The Guardian reports:
Osama bin Laden’s daughter cradled the head of her wounded mother in the room where the al-Qaida leader had just been killed.
“I am Saudi,” she told Pakistani security officials shortly after US special forces had flown away with the terrorist’s bloodied body. “Osama bin Laden is my father.”
The 12-year-old had herself been injured by a piece of flying debris in her foot or ankle during the night-time raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan, but she was comforting her father’s fifth wife, Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, 29, who was shot in the calf by commandos as they closed in on Bin Laden.
The woman lay quietly, her head in the girl’s lap, though she seemed conscious, the officials told the Guardian. Across the room stood another woman, hands tied behind her back and mouth taped, aged around 30 and possibly Bin Laden’s doctor from Yemen.
Danny Schechter writes:
The tip on bin Laden’s whereabouts came in back in 2010. You have to assume the house was under surveillance. If they thought they “bagged him” they would be watching closely and choosing the right time to deep six the target (I actually wrote this lead paragraph sentence before reading this “Breaking News” from the Washington Post: “CIA had secret outpost in Abbottabad”).
“The CIA maintained a safe house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad for a small team of spies who conducted extensive surveillance over a period of months on the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special operations forces this week (US officials),” the newspaper reported.
Both Afghan agents and Pakistani intelligence now say they told the US about the house as early as 2009.
So, they knew he was there. That was a reason drones weren’t used.
The CIA wanted a more controlled high profile and dramatic intervention for public consumption, for what, in the end, was a marketing campaign – marketing the centrality of the agency’s role in a war whose main audience is not on the battlefield, but in the homeland.
They needed a heroic narrative to revive support for a war they have been losing, and a scalp to sell to a conflict-weary and disillusioned population. It is no surprise that the Seals labelled OBL “Geronimo”, reviving memories of fighting guerrilla-style Indian wars. Muslim renegades are apparently our new “savages”.
Tom Wright writes:
Consider the following scenario. A group of Irish republican terrorists carries out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the US, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this seems plausible enough.
But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we’ve still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.
What’s the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is subject to different rules to the rest of the world. By what right? Who says?
Consider another fictive scenario. Gangsters are preying on a small mid-western town. The sheriff and his deputies are spineless; law and order have failed. So the hero puts on a mask, acts “extra-legally”, performs the necessary redemptive violence and returns to ordinary life, earning the undying gratitude of the local townsfolk, sheriff included. This is the plot of a thousand movies, comic-book strips, and TV shows: Captain America, The Lone Ranger, and (upgraded to hi-tech) Superman. The masked hero saves the world.
Films and comics with this plot-line have been named as favourites by many presidents, as Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence pointed out in The Myth of the American Superhero and Captain America and the Crusade Against Evil. The main reason President Obama has been cheered to the echo across the US, even by his bitter opponents, is not simply the fully comprehensible sense of closure a decade after the horrible, wicked actions of September 11 2001. Underneath that, he has just enacted one of America’s most powerful myths.