Osama: dead or alive? *UPDATED*

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.

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  • abc

    Interesting theory.  So why is it that Bush had the same policy when he was President?  One of my friends is in a special forces unit that was tasked with searching for OBL in Afghanistan.  The order was to take him out rather than bring him back for a trial–in contrast to the orders that my friend claims were put out regarding Saddam Hussein.  One of my other friends from law school, who was Deputy Budget Director at OMB under Bush, confirmed that this was his understanding of the policy of the same WH he was working within.

    So here is the question:  if Bush had no problems with war tribunals and off-shore judiciary solutions, then why the same order from him?  Maybe there are more facts and issues at play than you are covering…  Perhaps someone else can enlighten me.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Was I talking about Bush? I don’t remember mentioning him.  I was talking about Obama’s decision, and the impossibility of making any other choices than the one Panetta made.

  • Danny Lemieux

    What was DQ’s take on your question, Book?

  • abc

    I’m not talking about Bush either, but raising him highlights the problem with your argument.  You assume that they had to take out OBL since they were against the kind of extra-territorial, war tribunal justice that Bush had created and defended, so they had to take him out to avoid putting him into the war tribunal and enhanced interrogation that they had decried.  But Bush had the same order to kill rather than capture, even though he had no constraints.  This logically calls into question your argument.  I am not talking about Bush, but highlighting one fact that invokes Bush to show that your argument doesn’t hold water.  Maybe the logic is clearer now.

    Also, if you understand the full ramifications of what the liberals had sought, which was civil criminal status for terrorists, rather than the “enemy combatant” designation, which carries different legal ramifications, then you would also understand that the very idea of assassinating someone, which is what shooting an unarmed person is, could not apply to OBL.  So if the liberals in the White House, really were taking the idea seriously that OBL was not an enemy combatant, then they would not have shot him in the first place.

    The reality is that they didn’t even want to bury this guy on land so that they could minimize any political fallout from the Muslim world, so a trial and interrogation was likely out of the question just on those grounds alone.  But that is my speculation.  Your speculation is different.  But it seems at odds with facts and logic that i am aware of.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Actually, I must confess that my thoughts do line up somewhat closer with yours on this one, ABC. 

    A live Osama would have been a lightening rod for more terror activity. A dead Osama feeding the fishes is more easily forgotten….presuming that he’s really dead and not renditioned in some secret compound somewhere ;-).

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    This myth that Obama had the spine to give any orders, has a little issue. How does someone on golf vacation even know there is something that requires an order?

  • jj

    I have no problem believing Obama was avoiding a decision and on the golf course, trying valiantly to avoid a decision.  The photo of the group watching the op in progress is painfully revealing.  Who’s presence in that room is completely irrelevant to unfolding events?  For all the world it looks like they brought in a folding chair for him, told him he could stay if he was quiet, let him sit in the corner, and made him promise not to bother the adults while they were busy.  He looks like a little kid somebody decided to let stay up if he promised to behave.  He’s the twerp in the room.

  • Charles Martel

    Having seen what Obama had done to his opponents in Chicago, and how many people he has thrown under the bus to get to where he is, I don’t think he shied away from ordering the killing of Bin Laden. He may have couched it in terms of “Do what needs to be done,” much akin to “Will no one rid me of this wretched priest?,” but his lackeys got the idea.

    Still, figurative homicide and actual homicide are different matters, and it is hard to imagine a man who wear’s mother’s jeans and throws a baseball like a sissy crossing the line. However, there have been lots of nancy boys with few scruples (John Kerry and Barney Fwank come to mind), so you really can’t say his foppishness would make him all that squeamish.

  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    The Ulsterman version of events makes more sense than the continually changing/updated White House story. It certainly explains Obama’s joviality leading up the the raid. Of course, his ability to keep secrets and ignore facts is by now well known. This early in the story telling process that ususally results in textbook history, however, there seems one character is missing – Jack Baur. Other than Jack, Ulsterman’s story is entirely plausible including JJ’s observation that Obama appears as the smallest person in the room, totally out of place amongst the grown-ups doing grown-up stuff.

  • 11B40

    Greetings:


    Once again, as my favorite Platoon Sergeant explained it to me, the POW calculus:

    1) You don’t ever want to fight anyone twice;

    2) Some POWs may have useful information;

    3) Capture, relocation and detention of POWs requires the
    use of scarce resources.

    If I catch them, I’ll do the math.

  • Tonestaple

    My thought, with respect to Bush, is that Bush is a Christian and understands what Dennis Prager has said ever so many times on his show:  crimes need to be punished.  Since Osama was responsible for the murder of almost 3,000 people, he deserved nothing but death.

    Obama, on the other hand, having no principles at all, probably did the same calculus as Book and realized he had painted himself into a corner, ergo we get the same result as Bush would have given us but for a radically different reason.

  • Tonestaple

    And let’s not forget either that Bush was governor of Texas and Texas believes in the death penalty almost as much as it believes in football.  Bush didn’t pardon Karla Faye Tucker for her crimes, so why would he let Osama skate?

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Bookworm: Osama had to die because Obama and his base, working together, have made both interrogation and a war crimes tribunal impossible.

    There is nothing in law or practice that prevents interrogation. Bin Laden should be tried in open court, just as the Nazis were tried in open court as war criminals. Military tribunals are still possible, and will probably be used in the future.
     
    Bookworm: As matters now stand, both Obama and Osama know that there’s no way the government can force information from Osama. 

    Of course you can’t legally force people to talk. But people do talk. It’s in their natures. 
     
    Bookworm: 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).

    The U.S. is far more courageous than you give it credit for, and has already tried and convicted many dangerous terrorists. However, the Congress has precluded civilian trials at this point (National Defense Authorization Act ).
     
    Ymarsakar: This myth that Obama had the spine to give any orders, has a little issue. How does someone on golf vacation even know there is something that requires an order?

    Apparently, your imaginary version of Obama doesn’t match the reality. 
     

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    This is what a trail of a war criminal looks like:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/world/middleeast/03landau.html
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Does Z really think his imaginary version of Bush is better then his blind cult adherence to the Obamanation?

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Ymarsakar: Does Z really think his imaginary version of Bush is better then his blind cult adherence to the Obamanation?

    What imaginary version of Bush? Please be specific. 
     

  • Charles Martel

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The death of Osama has spared us from the spectacle of dessicated Code Pink ladies stripping nekkid on the courthouse steps to protest his innocence at a trial.

    God bless you, NBOTUS. Sometimes, like a broken clock, you’re right.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    You have more than one imaginary version of Bush Z? Pick one and be done with it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Z imagined that Obama was leading. But in reality, that imagination turned out to be as erroneous as thinking Obama could lead lemmings off a bridge.

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