I've come up with a theory that resolves the dilemmas presented by the impossibly lame official government version(s) of the (alleged) last stand of Osama bin Laden (referenced in my post “Dead Again”, May 5). Like many inspirations, it came to me in a flash while I was doing something totally mindless – which is a good recommendation for just relaxing once in a while.
Here's the theory. We did, in fact, manage to kill Osama, not on the date claimed but a short time previously, say a week or two. And it didn't happen in Abbottabad, or Costello-abad, or anywhere like that, but in the sort of place you'd expect – up in the mountains of either Pakistan or Afghanistan, in some hideaway. And yes, it was an ultra-secret, ultra-hush raid by some elite U.S. forces – which is what made possible the next step.
A good killing is a terrible thing to waste, right? And aside from the obvious propaganda value of having knocked off the “mastermind” behind 9/11... but wait, wasn't KSM the mastermind? How many masterminds do you need, anyway? At any rate, the geniuses in the Obama administration right away set to work trying to extract the maximum propaganda and, let's say, diplomatic value out of the whole thing. Wouldn't it be much better, for example, if he had been caught in luxurious digs with a stash of pornography? Wouldn't that be a slap in the face to the alleged ascetic, self-denying habits and ideals of the Islamic militants? And then, to add insult to injury, you portray Osama as a lonely old man (except for a clutch of wives) reliving the glory days by watching TV. A kind of Moslem version of Howard Hughes, let's say. In other words, he was out of the loop, but we're gonna get him anyway, based on past offenses.
So what you do? You pick some luxurious digs of some sort, stage a raid, and declare that Osama was, in fact, on the premises and has now assumed room temperature, but we can't show you any photos to prove it, and we're not going to put his body on display because that would violate Moslem burial customs (like we care!)... and so we flew him out over the ocean and bade him a fond farewell.
But where would be the best place to stage a raid on some luxurious digs, hmmm? Well, the Pakistani government has been acting a bit ambivalent of late... they're threatening to wander off the reservation (the one called The American Empire)... so what better way to bring them to heel and teach them a lesson with a bit of humiliation than to stage the raid in what was apparently the West Point of Pakistan?
This even helps explain the hopelessly garbled multiple versions of the story that came out in the first few days, even though there was only one source of the information. The administration couldn't get the story straight for the simple reason that it was, indeed, a story, rather than a set of facts. So they – in typical liberal fashion – tried out one version, that didn't sound quite right, so they tried out another, ditto, and so on until they came up with something that seemed to make some sense... except no one ever attempted to explain where all those other stories came from. Nah, forget it – toss 'em in the memory hole, it's time to “move on”.
This theory is not a whole lot different than Option 1 of my previous post – just fleshed out a bit. What it does is eliminate the notion that he had already been dead for a long time, and thus takes care of the question of why announce it at this point by making it seem like it just happened. Under the new scenario, the administration would have taken just the amount of time it needed to stage the second, bogus raid... but unfortunately not enough time to come up with a story that made sense and was worth sticking to.
Or... this may all be idle speculation, and the administration may have been telling the truth after all. But which truth? Which story? And again, why all the cover-up activity? Weren't we treated to photos of the bloated corpses of Uday and Qusay as soon as possible (within the bounds of good taste, of course)? So what changed? Can it be that we have become more conscious of Moslem sensitivities in the intervening years? Not likely.
Maybe I've been reading too many Father Brown stories recently. But this theory certainly makes at least as much sense as what actually happened... or didn't happen... or... well, you see the point. Compared to the endless re-positioning, shifting stances, and spin of this administration, almost anything that is linear and consistent and logical makes more sense, even it it does sound like something out of Conspiracy Central.