We killed Osama bin Laden long after al-Qaeda was no longer a threat, and now we’ve killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after ISIS has ceased to be an active threat. Perfect timing! Still, it could be worse. The Greatest Generation never did track down Hitler in his bunker, did they?¹
Anyway, the New York Times reports that it was a close-run thing. Apparently we learned al-Baghdadi’s general location several months ago and began an intelligence operation to track him down more precisely:
But Mr. Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American forces from northern Syria disrupted the meticulous planning and forced Pentagon officials to press ahead with a risky, night raid before their ability to control troops and spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared, according to military, intelligence and counterterroism officials. Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death, they said, occurred largely in spite of Mr. Trump’s actions.
I also notice with amusement that newspaper headlines are all couching the operation in “Trump says” terms, as if they aren’t quite willing to accept it as unvarnished truth until they have more than just the president’s word.
There’s not much more to say except that Trump treated the whole thing in typically Trumpian fashion: refusing to notify Democrats ahead of time; thanking Russia for help the Russians say they didn’t provide; claiming it was the greatest anti-terrorist operation of all time; and then releasing a staged situation room picture:
This picture was taken a couple of hours after the raid, but the Trumpies were too dumb to hide their tracks by massaging the metadata in the photo to make it look like Trump was following the raid in real time. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. As Reagan taught us, all that matters is that the image itself gets into the news. And it did. A chance to mock Trump certainly got me to post a copy, didn’t it?
¹This is a joke. Take it easy, folks.