Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unease - Post Facto Handling of bin Laden Killing

Is it me, or is there growing unease after the initial jubilation over the defeat of bin Laden? Consider these items:
  • Choosing to go to Ground Zero to lay a wreath, when he had otherwise ignored the 9/11 remembrance date. See Left Coast Rebel.
  • Not releasing photographs of bin Laden dead.
  • News that Obama waited 16 hours after the attack was ready to give the order, despite the lengthy time spent in preparations for the attack.
  • Contradictory official versions of events. Was Obama Osama armed? Did he use a human shield? Did he resist? It's not exactly clear. Since there is a clear legal standard that requires our armed forces to take prisoner someone who is surrendering, contradictions in the official version of events leads to speculation of an illegal action.
  • Refusing to answer questions on whether the lawyers who approved enhanced interrogation should be prosecuted.
However, I have to say that I don't believe a particular story I read about members of the military "overruling" the President. Our senior officers take their oath of office too seriously for me to believe that would happen; the consequences are just too serious for failing to follow the lawful order of the commander in chief.

My point is that the President's team hasn't really handled the aftermath all that well, despite the President giving a decent speech on the night of the attack.

Commenter drozz pointed out my mistake in fourth bullet above, corrected.


  1. Waiting 1 hours,official version.. all Monday morning quarterbacking and speculation.

    Lots of bad leadership decisions on the part of Team O, but I have to side on the decision not to release the photo of the kill shot or body. Let our enemy show proof of life. This is a judgment call on the provision of photos and I may have decided to make a different call, I would have to back my president on this one. Hopefully Trump won't request a death certificate. Pictures will leak sooner or later, but show me a photo of OBL with today's headlines or have a bowl of shut the hell up.

  2. 4th bullet: you switched dear leader and osamas names.

    weird. many people are doing this lately.

  3. I don't have a huge problem with either the photo or the 16 hr. decision time.

    I don't see how he could be "overruled" - he's the Commander in Chief. He may have been "pressured" but at the end of the day, he owned that decision to send in the SEALs.

    The only aftermath bit that kind of bothers me is Panetta saying it was the SEALs' decision on whether or not to kill bin Laden. What? I'm calling bullshit.

    This implies that there was an option to capture him which I don't believe there was. This is pretty thinly-veiled spin to give the administration cover regarding the legality of what they did. This was a "hit" pure and simple and to try to wordsmith your way out of it insults everyone's intelligence.

  4. Dean,
    They are really screwing the pooch by not making it clear that the goal was to kill bin Laden. If a missile strike had been ordered and bin Laden killed, would he have been given the chance to surrender? Of course not. bin Laden was a legitimate military target, as commander of forces with whom we were at war. If he had tried to surrender, ok, but no indication he had that much time.

    But putting this on the SEALs exposes them to legal consequences. What is to stop a lawsuit by bin Laden's daughter, for example? This crap will come back to haunt the administration.