From the New York Times… uh, actually the comment section:
The most frustrating part about the administration’s ever-shifting account of the raid: If the first story they released was the true one, the SEALs (and the United States) would have been the definition “righteous” and “not-to-be-trifled-with” (dare I say, badass?).
If the first account the President conveyed were (something along the lines of), “The SEALs were shot at upon arriving at the compound. From then on, they took no chances. Knowing that Osama bin Laden utilized suicide bombers, they neutralized all threats, while ensuring the safety of the eight children living in the house,” he would have conveyed the message that no number of graphic photos could deliver.
Instead, the story the administration hastily delivered was straight out of a video game: there were men on the roof shooting at the arriving helicopter, there was armed resistance in every room, and there were human shields in front of every AK-47-wielding terrorist. Thankfully, the SEALs fought their way upstairs to the boss of the game, Osama bin Laden, who was obviously armed, because the boss of the game is always armed. Perhaps we’ve just seen so many movies that our gut reaction is to assume that’s how a raid against such a dangerous man must have gone. Whatever the source of that account, it was grossly incorrect.
So instead of sending a message of power and righteousness, by revising the story to sound continually more one-sided, the administration made the U.S. look at best untrustworthy, and at worst like we slaughtered a house full of unarmed people. No wonder so many in the Arab world refused to believe bin Laden was dead until AQ said it themselves.
It’s not that the administration lied to us – it’s that they were in such a rush to tell us what we wanted to hear, they forgot that we, and the rest of the world, only want to hear one story. Preferably, the truth.
There’s now a very visible effort underway to sell Obama as a reinvigorated and powerful, security-driven president in the midst of this bumbling escapade of half-truths and retractions is making the internet start to scream: PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!
What’s priceless is President Obama met on Friday with Navy SEALs, telling them “I came here for a simple reason: to say thank you on behalf of America.” And then he gave a really long speech on top of that, because that’s his thing, speechifying and stuff.
Commending the SEALS on killing bin Laden is akin to a re-election awards show (there was a Presidential Unit Citation, which seems cheap considering they are probably manufactured in mass quantities these days, along with those freedom medals). There is still no cash prize being mentioned, though we all know there was the small matter of a bounty of several million dollars once upon a time.
But the awards and congratulations are just sideshow to the real question of proof and truth, which is clearly in high demand and not being sated by government raid story v3.0 (now with built-in lie-fi).
Obama seems to be tone-deaf to the people’s demands (non-partisan, mind you, it’s only been less than a week), demands for some tangible proof, and demands for something more than a moving target story that has a growing stench of bullshit wafting from it.
Like I said, it’s evident he’s tone deaf to this: He’s still on his victory circuit, after all.
UPDATE: This guy has done an exhaustive breakdown of how we’ve Bin Had. All I can add is: yep.