Jimmie tackled some of this earlier but here’s the vid from today’s presser for those who missed it. If the SEALs’ tactics on the ground had been as sloppy and confused as the White House’s handling of the media aftermath, Bin Laden and his crew would be dragging their bodies through the streets of Abbottabad as I write this. How did we go from “Bin Laden had a weapon and was using his wife as a human shield” to “Bin Laden was unarmed and didn’t have a human shield” in the span of 24 hours when there’s apparently helmet-cam footage of the whole raid? Surely, surely, the White House knew that conspiracy cranks and naysayers would cite every discrepancy in the official narrative as “proof” that Bin Laden’s still alive or whatever. Didn’t they … watch the video before chatting with the press?
As for the subsidiary question of why an unarmed man would be shot, do note:
U.S. commandos shot Osama bin Laden when he made a threatening move during the Americans’ raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a U.S. official said, according to CNN’s Pam Benson…
When Benson asked the first U.S. official whether bin Laden tried to grab a weapon or physically attack a commando, the official said only, “He didn’t hold up his hands and surrender.”
A friendly reminder: This guy was the supreme leader of a group whose calling card is suicide attacks. According to Al Qaeda propaganda, his bodyguards were specifically tasked with shooting him themselves if U.S. troops ever got close enough to threaten him. If I was a SEAL inside the compound about to kick in his door, I would have expected to see one of two things when it flung open: A phalanx of mujahedeen ready to open fire and/or Bin Laden himself armed with a suicide device. Frankly, I would have guessed that the whole room was wired with explosives in order to go out in a blaze of glory if the need arose. Remember too that the SEALs reportedly didn’t reach Bin Laden’s bedroom until the end of the raid, after they’d already been on the ground and shooting it out with his henchmen for a good half hour. All that while, Osama was upstairs, doing god knows what but possibly — for all they knew — preparing a bomb. Under those circumstances, once they came face-to-face with him, they’d have to shoot him if he so much as twitched when they yelled “surrender.” Realistically, what else could they do?
Or maybe I’m wrong and they were hell-bent on killing him regardless, if only because capturing him and holding would have been a legal clusterfark the likes of which America’s never seen. The SEALs were allegedly told at the very beginning that “your job is to kill him” and a U.S. national security official told Reuters yesterday morning that “This was a kill operation.” I wonder what would have happened if he’d put his hands up, fallen to his knees, and begged for mercy. Oh well!