There are now reports that Osama/Usama Bin Laden’s wife was wounded, not killed, in the U.S. raid that killed him [and that another woman was wounded as well].
What happened to her, and to any others wounded, or simply present, inside the compound?
Apparently, the U.S. special forces [Navy Seals???] took “computers” from the compound to search them for leads.
Does it make any sense that if, as U.S. officials said, they will be pursuing other al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan or elsewhere, they would have left anybody in the compound?
UPDATE: Reports Tuesday night say that a wounded women and Usama’s children who were in the room with him when he was killed “resisting” are now in Pakistani custody. [A woman seized as a hostage by another man — not Obama — in another room was killed, together with the man who grabbed her…]
The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that “The White House says Osama bin Laden was not armed when a Navy SEAL raiding party confronted him during an assault on his compound in Pakistan. White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that bin Laden did not have a weapon even though administration officials have said that bin Laden resisted during the raid. Carney said resistance does not require a firearm. Bin Laden was shot in the head and in the chest during the encounter. Carney said that a woman in the room with bin Laden confronted the U.S. forces and was shot but not killed”. This report is posted here.
UPDATE TWO: The Atlantic magazine has published a post by Garance Franke-Ruta entitled “The Slippery Story of the bin Laden Kill”, here, which notes that “the history of misstatements from U.S. government officials about various combat operations raises questions about whether briefers also were subjecting us to a counterterrorism strategy and not just completely confused in their initial statements”.
Avner Cohen posted the link on Facebook, with this comment: “Does the Slippery Story of OBL killing matter? Yes, it does! Slipping the truth on this matter undermines the very credibility and the moral ground of the United States, the very raison d’etre of this act.”
For full transparency and disclosure, I’ll post below my own comments in participation and interaction on this thread:
Marian Houk: I agree completely with Avner’s reservations — which are more than reservations, they are objections. The “rule of law” is out the window, as it has been since Guantanamo naval base became a detention center for people, many of them apparently innocent, who were stripped of all rights. The argument that it would have been inconvenient or messy to put him on trial is specious and shameful. Israel captured Eichmann and put him on trial — and this is a far better model for what should have, and could have been done, in this case. The “fog of war” does not excuse the “slippery slope” behavior, especially coming from a group of people who watched the operation “in real time”. Some elaborate diplomatic concern for not publicly embarrassing Pakistan is a more likely justification for some of the misrepresentations. Sneering at the dead seems to be another.
Donald Nathan: This is an entirely different and far more complex series of issues
Donald Nathan: ?@ Marian. I respectfully disagree. Eichmann was captured 15 years after WWII was done. He had no forum in the dock, no audience to appeal to when facing charges. AQ operatives do, and had OBL been taken alive and tried with all the accords . of “Due Process” we give to citizens (why on God’s green earth would we do that?), he would have a bully pulpit to foment yet more violence across the planet from his “followers”. It made no sense under the circumstances to take him alive. Needless to say, it may be years before the truth of the matter winnows out; that is, we may not know if the order had been to take him dead rather than alive. I doubt I will live long enough to find out. But one way or the other, I’m pleased at his elimination and the pluck of Obama for having ordered and shepherded the mission.
Marian Houk: So, you are saying that giving anyone more rights is a justification to deny them completely? Better no trial than one in which the accused might speak? Because might he “spew hatred” or make a caIl for more “violence across the planet”? This is really advocating no law at all. The Nuremburg Tribunal, the Eichmann trial, dealt with the murders of millions of people, and with extremely complex issues. However imperfect they might have been, they were at least an attempt to conduct human affairs with some dignity and under law. What was done in Abbotabad — and what is still going on in Guantanamo Detention Center — is the antithesis of that.
Donald Nathan: Nuremburg went on after the conclusion of World War II. So too did the Eichmann trial. In fact, Eichmann was tried in 1962. There were no exigencies of war to dictate a need to abridge civil rights in those situations. With AQ, we are at war of some sort. It isn’t of the same sort we were at war with Germany, but it is a war. When at war, we do not accord enemy combatants the same rights we do after the war is done. It just doesn’t happen that way. With all respect, Marian, Hitler during World War II would not have been given Due Process in his hideaway. Not even Eva Braun would have been.
Marian Houk: Don’t know that you can say that, Donald. The “war” that Bush declared, which was on terror, is an open-ended and peculiar state of affairs. Obama, who changed the terminology for stylistic reasons, has called what he is pursing a “war on al-Qaeda”. But wars are for for something, and against something. Security and/or supremacy of lifestyles is not sufficient or satisfactory justification for tossing out important and often-vaunted principles of democracy, including Due Process — not even under the hypothetical of what would have happened with Hitler, or Eva Braun.
Donald Nathan: I expect there would be very few who might share your opinion among even the most progressive of us civil libertarians. War creates exigencies that demand extraordinary measures be taken. I don’t care who “declared” it, although the struggle was well under way long before the Bush years. As a former prosecutor, I regard myself as having been a Minister of Justice with a duty to see to it that rights of the accused are preserved scrupulously. But OBL was not just an “accused”. He had achieved the status of a monster, and the circumstances we now face are far more akin to warfare than they are to anything else. I expect you and I are never going to agree on this point although I do understand and respect your feelings.
Marian Houk: Declaring that a person has achieved “the status of a monster” and therefore has no rights is exactly how crimes such as committed in World War Two, or on 9/11, have happened.
Postscript: I am mildly surprised by the use of this as a tactic, but still not influenced by estimations that very few might share my opinions, even among “the most progressive” of “civil libertarians”…