Interesting, although do note that her words are being relayed by our very good friends in Pakistani intelligence, who now have her in custody.
You don’t suppose they’d concoct a story about U.S. troops executing a prisoner in order to make Bin Laden more sympathetic to the Arab masses and to punish the U.S. for humiliating Pakistan with its secret raid, do you?
Senior Pakistani security officials said Osama bin Laden’s daughter had confirmed her father was captured alive and shot dead by the US Special Forces during the first few minutes of the operation carried out at the huge compound in Bilal Town, Abbottabad…
The official said a 12-year-old daughter of bin Laden was among the six children rescued from the three-storey compound.
The daughter has reportedly told her Pakistani investigators that the US forces captured her father alive but shot him dead in front of family members.
According to sources, Bin Laden was staying on the ground floor of the house and was dragged on the floor to the helicopter after being shot dead by US commandos.
Any corroborating evidence of this? Well, despite lip service from the likes of John Brennan about how the SEALs were prepared to take prisoners, a senior U.S. official told National Journal that it was made clear to them not to take Bin Laden alive. Ben Smith’s also noticed a couple of rhetorical quirks in Obama’s descriptions of the raid, first when he said “after a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden” and later when he referred to “the capture and death of Osama bin Laden.” The former, I think, is an accurate account of what we already know. First there was a firefight downstairs with Bin Laden’s goons, then they went upstairs and shot him. He did “resist” somehow, allegedly, but he was unarmed and thus wasn’t part of the firefight. The “capture and death” phrase is a bit more intriguing, though. I suppose you can read that as simply meaning that they killed him and then took the body, but it’s an odd way to put it.
Just one question. How would the SEALs have felt safe in approaching Bin Laden to take him prisoner, not knowing what sort of booby traps might be on him or in the house? You’d have to believe that he put his hands up the entire time, intent on surrendering, which I find hard to imagine. Although, ironically, it would have been the smart play: He wouldn’t have been tortured and he would have been guaranteed a soapbox during his trial at Gitmo or in federal court to help restore his celebrity. There was nothing else he could do to stop the SEALs when they were at the door, so why not give up and cause the Great Satan the mother of all legal headaches? And yet … I just can’t see it. He probably assumed, perhaps correctly, that the SEALs were going to take him down no matter what, so when they were finally face to face, his instinct would be to “resist” however feebly. And once he did, given the fear of booby traps, they had to shoot. No way to square that with the daughter’s story. Alternately, if you’re intent on some sort of cover-up narrative here, the likelier scenario is that Osama shot himself in the head or had one of his guards do it at some point after the SEALs arrived. There were only four or five men there with him, apparently. Once his team was overrun, there was only one way out. Assuming descriptions of his wound are accurate, though, it’d be strange for someone to shoot himself in the head above the eye rather than in the temple or on the side. Not so strange, though, if one of the couriers did it for him.
According to Rasmussen, fully 86 percent of the public approves of the decision to kill Bin Laden. Just 14 percent think the SEALs should have tried harder to capture him. I think The One’s going to be okay on this one, even if the daughter’s telling the truth. Exit question: Is the Dalai Lama among those 86 percent?
Update: The plot’s so thick now you’d need a chainsaw to cut it! From NBC:
3 of 4 men killed in assault on bin Laden compound were unarmed, never fired shot, officials tell NBC News
Why would the world’s most wanted man be living in an almost undefended compound? More thoughts on that in a later post.