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May 03, 2011

On "I Question the Timing"

The left made such a ridiculous habit of calling "I question the timing" that Google is full of references to that stupid catchphrase from this site alone.

Always mocking the left for it.

It became such a source of fun we didn't even bother writing "I question the timing." We just shorthanded it as "IQTT!"

But it's suddenly smart when we do it?

Here is my question:

If you say this date was picked for political opportunism, then I need for those claiming this to tell me: Name a date upon which you think the attack should have been scheduled, when it would not have been politically opportunistic.

You don't like May 1. Fine. Then I'm going to need for you to go ahead and name a date where you wouldn't suspect political opportunism.

Give me your date. If not May 1, then when? January 26th? February 10th?

September 15th, 2010?! But note if it's any time before November 2010, then it's politically better timed to influence the last elections.

If you can't tell me a date upon which this event would not be "politically timed," then all you are saying is that you wish it had not happened at all. Which is bizarre.

Or you're saying Obama should have let bin Ladin live until after the November 2012 elections, so that he wouldn't have this to his credit.

But why? Why should he do that? Why let Osama live that long? Just so there is no poll-boost for Obama?

Wouldn't that be politically timed -- but to help Republicans?

There is one version of this claim that is possible-- but it's not about political timing.

If you postulate that Obama is risk-averse and weak, then Obama may have refused to act, like Clinton did, out of fear and out of weakness.

But only when he saw his presidency slipping away from him did he agree to take a chance and authorize the raid.

Now, that is possible, I admit. But in that case, it's not Obama picking and choosing which month he'll decide to get bin Ladin; that's Obama's natural weakness finally being overcome by panic at being Jimmy Carter II.

Further, in that case, political pressure actually helped produce a good result by overcoming Obama's built-in weaknesses and flaws.

We may yet wind up hearing about that -- about the CIA coming to him multiple times saying "We're pretty damn sure about this" and Obama voting present as always, saying, "Give me more evidence."

Perhaps that went on for months and months. Obama always refusing to make a decision.

This is possible. It doesn't contradict what we know, and plays into what we think we know about Obama's indecisiveness and weakness.

And we saw the exact same thing happen with Clinton.

But this stuff about him being able to to take out Osama at anytime he wanted and choosing, for maximum political impact, May 1, 2011, as the "best" month for doing this?

No, the best month for doing this is either August or September or October of 2012, taking all the oxygen out of the presidential race and showing Obama in his finest moment right before the election.

The next-best time would be August or September or October of 2010 -- having the same effect, and boosting Democrats running for Congress.

But now?

Now, six months after one election and eighteen months away from the next?

Again: If you're bothered by the timing what you're really bothered by is the bigger-picture timing: This happened on Obama's watch, period, and not during better periods for us, like Bush's terms or Obama's successor's term.

There is no date you can actually name where you'd say this was not politically timed.

As is typical in conspiracy theories, the theory is unfalsifiable by design and deliberately vague on details.

If you really want to push this, name me a date upon which there would be no "political benefit" and then we can talk about that.


If Bush... Caught a lucky intel break and discovered this just before the 2008 elections, and acted promptly -- would that have been done for political impact?

Or does this only apply to the other party?

A lot of people on the left agree with the IQTT brigade. The left are, in fact, the founding members of the IQTT brigade. This is their number one export to the cybernetic world.

They also think that this is a great thing to say, but only applies to the other party. Just because.

It seems to me that if there's an inconsistent and illogical kneejerk response beloved by some on the left, as well as some on the right, and the only disagreement between them is upon which politicians to play the card -- that seems to me pretty good evidence that there's nothing rational behind this except partisan pique.

Andrew Sullivan, 2006: He questioned the timing of the SkyBomb busts -- in which British and US agents acted against terrorists planning detonations of up to ten transatlantic flights, about simultaneously-- suggesting maybe it had to do with Tony Blair's desire to congratulate Joe Lieberman for having already won a primary against a man supported by Sullivan.

rt. I wonder if this story is going to get more interesting. I wonder if Lieberman's defeat, the resilience of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the emergence of a Hezbollah-style government in Iraq had any bearing on the decision by Bush and Blair to pre-empt the British police and order this alleged plot disabled. I wish I didn't find these questions popping into my head.

Me too, Andrew. Me too.

I responded to him:

Nope, no evidence [that this plot was real]. All just a confabulation of Bush and Blair to, ummmmm, help Joe Lieberman. Yeah. The Brits are all queer for Joe Lieberman. He's like the fucking BEATLES, man, only without the baggage of Ringo.

And help Joe Lieberman after the election, I kept noting: This whole I Question the Timing thing doesn't even make sense if the timing is poor, as it was in this case, and as it is in the killing of bin Ladin.

Explanation for the Timing? Suppose Obama is doing what he usually does -- playing golf and voting present.

He could have ordered this before but has resisted, being risk averse. Doesn't want to risk a helicopter raid into the heart of Pakistan.

Now WikiLeaks reveals the name of the courier.

The administration denies it... but they know it's true.

What do they do? With the courier's name out there, the courier must start suspecting that something bad is coming.

They may lose their opportunity for the raid.

So Obama finally orders it.

I obviously don't mind narratives that play Obama as weak, timid, or stupid.

I just object to the goofy ones that are just all made up and illogical to boot.



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posted by Ace at 03:35 PM

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