Myrddin provides a synopsis of John Aravosis’s analysis of the “who got binLaden” hoopla: “It is clear that judged by the standards Republicans set for Democrats, Obama deserves the credit for eliminating Bin Laden, who would still be alive if Romney had been president, as Romney made it explicit that he would not go into Pakistan for bin Laden, and that’s exactly what Obama did.
That is probably the strongest conclusion we will ever be able to draw on the particular question of Bin Laden. But that still leaves open the larger, rather more important question of whether conservatives really want the likes of bin Laden to be eliminated at all, or if they find it rather useful to have a convenient bogeyman around to help buttress their various ‘war on terror’ proposals.
That Bush and co found Bin Laden useful is beyond dispute. Without 9/11 there could never have been the PATRIOT act, the warrant-less wiretapping, the Gitmo gulag, the torture or the invasion of Iraq. Continuing and extending those policies would only be possible as long as Bin Laden was alive. Whether or not they intended to let Bin Laden escape the Tora Bora it was certainly very, very convenient for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.