A month and a half ago I posted a poll asking when the capture or death of Osama bin Laden would look “staged” for political gain by Bush & Co.. If you haven’t voted, follow the link or vote on the sidebar.
My goal was to define a cut-off date, based on readers’ opinions, so that we would at least have an idea about what we thought before he was caught/killed when we discussed it after he was caught/killed.
This perspective can be vary valuable if available. Take a look at the 9/11 investigation. A large number of people claim that Bush & Co. were irresponsible when they didn’t follow up scraps of leads and hints of tips before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. What seems so painfully obvious today was anything but obvious at the time. It is hindsight (which isn’t even close to 20/20, by the way) that lets us look at fragmentary intelligence and claim we should have been able to see what was coming.
What I’m aiming to do is defuse some of the “I told you so”-factor. If we can get an opinion of MO readers on record BEFORE ObL’s status is finalized, we will at least have a starting point for discussion.
Here are the results so far, with 382 votes in:
- It doesn’t matter when he’s caught: 68%
- I DOES matter when he’s caught: 32%
I was expecting the “It doesn’t matter when” results, for and against the idea of political staging, to lead the way, but not by more than a 2:1 ratio. This means that two-thirds of MO readers who voted will either believe ObL’s capture/death either is or is not dependent on timing. Two-thirds have already decided. 52% of those think it WON’T look staged no matter when it happens, which is basically a dead tie. The slight edge to “it won’t look staged” votes is probably due to nothing more than the fact that most MO readers probably tend to be Conservatives or at least undecided.
As for those who think that timing might indicate political maneuvering, here are the total results as of this morning:
It seems pretty clear that September is the cut-off as determined by MO readers. If he’s caught/killed before September 1st, the undecideds probably will accept it as is. If it’s after September 1st, the undecided will probably suspect that it at least might be politically maneuvering by Bush & Co.. I think that’s entirely reasonable.
At the same time, what if they capture, kill, or get proof of ObL’s death on September 9th? Not maneuvering, just simply that’s when it happens? Should they release the info immediately? Or should they wait until after the election in the interest of appearances? Does it matter what Bush’s numbers look like at the time? I’ve said that there are things that need to be done, or not done, for the sake of appearances, and that Bush often doesn’t do them or not do them. Is this one of those things?