I'm thrilled that Osama was found, but I have to admit a bit of uncertainty of just what to think of the whole scenario as it was presented to me. What I'm getting at is that the US military buried the guy at sea and as far as I know, nobody besides the US Government's personnel have actually seen the body.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not big on conspiracy theories. I know we landed on the moon, but even if we didn't, so what? I don't know who the second gunman was that killed Kennedy, but it doesn't really matter for the subsequent sequence of events following Kennedy's death was not going to be altered. And there's no way the US Gov't staged the 9/11 attacks.
But with Bin Laden's death, there are so many ways that the military could have presented a corpse for others to observe. After all, news reports say the assault team that found him got in and out in 45 minutes. That leaves quite a long while for them to fly that body to any number of nearby locales -- Turkey, Greece, India, China, Russia, the UK, or any number of other places -- so other folks could see the body and say so, and yet leave sufficient time to have the dude buried in accordance with Islamic guidelines. But that's not what they did.
Now, in a world that was substantively chomping at the bit to see the end of Osama, were I running things, I'd want there to never be any question that I actually got the guy. But that's not how the situation was handled, and though I'm not directly saying the government is lying, I don't like one bit that there is the possibility that they are. It cannot be denied that his death is not
So one has to ask, well, what would be the point of staging his death?
- To boost political fortunes
- To establish a basis for moving on to other things
- To hold the dude captive and use "persuasive techniques" to obtain additional information from him -- names, locations, financing networks and methods, current states of training and readiness, operational tactics and networks, etc...the possibilities are limitless -- and quietly dispose of him later.
- To palliate the public's need for closure on the matter
- All of the above
Osama Bin Laden was but one man. And though a charismatic leader for his merry band of terrorists, as an individual, he was already effectively neutralized insofar as what he could actually do. He hardly is the sole person in Al Qaeda with "innovative" ideas or with the ability to mobilize and motivate others. He was just the most well known figure in that organization. So now, he's dead; he's becomes a rallying cry rather than a living role model. The affect on his followers is the same either way. After all, whatever teachings, methodologies and themes he may have promulgated would surely, over the past decade, been shared with the other leaders in the organization, so what's really lost upon his passing? The US hasn't lost much, a helicopter it seems is about it. We haven't lost terribly much (with apologies to those whose loved ones have died pursuing the war on terror) in ten years, aside from the resources expended to find the guy and his woefully fragmented network. Indeed, as deplorable as the 9/11 events were, their combined loss of life pales in comparison to the losses suffered by the groups that orchestrated those events.
Alas, it's not what's lost, but what's gained. Does the military and intelligence community now have a basis for increased funding/spending because the face of the enemy is now unknown and it's more expensive to hunt an enemy whom you cannot identify? How does the nature of the national security debate change, and who benefits from that change?
The world is undoubtedly a better place without Osama, but it would sure be nice to KNOW he's really gone. To me, the way the government handled his capture goes hard against the grain of the President's catch phrase, "Let me be clear..." Unfortunately, there's just nothing clear about it.