The Mystery of the Second Helicopter

TV Arts

By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

WASHINGTON -- It seems to me that our government had vastly more 
intelligence on what was going on in Osama bin Laden's ghastly hideout 
before sending SEAL Team 6 in last week than they are telling us. 
President Barack Obama told CBS that the odds in favor of Osama being in 
the compound were "at best" 55 percent. My guess is that they were 
closer to 100 percent. We know that from satellites overhead our 
intelligence officers thought they had bin Laden spotted in the complex. 
A man that they concluded was Osama was seen pacing regularly inside the 
compound grounds. Called "The Pacer," he was tall, and they figured he 
might very well be the 6'4" terror leader. So the order was sent to our 
SEAL Team to go in.

Yet why did they need a second helicopter? They were only after one man. 
They could have popped him or snatched him, and been off. The answer is 
obvious. They wanted to take his entire entourage with him and they knew 
who composed it. Instead after one of the choppers suffered some sort of 
difficulty the SEAL Team was left with just one chopper to take some two 
dozen warriors and the body out. So they left bin Laden's family for the 
Pakistanis to debrief. Now we shall be squabbling with this insufferable 
ally interminably over our lost baggage. The mission was a great 
success, but it was not perfect.

Today our intelligence community is dribbling out just the information 
it wants the world to know, and I am all for it. The amateur show we saw 
last week orchestrated by the White House was what one would expect from 
the presidency of a community organizer with almost no executive 
background. It was embarrassing, but now the professionals are back in 
charge. The revelations over the weekend are eerie, but somehow 

The man who enlisted a team of terrorists agents to get on four 
commercial jets a decade ago and turn them into missiles cruelly killing 
3,000 people lived his last days like a cult leader with a pretty mangy 
cult. He sat in robes and blankets peering at himself in an old 
television atop a broken-down piece of furniture. The audio was withheld 
by our intelligence people lest bin Laden get his message out to the 
outside world, but I do not think it would have raised his stature in 
the minds of most viewers, at least most civilized viewers.

It is said that he was a "hands on" leader even in the end. He sent his 
courier out -- we are led to believe he had only one -- periodically to 
deliver orders and home videos of himself groaning on. On the videos he 
dyed his beard for with time it had whitened. What do you suppose his 
agents hunkered down in various hideouts throughout some of the least 
inhabitable parts of this orb thought of him? If you were his number two 
in command you might be too busy hoofing it from one hideout to the 
other. His lieutenants have a way of being vaporized. Others might feel 
they had received a celestial order from a prophet, but are apparently 
not real quick to execute such orders. The fact of the matter is that al 
Qaeda is not doing too well these days. Kaboom, there goes another one.

Not much is known about the workings of bin Laden's mind except that he 
liked things to blow up, smash into things, and go up in flames. 
Presumably, he could have directed action films brilliantly in Hollywood 
had his life taken a different turn. Oddly he seems to have come to Al 
Gore's position on "climate change." This makes him the second dubious 
figure in two months to come to Al's side. Last month Charles Manson 
broke years of silence and from California's Corcoran State Prison -- no 
relation to Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art -- rumbled, "Everyone's 
God, and if we don't wake up to that there's going to be no weather 
because our polar caps are melting because we're doing bad things to the 

I do not know if bin Laden had any helpful hints lately on the 
environment because intelligence officials blocked out the audio, but I 
do know that in October he urged his followers to get active in the 
Pakistan flood relief for, "We are in need of a big change in the method 
of relief work because the number of victims is great due to climate 
changes in modern times." Mr. Gore could not put it better, but what al 
Qaeda might do to improve relief work I do not know. Maybe they could 
blow up a bridge.

Actually bin Laden sounds like just another American progressive in 
talking about Iraq and "big corporations." In 2007 he chided our 
Democratic Congress for not concluding the war in Iraq, which he 
attributed to the massive influence of "big corporations." In another 
bull he lauded Jimmy Carter for his book advancing Palestinian rights 
and commented knowledgeably on the works of Noam Chomsky, whose books I 
had not known are apparently available in Arabic. Congratulations Jimmy 
and Noam.

Yet in the end, Osama was a lonely has-been -- a leader of a cult with 
only three women and some goats, and the women he had to marry. Somehow 
even the Rev. Jim Jones of the People's Temple exited more gloriously.
Certainly the percentage was MUCH higher than 55 percent.  There had to be 
all kinds of survellance, including perhaps even an "inside man".

As for the 2nd helicopter, it was a good decision.  It doubles your chances 
of getting one disabled, but it also doubles your chances of being able to 
extricate the team.

Why Osama  was executed on the spot is somewhat of a mystery.   Perhaps is 
was a consequence of keeping the team safe.