Monday, November 07, 2011

THE PHONY SCANDAL SO NICE, RIGHT-WINGERS ARE PRETENDING TO BE SHOCKED BY IT TWICE features this story from Britain's Daily Mail, which, though it's not a Murdoch paper, has become a go-to overseas source for demonization fodder on the U.S. right:

Revealed: How Obama was playing golf until 20 minutes before Navy SEALs began mission to take out Bin Laden

In the official photograph, he looked every inch the commander in chief.

Strain etched on his face, Barack Obama watched as the raid to kill Osama bin Laden played out on a television in front of him.

According to a new book, however, the President was not nearly that engaged -- and was actually playing golf until 20 minutes before the operation began in earnest....

The claims are from Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL team commander, in a book called SEAL Target Geronimo....

Wow. That story -- eagerly seized on by Townhall, National Review Online, and other right-wing sources -- is really going to blow a hole in the official narrative of the event, isn't it?

Um, except it isn't. Here's the first paragraph of USA Today's recap of the events surrounding the raid, published two days after it took place:

After playing nine holes of morning golf, President Obama joined his senior aides in the White House Situation Room at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday to go over final preparations for that day's top-secret raid on a complex 35 miles outside Islamabad that those in the room believed was built to hide Osama bin Laden.

Here's the Christian Science Monitor a day later:

Golf shoes in the Oval Office could have been a clue.

President Barack Obama usually goes to the residence quarters of the White House after putting in a few weekend hours on the links. But he made an unusual beeline for his West Wing office last Sunday that raised eyebrows only in retrospect.

He was headed for a top-secret meeting to review final preparations for a military operation he'd approved two days earlier, the one involving a raid by Navy SEALs that would end with the death of Osama bin Laden, one of the world's most hunted men.

Obama's half-round of golf that day was reported all over the place in days to come, from Foreign Policy's Cable blog to the golf blog of The New York Times. In fact The Washington Times tried to turn it into an outrage at the time:

Obama golfs while troops hunt Osama bin Laden‬

Terrorist's capture is top national-security mission, but not before tee time

Well, it didn't connect at the time, but wingers never admit defeat on these things. Pfarrer's book is rehashing the story, so they're faux-outraged all over again.


Fox Nation is going with a different take on the Pfarrer book, from Australia's (Murdoch-owned) Daily Telegraph:

US NAVY Seals have revealed for the first time that they killed Osama Bin Laden within 90 seconds of entering his fortress-like home in Pakistan.

The men who killed the al-Qaeda chief have decided to speak out because they are tired of their "shabby treatment" by politicians who claim they were on a "kill mission".

... They were not on a "kill mission", they said, and fired only 12 bullets in the entire operation.

The details of the mission, which was codenamed Operation Neptune’s Spear, are revealed in a book by the Seals' former commander, Chuck Pfarrer.

"I've been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard the words 'kill mission'. It's a fantasy word. If it was a kill mission you don’t need Seal Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades."

First of all, Chuck, you haven't "been" a SEAL for 30 years. You were a SEAL for 8 years, and haven't been one for about 20. How do I know that? You say so yourself on your own Web site. After that you became a Hollywood screenwriter (dude! you're a co-writer of Pam Anderson's Barb Wire!), and you've written sewveral books.

And if "kill mission" is "a fantasy word," someone needs to tell the Murdoch media, which also uses the expression.

Beyond that, what you're basically saying, on behalf of the actual SEALs who carried this mission, and whom you allegedly interviewed (although there are doubts about that), is that their attitude is "Gee, thanks for picking us to carry this out, but, given what you now say about it, this mission was beneath us." If this is really what these guys think, then screw them; the president of the United States -- their commander in chief, remember? -- chose them because he thought they were the best, and he thought this was incredibly important and shouldn't be screwed up. And now they're spitting on him.

Or, quite possibly, screenwriter and ex-SEAL Pfarrer is spitting on him, either because he hates the president or because he knows Obama-hate sells. The latter may be the most likely scenario. And that's our political culture, folks: Obama actually gets the bad guys and he's anti-military, whereas if he were a Republican and screwed up everything he touched in foreign policy (cough Bush and Cheney cough), he'd be the subject of a mancrush.


c u n d gulag said...

Neo-cons are still sporting wood over Bush and Dick.

They were THEIR fuck-ups.

You get someone competent in there, and all of a sudden, gross incompetence becomes something they're nostalgic for.

And this Pfarrer putz needs to be thanked for his service, then kicked in the ass and told to sit down and shut the fuck up, the adults have got this!

And have they all forgotten Little Boots's line after talking about terrorism, "Now watch this drive."

Now there, THERE was a PRESIDENT!!!

BH said...

I ain't thanking Pfartbag for his service. He wasn't drafted & I damn sure didn't ask him to join.

merlallen said...

Remember, GWB did not rest until OBL was taken dead or alive. No "brush cutting" no afternoon naps no vacations. NO REST at all.

Lisa Paul said...

Thought I'd weigh in an add some perspective. I've known Chuck since we were both 14. He's not Conservative or Liberal,he's completely apolitical. He may not have been on the teams for awhile, but he's been a consultant and trainer for them since we got into Iraq. So he's right there with the source.

But the main fact you need to be aware of, is that very few people have read the book. Only a few news outlets got advanced copies and that a day or so before they interviewed him, so they latched on to what they wanted to grab on to. They have also wildly misquoted him -- which is easy to do in print, but much harder to do on TV or radio. As he is starting to be booked on both, I think you'll hear a different story from him than the spin that this has been given. There are now literally dozens of "stories" and "interviews" with him out there with media outlets he never spoke to. They just picked up the UK Daily Telegraph story and spun it their way.

Jon said...

I'm just about to post by reaction to this fake outrage. I'll add what you said too.