This ABC News story indicates that the only other people killed in the “firefight” in which OBL was supposedly killed were his son, two “couriers,” and a woman who one of the others used as a human shield. This strongly suggests that OBL didn’t even have a security detail of any kind within the compound, which in turn makes it natural to speculate on why a Navy SEAL team with an overwhelming force advantage didn’t take him alive. (I wouldn’t be surprised if OBL himself was unarmed during the live fire part of the operation, which probably only lasted a few seconds). The further fact that he was shot once in the head, and then another time “to make sure he was dead” only highlights that question. My guess is that, for politically understandable reasons, taking him alive was at the least not a mission priority, and indeed the team may have been under orders to terminate OBL’s command with extreme prejudice.
It’s unclear whether this sentence . . .
Remarkably, Bin Laden was hiding almost under the nose of the Pakistani military, which has a major garrison in Abbottabad and the Pakistani version of West Point.
. . . is intended ironically.
Update: Reuters is quoting a U.S. official to the effect that the team was under orders to kill rather than capture OBL.