Home / General / It sounds as if Bin Laden may have been executed

It sounds as if Bin Laden may have been executed

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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.

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  • BTW, what’s the legal framework for the operation? Was bin Laden indicted anywhere? Did he need to be?

    • Frank

      He was indicted in the ’98 Embassy bombing and…

      …sorry, I was distracted from your question about legality by some more news about NATO bombing Ghaddafi’s family. Again.

    • The legal framework was that of a military operation against a wartime enemy, not a law enforcement action against a criminal.

      • Ok, within that framework, what made him a legitimate target? I mean, is Obama a legitimate military target? (I.e., it seems that Obama plays an analogous role in the US military that bin Laden did in AQ.)

        BTW, I’m genuinely interested in a fairly detailed answer.

        • From a domestic American perspective, Congress’s post-9/11 AUMF surely included targeting Osama bin Laden.

          I don’t know enough about all the various conventions on terrorism to give a good international-law answer. Clearly, you could go somewhere with states’ inherent right to self-defence.

        • The chain of military command, all the way to the top, is a legitimate target in a war. The British had an operation to kill Hitler all ready to go, and only called it off because they decided they were better off with him running the German war effort than someone competent.

          • So, the President is a legitimate target? How actively involved do you have to be? I.e., is the NSC as a whole a legitimate target? Is there any distinction between civilians and soliders in the chain of command?

            The AUMF seems both rather broad (basically, the Pres can go after anyone “he determines” to have been involved and rather constrained (“in order to prevent any future acts”). It would seem that it doesn’t authorize a reprisal or justice based attack. OTOH, I’m not sure what evidentiary standards constrain the determination of involvement.

            • Anderson

              Yes, the president is a legit target, though for some reason if al-Qaeda blew him up, that would be a “war crime.”

            • Yep. The President is a legitimate target during a war. That’s why there is a Marine contingent, not just Secret Service with small guns, at the White House. They put anti-aircraft batteries on the WH grounds during WW2.

              I.e., is the NSC as a whole a legitimate target?

              I believe so.

              Is there any distinction between civilians and soliders in the chain of command?

              I don’t think so, if they are actually in the chain.

              It would seem that it doesn’t authorize a reprisal or justice based attack.

              But al Qaeda is still active. Bin Laden was receiving and sending off couriers to review and authorize operations.

              • Yep. The President is a legitimate target during a war. That’s why there is a Marine contingent, not just Secret Service with small guns, at the White House. They put anti-aircraft batteries on the WH grounds during WW2.

                Surely the mere fact of military protection doesn’t show the legitimacy of targeting the President, just the possibility.

                But al Qaeda is still active. Bin Laden was receiving and sending off couriers to review and authorize operations.

                I’m not arguing that point, just trying to understand the justification. It’s, of course, possible and reasonable to speechify about justice when the grounds are prevention. But it seems if it were “merely” justice based, then it would be illegitimate.

                It doesn’t seem that this would fall afoul of the assassination ban (if it’s still in effect, even!). But, I’m not clear what constraints it actually had anyway (reading: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS21037.pdf )

  • Murc

    I assumed execution as soon as it was very specifically noted he was shot ‘in the head.’ As I understand it, soldiers are trained so heavily to go for center mass that a single headshot is almost always going to be calculated, rather than something that happened in the heat of combat.

    I’d have preferred he been captured and then gotten a lengthy, fair, trial followed by an execution. Not just because it would have been the right thing to do (although it would have been if remotely feasible) but because that demonstrates the strength and fortitude of this country a lot more than being able to find and kill him does. Anyone can send guys with guns to destroy their enemies. It takes REAL balls to stand them up in a courtroom in a fair trial. That’s the stuff great nations are made of.

    • Norman Thomas

      Errrr…..so what?

      I don’t understand why killing an admitted terrorist and known enemy of the US causes your panties to wad up.

      • Murc

        I’m… a fan of due process?

        I’m afraid I don’t understand your ‘so what.’ I’m far from upset he’s dead, I would just have preferred it gone down differently for both moral and political reasons. I’d thought that was clear.

        • timb

          I share your feelings, Murc. I also wonder if putting him on trial on the embassy bombing and pointing out that most his victims over the years were Muslims and not Westerners would have actually helped “win the war.”

          His death certainly does not

          • Anderson

            His death certainly does not

            Whatever.

      • Two things I didn’t see:

        Panty-wadding in Murc’s comment, and a response to his point about the benefits of a trial in yours.

    • Sean

      I’m sorry and normally would agree with you, except that in some situations a bullett to the head is more just, expendient,and realistic than Due Process. The right thing occurred in this instance and I can’t imagine anyone doubting it.

      • This hair-splitting and that’s exactly what it is is just plain stupid. BZ USA

      • Furious Jorge

        I can’t imagine anyone doubting it.

        Try harder.

        • Norman Thomas

          Sean is correct.

          Justice was served. A trial is useful is there is doubt as to guilt.

          There was no doubt and killing the number one enemy of the state after giving them a chance to surrender doesn’t seem a stretch of due process at all.

          The American left just cannot STAND it when one comes our way. Apparently, patriotism is some kind of pathology in their mind.

          • Malaclypse

            Because nothing says “patriotism” quite as clearly or succinctly as a summary execution.

          • DocAmazing

            Yeah, nothing could be less patriotic than a jury trial. Nothing is more un-American than personal freedoms and the rule of law.

            • Norman Thomas

              Errr….all of this was legal (dummy)…

          • Furious Jorge

            Apparently, patriotism is some kind of pathology in their mind.

            If you like, we can begin this dick-measuring contest with the obligatory exchange of DD-214s. Mine’s in my file cabinet in the spare bedroom. Where’s yours?

          • hv

            A trial is useful is (sic) there is doubt as to guilt.

            False, and quite against the principles of America. And you call yourself a patriot. For shame.

      • Americans employed force.

        Forget 9/11. Forget all of the facts surrounding this event.

        Just based on that alone – Americans used force – it’s depressingly easy for me to imagine people doubting it.

        • Paul Campos

          Let’s focus for a moment what the “it” is here: Country A sends an elite military execution squad into Country B to kill a political figure who is Country B by the sufferance of powerful political actors in Country B (if you don’t believe higher ups in the ISI and the Pakistani government knew OBL was in the country’s equivalent of West Point I have some slightly used CDOs to sell you).

          This political figure is among other things responsible for mass murder and other crimes in Country A. But Country A would prefer to kill him than either try to extradite him or kidnap him for trial in Country A.

          I’ll leave it to your imagination to work out whether “people” would question the desirability of Country A’s actions if Country B was the United States.

          This is yet another example of how Americans tend to think of the USA as the only fully sovereign nation in the world, possessing rights that no other nation has or should have.

          • execution squad

            I see no reason to try to have a serious conversation with someone using Ari Fleischer-esque tactics of using loaded language to steal bases.

            Did this executionsquad kill him with opportunitybulbs?

            • The Fool

              If they only came there to kill him, then yes, it was an execution squad. There was never any chance of him surviving or escaping.

              The only way this wouldn’t be an execution squad is because the only court we convicted him in was that of public opinion.

          • a political figure

            You’re not even trying.

            • Paul Campos

              What exactly is inaccurate about this description? We’ve already had at least one administration official confirm that this was a targeted killing operation, not an attempt to capture. I’m even more puzzled by your reaction to the observation that OBL was the head of a political organization, as opposed to merely a common criminal (although he was that too).

              • OpportunityBulbs!

                You know exactly what you’re doing, you know exactly why you’re doing it, and I’m not the slightest bit interested in conversing with you, with Michelle Malkin, or with anyone else who stoops to such cheesy, semantic base-stealing.

                It’s not going to be a fruitful exercise to try to discuss ideas with a such a person. Sorry.

              • Paul Campos

                You know exactly what you’re doing, you know exactly why you’re doing it, and I’m not the slightest bit interested in conversing with you, with Michelle Malkin, or with anyone else who stoops to such cheesy, semantic base-stealing.

                It’s not going to be a fruitful exercise to try to discuss ideas with a such a person. Sorry.

                Shorter JFL: USA! USA! USA!

              • Osama was the head of a political organization. He was also the son of a mommy who loved him. He was also an educated and pious man. He was also a mass-murderer. He was also a Muslim. He was a lot of things.

                Similarly, the special forces unit was a lot of things, too.

                You’re choosing terminology to define your conclusions. You’re deliberately choosing leading terms in order to define your conclusion, no different from a creationist who keeps using the term “creation” in a debate about whether God created the universe. You’re selecting descriptions, even if they aren’t the most apt, in order to define your conclusion, and I learned long ago the uselessness of trying to have a serious conversation with people who do that.

              • Shorter JFL: USA! USA! USA!

                Um, yeah, that doesn’t bear even the slightest resemblance to any point I’ve made.

                It does, however, provide a great deal of insight into where you’re coming from.

            • Paul Campos

              Shorter JFL: USA! USA! USA!

              Um, yeah, that doesn’t bear even the slightest resemblance to any point I’ve made.

              It does, however, provide a great deal of insight into where you’re coming from.

              It sounds as if you may be trying to imply something here. Why don’t you come right out and say it?

              And speaking of “serious” people, in this thread you “seriously” make the claim that OBL was killed on “the battlefield,” as opposed to in his house in the middle of the night. This makes sense if “the battlefield” in the GWOT happens to be the entire planet.

              BTW I haven’t even commented on whether I think OBL being killed in the way he was was on the whole the best way of handling the matter. I merely observed that people could reasonably question that conclusion.

              • It sounds as if you may be trying to imply something here. Why don’t you come right out and say it?

                OK: having been caught out in sleazy “argumentation,” your response was not to answer the point, but to disparage the person who caught you as being ideologically unacceptable, even if you had to misrepresent beyond recognition what I wrote.

                And speaking of “serious” people, in this thread you “seriously” make the claim that OBL was killed on “the battlefield,” as opposed to in his house in the middle of the night.

                Because a house in the middle of the night can’t possibly be a battlefield? You’ve stopped making any sense.

                This makes sense if “the battlefield” in the GWOT happens to be the entire planet.

                Or if you think the war against al Qaeda (GWOT? What is this, 2003? You envision yourself a knowledgeable national security writer, and you’re talking about the GWOT in 2011?) involves a battlefield that is scattered across the world (not the whole world, but many different locations across the world), one of which includes, yes, the headquarters of the top leadership of al Qaeda.

              • hv

                When one defines “battlefield” in this fashion, it no longer poses much of a limitation, does it? Isn’t really restricting any conduct, is it?

              • Michael Drew

                hv:

                When one defines “battlefield” in this fashion, it no longer poses much of a limitation, does it? Isn’t really restricting any conduct, is it?

                But, does that automatically short out the system in some way? The law uses terms that are supposed to refer to actual states in the world. Those terms aren’t supposed to be limited in meaning so that a law in question can continue to limit conduct in a certain pre-defined way. Rather, they are supposed to have a more-or-less fixed meaning so that if fact patters in the world evolve in such a way that they fit the intended definition of a term in an unexpected way (i.e., such that, in a certain conflict, the term ‘battlefield’ can potentially mean the entire world — or potentially extend to any part of the world at various times), then the consequences of the law might be similarly unexpected, but still consistent with the intended meaning of the law.

                To be clear: I’m not saying that ‘battlefield’ in the context in which you use it couldn’t have carried an understood meaning that it could never contemplate potentially applying to the entire world in any one conflict, but if it did, that is a fact about the understood meaning ofthe term at the time it was adopted, not a conclusion that we can say people are bound to accept because not to do so would mean that the law doesn’t have the final effect (“contrain conduct”) that we think it should have, or think it was overall intended to have.

                Either the law initially made clear that “battlefield” as a term could never be understood to potentially encompass the whole globe in a given conflict, or else it didn’t. If it wasn’t, it might otherwise be the case that the law in question in some way still limits conduct in the way you imply it should, but it’s not because that understanding of the term (that it could the whole world potentially) has been taken off the table by the fact that it results in an unacceptable outcome for the overall law. That simply begs the question from a legal analytical standpoint.

          • Sean

            It is true that this was a self righteous American act, based on arrogance, revenge and pride. And yet, it was also, the correct and just thing to do, and there is no contradiction in both things being true.

          • Anderson

            In a fantasy world, extradition might seem possible on the given facts.

            As for kidnap, the exigencies may’ve dictated against it; the White House today did say OBL would’ve been captured had he “waved a white flag.” But no one thought that would happen, and I daresay it didn’t.

      • larryb33c

        Speechless.

    • Anderson

      These aren’t just “soldiers,” they are elite black-ops guys. They could probably take the head shot.

      Given the obvious difficulty with trying OBL in our Republican-haunted nation, the kill was probably prudent.

      • That’s a good point.

        These are the type of people who killed those three Somali pirates in a bobbing boat, from a bobbing boat, at night, with one shot each.

        If we were talking about Chicago cops, and someone ended up with one shot through the eye and another in the head, that would be a lot more sketchy then hearing the top-of-the-top special forces guys made a head shot.

        • Ian

          True, a shot to the head could easily have been the work of an elite sniper. This was two shots to the head, which strongly suggests an execution.

          • Or, it suggests two or more well-trained gunmen shooting at him.

            Anyway, more information is coming out, indicating the opposite of this post’s title.

        • Jeff

          So, in a thread where you’re giving Paul grief because he was, “choosing terminology to define his conclusions”, you’re perfectly willing to stand behind, “three Somali pirates…one shot each”?

          I doubt Osama’s compound was stormed by snipers, and as it was mentioned above, soldiers are taught to shoot for center mass.

          • I have no idea what your comment is supposed to mean.

            The three Somali pirates were three Somali pirates. They were killed by three Navy SEALs, each of who fired one shot.

            Honestly, I don’t get what your objection is, or what language is supposed to be misleading spin. Are you saying the Somalis who raided a merchant vessel and were holding the Captian hostage in a life boat shouldn’t be called pirates?

            …soldiers are taught to shoot for center mass.

            And as has already been pointed out, not all soldiers. This was SEAL Force 6, which, yes, is an elite team of sharp shooters, and as we saw during the operation off the Somali coast, they like shooting at the head.

            • Jeff

              Talking up the elite abilities of these soldiers as the obvious explanation for why there was a head shot is as much spin as what Paul was doing. You can disagree with Murc about the likelihood of this being accidental or not, but you’re doing exactly what you’re accusing Paul of doing, just in a different way.

              He sees few bodyguards, people used as shields, and specific headshots in a situation where specifically going for headshots would be risky/unlikely.

              You see those headshots as par for the course per elite training, and other special circumstances (not normal operation, etc).

              • Talking up the elite abilities of these soldiers as the obvious explanation for why there was a head shot is as much spin as what Paul was doing.

                No, it’s not. It’s a theory that was put forward, not a word-game intended to make a theory appear more plausible, or to make rejection of that theory appear unsavory. I don’t think you even understand what my objection was.

        • Murc

          While I debate thrusting myself into the middle of that dust-up between you and Paul upthread, Joe, I should maybe clarify my intent there as a few people, including you, seem to have taken it to mean something slightly different than I intended.

          Obviously, the sort of extremely elite special forces guys we would send on a mission like this are capable of making a head shot easily and with precision. But my point was that as I understand things, a deliberate head shot in the heat of combat is very uncommon; soldiers are trained to go for center mass to the point that it becomes instinctive. A head shot would involve you carefully taking the time to sight in and then squeezing the trigger.

          Now, of course, shit happens in combat. For all I know Osama came out waving an AK around and the teams sniper put one right in him. But the above reasoning, coupled with the information released so far, is why I immediately assumed this was a straight-up kill mission rather than ‘kill or capture.’ I could, of course, be wrong. You may have noticed I often am.

          I realize I’m being incredibly pedantic about a very minor point, but that is the way I roll.

          • I don’t think you’re being pedantic. I think this is a legitimate point. I just disagree with your conclusion.

            soldiers are trained to go for center mass to the point that it becomes instinctive.

            First, there aren’t just any soldiers, and special ops are indeed taught to shoot at heads. Second, this wasn’t the ordinary type of engagement that infantry are trained for, with an enemy force hundreds of yards away. Third, in a multi-helicopter operation like this, there would have been plenty of personnel to have both room-clearing people, and also snipers farther off.

            • Jeff

              Second, this wasn’t the ordinary type of engagement that infantry are trained for, with an enemy force hundreds of yards away.

              Doesn’t this support Murc, rather than refute him? That in an unusual situation is exactly when someone would fall back on more natural and instinctive abilites?

              • My point was that hitting someone in the head is much easier from 50 feet than from 250 yards.

                Also, remember, these particular SEALs are people who’ve been given an enormous amount of specialized training, so head shots can be just as instinctive, just as much falling back on their instincts, as body shots.

                Maybe you’re right, but it isn’t clear.

              • Anderson

                This is not an “unusual situation” for special ops. The unusual is their usual.

                I don’t think we have the facts to judge yet; all that I’m saying (and I think Joe is saying) is “head shot” does not necessarily imply “execution.”

                They may also have shot him once in the head in combat and then put another in him on general principle.

  • Craig Burley

    Murc, that might be preferable in theory, I tend to agree it makes a better political statement.

    On the other hand, such a plan risks engaging (somewhere in the US) legal options, especially as Bin Laden would have been captured in Pakistan. If Pakistan demands his return to be “tried” there, it carries a risk that a domestic US court takes international law seriously, and orders that he be returned there for trial. A devastating result.

    Also, it becomes a worldwide political distraction. This is neater, and it’s not as if Bin Laden isn’t engaged in armed conflict against the US.

    • mark f

      Plus, you know, KSM. I don’t think we needed another national freak-out on an even bigger scale.

      • calling all toasters

        Really. They’d have to try Obama in Antarctica to begin to calm down Peepants America.

        • Halloween Jack

          Um… that’s quite a typo there, pilgrim. I hope.

          • Spokane Moderate

            For conservatives, works either way.

          • Pastafarian

            I’d say it’s more of a Freudian slip.

            • No, I think it would literally take the arrest of Barack Obama and his detention and trial in Antarctica to get people like you to stop peeing your pants.

    • Murc

      Accepting the possibility (however IMPOSSIBLY minute; we’re talking ‘Large Hadron Collider blows up the world’ minute) of devastating results that go against you is sort of the point of having a legal system more complex than ‘Guilty! Hang them! Court adjourned.’

      It takes a strong, assured country, confident in its laws and institutions, that doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone but itself, to go down that road. And I’d prefer us to act as though we ARE that country.

      • firefall

        But you clearly ARENT that country – neither strong nor confident in your institutions and laws.

        • timb

          We used to be and some of us can think of that country somewhat longingly

          • Malaclypse

            Yep. We once brought Nazis to trial. People who actually did pose an existential threat to liberal democratic society, and we put the fuckers on trial. Hell, Israel tried Eichmann.

            I miss being a society confident enough to give fucking Nazis a fair trial.

            • We only tried the Nazis when the war was over and they were safely defeated.

              • Hogan

                We certainly had them on the run in 1942.

              • We certainly has the shmucks arrested by domestic law enforcement during Operation Pastorious on the run in 1942. Defeated, actually.

                But that has nothing to do with Israel trying Eichmann, the Nuremburg Military Tribunals, or anything else remotely comparable to the treatment of a wartime enemy’s leadership – you know, the subject of the comment I was responding to.

              • Hogan

                The one about trying Nazis? Because the guys tried at Nuremberg were the only Nazis? I’m sure the people of Germany will be relieved to hear that.

                Read Malaclypse’s comment again, as if for the first time, and not through the filter of your ongoing shouting match with Paul.

              • The one about trying Nazis?

                Yes, the one where the example was “Hell, Israel tried Eichmann.”

                Nobody else is having trouble following the point here. Why are you working so hard to play dumb?

              • Read Malaclypse’s comment again

                OK.

                We once brought Nazis to trial. People who actually did pose an existential threat to liberal democratic society, and we put the fuckers on trial. Hell, Israel tried Eichmann.

                OK, read it. Still right. It’s still a comment about the top leadership – the ones like Eichmann, the ones who actually did pose an existential threat to liberal democratic society.

              • Hogan

                Nobody else is having trouble following the point here.

                No, I know what *your* point is: Obama’s lawlessness is ever so much better than Bush’s lawlessness, because it’s Obama’s. It’s actually not that hard to follow; moral pre-adolescence usually isn’t.

                I’ll skip the “let me know if I need to express this in shorter words for you” sneer, because I’d probably be violating your copyright, but:

                In 1942 we were an unmilitarized and underindustrialized country facing a global war against two enemies with more battle-hardened troops, more mobility and more and better equipment. When we caught enemy saboteurs on our soil, we didn’t shoot them outright; we didn’t lynch them; no one from the FBI said “I’ve just started writing the report, so I haven’t decided whether they hanged themselves in their cells or were shot trying to escape.” We didn’t whisk them off to a specially built offshore supermax prison for indefinite detention, torture optional. We tried them, convicted them and jailed them. And in 1948 we repatriated them to Germany.

                (“But the war was over!” Yes, because it was a war. We’re not going to occupy al Qaeda’s territory and install a new government; we’re not going to defeat and destroy their army on the battlefield. This isn’t going to end until we decide to stop calling it “a war” and start calling it something else–preferably something that it really is.)

                I wish the world’s sole remaining superpower still had that kind of confidence in its non-military non-black-ops institutions. And I wish Obama would try to inspire that kind of confidence, rather than capitulate to the lack of it.

              • Malaclypse

                It’s still a comment about the top leadership – the ones like Eichmann, the ones who actually did pose an existential threat to liberal democratic society.

                Yes, and we tried them. Barely out of the heat of battle, in the worst war the planet had ever seen, and we had the strength as a society to try them. A real trial, with three aquittals, because we were the sort of society that stood for something beyond the naked exercise of power.

                Yes, what OBL did was evil, but it was never an existential threat. With all his money, and all his backing, he killed about four times as many Americans as a couple of morons with a lot of fertilizer managed a few years earlier. And we tried those morons, and found them guilty, in a court of law.

                The Nazis were responsible for 61 million deaths. That is roughly 20,000 times the death toll of September 11. They were genuinely scary, evil fuckers. And we stood up, and said that absolutely everybody gets a trial, because we are Americans, and that means something. Totalitarians may believe in show trials and summary executions, but we are better than that, and we really were.

                Now being an American means something else, and that saddens me.

              • Murc

                I usually don’t post just to say me too, but, well, me fucking too. Well said, Mal.

              • Hogan: Yawn. I’ve made actual arguments, and your response is to blather about Obama and an alleged double standard that you can’t even demonstrate. Reads like someone who lost an argument trying to make himself feel better.

                When we caught enemy saboteurs…

                I’m not going to explain this again. I’m just going to let you look at the bolded word, and see if you can work out for yourself why your point is irrelevant to the question of capturing or killing someone who hasn’t yet been captured.

                Your point would be a good one, if we were discussing the correct treatment of detainees. We’re not; we’re talking about the rules of engagement regarding enemies who are at large and in the fight.

                Yes, because it was a war. We’re not going to occupy al Qaeda’s territory and install a new government; we’re not going to defeat and destroy their army on the battlefield.

                Your feelings about whether to call this Congressionally-authorized war a war have no bearing whatsoever on the legal question about when and how the military can engage wartime enemies.

              • Malacalypse,

                Yes, and we tried them. Barely out of the heat of battle….

                So, in other words, this is not a comparable situation, since we’re talking about people who are already in custody, after the war was over. For al Qaeda detainees who are in custody, I say we try them. I’d even prefer to try them in civilian courts. But that’s a different question than what we’re faced with here.

                And we stood up, and said that absolutely everybody gets a trial….

                No, we didn’t. Not a single Nazi killed in Normandy, or in North Africa, or bombed in Berlin, or shelled along the Rhine, was given a trial. They were just shot at by the military.

                Absolutely, people who are in custody should be tried if they have committed crimes, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

              • hv

                We only tried the Nazis when the war was over and they were safely defeated.

                To complete the analogy, when will that be in these circumstances?

                Approximate answers are fine.

        • Anderson

          This, dammit. This.

      • DocAmazing

        The thing to consider is that a trial may shake loose all kinds of information–like the specific sources of Saudi funding, the connections between Pakistan’s ISI and the CIA, and just how bin Laden got out of Tora Bora lo these many years ago. Dead men tell no tales; live spooks like the quiet.

        • Malaclypse

          Not to mention the possibility that Saint Reagan funded him back when he was a “freedom fighter.”

  • Daragh McDowell

    The NYTimes and a couple of others are reporting that the Helos took RPG and small arms fire from the compound. The reports on whether or not it was a ‘kill’ mission are contradictory, but frankly his people had already said time and again that THEY would pull the trigger if it looked like he was about to get captured. In any case I’d say the benefits of killing him far outweighed those of a live capture – but I could be wrong.

  • Blue Neponset

    Admiral Yamamoto got the same treatment. I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with this. As far as it is possible, our country has declared war on Al Qaeda and Bin Laden is a casualty of war.

    • Murc

      Treating Al-Qaeda like they’re a sovereign nation we can or should declare war on, frankly, gives them far too much credit. These guys aren’t Cobra. They don’t have an island fortress somewhere or a mountain whose top flips off to reveal ICMBs.

      They’re thugs and criminals, and should be treated like thugs and criminals. Equating them to a nation-state or an army in any way is both wrong AND counter-productive. Nation-states can be conquered; armies can be defeated. Criminals require careful, painstaking detective work to smoke them from their holes and prove culpability.

      • timb

        And it gives people like Dick Cheney, David Addington, and Andy McCarthy to get their rocks off on a whole “we’re at war” theory of democracy.

        • hv

          Bingo.

      • Where are you getting this idea that the use of force under war powers is only reserved for sovereign nations?

        Al Qaeda is most like neither a sovereign nation nor a criminal gang. In terms of historical analogies, they are most like pirates who attacked ships and staged occasional shore raids, or the bandit-armies who used to attack trade caravans, and states have always brought military force to bear against those entities, because the practicalities demand it.

        • That is, they’re different from criminal gangs operating within a legal society – like the mafia in NYC in the 50s, or the Crips in LA in the 1990s – because they aren’t under the practical (not just de jure) jurisdiction of legitimate legal authorities, and available for arrest by law enforcement using ordinary criminal procedure.

          • wengler

            The 19 guys behind the 2001 terrorist attacks were in the US. I don’t understand the point you are trying to make. They leveraged boxcutters into giving them access to flying fuel bombs. They certainly could have been arrested before they did that.

            Other countries that won’t extradite may cause problems for the US, but these aren’t exclusively military problems. The Israelis didn’t seem to have any problem kidnapping people then trying them rather than killing them. And the death count on 9/11 was .05% the number of Jews massacred by the Nazis during WWII.

            • The 19 guys behind the 2001 terrorist attacks were in the US.

              The rest of al Qaeda – and, most relevantly today, Osama bin Laden – were not in the US, nor in an area subject to our law enforcement being able to arrest them.

              Not to mention, on September 11, we hadn’t declared war on al Qaeda.

              They certainly could have been arrested before they did that.

              They certainly could have, and if any al Qaeda operatives are in the US, they should be arrested and tried as criminals.

              The Israelis didn’t seem to have any problem kidnapping people then trying them rather than killing them.

              The Israelis were not at war with Germany when they started capturing those old war criminals. The Israelis were also ‘kidnapping’ individual people who were living quiet civilian lives, so something like an arrest was feasible.

              I brought up the pirate analogy to highlight this practical concern: it actually required a military operation to get them. If an individual pirate was recognized on shore, certainly he would just be arrested, but at sea, with the amount of force available to them, it would have been impossible to effect an arrest.

              • wengler

                They kidnapped Eichmann from Argentina where the regime would not have extradited him. This is very much the same as Afghanistan.

                The problem was the bloodlust that the Bush administration stoked and encouraged. It allowed them to bulldoze rights, enrich their friends and perpetuate never-ending war. The US did not have to invade Afghanistan nor topple the Taliban, but Bush was “The Decider” and Congress and the vast majority of Americans could not get enough of the daisy cutters and MOABs destroying mostly rocks interspersed with small goatherders’ villages.

                The US have the resources to work smart and small or dumb and big. Bush chose the latter.

              • They kidnapped Eichmann from Argentina where the regime would not have extradited him. This is very much the same as Afghanistan.

                LEGALLY, yes. PRACTICALLY it is not like this situation. Eichmann wasn’t walled off in a compound, one of several armed people willing and able to fight off attackers.

              • The Fool

                Nobody is saying that OBL’s death is bad in and of itself, it’s only bad if we specifically targeted him for death, not arrest or killing if necessary. We’re saying that if that is what was done, it’s wrong because we are perfectly capable in the abstract to kidnap and try him absent complications.

                The damning thing is that it is easier to just execute him without a trial because of how screwed up the USA has become. We can’t try him in a civilian court because everyone’s too scared. A military commission would be completely laughable. Then there’s all the worries about what might come out in discovery, even with the state secrets exemptions. So we went in intending to kill him because we didn’t want to even try to go through with the bother of extracting a legal measure of justice.

              • The Fool

                …and I just now see that the order was to capture if possible. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that was how it actually played out on the ground, but I shouldn’t have written what I did given the publicly available knowledge.

        • wengler

          Actually they operate like an international criminal syndicate. Their operations are conducted in cells with a single leader operating under other one other person he takes orders from and with 3-4 soldiers under them.

          • In that sense, they are like a criminal conspiracy.

            However, in their military capacity and situation, they are like an enemy in an armed camp or fortified position, not like some criminals who live in houses, go to the market, etc.

            Certainly, no question, al Qaeda has lots of features of a criminal organization. Morally and legally, they can be treated as criminals. However, legally and more importantly practically/materially, they also meet the criteria of a military opponent to be treated as a target.

            I actually come down on the side of a law enforcement/intelligence approach towards al Qaeda most of the time, but there are clearly some circumstances when that isn’t practicable – when they have military assets available, when they are beyond the reach of a responsible law enforcement force – and a military response is the right tool for the job.

            • Murc

              Actually, joe, I completely agree with you on many of your points. There ARE in fact times when a military response towards a criminal syndicate or conspiracy is both justified and appropriate. Your pirate analogy upthread is well taken; pirates and bandit-armies were criminals, but often operated in contexts where what passed for civilian law enforcement at the time could not deal with them appropriately.

              But.

              Just as cops have rules of engagement and restraints to which they are bound (although these days those rules of engagement are increasingly coming to resemble those of the military, and not in a good way) so to do our military forces. And one of those is (or should be) that you ALWAYS accept a surrender or take a prisoner when possible.

              To be blunt about it; if the special ops team stormed the building and took out Osama during the firefight, great. Job done. If they stormed the building, secured it, put him on his knees disarmed, positively identified him, and then double-tapped him in the back of the head, I would actually have a problem with that, because I’d have liked to see him in the dock.

              • Murc

                And to be entirely fair, administration officials are now saying point-blank that the team they sent in was in fact under orders to capture him if possible. Which is as it should be (I don’t see them lying about something like that; no way could it be kept secret) and which means Obama played this the way it is supposed to be played.

                To be sure, I would be much happier had Osama been captured, not killed. And damn straight we could have done more to achieve that over the past decade. But when you send in a special ops team who are willing to accept a surrender, you’ve fulfilled your duties.

              • elm

                And to be entirely fair, administration officials are now saying point-blank that the team they sent in was in fact under orders to capture him if possible. Which is as it should be

                Yes, and the administration is also now pretty clearly claiming that the 4 men killed in the compound (including bin Laden) were actively resisting.

                It is, of course, possible that they’re lying, but assuming the statements they are making are true (that the spec ops were told to capture if possible and if those in the compound were resisting), then this is not an “execution.”

              • And one of those is (or should be) that you ALWAYS accept a surrender or take a prisoner when possible.

                Agreed.

            • wengler

              Where are their tanks? How many divisions do they have? The threat from al-Qaeda was/is blown out of all proportion. They worked small and smart themselves in operations that not-so-coincidentally took out their most competent people.

              Bush practically gave them their wet dream in Iraq and they blew it up because they imposed the death penalty for little things like smoking cigarettes. This is not a popular ideology with very few adherents, with even fewer that are competent or disciplined enough to intimidate a military force.

              By regarding them as something larger, Bush turned al Qaeda into a vanguard organization against US-European global dominance. Other people who are actually not crazy sociopathic suicide bombers respect that position. The military should only have been used as an auxiliary force.

              • Where are their tanks? How many divisions do they have?

                Please note: I’m not making an argument that the fight against al Qaeda should be, as a general rule, primarily a military one. I agree that it involves, or should involve, much more law enforcement and intelligence work.

                I’m only making a point about this particular operation. It doesn’t require tanks and divisions to make a law enforcement arrest impractical. All it takes is enough firepower to hold off the cops, and/or putting your armed compound in a location where the local cops won’t arrest you.

              • wengler,

                Consider this: there was no invasion of Afghanistan. There was no Iraq War. We spent the last 9 years carrying out the fight against al Qaeda as recommended in John Kerry’s book – lots of law enforcement and intelligence work, and not a single tank company or military checkpoint had even been set up.

                Under a policy like that, we would still have sent in black ops guys to raid bin Laden’s compound. In fact, we would have been doing more of that sort of thing as an alternative to the drive on Baghdad etc.

    • Tyto

      Yamamoto, a uniformed/regular military leader, was flying in a Japanese bomber that USN aviators shot down within a war zone. We did not invade a putatively friendly country to kill him.

      Still, though the (rather large) sovereignty issues with the operation bother me, I have a hard time imagning OBL’s capture or killing absent such an action. The fact that OBL was where he was likely tells us everything about the probable success of a joint operation.

  • Superking

    Yeah, I thought this might have been the case based on Obama’s statement last night. He said something like “and after a fire fight, he was shot in the head.” That indicated to me that the killing was done after the fighting, so to speak.

    I’m not happy about the way this went down. The reason we have due process in general is to make sure that people are treated as human beings and held responsible for only their actions, not their beliefs, not their skin color, not their religion. It’s this decision to treat people as human beings that distinguishes us from authoritarians throughout history and from terrorists who would use human lives to make political points.

    But I don’t know how this could have been resolved. I’m happy he is dead. Are we supposed to regret the Obama had him killed? I have a hard time thinking that we would be better off if he were still alive today. Yes, a trial would have been preferable. But I can’t sit around wishing Osama bin Laden were alive.

    • So Americans should died effecting a capture and extraction? That would make you feel better? More fair and balanced?

      • Superking

        What the fuck are you talking about?

        • kingtoots

          Superking,

          I think that you are too narrowly interpreting the statement.

          I don’t think that the firefight would have carried on after you have shot all the people (in the head or not). In the same way that whatever you find, “it is always in the last place you look”. Which if you interepret that phrase would imply that you should keep on looking for something so it wouldn’t be in the “last place you looked”.

          • The point I very obviously missed making clear to you is capturing him alive not like capturing him dead as they did would have been a lot more difficult and could have well lead to American deaths at the scene. And that somehow would have made it a more democratic and fairer attack, much in the current vogue of proportinate response to any and all provocations. Maybe they should only attacked from the front and left the back door open as Bush seems to have ordered at Tora Bora. The man is truly dead. I think we did well. Just as the for the operators, no celebrations, maybe a beer and a high five or two. And a feeling of mission accomplishment. That’s me, and not you and I do not fucking care.

            • wengler

              Your comment really had nothing to do with what he said though. It was priggish rightwing bumfuckery through and through.

              • You, sir or ma’am, have your head stuck so far up your ass that I have no idea how idea how you can type or stand the reek. You have no clue about me, but let me give you one. You’re off by between 179 and 181 degrees. Anyway, you’re a regular commenter here and I’m not and never will. Enjoy. Peace.

              • wengler

                Your commentary will not be missed.

        • I’m stupid enough to try this again. I was asking Superking (and Anderson should ask you what that is too) that based on his comments would he have liked to have our troops try to effect a capture, even if it meant they were thus far more at risk and some of them died as result. The rest of my post was snark, but I forget the major commenters and important commeters have little or no ability to see or accept snark in vitally serious threads like this.

      • wengler

        Hey fluffytuna, go fuck yourself.

        Seriously.

        • Well put SFB. That’s a serious comment from a serious commenter here. Wow.

          Peace, love and enjoy.

          • wengler

            As serious as your “you want Americans to die at the hands of bin Laden” comment.

        • Anderson

          And what the fuck is a “fluffy tuna” anyway? Has mold on it?

          • It’s a username; I thought people here would be able to understand that. Guess I was wrong. “Has mold on it” is advertising phrase like “Got milk” or “Anderson has Shit for brains”?

    • Due process is a concept for the application of criminal law.

      Wartime enemies have never gotten due process.

      • Superking

        Nonsense. See Nuremburg, Slobodan Milosevic.

        • Milosevic was not a wartime enemy at the time he was taken into custody. The war had been over for years; he was merely a criminal suspect.

          But since it wasn’t clear enough the first time, I’ll make the legal doctrine even more obvious for you: wartime enemies who are at large have never been required to receive due process before being shot in active military operations. This is one of those bindingly obvious points that one has to pick around and play games to pretend not to understand.

        • Seriously, give me a yes or no: are you actually claiming that wartime enemies encountered on a battlefield are entitled to due process, like a criminal suspect arrested in a Wendy’s in Seattle?

          • No, but if they surrender, you have to accept the surrender. You cannot give orders to kill even if they do not offer resistance. That’s a war crime.

            I have no idea whether that happened here or not.

            • OK, but that’s a different point than “due process.”

              We’re talking about the laws of warfare here, not criminal law, as the standard by which this raid should abide. That’s my point.

          • Superking

            I feel like I have to ask you the same question I asked fluffernutter above: What the fuck are you talking about?

            Let’s follow the discussion:

            1. The original post from Paul indicates that it was a kill order even though it was probably possible to take OBL alive. (Forget the fact for a moment that subsequent reporting makes that seem unlikely. Those additional facts were not available when I posted.)

            2. I post saying that given the choice between a kill order and a capture order, I would have preferred capture, because I think trying OBL would have been the better option. But given the circumstances, I’m not sorry the kill order was given. If you’re not getting that from what I wrote, then I apologize for not writing clearly.

            3. You come along and write two sentences: “Due process is a concept for the application of criminal law. Wartime enemies have never gotten due process.” Both of these sentences are demonstrably false. Due process applies not just in criminal law but also in civil cases when the government is the plaintiff. That is a small side point, however, and shouldn’t distract us.

            4. In response to your claim that “wartime enemies have never gotten due process” I point out that the Nuremburg trials afforded due process to some Nazis and the Slobodan Milosevic was being tried from his war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

            5. You respond by qualifying your statement to be “wartime enemies at large.” And then again to “wartime enemies on the battlefield.”

            6. So, what the fuck are you talking about? Lemme break it down for you:

            a. Wartime enemies do in some circumstances receive due process when they are captured. This is obvious not just from Nuremburg but also from the fucking Geneva Conventions. Saying you want due process does not specify what process is due. Enemies captured on the battlefield are entitled to be treated in accordance with the law. Geneva is the applicable law. /shrug.

            b. You have moved the goalposts from “wartime enemies” to “wartime enemies at large and encountered on the battlefield.” NO ONE IS CONTESTING THAT COMBATANTS CAN BE SHOT AND KILLED ON THE BATTLEFIELD WITHOUT JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT. And yes, I’m shouting because this was fucking moronic of you.

            c. At the time the original post was written, and at the time of my original comment, it appeared that we might have had a choice about what to do with bin Laden. When you have a choice–any choice–you should always pick the better option. If there was a choice, it would have been better to capture bin Laden and try him, not because we were obligated to afford him due process, but because the outcome would have been better.

            Do you get that? If not, then what the fuck are you talking about?

      • That is dangerous nonsense. If an enemy surrenders, you accept the surrender or it’s a war crime. If you have evidence, you put the enemy on trial. It is only OK to kill enemies in war time if they are actively resisting.

        I have no idea whether OBL was actively resisting, but if he wasn’t, and if the orders were to kill him anyway, that’s a crime — both under Pakistan’s law and under international law. I’m not saying it is the most emotionally horrifying crime from my perspective. But if I have to quote the fake Thomas More in Man for All Seasons, then I’m willing to.

        • Ed

          I have no idea whether OBL was actively resisting, but if he wasn’t, and if the orders were to kill him anyway, that’s a crime — both under Pakistan’s law and under international law. I’m not saying it is the most emotionally horrifying crime from my perspective. But if I have to quote the fake Thomas More in Man for All Seasons, then I’m willing to.

          This.

        • Fluffy Tuna’s argument was this:

          So Americans should died effecting a capture and extraction? That would make you feel better? More fair and balanced?

          If more Americans would be dying, then we’re not talking about a situation in which he’s surrendering, but still shooting. I think Fluffytuna was talking about a situation in which American troops are faced with armed resistance, and whether they should put themselves at risk to capture the armed person rather than kill him.

          • Fluffytuna was being a moron.

            Of course, to anyone who is not a bullett-biting extreme pacificst, American troops in a just cause facing armed resistance are entitled to kill. The question is whether they are entitled to “execute” (i.e. kill someone who has surrendered or is hors de combat).

            They may well not have done so here. But that’s what a “kill, don’t capture” order would amount to.

            • May you be in combat one day.

              • hv

                May you encounter an opportunity to defend your theories at a court martial.

  • JohnR

    Seems extremely plausible. The only reason to bring him back alive would be to satisfy the rabid right by parading him Roman-fashion and then torturing him to death at Gitmo on live TV. Since it was too scary and dangerous to actually put anyone now there on trial in the US, there’s no way bin Laden could have been treated that way. Not to mention that a formal execution (show trial or not) would have likely been the pretext for more violent Islamist uproar. Of course, whether this simple solution to a complicated problem has more positive than negative effects remains to be seen. One thing is sure, though – life goes on. This is Roland Burton Hedley from Islamabad.

  • Simple Mind

    Now we have clarification on what “Bring to Justice” means (Doing it the way James Jesus Angleton brought Italian Gestapo agents to justice in ’45…blam-blam.)

  • Boudleaux

    Since we are far enough through the looking glass that we even need to ask a Democratic President not to have American Citizens killed without any shred of due process, it is well too much to ask that any kind of “rule of law” stuff start with Bin Laden himself.

    Other than that, I have small children, and I have yet to derive a clear picture in my mind of how to justify being happy someone got killed, no matter who it is.

    Easter was an occasion for them to begin wrapping their minds around the fact that the Romans executed people. And that we do also. I’ll have to ease them into the notion of grave-dancing.

    • Boudleaux, you’re obviously not one of them he-man, kill-’em-all, let-God-sort-’em-out, REAL Americans…

      Me, neither. I had a similar reaction to the celebrations. I’m not unhappy that they guy is dead, or even that it happened the way it did, but I just don’t have it in me to pop open the champagne (or a beer, even) and start chanting U-S-A!!, U-S-A!!, (or anything else) no matter who gets killed.

      Everyone involved (the military, and folks working during both administrations) deserve our thanks and credit, but I won’t be whipping out Kool and The Gang and the mirrored disco ball anytime soon…

      • I saw a young lady in Washington, at the rally, who had a microphone stuck in her face, and asked how she felt. Her words:

        “This is a time for us all to be together, because he’s dead! Wooooo! USA!”

        I’m glad he’s dead, too, but that’s just inappropriate.

  • David W.

    The downside of putting OBL on trial would have been 1) a chance for him to spout about a Caliphate and muddy the waters of the Arab Spring and 2) it being a foregone conclusion he was guilty, merely a waste of time and money, and 3) where do you try him? The World Court? As if that would be possible. For once I’m glad to see the mission was thought though enough to take advantage of the chance to just kill OBL and have justice simply and finally done.

    • where do you try him? The World Court?

      Well, hypothetically speaking, his crime did take place on American soil, so why not in the American courts?

  • LoriK

    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.

    Unless someone produces evidence that the two shots happened quite separately there’s no reason to think the fact that he was shot a 2nd time has any special significance in this case. Two shots is SOP for Special Ops in a shoot to kill situation. It’s called a double tap and they didn’t invent it for OBL. As they say, “One is none. Two is one.”

    • Amen. Let’s not overanalyze this. He had it coming, it just saves time and money over the long term. On the positive side, one less reason to keep Gitmo open.

  • DocAmazing

    the Pakistani military, which has a major garrison in Abbottabad

    Is that the capital of Costellostan?

    • Halloween Jack

      Third base!

  • Charlie Sweatpants

    I’m as curious as anyone about how this all went down, and about the government’s thinking in terms of capture vs. kill, and then what to do with the body or the man. Just knowing what scenarios were considered would be fascinating. But we’re too close to it right now. Half the information floating around is going to be flat out wrong or horribly misinterpreted. We’re going to have to wait a while for the media dust to settle before we can get a clear picture of what actually happened, much less what was ordered and why.

    • Joe

      Yes. The fact we are talking about ’12 elections, rumors, analyzing incomplete information, etc. … well, sounds like cable news. Also, sounds human. Kinda makes me less holier than thou about what the media does all the time.

  • Frank

    If you mean he was killed rather than captured, I think the reporting here and executive policy in general has been pretty clear on that.

    If you mean how this went down, they’re reporting a firefight, partially destroyed compound, chopper down, other news outlets and civilians on the scene reporting the fight etc.

    • Paul Campos

      I suspect that “firefight” is a serious exaggeration. It seems there were four adult men in the whole compound. It’s more likely that a couple of them got off a few shots than that there was a quasi-military engagement. Also the helicopter appears to have had a mechanical problem rather than having been damaged in combat.

      • mark f

        That’s what always seems to happen. I will never get aboard nor stand under a helicopter.

      • Frank

        “I suspect that “firefight” is a serious exaggeration.”

        Do you suspect this despite having seen the footage of the large building with multiple fires?

        “It seems there were four adult men in the whole compound. It’s more likely that a couple of them got off a few shots than that there was a quasi-military engagement.”

        Well that’s one scenario for a large firefight down the road from Pak West Point where UBL felt he was protected for some reason, and you’re told only bad guys got killed.

        Not a single bodyguard for a mansion and the man who used to have his own elite guard troops. Well.

      • I suspect that “firefight” is a serious exaggeration.

        Oh, for Christ’s sakes, Paul! Because, from the other side of the planet, you’ve decided that there weren’t enough bullets fired at the Americans, you’re going to quibble over the word “firefight,” but upthread, Osama is “a political leader,” and the special forces unit was “an assassination squad.”

        It’s difficult to take you seriously.

        • witless chum

          You still haven’t explained why either of those terms are inaccurate. You just shouted about Ari Fleischer.

          I don’t have any problem with us just killing someone like Bin Laden, especially by means that don’t involve the hundreds of thousands of others that we killed whilst getting to Saddam Hussein, but why can’t Campos call a spade a card that has a black, shovel-shaped thing on it?

          • You still haven’t explained why either of those terms are inaccurate.

            Spin doesn’t have to be inaccurate; it’s just misleading. One can be misleading by highlighting an accurate, albeit irrelevant, characteristic. Josef Stalin really was a socialist and really did support government health care, but bringing that point up in response to some Social Democrat arguing for single payer is misleading spin. When a creationist insists on using the word “creation” to describe the universe during a debate over its origins, he’s doing the same thing.

            You call out your political opponents for engaging in these kinds of word games all the time. You shouldn’t blow it off because it’s your side doing it.

            but why can’t Campos call a spade a card that has a black, shovel-shaped thing on it

            Because he’s not simply providing an objective description; as I’ve said several times now, he’s choosing terminology for the purpose of defining his conclusion. He’s choosing a particularly disparaging term for the military unit, intended to make their actions appear illegitimate by definition, and choosing a term for bin Laden that ignores what makes him a legitimate military target, while drawing attention to a characteristic that, considered in isolation, without taking into account what he actually was, makes him appear to be an inappropriate target.

            Let’s put it this way: if the headline in the paper was “Execution Squad Executes Political Leader,” and you read in the body that they were talking about a military unit shooting bin Laden, would you consider that a straight, dry recitation of the facts?

      • It makes a significant difference whether there was active resistance. It doesn’t really matter how effective it was.

  • Norman Thomas

    For those who still complain about how this went down…
    Obama: “At My Direction” U.S. Carried Out Operation Against Bin Laden

  • wengler

    I think in the likeliest scenario, Osama killed himself rather than being captured alive. That doesn’t make a great story though. I would be disturbed, however, if it came out that the ORDERS were to kill him no matter what. This is the leader of the organization that you and your predecessors have been going after for 15 years! There is no greater source of information.

    It boggles the mind to preferring a simple execution order. If you were going to do that, then why did you spend so much time confirming the target and then putting US troops on the line when you could have just sent a missile in from a Predator drone?

    Anyways the truth will come out with time just as it did with the totally fabricated story of the capture of Saddam.

    • I’ve read he was shot through the eye. That would be very, very unusual as a means of suicide.

      My money would be on “went down fighting.”

      • wengler

        Yep, it could be that too.

        Speculation in the absence of evidence is all we have at this point.

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  • If you believe this, then what the Special Forces did was appropriate.

    Mind you, the story seems so good from a US propaganda perspective, that it is hard not to have the teensiest doubt.

    • Paul Campos
      • Paul Campos

        Don’t have a link yet but the using his wife as a human shield story has already been dropped — the administration is now saying she was caught in the crossfire.

  • I am confident this singular event will cause a full rescindment, with appropriate trials and investigations for past abuses, of our nation’s permanent policy of unlawful detainment, kidnapping and torture in disclosed and undisclosed locations around the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Yes he was executed, killed, taken out, erased, hit. Say what you want he is dead and I am glad that he is. The people we lost on 911 didn’t have a chance to go to trial. They are dead and now he is dead. “FAIR EXCHANGE IS NO RROBERY”

    “Good work Mr. President”

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    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own.
    Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
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