Why is the Obama Administration Afraid of Saying "I Don't Know"
Sunday night we were informed about the killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL). At that time everything was positive as it appeared the military operation went very well. President Obama was being congratulated for making a decision that frankly many didn't think he was capable of making. Since the initial reports the administration has been snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with the inept handling of release of information about the military operation.
I understand that the "fog of war" can result in misinformation or confusion about specifics. However, if you don't know for certain that you are giving a correct answer there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know" or something similar to end a line of questioning with a non-answer rather than a wrong answer. It is ridiculous the number of details of this military operation that they released and then retracted or modified. With it being a military operation they also had the plausible option of just saying specific details were classified and will be reviewed for later release. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney has accomplished the seemingly impossible task of making his predecessor Robert Gibbs look competent.
A partial list of key details that have changed include:
OBL was pointing a weapon when killed to he was unarmed.
OBL used a woman as a human shield or he didn't.
OBL's wife was killed. Now, she was just shot in the leg.
U.S. military was engaged in a lengthy firefight. Now, only one guy in compound fired a weapon and he was quickly dispatched.
Picture of OBL corpse will be released in a few hours to we've decided not to release the pictures.
The whole burial at sea nonsense and refusing to release the pictures undermines the primary reason to send in a live team rather than just bomb the place from the safety of a plane or ship. Why did we put sailors lives at risk to go in and get him? I assume it was because we wanted certainty that we got the guy. I don't doubt for a minute that we did actually kill the right guy. I believe they performed DNA tests and results showed they got OBL. Problem is, not everyone is as trusting as I am. This post-mission ineptitude plays into the hands of both the conspiracy nuts and those in the Muslim world who want to lead people to believe he may still be alive.
The lesson to learn from this is in the future it would be better to only release the key information: Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. The other information, much of which was incorrect, did not need to be released immediately or at all in some cases. You can't go wrong with the truth and you can't lie if you don't say anything.