Now this is fascinating.
President Obama Thursday deceptively took Osama Bin Laden’s words out of context to help make a point about how al Qaeda is on its knees and we can curtail our use of drones – and start winding down the rest of the War on Terror. Or what’s apparently now “The War on a Couple of Remaining Terrorists.”
The deception was uncovered by terrorism analyst Thomas Joscelyn, who wrote today in The Weekly Standard. Joscelyn notes that the drone program has indeed been effective at killing bad guys. But he also makes the important point that drones are a tactic, not a strategy – and a tactic to which al Qaeda has adjusted.
In Thursday’s grand strategy speech before the National Defense University, Obama said this:
To begin with, our actions are effective. Don’t take my word for it. In the intelligence gathered at bin Laden’s compound, we found that he wrote, “We could lose the reserves to enemy’s air strikes. We cannot fight air strikes with explosives.”
Sounds like Bin Laden is saying, OMG, we’re even about to lose the reserves! We’re helpless with our primitive explosives before these high-tech air strikes!
But Joscelyn takes a look at the entire document of Bin Laden’s writings, as released by the White House, and notices that, well, that’s not what Bin Laden was saying at all. Here’s the full quote:
The Ummah will use the reserve in the future, but during the appropriate time. In the meanwhile, we do not want to send the reserves to the front line, especially in areas where the enemy only uses air strikes to attack our forces. So, the reserves will not, for the most part, be effective in such conflicts. Basically, we could lose the reserves to enemy’s air strikes. We cannot fight air strikes with explosives!
What Bin Laden is actually saying is – We got reserves, let’s not waste them! And, Bin Laden goes on the suggest, he has lots of reserves:
It is known that they teach in military and war science that if a war breaks out between two countries, the two countries do not send all of their forces to the front line. Instead, they hold back some forces, especially forces with special training . . .
We still have a powerful force which we can organize and prepare for deployment.
Now, whether or not Bin Laden has a “powerful force” lying in wait – I got no idea. What’s important here is that Obama has selectively quoted Bin Laden to suggest Bin Laden himself knows the jig is up. And that just ain’t so.