The President as first person shooter
In a BBC interview before a state visit to London this week, Obama described the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad this month as a "powerful moment" for America.
Translation: The killing was all about a bump in the polls and 2012.
Asked what he would do if the US found another "very high-value target" there , such as the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, Obama indicated he would act again.
"Our hope is, and our expectation is, is that we can achieve that in a way that is fully respectful of Pakistan's sovereignty. But I had made no secret – I had said this when I was running for the presidency – that if I had a clear shot at Bin Laden that we'd take it."
Well, I wouldn't go so far to say, at least in this instance, that Obama's flat-out lying, but if you look at what Obama actually said in the campaign, you can see how those who wished to deceive themselves would very easily have been able to do so.*
Obama acknowledged that the raid on Bin Laden's compound had been a "calculated risk" that could have ended very differently. "There's no doubt that that was as long a 40 minutes as I care to experience during my presidency," he said.
Dear Lord, the narcissism really is pathological. One imagines FDR, or Churchill, waiting for word on the cross-channel landings for D-Day. Or the British chateaux generals waiting for word from the front at The Battle of the Somme, after they'd sent hundreds of thousands of troops "over the top." Or, heck, JFK, waiting for word from the Bay of Pigs. But Jeebus, waiting to for a hit team to pop one guy?
I suppose, if life is a video game, and you're a first-person shooter, forty minutes might seem like a long time. I mean, your Mom might come down in the basement and interrupt you, ask you if you want some Cheetohs. Anyhow, I don't know about you, but Obama's combination of wankery, malevolence, and faux judiciousness gives me the creeps.
Oh, and "high value" gives me the creeps, too. That which we can kill, that's got "high value." Nothing else does, apparently; the phrase isn't used anywhere else.
NOTE A longer extract:
"First of all, I think there is an executive order out on Osama bin Laden's head, and if I'm president and we had the opportunity to capture him, we may not be able to capture him alive," Obama said. "I think it does not make sense for me to speculate in terms of what the best approach would be in trying him and bringing him to justice. I think what would be important would be for us to do it in a way that allows the entire world to understand the murderous acts that he's engaged in and not to make him into a martyr and to sure that the United States government is abiding by the basic conventions that would strengthen our hand in the broader battle against terrorism."
Obama went on to say, "you know I've used this analogy before but one of the hallmarks, one of the high water points, I think, of US foreign policy, was the Nuremburg Trials. Because the world had not seen before victors behave in ways that advanced a set of universal principles. And that set a tone for post-war reconstruction and creation of an international order that I think was extraordinarily important."
Of course, mentioning "conventions" and "Nuremburg trials" isn't the same as committing to them. So I guess I'll have to leave it to WORM experts to determine whether Obama's verbiage equates to "if I had a clear shot at Bin Laden that we'd take it," or not. In retrospect, clearly it does, since as a conservative, Obama does everything he can to piss off liberals, but I don't think that was clear at the time, even to those who were paying attention.