none / 0) (#37)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 02:10:19 PM EST
    I thought Chomsky's point was, in disingenuous fashion, to cast aspersions on the 9/11 link to OBL by making them look like absurd claims, like if scholar and intellectual and non-athlete Noam Chomsky had claimed to have won the Boston Marathon.

    We don't normally associate Chomsky with running (unless it might be running from the truth about some of his other historical assertions or self-serving claims about defending Holocaust deniers) but we do associate OBL with terrorist activities, both by the evidence and by OBL's own proud claims for responsibility.  OBL taking credit for 9/11 therefore is in that chain of plausible and credible claim seeking in logical ways that Chomsky claiming credit fictitiously for something entirely outside of his field of renown is not.  


    Chomsky has a stratospheric I.Q. (none / 0) (#25)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:08:04 PM EST
     and, while his views are controversial, his intelligence isn't.

    I read over at Volokh that Chomsky was speaking from a legal point of view...........that OBL's involvement hasn't been "proven" (in a court of law, I presume)

    Taking credit for, and bragging about, the 9-11 attack isn't "proof."

    By the same standard (none / 0) (#30)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:18:02 PM EST
    Hitler was never found legally culpable for the Holocaust- what with being dead prior to Nuremburg and all.

    We would not have assassinated Hilter. (none / 0) (#35)
    by masslib on Mon May 09, 2011 at 11:54:36 AM EST
    That's the point.  He would have had his day in court.  Indeed, that's exactly what we did with the Nazi's.  We gave them their day in court.  We protected our system of justice.

    Well, if he had his day... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Lora on Mon May 09, 2011 at 02:10:07 PM EST
    There would be an enormous amount of publicity -- a staggering amount -- and not all of it would be favorable to the US.  In fact, there would probably be a great deal of focus on US policies and actions which would resonate most unfavorably with the rest of the world.

    Makes you wonder, doesn't it, just why the Head Terrorist didn't get his day in court.


    I wouldn't be so sure, (none / 0) (#38)
    by brodie on Mon May 09, 2011 at 02:19:01 PM EST
    masslib.  Probably, first, with AH an even greater resistance than OBL to being captured and so, like OBL, he likely would have been killed in the raid on his bunker and, second, while our side in that war was mostly in the right, we didn't always act like angels and could be as brutal or immoral as humans can be in a given set of circumstances.

    As with our hiring known Nazi higher-ups -- many from the SS -- to go work for us in our spying against the Soviets, and to work on certain of our advanced military systems.  A few other high-ranking Nazis we allowed to quietly escape or seemed largely indifferent as to whether they were brought to justice.

    I think if the US had been first to the Hitler bunker, a similar outcome would have occurred.  Some people prefer to control their destiny, and Hitler strikes me as the type who always would have arranged to have that final bullet for himself.  Especially after seeing what happened to fellow fascist Mussolini.


    this has been rehashed (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:20:59 PM EST
    a lot of late.

    Germany had already unconditionally surrendered before they had their day in court.

    Prior to that event, we killed a $hit-ton of Nazis, without trial.

    Last I checked, Al-Queda has not unconditionally surrendered.


    Hear Hear! (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:12:11 PM EST