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The man who got Osama bin Laden

By Harold Witkov
web posted May 9, 2011

The man who got Osama bin Laden,
 He got, Osama bin Laden,
He was the bravest of them all

- sung to the tune of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Gene Pitney)

The man who got Osama bin Laden was quite a man. But who was that man?

Forgive me.  I am but an aging baby-boomer seeing the world through a prism of outdated movies. Still, when I sense a great metaphor, even if built on a yesteryear film, I am compelled to go with it.

I would like to introduce my reader to the 1962 American Western classic, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Our story takes place in the mythical Western town of Shinbone. It is a lawless place run by a terrorizing town bully, Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin), where the only one willing and able to stand up to Valance is Tom Doniphon (John Wayne).  Enter young, naïve, out-of-touch, and stringy armed attorney Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart), who believes he can turn the town around with his law books, his social justice agenda, and his likeable persona.

As the story unfolds, Liberty Valance eventually has had enough of Ransom Stoddard, and he forces the pacifist into a gunfight. Miraculously, Stoddard fires a lucky shot, and Valance is a goner. Forever known as "the man who shot Liberty Valance," Stoddard gets Doniphon's girl, becomes a politician, and ends up as State Senator, with a potential for even more. The problem is Stoddard has come to learn he has been living a lie when he finds out Doniphon really killed Valance with a rifle shot fired from a hidden location (at the exact instant Stoddard fired his six-gun but missed). Many years later, at Doniphon's funeral, a sharp newspaperman coerces Stoddard to explain his connection to Tom Doniphon. Stoddard comes clean with the whole story but the newspaperman chooses not to print it saying that this is the West, where it is more important to go with the legend than the facts.

As I see it, the John Wayne classic is presently being played out today before our very eyes.  John Wayne is "cowboy" George W. Bush, Lee Marvin is world terrorist and bully (albeit bully in hiding) Osama bin Laden , and Jimmy Stewart is milquetoast attorney who miraculously transforms himself into President Barack Obama, "the man who got Osama bin Laden."

I know President Obama ordered the go ahead, and for that he is to be commended. But is Barack Obama really the man who got bin Laden? To hear the media carry on, one would think so.

A closer look and investigation shows the media fantasy. Osama bin Laden "was got" because there was a Global War on Terror in place. Osama bin Laden "was got" because Guantanamo Bay stayed open and because prisoner interrogators used water boarding instead of Miranda-Rights. For those things, we can thank George W. Bush.

Who is the man who got Osama bin Laden? I would say George W. Bush (and the American military).

So why it that everyone in mainstream media land is praising President Barack Obama, and not George W. Bush, as the man who got Osama bin Laden? Perhaps we could get to the truth if we asked someone of the mainstream media in private and off the record.  The answer, if he or she would be honest, would go something like this, "In progressive America, it is more important to go with the legend than the facts." ESR

Harold Witkov is a Chicago-based writer and a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right.

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