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President Obama has decided not to release photos of dead Osama Bin Laden.
I can hear conspiracy theorist minds grinding away already.
Here is the President's reasoning:
"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” Obama said in a taped interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
“That’s not who we are,” the president said, according to quotes from the interview that White House press secretary Jay Carney relayed at the daily news briefing Wednesday. “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”
“We don’t need to spike the football, and I think that, given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk,” Obama said.
The president told “60 Minutes” that releasing the photos might lead to a backlash and would not dissuade conspiracy theorists.
I'm not sure I agree with the President. If anything will be used as a propaganda tool and an incitement to violence against us, it will be that we killed Bin Laden in the first place. I don't think the terrorist sympathizers need photographic proof as confirmation. Bin Laden's death ain't exactly a secret. In addition, while releasing the photos may not dissuade all conspiracy theorists, not releasing them will certainly add lots of fuel to the conspiracy fire. As for the gruesome nature of the photos, some gruesome photos of the attack on Bin Laden's compound have already come out. The Blog Of Mass Destruction has a link to them posted already. Here's another link to the photos. A couple of them are graphic, so be forewarned.
What will further fuel the conspiracy theorists is the fact that so many of the initial White House statements about the attack on Bin Laden's compound are turning out to be wrong. Here are some of the mistakes made by senior officials:
—White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told reporters Monday that bin Laden's son Khalid was killed in the raid. When the White House released a transcript of Brennan's briefing, it substituted the name of a different son, Hamza. The White House said that was a transcription error.
—Brennan said bin Laden's wife died while shielding the terrorist leader from U.S. gunfire. Carney said Tuesday that the wife hadn't died and was merely shot in the leg, although another woman did die. But it wasn't clear that either of them was trying to shield bin Laden.
—Brennan and other officials suggested that bin Laden was holding a gun and even firing at U.S. forces. Carney said Tuesday that bin Laden was unarmed.
—Officials have offered varying accounts of how President Barack Obama and his team in the White House Situation Room were able to monitor the raid. Without providing details on the technology involved, Brennan said that "we were able to monitor in a real-time basis the progress of the operation from its commencement to its time on target to the extraction of the remains and to then the egress off of the target."
CIA Director Leon Panetta told PBS on Tuesday that "Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn't know just exactly what was going on."
—The night of the raid, administration officials held a telephone briefing for reporters. "During the raid, we lost one helicopter due to mechanical failure," one of the administration officials said. Later in the same call, another official contradicted that: "We didn't say it was mechanical."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, clarified Tuesday that the explanation was more technical: The air temperature in the compound was hotter than expected and the helicopter was too heavy to stay aloft under that condition.
It's being reported extensively that Bin laden was unarmed, but here's what the Assocated Press said yesterday:
Several weapons were found in the room where the terror chief died, including AK-47 assault rifles and side arms, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they offered the most recent in a series of increasingly detailed and sometimes-shifting accounts of bin Laden's final minutes after a decade on the run.
Officials have said [Bin Laden] was unarmed but resisted when an unknown number of commandos burst into his room inside the high-security compound.
The officials who gave the latest details said a U.S. commando grabbed a woman who charged toward the SEALs inside the room. They said the raiders were concerned that she might be wearing a suicide vest.
If I was a Seal, I wouldn't wait until Bin Laden picked up one of those weapons and pointed it at me to shoot him either. It sounds like Bin Laden WAS armed, but he didn't have one of the weapons in his hands when the Seals burst into his room...unless you want to believe Bin Laden's daughter and/or Pakistani officials:
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.
Pakistani officials also said nobody at Bin Laden's compound fired at the U.S. forces, which is contradicted by several other sources.
I'm hearing some rumbling from the left about how the United States doesn't have the right to assassinate someone like Bin Laden, that they should have brought him to trial instead. You may or may not remember how left-wing icon Seymour Hersch smeared Seal Team Six, the ones who took out Bin Laden, calling them Dick Cheney's personal "assassination ring". Here's former left-wing apparatchik Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. Olby referred to operators like Seal Team Six as Bush and Cheney's "death squads":
Seal Team Six is part of the Joint Operations Command that Hersh and Olby were calling illegal and unconstitutional. Except now it's Barack Obama's personal assassination ring. And Democrats are ecstatic about it. They are all trumpeting Bin Laden's death as the most significant achievement in the war on terror....the same war on terror that Democrats vilified during the Bush years. Go figure. Ain't politics grand ?
Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder sure doesn't seem to believe anything illegal was done in getting Bin Laden:
The killing of Osama bin Laden was legally justified, and would have been even if the al-Qaida leader had made some sign that he wished to surrender, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.
"The operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful," Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "He was the head of al-Qaida, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September 11th. He admitted his involvement and he indicated that he would not be taken alive. The operation against bin Laden was justified as an act of national self defense."
Holder is right. I don't know what universe you have to inhabit to believe the United States isn't allowed to kill it's sworn enemies, such as Bin Laden and other terrorists who have carried out attacks against us and killed thousands of our citizens, but lots of left-wingers, such as Hersh and Olbermann, DO inhabit such a universe. Sorry, lefties, but you are out to lunch again. The War Powers Resolution, which was passed with bipartisan approval in 1973, gives the President the power to initiate military action under certain circumstances:
(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have carried out many attacks against the United States. If they aren't a threat to our citizens and our national security, I don't know who would be. Our federal laws give Obama the power to do exactly what he did to Bin Laden, an enemy who declared war against the United States on multiple occasions.