Osama bin Laden: “I am Alpha and Omega”

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)

Barack Obama’s State of the Union, first 100 words:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.  Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.

Barack Obama’s State of the Union, last 343 words:

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates – a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.

All that mattered that day was the mission.  No one thought about politics.  No one thought about themselves.  One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission.  It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job – the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs.  More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other – because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.

So it is with America.  Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes.  No one built this country on their own.  This Nation is great because we built it together.  This Nation is great because we worked as a team.  This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs.  And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.  As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

35 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    @JThomason: I’m not even sure what I think it means. But hell, the whole thing was written around OBL as biblical … something (albeit from Revelations which is some nutty shit).

  2. bigbrother says:

    Austerity…cut deficit…work together for Utopia…everything can do
    but no Hopey Changey. A lot to remember! Possibilities doubtful. So many promises but the General staff did not applaud all can serve… and love whomever you want to. Lip service is I suppose better than nothing. Get more jobs, how? Environment?
    (nice edit function!)

  3. JThomason says:

    I didn’t like alot of the speech but I will give Pres. BO credit for his proposals regarding getting money out of politics. Not that there will be action. I think he did a good job of putting a laser focus on the problem and was his one nod to the Occupy folks.

    As for the appeal to the political/symbolic value of the assasination of OBL. I didn’t like it much.

  4. JTMinIA says:

    What he said that makes sense won’t happen.

    What he said that doesn’t make sense … wait for it … probably won’t happen either.

    I should have watched an old Bergman film (as I’d planned), instead. Obama or Smiles of a Summer Night. Dumb choice on my part. G’night.

  5. joanneleon says:

    Looks like the brilliant marketers (cough) in his campaign think the OBL kill will win him the election. Are they still making that action movie that will be released right before the election?

  6. MadDog says:

    OT – Just so folks don’t miss it, via the WaPo’s Greg Miller:

    “Wife of alleged CIA leaker resigns from agency

    A senior CIA analyst resigned Tuesday amid accounts that she had been pressured to step down after her husband — a former agency employee — was charged with leaking classified information to the press.

    Heather Kiriakou had served as a top analyst on some of the most sensitive subjects that the agency tracks, including leadership developments in Iran. Her husband, John, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison after being accused of disclosing details about secret CIA operations as well as the identities of undercover officers.

    Two sources in direct contact with the Kiriakous said that Heather had submitted her resignation under pressure from superiors at the CIA. She had been on maternity leave in recent months…”

  7. orionATL says:


    sounds like a response to

    “an american campaign”.

    looks like obama expects to go against newt – two fatherless waifs want to run our nation.

    this means that this speech was re-written after s. carolina.

    “state of the union”?

    not a chance!

    neither party would be straightforward with the american people about the true and parlous state our union is in.

  8. orionATL says:

    “… that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world…”

    these are two simple, incontestable, flagrant lies.

    we are neither safer (we were never really unsafe, despite the billions expended and the rhetorical strum und drung).

    we are decidedly NOT more respected around the world.

    that obama would utter both of these lies (safer/more respected) should tell a citizen/voter all she needs to know about this candidate-president.

    that our president would use an occasion like the “state of the union” to promote his record in killing individuals and to advance his candidacy, rather than telling us citizens how things are going in our society, is just contemptible, run-of-the-mill contemporary politics.

    “noblesse oblige” is not a concept this one of harvard law school’s intellectual yahoos holds dear.

    as an aside, i never regarded obama as a great speaker, because his speeches, even the most lauded of them, displayed no heart,

    were formulaic,

    and were evidently self-serving.

    was this speech different from those others in some important way?

  9. orionATL says:



    second coming.

    the rapture.

    axelrod has eaten up part of obama’s brain.

    I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
    Revelation, 1. 18

  10. prostratedragon says:

    @masaccio: It doesn’t exactly have its season in the liturgical year, nome sayn? (“This is the word of the L–d.” “Thanks be to G-d.” I don’t think so.) It’s probably still in the book only as a grudging form of insurance, against something or other.

    A 343-word long peroration on Osama?!

  11. MadDog says:

    And more OT via the AP:

    “US military raid in Somalia frees American, Dane

    U.S. military forces flew into Somalia in a nighttime helicopter raid Wednesday, freed an American and a Danish hostage, and killed nine pirates in a mission President Barack Obama appeared to reference before his State of the Union speech, officials and a pirate source said…

    …Obama seemed to refer to the mission before his State of the Union address in Washington Tuesday night. As he entered the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol, he pointed at Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the crowd and said, “Good job tonight…”

    The NYT’s piece:

    “U.S. Military Frees 2 Foreign Hostages From Somali Pirates

    American commandos raced into Somalia on Wednesday morning and rescued two aid workers, including an American woman, after a shootout with Somali pirates who had been holding them captive for months.

    The American soldiers swooped in by helicopter, killed nine pirates and captured several others, before spiriting away the hostages, who were not harmed, Western officials said.

    It appeared that President Obama was fully aware of the raid as he was about to give his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, which would have been early Wednesday in Somalia.

    According to NBC News, as the president stepped into the House chambers, he pointed to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta standing in the crowd and said, “Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.” The president made no mention of the rescue in Somalia, but he did refer to the killing of Osama bin Laden last May in a similar operation conducted by Navy Seals…

    And the BBC version:

    “Somalia: Western hostages freed in US military raid

    Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a rare US military raid there.

    US officials have confirmed that elite US Navy Seals were dropped into Somalia to carry out the overnight operation which resulted in a shoot-out…

    …A US official has said the Seals parachuted from a plane into an area near the compound where the two hostages were being held near Adado.

    Shots were fired as the team approached the compound, but there were no US casualties, say US officials.

    Local officials said that eight or nine of the captors were killed.

    The rescue team was on the ground for about an hour and the raid was over by 03:00 (24:00 GMT)…”

  12. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: Given the political insight of EW’s post here, I wonder how many more of these US Special Operations Forces’ missions we’ll be seeing for the rest of the 2012 Presidential campaign season.

    I’m betting there will be more.

  13. Bay State Librul says:

    Doubting Thomas’s?

    Tim Thomas, goaltender of the Bruins, and Clarence, net-minder of the
    Founding Fathers.

    Both arsholes for their behavior or lack therof….

  14. klynn says:


    I was talking with friends the other day about how many presidents have been raised in fatherless homes…it’s interesting history.

  15. matt carmody says:

    @MadDog: A pirate source? Captain Jack Sparrow perhaps, or his dad, Keith Richards? Fucking pirates are speaking to the press now?

  16. orionATL says:


    indeed it is, klynn.

    of course, anyone who speak publiclys about the psychological antecedents of our leaders’ behaviors and decisions is ignored.

  17. Bob Schacht says:

    @MadDog: That’s gonna be an easy bet, but who will bet against you?

    And since you seem to understand the point EW is making better than I do, Would you explain what her point is? She ends with a quote rather than a summary paragraph, so I’m wondering if the last part of her post got snipped.

    Bob in AZ

  18. A Fallen Catholic says:

    As a veteran of a dozen years of parochial schooling I believe I have been inoculated, vaccinated if you will, against religious overkill.

    A graduate degree in history has likewise opened my eyes to the secular religion of knee-jerk patriotism. Yet I still think it’s possible to respect the spiritual and love one’s country’s highest aspirations.

    That’s why I feel so ripped off by Obama’s White House and Cabinet not cleaning up the icky mess left by previous tenants. Why? The other day I looked up the butcher of Uganda, Idi Amin, in Wikipedia, and found myself transfixed by how he seized power:

    He announced that he was suspending certain provisions of the constitution and soon instituted an advisory defense council composed of military officers with himself as the chairman.

    He placed military tribunals above the system of civil law, appointed soldiers to top government posts and informed the newly inducted civilian cabinet ministers that they would be subject to military discipline.

    He disbanded an intelligence agency created by the previous government, and used other agencies to root out political dissent.

    Victims soon came to include members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, homosexuals, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals.

    The number of his supporters and close associates shrank significantly, and he faced increasing dissent from the populace as the economy and infrastructure collapsed from years of neglect and abuse.

    Gee, where have I heard that before?

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