Well done, President Barack Obama, our commander in chief. There, I said it even if it took me four days to extract the words from my livered lips.
There will be no political "bump" from Sunday's takedown of Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man for the last 10 years. The uptick in the president's political fortunes will be more long-lasting. Still doesn't mean he's a shoo-in for re-election. Remember George Bush pere's triumphal entry into Congress after the success of Operation Desert Storm? What happened to the man who brought down the Berlin Wall? Same thing that happened to a victorious Winston Churchill: defeat at the polls.
Still, Barack Obama will now seem "presidential" no matter what the future holds just as George Bush fils did when he shouted into that bullhorn at Ground Zero, "I hear you and soon the people who did this will hear from us."
And so, they did.
I will criticize no aspect of the operation. The buck stops at the president's desk, whether it be good news or bad. If Jimmy Carter could be blamed for the helicopters foundering in the sand in 1980 -- and he should be -- then Obama got Osama. Victory has a thousand fathers but only one big daddy and his name is Barack "Born in the USA" Obama.
Well, make that two: George W. Bush deserves credit, too. More grace notes to the incumbent for inviting his predecessor to Thursday's Ground Zero ceremony and to #43 for hewing to his "one president at a time" stance.
Now let me tick off some random thoughts in preparation for Friday morning's appearance on Joy Cardin's Week in Review program on the state radio network from 8 to 9 a.m. opposite known liberal Bill Lueders.
1. The photographs. I have no beef with the President deciding not to show the grisly photographs. No need to spike the football, as he said. The people who believe bin Laden does not sleep with the fishes are going to believe that the guy is selling juice on the UW Library Mall. No photo will convince people who do not process new information.
Then again, I would not have objected if the President, in his late Sunday night address to the nation, had reached under the podium and held aloft the bastard's bearded and turbaned head. Hey, it would have made great television.
2. The kill shot. Whether he was resisting or not matters not. It was dark and they came to kill. The likelihood that bin Laden would have walked away from his up close and personal encounter with the Navy SEALs was even slimmer than he was. If he had held a woman in front of him as a hostage the lucky SEAL would have shot her dead just to get at him. No way they report back to base saying "he got the drop on us."
Take him captive? Not a chance that Eric Holder or any ACLU lawyer was getting anywhere near this guy. Nobody wanted to try Osama bin Laden in New York. Trying other terrorists there was almost as bad a joke.
3. Waterboarding and Gitmo. It should be a matter of fact rather than opinion whether "enhanced interrogation techniques" gave us useful information and that will come out in the wash. But if you're worried about terrorists' rights -- these are enemy combatants, remember -- ask yourself whether you think that bin Laden was at any time Miranda-ized before the SEAL blew his head open at close range with a powerful weapon.
4. Wiretapping. I can't disagree with Michael Barone's point in National Review Online that the domestic wiretapping "revealed to great acclaim by the New York Times and presented as an intolerable infringement of civil liberties -- Given what we know now, it's a good thing our folks were tuning in."
5. Navy SEALS. Barone reminds us that "It was fashionable a few years ago to call the SEALs and the Army Rangers "Dick Cheney's death squad" and "Cheney's assassination team."
6. Cowboy up. Remember the Left's favorite epithet for George W.? That's right, he was a "cowboy" for his supposed proclivity to go it alone. Need I note that Get Lefty was a unilateral operation? No United Nations, no NATO, and no lookin' back.
7. Axis of Evil. There is, as George W. said, "evil" in the world. Now, one less. That won't stop our progressive-liberal acquaintances (for they ARE ...) from meandering on and on about, as The Nation's Christopher Hayes proposes, "It's time to banish our dangerously-simplified us-versus-them mentality and recognize the world as it is: shot through with suffering and complexity." Guys, it's not all that complex. As Reagan said during the Cold War, his strategy was "we win and they lose."
8. "Arab Spring." Better commentators than Blaska (Grab your hearts and exclaim, "I'm coming, Elizabeth.") have noted that Al Qaeda is less relevant today in the wake of the democratic awakenings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere. That also explains the paucity of riots protesting his death.
What I haven't seen is proper credit to George W. Bush for building a functioning democracy in the middle of the Arab/Muslim world, in Iraq, to awaken that world to the possibilities of (dare we say it?) hope and change.
The image of those purple fingers held aloft by newly enfranchised women voters in the fledgling democracy of Iraq has proven indelible.