How the GOP is Lamely Trying to Divide America Over Osama bin Laden
Was it ever possible that the killing of Osama bin Laden would unite America the way America was united (at least in many people's memories) immediately after 9/11?
No, it was never possible. Republicans are responding to this the way they respond to everything: by seeking to divide America and undermine Democrats and liberals. They do this for the same reason the scorpion stings the frog in the fable: it's their nature. They will continue trying to divide America until we wake up and realize that they hate America -- or at least they hate any America in which we don't turn over all the power to them. They'll undermine and weaken that pluralistic America until we finally recognize their disloyalty and marginalize the dividers.
We should have expected them to try to deny Barack Obama credit for the fact that bin Laden was located and killed on his watch, and to try to shift the credit to George W. Bush. We should have expected them to use the incident to reopen the debate about torture.
But there's more. Fox Nation, right-wing bloggers, and others are currently braying about this story from Britain's Daily Mail:
Obama took SIXTEEN HOURS to make up his mind about Bin Laden mission
Barack Obama kept military commanders hanging by declaring he would 'sleep on it' before taking 16 hours to give the go-ahead to raid Bin Laden's compound....
Really? The mission was successful, and this is the straw they grasp at? A delay of less than a day?
Let me put that in context. It took 1,306 DAYS for George W. Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld for his sheer inability (or willful refusal) to cope with the chaos of Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, and for his stubborn insistence on a level of troop strength inadequate to quell the chaos and restore order -- that's 1,306 DAYS from the first reports of looting in Iraq (April 12, 2003) through the worst of the insurgency and to the day (November 8, 2006) Rumsfeld stepped down.
(Or perhaps, like Maureen Dowd, you'd like to count it down from Tora Bora: "A pigheaded Donald Rumsfeld, overly obsessed with a light footprint, didn't have the forces needed at Tora Bora to capture Osama after the invasion of Afghanistan." In that case, it's 1,787 DAYS from the conclusion of the Battle of Tora Bora, on December 17, 2001, to Rumsfeld's resignation.)
So who's the real hesitator?
But that's not enough divisiveness for Republicans and rightists. Bloggers, led (as Little Green Footballs notes) by the grotesque Pam Geller, are advancing anonymously sourced reports from shady rumor-purveyors that the bin Laden mission happened over Obama's objections, in a "military coup" of sorts, and took place only because CIA director Leon Panetta gave the OK without waiting for Obama's approval.
Maybe this scurrilous nonsense is coming from people at the far margins of the right. Or maybe it's not -- maybe it's being injected into the debate by people close to the centers of mainstream Republican power, because they can't bear to have a country that's not divided, with powerful Democrats widely despised and mistrusted. In any event, the nonsense is being regurgitated at such sites as CNN contributor Erick Erickson's RedState and the well-connected Pajamas Media. It's part of the mainstream of Republican commentary. It's a disgrace from a disgraceful party.