As the details on Osama’s purported death keep slipping out, it seems that he was made a pawn in Obama’s election campaign.
Bush and Obama had been receiving credible hints about Osama’s whereabouts since 2005, but chose not to act. One reason was that they feared a backlash from Muslim terrorists (highly unlikely, in our opinion). Another was that Osama’s death would have suggested that it was time to begin withdrawing NATO troops from Afghanistan, which neither Bush nor Obama were then ready to do.
Now Obama has to get out of Afghanistan quickly, before Karzai signs an accord with the Taliban on his own. Here is Obama’s gambit: First, killing Osama allows him to claim he has achieved the war’s goal. Second, Washington misrepresents Osama’s killing as having been achieved by the CIA alone, without help from Pakistan’s ISI. Thus Obama is able to demand that top ISI officials be ousted. Incidentally, those are the people who support the Taliban, if only to create trouble for India and keep Afghanistan in check. Ousting them would send a signal to the Taliban that they must negotiate with America directly (a dubious assumption, in our opinion). The White House expects, accordingly, to preside over a Karzai-Taliban reconciliation ceremony and get out of Afghanistan with some dignity.