Should we have brought Bin Laden out alive? [Reader Post]

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Apparently, the team going after OBL was instructed not to bring him out alive. I have already read several posts saying that it is a good thing OBL was killed, rather than captured alive. Donald Rumsfeld just said the same thing on the Greta Van Susteren show. The usual rationale is that it avoids the chaos and confusion that would necessarily have been the outcome of a trial.

I’m not so sure.

First, and possibly most important, consider the intelligence we might have gotten from him. The amount of crucial information he had must have been staggering. He was obviously not hiding away in a cave, as some of us suspected, so he was probably in close daily contact with whatever is left of the Al Qaida network. It’s not clear how much he would have talked, particularly under Obama’s interrogation rules, but interrogators have said in the past that sometimes arrogant prisoners will talk about anything, just to demonstrate how important they are. And, skilled interrogators have ways of getting information, even without waterboarding.

Also, don’t discount the symbolic benefit of having OBL in custody. OBL is now a martyr, even without a grave to visit. And he will be considered to have died a hero. If he had been captured, and pictured in chains, it would have been an enormous psychological blow to a society that puts great emphasis on symbolism.

And I don’t buy the argument that it would have been too difficult to keep him in custody, and conduct whatever kind of trial was deemed appropriate. Are people really suggesting that the United States is not capable of conducting a fair trial of someone like OBL, in a reasonable manner? Yes, it would have required special security measures, and would have been a media circus in some ways. But, OBL was clearly a war criminal, and not entitled to a civilian trial. A war crimes trial, along the lines of the Nuremburg trials, would certainly have been easily possible, if we cared to pursue it. This would have been well within our capabilities.

So, why not at least try to keep him alive? Well, I suspect the reason is very simple: Obama has no place to go with him. He has already promised to close down Guantanamo, and it would make him look very bad to have to admit that was a bad idea. Furthermore, he learned what a bad idea it would be to try someone like this in a civilian court, when he proposed the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York City.

In short, Obama painted himself into a corner. He had nowhere else to go, except to order OBL killed. And we will never know how much that cost us.

Uncle Bill is a retired engineer, happily living in Almost Heaven, West Virginia. He grew up in Pittsburgh, and is (sadly) a life-long Pirates fan. Like many people, he was fairly liberal as a youth, but with age came wisdom, and he gradually became a staunch conservative.

70 Responses to “Should we have brought Bin Laden out alive? [Reader Post]”

  1. 51

    Nan G

    When you saw the Osama hovel/mansion video here the other day…..did you think you heard a DOG???
    You did!

    A FEARLESS four-legged recruit joined US Special Forces as they stormed Osama Bin Laden’s secret lair.

    The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to an assault team member as they took on one of their greatest challenges to date.

    He was part of the operation in which the elite US Navy Seals lowered themselves down ropes from three Black Hawk helicopters into the terrorist supremo’s hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.
    Heavily armoured hounds — equipped with infrared night-sight cameras — have been used in the past by the top-secret unit.
    The war dogs wear ballistic body armour that is said to withstand damage from single and double-edged knives, as well as protective gear which shields them from shrapnel and gunfire.

    German Shepherds have been leading the way in SAS raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Wearing oxygen masks, the pooches have been trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft, before seeking out insurgents in hostile environments.
    The cameras on their heads beam live TV pictures back to the troops, providing them with critical information and warning of ambushes.

    Read more:

  2. 52


    i don’t believe any of this until i see evidence.

    that’s why there has been no retaliation from the towel heads, they don’t believe it either. i will not be fooled by theses fools in the whit house.

  3. 54


    On the dead or alive debate, I have no particular preference. The Pakistanis shouldn’t get a penny more in aid from us, as it is quite clear that significant portions of their government were complicit in hiding OBL.
    However, what I am miffed about is that in the midst of this, the administration felt a compulsion to be PC, and made sure to “bury” OBL’s body within 24 hours, so as not to offend Islamic sensibilities. OBL deserved no such even marginally honorable burial. His body should have been fed to a pack of pigs (shades of “Snatch”) in the court-yard of the Guantanamo compound, to be witnessed by all who are held there, to show what happens to those who mess with the United States of America. Such a fate would have taken the edge off his martyr status, as I am well of aware of the status of swine amongst Muslim fundamentalists.

  4. 57


    Old Trooper 2#55 PROOF**Piss on him when I get to the ocean-(I LIVE IN AZ-5 hours plus to any ocean)
    but with that said-I would have traveled any distance to piss on the REAL THING.
    “CONSPIRACY THEORIES” a bunch of kooks-You know why the guy’s that do special things need camera’s and film***because SEEING IS BELIEVING. NO ONE in the military does anything without sound and acturate PROOF. “””SHOW ME THE PICTURES OR FILM OF BIN-DEAD OR ALL PRE-OP PHOTO’S
    3 photo’s of dead guy’s (2) head shots-ALL SHOTS FROM THE SIDE?? I do not see a enter or exit wound??? One head shot to bin and 1/2 of his head is blown away-these 2 guys that got shot in the head, look pretty intact ..the (1) with blood on his chest-were are the enter or exit wounds???? Bin gets shot in the chest and then in the head or was it the head shot first and then the chest. Bins killer had to have his weapon on semi-auto.. 1 shot to the chest-shot 2 the front of the skull-while bin was recoiling from the shot to the chest.??? NO-ONE EVER has his weapon on semi in an op like this. ONCE AGAIN FOLKS “THIS DOESN’T PASS THE PISS TEST” “CONSPIRACY” When did ANYONE start believing the LIER IN CHIEF ??????

  5. 58

    Old Trooper 2

    @jerseyflash: 1. Three Round Bursts are more Accurate.
    2. Memorializing OBL by publishing photos or Video is not in good taste.
    3. Giving OBLs Followers another recruiting tool is not a really keen idea.
    4. SEAL Team Members accomplished the Mission without dragging along Geraldo Rivera & Crew to Film and narrate it. I will take the SEAL Team’s word for it.
    5. We still have other Missions to do in Theater and pissing off those that view photos or videos as insensitive or insulting does not help those still Deployed. Endangering Them is not smart.

  6. 59

    Uncle Bill

    I had been pretty much convinced, by news reports, that Bin Laden was out of the loop, and really didn’t have much intelligence value. Then, I read an article in USA Today that said we have already learned, from some of the equipment captured, that he was still involved in planning attacks. Now, I am back to my original position that it would have been good to interrogate him.

    And as far as giving him a stage on which to spout off, there would be no need to do that. How much have you ever heard from other prisoners at Gitmo? Oh, wait a minute, Obama has promised to close Gitmo, and give these people conventional trials… Well, that is what I mean by painting himself into a corner – based on his stated policies, he really could not take the risk of bringing Obama here alive.

  7. 60


    @Uncle Bill:

    No stage to spout off….just haul him off to Gitmo and water-board him. That, doubtless would have given an entire country some satisfaction along with the admonishment: “Waterboard bin Laden!”

    If they could do his supposedly second in command, then why not him?

  8. 61


    According to a statement today by Rep. Mike Rogers (republican, and Chairman of The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) the harddrives recovered during the raid on Obama’s compound appear to contain an abundance of potentially valuable data. He declined to elaborate further, except to say that much of the data is encrypted. That’s likely another point in favor of having sent a team in rather ordering a bomb or cruise missile strike. He also stated uncategorically that he agrees with the decision not to release photographs.

  9. 62


    Old Trooper 2#58 It is 6:22 PM and I’m watching a M60 on FULL AUTO. 3 round bursts-ONLY for the ground troops-can’t chamber a round until fires on-tough walking point under those rules ????? Special Ops “NO RULES” just get the job DONE !!!!. They say now that 2 Seals shot him w/Auto-pistols***Damn good shooting after bin’s 12 year old daughter say’s that they took him hostage first. 1 Seal shot him in the chest and the other shot him in the head ?????? “Take someone’s word for it” did you talk to one of the Seals ????? ANOTHER RECRUITING TOOL-you sound like Barry w/GITMO. INSENSITIVE OR INSULTING,
    ENDANDERING OUR TROOPS ????? Our men and women are in the CROSS-HAIRS 365. Your starting to talk like a REMINGTON RAIDER.
    Greg#61 “Abundance of potentially valuable data” They knew bin’s been there since Aug 2010. Anyone that touched a key on that computer keyboard sent that info to one of our satillites. Bin had how maney satillite dishes in his compound ????? You haven’t seen a live picture of him in how many years-they can’t even authenticate his voice on tapes-he’s been there for ABOUT 5 years with a $25 million REWARD on his head. When is the last time you have heard about Poland and Romania???? (Bin’s NEW Risidence)

  10. 63

    Old Trooper 2

    @jerseyflash: You are sounding like a Kid that read too many comic books. The M-60 has not been in the inventory for a while. JSOC uses a variety of Task Specific weapons that were not in the inventory during the Vietnam Years. Time moves on and You got left behind I reckon.
    Thanks for Your Service but You can knock off the War Stories and Bullshit.

  11. 64



    Nan, thanks for the Canine War stories. I was excited reading that stuff! I suppose I am a dog lover in a horseman’s body; oh well, we work with what we have and do the best we can.

    OT, the M 60 may be obsolete, but I’d love to have one to fire out in the pasture to celebrate the Fourth and Nov 10. The neighbors would probably complain and I’d need to talk it over with the sheriff; maybe it isn’t such a good idea.

    You have restraint and composure. Well done, sir.

  12. 65


    Old Trooper 2#63 Now I know that you are a Remington Raider. Like the one vet say’s you love giving your BIO. I’m 69 yrs old and have lost a step-so here’s the delly-take a quick look at the M240 and the M60 both fire 7.62’s RPM’s 200-1000, both weight the same, both have tri-pods. Would you stake your life on saying which is which from a distance???? M60’s in service** VN,The Gulf,Afghanistan from start until TODAY, Iraq from start until TODAY. My SON”S gun of choice M60 because of RPM’S and most of your M240 have been replaced with the M240B (You already knew that though) Comic books-War stories and bullshit ??? CAN YOU QUESTION “ANYTHING” THAT I HAVE SAID. go talk your [email protected] to a NEWBEEEE, I’m not impressed. I can PISS futher then you. Tell me when you want to make a contest out of this ??????? (That vet was right)

  13. 66

    Old Trooper 2

    @Skookum: The one weapon that has survived the test of time and has been improved significantly from the Vietnam Era is the Mark 19, a 40MM Fully Automatic Grenade Launcher. It makes one hell of a racket and can damage some vehicles, structures and two legged varmints in grand style. The Browning M 2 Heavy .50 is another relic that is still in service to this day.

    Do I want one? Nope. 30-30 Winchester Lever actions are the heaviest bit of hardware that we pack.
    As far as Fireworks go We do the traditional ones that light up the sky in town and try not to spook horses or cattle. The sound of that Mark 19 would run a few pounds off the livestock and scatter them from hell to breakfast.

  14. 67

    Old Trooper 2

    @jerseyflash: You are a Comic Book character. But continue to entertain Yourself here. If insulting Me gets You off, feel free but some of the FA readers can smell BS from a ways off and your postings reek of it. Your Kill Em All and Let God Sort Em out crap sounds pretty scary but I’m neither impressed or intimidated. Impress someone at the VFW. You got your diatribe published here. Good Luck with Your issues. They have Meds for that I hear.

  15. 68

    Nan G

    Obama tried to sell the story that Osama was ”not a real Muslim,” that ”real Muslims” would be glad he is dead.
    I guess the Muslims of the UK are not ”real Muslims.”
    See the photos with this article.
    One sign at the furious mock funeral reads: Sharia will dominate the world.
    The other sign reads: Islam will dominate the world.
    Sounds like they are real Muslims!
    So, why furiously lament Osama’s death?
    Osama killed more Muslims than he did Infidels!

  16. 69


    jerseyflash, you started with interesting comment that are interesting to read, but now we can see your quick temper coming out, and your mistake is to pick on the wrong people, here, and that has become irresponsible, where you should have continiue your thought of analysing the event with a sound mind
    previously, we can tell of your vast experience into the VIETNAM hell, and you have the outmost respect from me and others here that continue to treat you with the same respect, even thow your insults where included. and you wont get insulted for it, just reminded to keep cool.

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