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Robert Baer’s Take on bin Laden

Posted on May 4, 2011
hellokathie Some rights reserved

Robert Baer, the former agency man who takes the form of George Clooney in “Syriana,” has an alternative view on the death of Osama bin Laden.

Listen to Ian Masters’ interview with Baer here, or catch the whole episode of ‘Background Briefing’ here.


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 7, 2011 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

MontyPDX, May 6 at 10:09 pm,

The CIA, the government and the media personified Osama bin
Laden bigger than life to the citizens of the United States and the
world to magnify fear, but I am uncertain that that was Osama bin
Laden’s intention.  You see, it is totally illogical that the people one is
trying to scare would deliberately spread the scare tactics of the
scarer to help the scarer petrify their own people, which is what
happened with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.  The CIA spread fear
to justify a reason to go and bomb Hell out of Afghanistan, whereas
Osama bin Laden in and of himself and his few did not have that

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By I. B. Tinken, May 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

In response to MarthaA: Of course Osama bin Laden was a real person.  My point was that he became bigger than life—the personification of evil.  And the SEALS, in killing him have become the personification of virtue.  The story begins to resemble a “morality play” or Hollywood movie intended to “lead” public opinion in a particular direction.

One such direction is the support of defense spending on high tech weaponry such as the “stealth” helicopters reportedly employed by the SEALS. Another direction may be the support for military action over diplomacy in foreign policy.

Or as Robert Scheer details in his recent piece, this is a story of how we created a monster in bin Laden and then were ultimately able to destroy him.  It’s all tied up neatly like a Hollywood movie.  I suspect the reality is a lot more complex and messy. Furthermore, I am suggesting terrorism will not be neatly resolved by teams of commandos with extraordinary weapons and seemingly “super” powers.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

MontyPDX, May 6 at 11:32 am,

Are you saying Osama bin Laden wasn’t a real person?

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By I. B. Tinken, May 6, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Who writes this stuff? Well, there seems to be a lot of traffic between Washington and Hollywood, starting even before Ronald Reagan.  And besides, Americans love a good adventure story. I’ll bet half the people under 30 believe Rambo was a real person and would have single handedly won the Viet Nam War if not thwarted by the cowards and Peacenicks in Washington.
Go SEALS!  Kick some terrorist butt!

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Allan Krueger's avatar

By Allan Krueger, May 6, 2011 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

I bet Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch were piloting the copters! Who writes this stuff?

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By I. B. Tinken, May 6, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

The big story today is about “stealth Helicopters”.  Does this better explain how the SEALs invaded Pakistan without encountering any military resistance?  Or is this part of the elaborate cover story invented to protect the Pakistani government from the wrath of the many Pakistanis who would react violently to the news of their government’s complicity in this operation.

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to advance the belief that anyone attacking the US or its interests will be pursued and killed by super human commandos flying invisible aircraft.

Unfortunately, to whatever extent it may be true, the story of being pursued and killed by super human commandos does not deter the terrorist who is prepared to die for his beliefs whether it be in an exploding vehicle or a well protected hide out where he plots his next attack.

So long as we are surrounded by unlimited technology that can be made lethal and people who are prepared to die using it to attack us, we will not achieve safety or peace.

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By samosamo, May 6, 2011 at 12:03 am Link to this comment



I have been having all sorts of issues lately with truthdig’s site,
more so on commenting. I wrote to them about it a while back
and they responded that they were having problems and hoped
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contact them and explain, which I have done recently but as yet
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By I. B. Tinken, May 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Robert Baer raises the question that hasn’t been explored in any other discussion I’ve seen or heard:  How did our slow helicopters get past Pakistani air defenses into a military garrison so close to the Indian border?

The Pakistanis have a nuclear weapon; they certainly must have sophisticated radar and fighter planes.  Having unresolved military conflicts with India, the Pakistanis would not ignore incoming aircraft.

So, despite the obvious heroism and abilities of our commandos, it is doubtful they would or could have pulled off this mission without casualties if the Pakistani military had not been persuaded to look the other way. There would be too great a risk of a helicopter being shot down by “mistake”, or Pakistani soldiers converging on the sound of gunfire and shooting at unidentified attackers in the dark.

The story as presented by our government makes for a good action movie, but defies credibility as realistic military planning. The public shouldn’t take away from this event the belief that all we need to solve our foreign policy or terrorism problems are more well trained Navy Seals.

Instead, as Baer suggests, we should be asking who amongst the Pakistani government and or military was sheltering our most notable terrorist enemy? And, how we can trust them in other areas of our national security, such as keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists or their sympathizers?  Better yet, we could begin to deal with the real reasons we are facing so much enmity in the Muslim world.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

What happened to Truthdig’s thread Thomas Friedman on the Decline of Bin Ladenism?

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