At least that is what President Obama has announced. The narrative goes that US Special Forces attacked a compound in Abbottabad, in the far north of the country, less than half a mile from Pakistan’s military academy. Several people were killed and a helicopter was blown up after ‘technical failure’.
The bottom line is that Bin Laden was allegedly killed during the firefight and that ‘US forces took possession of Bin Laden’s body’. There then followed exactly the kind of media frenzy that sows confusion and question what they are being told, which is strange considering the US military were given the go signal to attack the compound as long ago as the day of the Royal Wedding and have had plenty of time to plan their media operation to ensure there was no confusion…
At 5:38am Reuters was reporting that a
US official says Bin Laden’s body is being handled according to Islamic practice and tradition
At 6:38am this morning CBS tweeted that:
“Aljazeera correspondent in Kabul says Osama Bin Laden’s body taken to Bagram base. Journalists could be called in to inspect it .”
At 7:52am US General Jack Keane told the BBC’s Today programme that it was
“appropriate” that Bin Laden was killed by US forces. “I’m glad we’re bringing a body back [to the US] as to opposed to him walking back.”
By 8:45am Associated Press in Washington was
‘quoting a US official as saying Osama Bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea.’
What is clear is that until there is an independent post mortem and we have independent corroboration of the information coming from the White House along with a more clear view of the body than the image below being retailed by Associated Press (a Photoshopped image), there will always be a suspicion that we are not being told the whole truth about what has apparently been done in our name.
This rapid story and swift conclusion before all the questions have been answered would be seen by many as just a bit too convenient for a struggling President. Previously many Democrats had been claiming President Bush would do exactly this, and roll out Bin Laden’s body just before an election campaign got into gear. How ironic that it has happened on Obama’s watch. EU Referendum makes a similar point about the paucity of hard evidence, as Dr Richard North surmises:
Nevertheless, in the absence of anything in the way of independently verifiable evidence, all we seem to have is an unsupported claim by a tarnished president. However, since US presidents never lie, and have never been mistaken about anything, we can safely believe everything we are told.