I haven't written about Charles Krauthammer in a long time. And this isn't my fault: Krauthammer completely lost interest in Russia. Gone are the times when he was accusing Russia's Vladimir Putin in every mysterious death on Earth. Or struggled to memorize the difference between Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These days, Krauthammer mostly lambasts President Obama's economic policies.
But Krauthammer's latest piece in the Washington Post caught my attention. In this piece, Krauthammer claims that the successful secret raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden could never have happened without "the vast, warlike infrastructure that the Bush administration created post-9/11." (The term "infrastructure" includes a lot of things dear to Krauthammer's heart: CIA secrete prisons, Guantanamo, kidnappings, "enhanced" interrogations, etc.)
Krauthammer goes as far as to claim that even the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq played indispensable (albeit indirect in case of Iraq) roles in the operation that led to bin Laden's killing:
"We could never have pulled off the bin Laden raid without a major military presence in Afghanistan. The choppers came from our massive base at Bagram. The jump-off point was Jalalabad. The intelligence-gathering drones fly over Pakistan by grace of an alliance…forged…to fight the war in Afghanistan."
The notion that secret services need a war and/or military bases in a neighboring country in order to conduct a successful clandestine operation surprised me. Stalin didn't launch a war with Mexico's neighbors to assassinate Leon Trotsky in 1940. Israel didn't have military bases in Latin America before snatching Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960. Real professionals — and I obviously count the members of the joint CIA/Navy SEALs team in charge of the bin Laden operation as the ones – will find their ways without prior deployment of hundred thousand troops on the ground.
Besides, as a disciple of economic austerity, Krauthammer must consider the cost factor. The United States has already spent $1.1 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this number will reach $1.3 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2011. And let's not forget those 6,000 soldiers who fought and died in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Does Krauthammer really believe that the death of one terrorist, even so atrocious as bin Laden, is worth this much?