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May 03, 2011

How We Got Bin Laden, Take 2

Looks like the White House would like the opportunity to revise and extend it's remarks on exactly how bin Laden met his fate.

The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including claims by senior U.S. officials that the Al Qaeda leader had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces.

Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid and that bin Laden was using her as a human shield before she was shot by U.S. forces.

...However, during a background, off-camera briefing for television reporters later Monday, a senior White House official said bin Laden was not armed when he was killed, apparently by the U.S. raid team.

Another White House official familiar with the TV briefing confirmed the change to POLITICO, adding, “I’m not aware of him having a weapon.”

“The bottom line is the team that entered that room was met with resistance and took appropriate action,” said a third American official.

He, um, didn't have a weapon? That's an interesting little factoid, no?

The obvious and potentially wrong inference to be drawn from that is that capture was not really on the menu at any point. Maybe if he had his hands up or was lying face down on the floor when the SEALs burst in he could have been taken alive. Otherwise he got the same chance as he gave the people in the African embassies, on the USS Cole and 9/11. Let me say one thing up front...I am absolutely fine with that.

I noticed something in Sunday night's statement by Obama that caught my attention. I didn't post on it because it was kind of a small thing at the time but I did email it around to the co-bloggers. Here's Obama announcing OBL's death.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

"After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden". Not 'during' it, 'after'.

"Unarmed" and "after".

Again, this would be a good time to note I'm 100% fine with this. Capturing and trying him was simply impractical. He would have become a symbol for years to come. So far we've managed to try what 2 detainees (the guy in NY and the driver down at Gitmo)? Capturing bin Laden would simply have brought out every nut job liberal lawyer. We also likely would have seen spectacular attacks in an effort to free the guy. Not on the prison itself but imagine a Beslan style hostage taking where a group of jihadis hold schools full of kids hostages while demanding the release of the world's most famous terrorist.

Again, things could change as debriefings continue and information is released official or via leaks but I'll just note this wrap up from Victor Davis Hanson.

Some plaintiffs “preventively detained” for an “indeterminate” period at “al-Qaeda’s chief recruiting tool” in a lame-duck Guantanamo offered critical information about bin Laden’s otherwise not very important “pawns” and “couriers”; some even did so after being subject to superfluous and not very legal “enhanced interrogation techniques.” We then dispatched a questionable “assassination” team into a sovereign nation without its consent, executed bin Laden and various unnamed others,

If Bush had done this the calls for his impeachment would be deafening. Speaking of Bush...America would like to say thanks.

Whatever, I'm just glad it's done. As Jim Geraghty put it, an important message has been sent.

This is the moment to cheer, to scream, to pump your fist, to break into that old bottle of your favorite beverage you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Because the world is different this morning. A key message has been beamed to every corner of the earth, sure to reach anyone who has ever committed terror against Americans, who seeks to do so again, or who is contemplating the act: No matter who you are, no matter how many followers you have, no matter how smart or careful you think you are, our guys can find you. It’s just a matter of time. If you kill our countrymen, they will look, and they will look, and they will look and they will never quit and we will never forget. You will die in prison at Gitmo or you will die quickly from a covert-ops team’s bullets. But one way or another, you will pay the price for harming our people.


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posted by DrewM. at 01:23 PM

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