The Fog of Fog

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The official White House account of Osama bin Laden’s demise has seen more slapdash cosmetic surgery over the past week than your average “Real Housewives” reality-show star. President Obama’s allies attribute the bungled “narrative” (their word, not mine) to the “Fog of War.” But each passing day — and each new set of hapless revisions — shows that what really ails the administration is the Fog of Fog.

Errors happen. Miscommunications happen. Confusing the name of which of bin Laden’s myriad sons died (Hamza, not Khalid), for example, is no biggie.

But the hourly revamping of key details of Sunday’s raid suggests something far beyond the usual realm of situational uncertainty that accompanies any military operation. The Navy SEALs did their job spectacularly. The civilians tasked with letting the world know about the mission, however, have performed like amateur dinner theater actors in a tragi-comic production of “Rashomon-meets-The Blind Men and the Elephant-meets-Keystone Kops.”

Incapable of straightforward answers, Team Obama’s clarity-challenged civilians have led nauseated news-watchers through more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street.

Take your Dramamine, and let’s review.

Take One: Bin Laden died in a bloody firefight.

On Sunday night, Obama dramatically told the world that “after a firefight,” our brave men in uniform “killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

Embellishing the story the next morning, White House deputy national security adviser John Brennan said at his briefing that bin Laden “was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. … And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know. … It was a firefight. He, therefore, was killed in that firefight.”

Take Two: Bin Laden did not engage in a firefight.

The day after Brennan disclosed such vivid details, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney walked them back Michael Jackson-style. Bin Laden, he said in version 2.0, “was not armed.” Brennan had clearly implied that bin Laden “resisted” with arms. Carney amended the narrative by insisting that “resistance does not require a firearm.” How exactly bin Laden resisted, Carney would not say.

It’s been all downhill, uphill, K-turns and 180s ever since. Fasten your seatbelts:

Take Three: Bin Laden’s wife died after her feckless husband used her as a human shield.

Take Four: Bin Laden’s wife did not die, wasn’t used as a human shield and was only shot in the leg. Someone else’s wife was killed, somewhere else in the house.

Take Five: A transport helicopter experienced “mechanical failure” and was forced to make a hard landing during the mission.

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  • Reader in Detroit

    Please provide a detailed citation (publication, title of article, date, author) for each "Take" you list in your posting, Michelle? I ask this because it looks like, at a minimum, you've interpreted some of the statements the White House has issued, differently than other readers might have. Of course, it's hard to know whether you've misinterpreted anything because no citations to actual specific White House statements have been provided yet. Thank you.

    • M Robs

      Watch the news moron all of these lies have been put out by the WH. Do your own research it is very easy these days with a thing called the internet.

  • Michael

    You'd think they would at least get their stories straight. They had months to plan the mission and no one thought about the press release! Every time you change the story you give the Arab conspiracy nuts an opportunity to confuse people. Sloppy. Personally, I don't care if they shot him in his sleep.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    When one embarks upon a course of deception it becomes extremely difficult to remember which lies you have told, which lies you SHOULD have told but didn't, and which lies are too close to the Truth for comfort.

    American leftists have long been in that unenviable position, since if they were to simply tell the truth they would never be able to win ANY election ANYWHERE (except, possibly, Port St. Lucy or Rio Linda.)

  • Dawn Sea

    "And they wonder why Americans of all political stripes think they’re blowing smoke."

    …or, smoking "blow". more likely <;))=.

  • Guest

    Maxwell Smart should lend Obama his Cone of Silence…

  • StephenD

    Excellent article Ms. Malkin. A satirical situation comedy couldn't have done it better. Too bad it isn't a sit-com but the seat of power for this country. May God save America.

  • Jeannie Tesi


  • Jim_C

    Gee Michelle, it's almost like you wish bin Ladin were still alive.

    • M Robs

      Gee Jim C, it's almost as if you can't stand anyone pointing out the unending deceit of Obumble.

      • Jim_C

        Prove any "deceit." I'll save you the trouble: you can't. But you might want to help me with Ms. Malkin, here: what is this professional airhead's point, again?

        • M Robs

          Jim C – If Obumble's lips are moving – Obumble is lying – same goes for his press secretary. The deceit of this administration has been proven over and over again. The problem with you liberals is you don't want to see the truth. As Jack Nicholson once said YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

  • Michael Canzano

    This article was funnier than some of Hollywood's comedy films .Still chuckling . Thanks Mrs. Malkin.
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano

  • Jim_C

    Nothing like nitpicking the death of America's #1 enemy to make a twit like Malkin (I'm trying to be real generous, here) feel like she is entitled to some sort of relevance.

    Bin Ladin's dead, and Obama gets some credit for it. Get over it.

    • Maxie

      "Bin Ladin's dead, and Obama gets some credit for it. Get over it."

      The keyword is 'some' implying 'what' and that what Malkin was satirizing. The point being that the disingenuous Left can't decide how to characterize (fictionalize?) Obama's role in the takedown. Hard boiled? Nah, out of character. Compassionate reluctance? Nah, too wimpy. He was playing golf and didn't know what was going on. Nah, too incompetent.
      Anyway 99.8% of the credit belongs to W's Adm. Get over it.

  • Michael Canzano

    Jim_C , Had the assaination been carried out under the Bush administration ,my guess is you would have screamed bloody murder , sent condolences to the Bin Ladin family ,
    pulled up stakes from where ever you abide and moved to Pakistan along with Reader from Detroit / Dearborn.
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano

    • M Robs

      Michael – if only Jim C and all of his liberal friends would move to Pakistan the world would be a much better place. Oh and it would be even better if they took all of their Islamic friends with them.

  • Madison

    We are not supposed to notice when the left "changes their positions", "misspeaks", or if they flat out lie. When someone makes a statement one day, then makes a completely opposite statement another day, we are supposed to behave like the sheeples and acquire amnesia. I see nothing wrong with expecting, if not honesty, then at least consistency, from the powers that be, whether left or right. That does not make me and airhead, a racist, or a radical.