Editor, Eat the Press
On last night's edition of his eponymous Fox News show, Sean Hannity briefly took a trip to his smile-time fantasy world when he had this conversation with Frank Luntz:
HANNITY: I know the president will say, 'Well, we got bin Laden.' Putting that aside...
LUNTZ: And the public gives him credit for that.
HANNITY: They do. The public does give him credit for that. But it wouldn't have happened if he had his way, and I think that can be proved as well on tape.
Oh, really? That would sure be interesting. You see, if President Barack Obama really didn't want to take out bin Laden, he sure had an odd way of showing it. The easiest way to avoid going after bin Laden would be to say something like -- I don't know ... bin Laden is "one person" and that you "really just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you." Which isn't necessarily the height of awfulness, mind you, there's numerous ways to confront al Qaeda and the threat they represent.
But killing bin Laden, nevertheless, seems for all the world like something Obama was really into doing. As ABC News reported, the president "authorized the development of a plan for the United States to bomb bin Laden's compound with two B-2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound bombs" back in March. But when it became clear that this mission would preclude any possibility of obtaining physical evidence to attest to bin Laden's demise, the plan was scrapped in favor of what would become "Operation Geronimo" -- the riskier Navy Seals raid on the compound. And to that end, a replica of bin Laden's compound was erected at Bagram Air Force Base's "Camp Alpha." There, the Seals practiced the raid, making two dry runs in April ahead of the May mission.
This is all a very convoluted and, ultimately, ineffective way of demonstrating that you didn't really give a crap about killing bin Laden, let alone actively not wanting to kill him. Here's a hint: If you really don't want a terrorist mastermind to get killed, you should probably not assign the task to highly trained military professionals, and then give them a practice facility, two stealth helicopters and a hero dog to carry out the task. When you do that stuff, things tend to run, inexorably, in the "let's try to kill bin Laden" direction.
But Hannity says that some "tape" can prove otherwise. (And you know, it's an election year ... there's always some tape that's supposed to be floating around!) I'd be interested in seeing that tape, obviously. But I don't think that's going to happen. Meanwhile, here's a tape of Sean Hannity, a few days after Obama's inauguration, bitching about how Obama had "softened his stance" on killing bin Laden.
Interestingly enough, at one point, Hannity says of Obama's "softened" policy, "Isn't this precisely what President Bush has done? Marginalize bin Laden by chasing him into caves where he's been unable to harm us?" For starters, he wasn't in a cave (as it turns out)! But listening to Hannity praise Bush's approach to bin Laden, I can't help thinking that he sounds like a guy who wouldn't have killed bin Laden, if he had his way.
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