What happened in the middle of the night US time was clockwork precision. A display of daring, courage, and mastery of the military arts. Everything went perfectly and in under an hour, American forces were gone leaving only one crashed helicopter in their wake but no wounded soldiers. The action was something to rival Son Tay in planning, training, and execution. Unlike Son Tay, the target for Sunday had not moved so the mission became a great success.
Alas the same cannot be said for the actions inside Washington D.C. At first it was portrayed as fearless and gutsy leadership by President Obama. Then from the White House itself emerges a picture of the President sitting against a wall hunched over while the likes of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and Joe Biden are shown being fully engaged in watching the take-down. Then there is Brennan who said a woman was used as a human shield in the attack and killed, but now it seems she was not used as a shield.
The greatest mystery about the take-down now swirls around Osama bin Laden's death. Did the National Command Authority, Obama, order Osama to be killed? It seems the answer is yes, the order was to kill and not capture; but now there is walk back and equivocation on this matter. There is also confusion on was Osama unarmed when killed, reaching for a weapon, or actually did fire shots? All three actions have now been reported. Killing an unarmed man can have serious consequences for the assault team if their names ever leaked, there will be warrants issued for their arrest like that US Army tank crew that is still wanted in Spain in the accidental death of a Spanish reporter during the taking of Baghdad in 2003. And killing an unarmed man plays into the hands of Socialists and radical Islamicists around the globe, even now one of Osama's daughters is saying her father was captured alive and then shot by US forces.
The final exhibit of how this administration has lost control of the message is the fight over photographs. This administration does not want to release pictures of the body of Osama bin Laden because they do not want to inflame the Islamic world or act like the winning football team spiking a ball in the end zone. Meanwhile Reuters has published pictures of the compound and all of its gory aftermath, showing bodies and blood. Why am I reminded of the adage - 'Won the battle, but lost the war.' It is shaping up that way.