Random Thoughts While Reading the Seymour Hersh Article on Bin Laden's Death (Part 1)

The Rude Pundit is working his way through Seymour Hersh's alleged bombshell of an article in the London Review of Books about how the official story on the death of Osama bin Laden is full of holes and lies and lieholes. It's a long slog and time is short today (hence the "Part 1"). The Rude Pundit neither believes nor disbelieves Hersh. He's agnostic. What he's trying to figure out is if it's actually significant whether or not it's true. In other words, should you bother caring?  Here we go:

"The killing [of Osama bin Laden] was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election." That's the second sentence of the 10,000 word article, and it's utter bullshit. The high point of Obama's first term was probably getting the Affordable Care Act passed. And the reason for his reelection? Well, who the fuck else was there? Fuckin' Romney? At best, the bin Laden raid was an inoculation against anyone saying a Democrat couldn't be a tough guy.

"[A] retired [Pakistani] general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s..." Sorry, what? One of Hersh's primary sources was done in his job in the early 1990s, which, by the Rude Pundit's awesome calendar-reading abilities, was way before September 11, 2001, and we're supposed to trust what Durrani says about where bin Laden was in 2006? And that info is second or third or fourth hand? "As a former ISI head, he said, he had been told shortly after the raid by ‘people in the “strategic community” who would know’ that there had been an informant who had alerted the US to bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad." No. Bad reporter. Bad.

"Saudi Arabia...had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis." Well, that actually makes a helluva lot of sense, since the bin Laden family is from Saudi fuckin' Arabia.

"The risks for Obama were high at this early stage, especially because there was a troubling precedent: the failed 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran...After all, as the retired [American] official said, ‘If the mission fails, Obama’s just a black Jimmy Carter and it’s all over for re-election.’" Really? Do these old guys understand anything about recent political history? The bin Laden raid was in May 2011. Carter's failed hostage rescue was in April 1980. One was a fuck of a lot closer to an election. George H.W. Bush was supposed to sail to victory in 1992 after the Persian Gulf War in 1991. How'd that go? People have the attention spans of cats on meth. And "black Jimmy Carter"? No. Bad source. Bad.

"There was a deal with your top guys. We were very reluctant, but it had to be done – not because of personal enrichment, but because all of the American aid programmes would be cut off. Your guys said we will starve you out if you don’t do it," says an anonymous Pakistani "with close ties to the senior leadership" of Pakistan's intelligence service. The Rude Pundit is not involved with international diplomacy or skullduggery, but it seems like shit like this is said all the time between nations where one is economically dependent on the other. To portray it as insidious in some way is to act naive.

More tomorrow.