Wednesday, May 04, 2011

He's been dead to me for years

I'm certainly glad that OBL has been disposed-of, but from a leadership standpoint he might as well have been dead for years. He had been hounded so pervasively that he had to keep a very low profile in order to stay free. His profile was so low that many people, including me, thought he was most likely already dead. Now he really is dead for sure.

OBL is dead and buried at sea but could we have taken him alive? At one end of the spectrum, he might have been located such that it would not have been feasible for a commando team attack. In this case, a 2,000 lb bomb would do the job and the innocents killed would be collateral damage. In this case, we could bring in a SEAL team; so why not capture OBL alive rather than dead? He resisted capture: Couldn't the commando have just shot him in the leg like he did to the wife who rushed him? Some say OBL is reputed to wear an explosive vest in order to prevent capture. If that is the case, wouldn't it have been roughly as dangerous to take his body dead as alive? My view, and one that is becoming popular, is that the administration did not want Bin Laden taken alive. If this is the case, then I believe killing him was deeply immoral. Not for the reasons one might initially think though: Not because OBL deserved some kind of due-process, no. He was an enemy combatant. Rather because alive, he might have given us useful information when interrogated. That it would be difficult and expensive to imprison and try him should not be a deciding factor--you don't kill people because it makes your life easier.

A few minor questions:

Why did we use Black hawk helicopters when the Osprey is much more capable? It has twice the range and speed and can hover just like a chopper.

If this was a suspense movie instead of real life, the following would be what actually happened:

The whole killing was a fake whose purpose is to disrupt Al-Qaeda and flush-out Bin Laden.


We did capture him alive, but used Hollywood style makeup and effects to produce pictures showing his dead body. Now we can sweat information out of him and not have to worry about public relations regarding trial and imprisonment.

Of course this is real life and not a movie, but it is fun to spin-out scenarios.