But first, I just discovered the following very interesting items on the 'net. From the NY Times: Obama Says He Won't Release Photos of Bin Laden's Corpse. And from Citizens for Legitimate Government: CIA Denies Bin Laden Was Captured Before Killed. "The CIA categorically denies two stories coming out of Pakistan, sourced to bin Laden family members: 1) that Osama bin Laden was captured at the scene and then killed minutes afterward; this from his daughter. 2) that a second bin Laden son, Mohammed, was thrown on the chopper as it departed Abbottabad. "We categorically deny both of those," said a CIA spokesman."
Both stories, sadly, confirm my suspicions, as expressed in the previous post. And also my deepest fears, not only about what actually may have happened (which seems bad enough) but also regarding what all the conspiracy theorists are going to make of them and also what ordinary people all over the world are going to think. In short, this REALLY LOOKS BAD!!!!!
Here are my reasons for doubting the story they've put out:
First, we have to consider how unlikely it would have been for Bin Laden to choose that particular place to hang out. Even if he was under the "protection" of the Pakistani military, the man had a huge price on his head -- so why tempt some soldier who might spot him or get wind of his presence and decide to rat him out?
How could he possibly have entered that compound un-noticed? Did they find a tunnel? Not that I've heard. By helicopter? How many suspicions would that have raised? It's a military site and they have checkpoints everywhere. People have to present ID. We're talking about a 6'5" Arab whose age is known. How does he get past the guards? Even assuming they've been bribed, how do you risk even one of them deciding to blow the whistle and collect millions in reward money?
How could they be sure they weren't being deliberately set up? Suppose Bin Laden hatched a plot to make it look like he was there, complete with "wife" to rush to "his" defense and then ID "him." They said his "wife" called out his name. What would she have said? "Get out of here Osama Bin Laden, they're after you"? Isn't that a bit wordy? Did any of them speak Arabic? Could they even understand what she said? If it's a setup then it's a great one. Either the mission fails and they have to admit an embarrassing mistake. Or the mission "succeeds" and they manage to convince the world he's dead when he's not. Clearly a win win for Bin Laden and a disaster for the rest of us.
Also, how do you claim he was IDed by his wife? If you don't know the guy's identity then you don't know the "wife's" identity either. Who IDed the "wife"?
We learned recently from Panetta what I'd already suspected (see yesterday's post): they actually had no evidence whatsoever that Bin Laden was on the premises. They were operating on a hope and a prayer. Chances of failure were awfully high, as were chances of a major embarrassment. Somebody stuck his neck way out there and it looks like that somebody might well be trying really hard to cover his ass with a raft of lies.
So what if it's a "Muslim custom" to bury the dead within 24 hours. Show me a directive from any branch of the US military insisting that all Muslim combatants killed on the battlefield get buried within that time frame. Suddenly this is official US policy? If you want to convince us then prove it. Show us the directive.
If they were looking for OBL and he was unarmed, as they now admit, then the first concern would be to identify him, NOT shoot him in the head and blow half his brains out. So the story I've quoted above, which is apparently coming from his "daughter," rings true. If they actually found someone that resembled Bin Laden, they'd have photographed him and sent the photos off for identification. They'd have then taken a blood sample. And they would have held this person until they were sure it was actually him. Once he's been IDed, and if it actually was him (which I strongly doubt) then a decision would have to be made whether to hold him for trial or simply execute him on the spot. There's NO WAY they'd have decided to immediatly get him on board a boat and bury him at sea, that makes no sense at all. Unless it's not really him, in which case it does make some (twisted) sense, because if it's not him, you and your buddies are guilty of murdering those people on the first floor (remember them?). And if it IS him, then the first thing you want to do is make sure the rest of the world accepts that it's him by encouraging an independent autopsy and DNA testing by independent agencies. All we have at this point is the word of the (ever-(un)reliable) CIA. How convincing is that?
I feel sure they have photos. Of some guy who maybe looks a bit like Bin Laden, but isn't him. The photos probably reveal no wound, because they would have been taken prior to executing the poor guy, for identification purposes. How do you identify a face with a huge hole in it? And why take a picture after you've done such an awful deed? As proof of your guilt?
I've been defending Obama up till now because I've always been convinced of his basic honesty. But now I have doubts, because by now he has to be extremely suspicious, and he has to have seen whatever photos were taken. But I suppose he sees that it's too late now to back down and confess that, "Hey folks, maybe we goofed. Maybe it wasn't Bin Laden after all."
And I'm sorry, but this is the 21st century folks, and we've been subject to all sorts of violent images for many years now. I remember seeing a horrible photo in the National Enquirer of Jayne Mansfield after her auto accident, with most of her brains hanging out. I remember seeing a large gathering of high school students, fascinated by the video of Daniel Pearl being beheaded, as transmitted via a school computer. I couldn't watch, but they did.
So when Obama tells us it would be "inappropriate" to make public the one piece of evidence that might be used to confirm the story he's putting out, I have to confess: I cringe.