Ed Driscoll

Blowup

When not having a picture is worth a thousand Drudge headlines. As they said at the Howell Raines-era New York Times, Flood the Zone!

At Power Line, John Hinderaker writes, “if the administration continues to stumble in its handling of the aftermath of the raid…”

…more voters may come to disassociate the nearly-perfect planning and execution of the mission itself by intelligence and military professionals from the bungling that has gone on at the White House. As Stephen Green put it:

The plan for killing Osama Bin Laden was perfectly conceived and as perfectly executed as any special forces operation since Israel’s raid on Entebbe. But the follow-through has been strange at best, sometimes bordering on incompetence.

The most recent stumble is the White House’s indecision over whether to release a photo of the dead bin Laden. Leon Panetta said, “I don’t think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public.” But that view was controversial within the administration, and today President Obama reversed course, telling CBS that no photo will be made public. I think that is the right decision–there is no need for us to “prove” to Muslim skeptics that Obama is dead; if someone seriously thinks Osama is still alive, he can wait patiently for a post-raid video–but why the administration couldn’t foresee such a basic issue and formulate a policy in advance is inexplicable.

That said, it would take a great deal of ineptitude to take the tarnish off what pretty much every voter regards as a signal achievement: Osama bin Laden is dead.

Or to borrow from Steve’s headline, it’s “The Gang That Could Shoot Straight — But Not Much Else.”

Update: At the Tatler, Bryan Preston writes: “Obama says no on the bin Laden photo:”

If he sticks to this, it’s a bad move in my opinion. If the photo is being withheld out of sensitivity to Muslims, we are once again baptizing Osama bin Laden into mainstream Islam, after years of telling the world that OBL wasn’t a good Muslim. Stupid. Obama has just created his own pet version of the Warren Commission Report. If Obama sticks to this decision, we’ll get a lifetime of bad Photoshops and conspiracy theories out of it. And the radicals who want to kill us will still want to kill us.

I suspect, however, that President Obama will not stick to this decision. I suspect that we will see the photo, probably Friday or thereabouts.

Does this mean that it could come out as part of the Friday at 5:00 (or worse, Saturday at Midnight) document dump? That would be a rather ignominious fate for the Photo of the Century.