The narrative about a maddened Osama racing out firing an AK47 is starting to unravel. The truth, one that the Obama White House didn’t want the base to hear, is that the Navy SEALS had orders: kill Osama.
The question is why kill him? Why not capture him and get information out of him? Why not subject him to a war crimes tribunal? The answer is sad and simple: Osama had to die because Obama and his base, working together, have made both interrogation and a war crimes tribunal impossible.
As matters now stand, both Obama and Osama know that there’s no way the government can force information from Osama. By pandering to the anti-Gitmo base, Obama made that tactic impossible. When it comes to data-mining, Osama is useless.
It’s no better when one thinks about a war crimes trial. Obama also managed to tie his hands on that one. The whole Khalid Shaikh Mohammed fiasco means that the Obama administration cannot try Osama in a military tribunal, but he also cannot try him in a civilian tribunal. The first, which would be appropriate, is impossible because Obama’s base won’t tolerate it; the second, which would be a disaster, is thankfully impossible because America won’t tolerate it (nor will our national security needs).
Having created both his own rocks and hard places, the only thing left for Obama to do was to kill Osama. Otherwise, he’d be faced with the problem of Osama living his life out on the government dole, both unexamined and untried.
As you sow, so shall you reap.
UPDATE: The whole narrative makes even more sense if one accepts that Panetta gave the kill order. Despite Obama’s after-the-fact self-aggrandizing speech, it never was clear that he had the obligatory set of you-know-whats to make that call. Instead, he waffled and agonized — so much so, that he could have lost the window of opportunity. Of course, as Ace points out, Obama showed his chops by watching events unfold on TV. You da man, Mr. President. You da man.
Yesterday, when I thought Obama had actually had the spine to issue the order, I asked DQ if he thought watching his order play out in real time had stiffened him, by making him realize what our forces are up against, or reinforced his inner wussy pacifist. Knowing now that Obama — the Commander in Chief — couldn’t even make himself issue the command he later boasted about, I think I have the answer to my question.