- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2012

The release of stolen emails from private security firm Stratfor has reignited the contentious issue of the disposal of Osama bin Laden’s body. The missives published online on Feb. 29 included updates from Stratfor staff as bin Laden’s body was removed from Pakistan. One of the emails said it was headed to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda. The Obama administration announced that his mortal coil was disposed of at sea “in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.”

The truth remains that Americans still have very few details about the fate of bin Laden. President Obama has insisted on keeping photos and video of the hated terrorist’s body and burial classified despite Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests requiring some type of release. “You’ve got the president bending over backwards to keep these photos out of the public domain instead of following the law because he’s afraid of offending the terrorists,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Washington Times.

Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking CIA records of bin Laden’s corpse and its disposal is waiting for the court to either schedule a hearing or rule in the case. At stake is an important precedent. To be decided is whether a president is allowed to selectively pick and choose which laws to follow. “The personal predilections of the president have been substituted for the law and FOIA,” Mr. Fitton explained. “I hope the court doesn’t buy into the idea that we throw out our transparency law because terrorists might become anxious about photos.”

The Obama administration’s fear of offending Muslims borders on pathological. Four official apologies have been rendered for the burning of Korans defaced with extremist messages at Bagram military base in Afghanistan. That didn’t quell Taliban-incited mob violence or prevent the loss of at least 30 lives, including six soldiers. Rather than getting tough with enforcement and doubling up security procedures, Mr. Obama’s conclusion was America needs to get out of Dodge. “The situation with the Koran burning concerns me,” he said Tuesday. “I think that it is an indication of the challenges in that environment, and it’s an indication that now is the time for us to transition.”

Mr. Obama claimed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai “acknowledged” the violence against American personnel was unacceptable. Left unsaid was the humiliating fact that America’s mea culpas were not met with reciprocal apologies for the murder of our soldiers. Worse, Mr. Karzai is using the incident to gain leverage in negotiations for control of the prison at the military base where the books were burned to strengthen his standing with the Taliban. That’s an ominous sign for a country whose future America has spent so much time, treasure and blood to secure.

Afghanistan is being lost on Mr. Obama’s watch. His pandering to Islamic sensibilities is rightly perceived as a sign of weakness by our enemies. The president needs to start following the laws of this country and stop letting foreign extremists dictate U.S. policy.

Anneke E. Green is Assistant Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Times. Follow her on Twitter: @AnnekeEGreen