It's Trump Time: After Dithering, Obama Decides No Photo Release
May 4, 2011
RUSH: This photo business. I can't believe this. All of this dithering about whether to release the photo. I know what's going on here. They are going to release the photo. They are stretching this out, perhaps because we've got bad news on jobs, so they might be stretching this out 'til tomorrow or Friday. The jobs number, private sector, adds 179,000 jobs in April. This is from ADP. This is not official Bureau of Labor numbers, but that's fewer jobs than expected. It's a Reuters story: "U.S. private employers added fewer jobs than expected in April, disappointing some who had been looking for stronger growth ahead of Friday’s key jobs report."
So you have these photos, and they're just waiting to be released, and all this news about Panetta wants 'em out. And, by the way, does it not appear that Panetta is running this administration? You look at some of the stories that are out there, Panetta made the call to start the op. Panetta did it.
RUSH: Okay, so what are we now? Well, we got the photo. What to do about the photo? And the longer they dangle the photo release decision, there's an upside. If the lead story or close to the lead story every day is the photo (whispering), "When's it coming? What does the photo show? Oh, is it so gruesome that we don't want our children to see it?" all of this. Well, then the more people are distracted from the slow job growth, flagging economy, rising gasoline price. You know, none of that's getting any better. The economic news is getting worse.
So the longer you can keep this photo release near the top of the stack, the better off you are. But, again, I look and listen to all of the punditry and the talk about releasing the photo of Bin Laden and the video of the burial ceremony, and I'm stuck. Because you remember the media could not wait to see flag-draped coffins of our brave heroes coming home from Iraq. They demanded to be present the Dover when the planes landed and the flag-draped coffins were removed from the transport planes. They couldn't wait!
How about the pictures from Abu Ghraib? Oh, they couldn't wait to publish those pictures. Remember that? Oh, when those pictures came out, why, that was a cause celebre, and they had to get those pictures out. Now, when it comes to the flag-draped coffins of our heroes coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq or the pictures of Abu Ghraib did anybody -- the media, the Democrats, did they -- care about the effects on our troops? They care about the effects on the families of the troops? Did they care about morale, they care about the effect it might have in giving aid and comfort to the enemy?
No, no, no.
Did they give a whit about any characteristic they say they care about here? "Well, you know, we really don't want to inflame Muslim tensions around the world." Inflame Muslim tensions? Hell, the Taliban is demanding the pictures be released! There are a lot of people out there on the Muslim side demanding proof. They don't believe it yet. And what is all this new found concern here? (sigh) Recruiting additional terrorists? They hate us anyway. They can't hate us any more than they do.
Now, these photos, if you ask me, ought to be released because we want to see them. That's a good enough reason right there. We, the people want to see these things. There's no intel or security issue with releasing them. We can decide if they're appropriate to look at or not. I mean, for crying out loud, we all sat and watched for hours the World Trade Centers tumble. Some saw people leaping to their deaths from 110 stories high. So I think they're purposely stringing all this out.
What else does he have? What else does he have to distract people from the bad economic news? I also think he's desperately trying to re-create the nation's unity after 9/11 -- and, frankly, he can't. The main reason is that speech he gave. We didn't rally around Bush after 9/11. We rallied around the nation. We rallied around our fellow citizens after that shock. We demanded retribution. Bush's poll numbers went up but it was never about Bush. He never made it about himself. Obama is making all of this about him.
RUSH: Our old buddy Jake Tapper, ABC News: "President Obama is increasingly doubtful that there's a compelling reason to release a photograph of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, ABC News has learned. There don't seem to be many skeptics of Bin Laden's death in the Muslim world, with bin Laden's wife having survived the attack to identify Bin Laden's death both to the Navy SEALs and Pakistani authorities.
"Meanwhile, sources say, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are advising the president about concerns at the Pentagon and State Department that releasing a photograph could prompt a backlash against the US for killing bin Laden where one does not seem to currently exist." Well (laughing), that's sophistry. "The internal debate at the White House is then informed by this question: why are we releasing this photograph if no one seems to really doubt his death and releasing it could cause more harm than good? 'The only skeptics are extremists and they wouldn't be convinced by a photograph anyway,' one U.S. official told ABC.
"'So the president has to weigh the potential negatives and they're huge, there's a tremendous risk of the photo becoming a rallying cry for attacks against US soldiers...'" Oh, come on! US soldiers are being attacked every day anyway regardless whether the photo gets released. If everybody believes that the US has killed Bin Laden, why would a photograph provoke any additional anger? For crying out loud, committing the act is enough. I know we're dealing with irrational people here, but why try to second-guess 'em -- or worse, why try to placate these people? Now, what was the reason for using ground forces anyway?
No, no. I mean it. In the big scheme of things, what was the reason for using ground forces? Was it only to prevent collateral damage or did they want to collect Bin Laden's body? If it's the latter -- if they wanted to be able to collect Bin Laden's body -- why dump his body in the ocean as soon as possible and then why withhold any other evidence of his capture? It seems to me the release of this picture is yet another gutsy decision a child of 12 could make. The American people want to see it. That's enough! That's all that's necessary.
These people on the left, they can't wait to show us pictures of horror and grief that will turn public opinion AGAINST the US military. If they've got pictures that will turn public opinion against the United States, they'll get those pictures out there. They'll flood 'em out there as fast as you can see it, but somehow there's a great deal of concern here.
RUSH: Garland in Franklin, Tennessee. Garland, welcome. Great to have you with us. You're up first today.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, man, it's just great to talk to you. I've been listening for 20 years and, listen, here's my point. Obama made this gutsy decision to risk the SEALs' lives because we had to have proof that this guy, Bin Laden, was dead. If that's why you did it, if that's why you risked those SEALs' lives, then let's see it, let's see all the pictures, let's see the DNA, let's see everything you've got.
RUSH: Now, the DNA --
CALLER: Otherwise you shoulda dropped some bombs.
RUSH: The DNA, you know, that's an important aspect of this, too. It reminds me, your call reminds me, Andrew Malcolm, blogger at the LA Times, had a great piece earlier this week talking about how tough it was, this mission, how excruciatingly painful it was in the Situation Room, an air-conditioned room, by the way, for all those participants and all the stress that they were enduring, and that's what the news was about, how tough it was for those people in The Situation Room. It was one of those pieces that's right on the money and funny at the same time.
RUSH: I've just been told, ladies and gentlemen, that F. Chuck Todd of MSNBC on Twitter just said that Obama has decided not to release the photos. F. Chuck Todd on Twitter says they're not gonna release the photos. That's it. They're not gonna release the photos.
RUSH: Okay, folks, it's official. There will be no release of the photo of the corpse of Osama Bin Laden. Obama announced the gutsy decision not to release the pictures during the middle of an interview with Steve Kroft for 60 Minutes, which will air Sunday. So the victory lap on Sunday on 60 Minutes was during that interview that the gutsy decision not to release the photo was announced by President Obama. And the Pakistani authorities, I mean to the extent that we can believe anybody here, says that there was no firefight in the luxury mansion, there were no weapons in there. There could not possibly have been a firefight. Pakistan says this.
Queens is where we go next to Selma. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I want to thank you and the EIB Network for airing my comment, and you haven't censored anybody's free speech. You aggrandize it, so really --
RUSH: Hey, Selma, are you on a speakerphone by any chance?
CALLER: Oh, I'm sorry. I was. I'm sorry, did you hear me?
RUSH: Much better. It sounded like you were in the sewer.
CALLER: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I want to thank you and the EIB Network for allowing me to air my comment.
RUSH: It's a gutsy call that we made, there's no question about that.
CALLER: Rush, listen, with regard to the Navy SEALs, our boys and girls, whoever they were, they certainly did hit the target. My fear is and my pain is that was it the real deal, and because the body, which is crucial evidence, was eliminated so quickly, and as you know, like that picture, Wag the Dog, with De Niro and Hoffman, they can doctor anything and everything. It doesn't matter.
RUSH: Oh, I know. There's already a bunch of fake photos running around the Internet now.
CALLER: Exactly. So when Mr. Obama, our president, says I'm not gonna release it, well, I can understand (unintelligible) in our government was that body. And I'm afraid, why our government, although we did all the work, it was our boys that were on the line, however, other governments and other people have been hit. I'm wondering why Interpol and people from other countries were not allowed, their CIA, to keep that body, examine it all together, you know --
RUSH: Well, no, no. Wait a minute, wait a minute, Selma, there's an answer for this, and that is the desire to remain true to Muslim burial rights, traditions, and so forth. There wasn't time to call Interpol. There wasn't the time to call any of the equivalent CIA agencies from various countries. What are you getting at here? Are you doubting that the body was that of Osama?
CALLER: Yes, Rush, I am frightened that this body, the SEALs hit something, but is it that person? Is it that person? And why was our government so quick to eliminate -- and, listen, I'm a Jewish woman, I understand rights and --
RUSH: Okay, if you want to play this game, as the big voice on the right, let me throw something in the mix here. I am convinced Bin Laden is dead. I just don't know that he died Sunday night. (laughing) My staff is going nuts. They can't believe that I would do this. I just said I have no doubt that he's dead. If he's not dead that would be gutsy. If we have indeed captured him and brought him back to Club Gitmo and are interrogating him and have made up this whole bit about him being dead, that would be gutsy. I'm just toying with you, folks, I mean everybody seems to want to get in on this act.
Do you remember me telling you this? I'm no longer gonna reveal the source for this, but it's irrefutable. This is 2011. I'm telling you, eight years ago I was told that Bin Laden was seen on horseback at Tora Bora ten minutes before we turned the place 2,000 degrees. So folks, if you have astute memories, you can recall me saying every time a Bin Laden tape came out, "I don't believe the guy's alive." I thought he's been dead for a long, long, long time. Now, if I was wrong and if Bin Laden actually died Sunday night, fine and dandy. I have no disputing the fact that he's dead whatsoever. Do you feel better now, staff? (laughing) That's funny. Do you remember in 2000 -- I want to get the years right here -- Walter Cronkite accused Karl Rove of fabricating a Bin Laden tape that essentially endorsed Kerry. There was a Bin Laden tape that came out, and only his head was moving in this video.
It was the weirdest looking video, and I think it came out the Friday prior to the 2004 election. What I'm confused about, what I don't recall is when Cronkite made the statement. Something tells me that Cronkite said it in 2003 so Cronkite might have been talking about a different Bin Laden tape than the one that endorsed Kerry in 2004. But Cronkite, we'll go back to the archives, I'll find it for you, Cronkite actually accused Karl Rove of creating a Bin Laden tape. He made it in a speech or a comment somewhere.
Tony on Long Island somewhere, great to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program, the big voice of the right. Hello, sir.
CALLER: How you doing, Rush?
RUSH: Very good.
CALLER: Good. I'm glad to hear that you're doing well. I have a question I'd like to ask you. Do you know who the person is who allowed that 45-minute religious funeral to take place for that piece of garbage?
RUSH: I do not know. I don't know who allowed it. I don't know who ordered it. I don't know who conducted it. The only thing I've heard about that was that it was conducted in Arabic, that it was done with a translator, that the body of Bin Laden was cleaned and shrouded in a cloth, and laid gently or deposited gently in the Arabian Sea.
CALLER: Yeah, I heard the same thing. I'm totally dismayed at hearing that our government would do that to a creature that destroyed the lives of over 3,000 people on 9/11.
RUSH: Well, a lot of people are with you on that, and I've heard Senator Lindsey Graham has said this is political correctness run amok, that this is too much sensitivity. Other people have said no, this is who we are. We're not going to behave like they do in an act of vengeance, we're going to be who we are, but a 40-minute ceremony, that does have a lot of people scratching their heads. We don't know what the 40-minute ceremony consisted of. We do know that none of the people killed in the Pentagon, World Trade Center, or who died in the field in Pennsylvania got a 40-minute ceremony.
CALLER: I doubt it very much. I mean we're becoming a nation of milksops. I just can't believe the liberals in this country are overruling what this country actually stands for and what the people, our forefathers did to make this country what it once was. It's no longer that way.
RUSH: Since you mentioned what this country one was, let me ask you a quick question.
RUSH: I was reading the website National Review Online today, and I forget right now who wrote this but apparently Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, is highly thought of by the conservatives at National Review Online, and whoever wrote this said that one of Mitch Daniels' attributes is that he's not a combative conservative. What does that mean to you?
CALLER: It means that he's a wimp.
CALLER: That's what it means.
RUSH: It means he's a wimp.
CALLER: He's the kind of person that will turn his other cheek and then turn it again and maybe bend over.
RUSH: When I read that I thought, combative conservative, what does that mean? And I said, well, now, were the Founding Fathers combative? They were, weren't they? What did the men who founded this country go through in fighting for what they believe, standing up for, creating, founding the country? They fought the American Revolution. It was combative. I see these things as an attribute. So-and-so is not a combative conservative, which I take in the modern vernacular means he's serious, Mr. Limbaugh, he's a serious conservative. It was Ramesh Ponnuru. His conservatism is not combative, that's the phrase. I saw that, I said, "Whoa," as though that's an attribute, his conservatism is not combative. Well, I think it's an indication of where some on the right are vis-a-vis how to go about winning elections, don't be combative out there, be serious, studious, and so forth, so on.
Meanwhile, we're losing the country. We're not just facing four years of your average run amuck Democrat policy. We've got two and a half years of a targeted assault, which is highly combative, on our way of life, on our political way of life, on our economic way of life. There is a targeted assault on it. What are we supposed to do?
Here's the Cronkite quote. It was on Larry King Alive October 29th, 2004. So my instincts were right. Even when I think I might be wrong I end up being right. Cronkite said: "What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of, as a principal subject of the campaigns right now, get rid of the whole problem of the al Qaqaa explosive dump. Right now, that, the last couple of days, has, I think, upset the Republican campaign."
That was the most trusted man in America at one time, Walter Cronkite, on Larry King Live saying that that Osama tape that came in on the Friday before the 2004 election, that Karl Rove set up Bin Laden. Not set it up with Bin Laden, but set up Bin Laden to make that tape, which was essentially an endorsement of the haughty John Kerry, who once served in Vietnam.
RUSH: Panetta said the photo would be released. Obama, from the safety of the interview with Steve Kroft at 60 Minutes, made the "gutsy call" not to release the photo. (interruption) What? (interruption) Ah, what do you mean it's my fault? (interruption) Oh. (interruption) Oh. He says when I speculated that it could be that Panetta was actually running the op, that that sealed the deal for the photo. Because Panetta had gone out there and said the photo will be released, and then I said, "If I were to learn that Panetta's actually running this show, I wouldn't be surprised," so your theory is that The One has had to reassert himself as the one in charge, and that means he has to cut Panetta off at the knees?
Okay, so now what do we do? What do we do? Have we been here before? We have. Recently. A document that nobody doubts exists but would not be released by the regime. There is guidance here. Intelligence guided by experience: One man -- one man -- has shown the ability to get this regime to produce things it doesn't want to produce and that man is Donald Trump. It's time to call Trump. Panetta said they were gonna release the photo. Other elements of the regime said they were gonna release the photo. I mean, Drudge had it 24 hours ago: They were going to release the photo. Maybe Trump could get 'em to release just the short form of the photo. Maybe just the e-mail size. You know, just a couple hundred kilobytes. Not as gory when you blow it up.
Sue in Toledo, Ohio, welcome to the EIB Network. Great to have you here.
CALLER: El Rushbo! Dittos!
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: Hey, I had a couple points on the same issue on the ground force mission. First, I believe that the real gutsy called was made by the CIA, NSA, the military brass. Because I think just as important as Bin Laden's body was the intel at the compound, and not many people are highlighting this point. They're saying, "Yes, we have intel," but that's because they're being braggadocios.
RUSH: Well, they are. They're calling it a trove, a treasure trove.
CALLER: Yeah, which it is. Yeah. First of all, I think that it was the brass that made the gutsy call, not President Obama. He wanted to go in with a bomb and wanted to go in, um, and just make it real safe. But now that they've gone in -- he was pressured in for this ground force mission because of they all knew, the NSA and such, that the intel was absolutely vital. Just as much as the DNA, so to speak, of Bin Laden's body. But now they're out there, embarrassing, just atrocious how they're bragging, making it just a braggadocios way about how they've got a treasure trove of intel which is making the -- the --
RUSH: Well, what are they supposed to say? That it was a worthless operation, that there was nothing in there? What are they supposed to say?
CALLER: They're supposed to say they got Bin Laden and shut their mouths after that, because you don't have CIA, NSA, and all that. You don't see any of those brass coming out and talking about it --
RUSH: Oh. Okay.
CALLER: -- the White House, we've got the White House out here bragging because --
RUSH: I see what you say. In a normal administration, they go in and they get the intel and they use it. They keep it private and they use it to our advantage rather than vomiting all over the world that they've got it and alerting everyone. Oh, okay. Yes, I understand the point now. Absolutely. Yeah. Okay, look, I appreciate it it Sue, appreciate the phone call.
RUSH: Audio sound bites, Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, breaking the news that Obama will not be releasing the photo. Listen to why.
MITCHELL: This breaking news right now, Pete, so stay with me. Our own Savannah Guthrie reporting from the White House the president has decided not to release the photos, not to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden. You as someone who's covered every aspect of this know part of the reasoning, and we've been talking to officials is, they do believe that it could be inflammatory, and they believe that they've got the evidence, they've got the goods, they don't have to prove anything. They've got the DNA. They've got the facial recognition and they should not be on the defensive. They want to take the offensive.
RUSH: Oh. Okay, they've got the goods. They don't have to prove anything. They got the DNA. They've got the facial recognition. They don't have to be on the defensive about this. They don't have to release the pictures. There's no clamoring for it. Here's Pete Williams responding to Andrea Mitchell.
WILLIAMS: Interesting, too, Andrea there were some calls from members of Congress to release the pictures, but not many. And the members who have spoken up today have said, Dianne Feinstein, for example, others have said they don't think there's any need to do this and they do understand the potential backlashes as apparently Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said they think no good can come of releasing the picture, so I guess this decision isn't surprising based the fact that there was no real strong drumbeat for releasing it here in the US.
RUSH: Well, there you have it. There was no strong drumbeat. Members of Congress didn't want to see the picture. Dianne Feinstein, John Boehner, he said he didn't need to see the picture. So there was no drumbeat for it. No. Media, GOP not demanding it, so why release it? Simple call. Nobody wanted to see it. (laughing) Can you believe it? (laughing) Nobody wanted to see the picture. You remember back in 2009 when more photos from Abu Ghraib were uncovered, Obama wanted to release them, he had to positively be hog-tied to keep him from releasing them back then. The Taliban wants to see the photo, other Muslim organizations, they want to see the photo. But nobody else does. Also this afternoon on PMSNBC, Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, she had this exchange, little discussion here with White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie.
MITCHELL: I was talking to Chuck earlier and those I've spoken to were, to put it mildly, annoyed that in the aftermath of this successful commando raid against Bin Laden, and taking down the world's most wanted man, that all these questions are being raised about the initial narrative and the rush to get information out before the Pakistanis put out their own information or Bin Laden's daughter, others putting out their inaccurate information.
GUTHRIE: Yeah, I mean, I think that to some degree there is frustration that rather than the focus being on the successful raid and this daring mission, that suddenly people were talking about will they or won't they release the photos. So I think the president making this decision today is an effort to, it's too late to nip it in the bud, but to end this issue so that there won't be this continued speculation about whether these photographs will be released.
RUSH: Wow, they're upset, the regime's upset that they got the world's most wanted man and some still dare to ask questions. I mean they can't believe it. Frustration rather than the focus being on the successful raid, this daring mission, the gutsy call. Yeah, let me ask this. If the SEALs had put women's underwear on Osama's head, would Obama release those photos? 'Cause they've released photos like that, you know, our military's put underwear on the terrorists' heads and they released those photos. I wonder if that woulda made any difference. What do you think, Snerdley? Think so? (laughing) So he could berate the SEALs if the SEALs had put underwear on Osama's head. Funny.
Here's Cronkite. We want to have you hear this. This is from Larry King Alive, Walter Cronkite in October 2004. It's right before the election. And here's Cronkite talking about the latest Bin Laden video.
CRONKITE: I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House who is a very clever man, he probably set up Bin Laden to this thing.
RUSH: (laughing) What do you say to this? It's October 29th 2004. Karl Rove set Bin Laden up.