Bomb or raid Osama bin Laden compound? Obama makes the choice

Credit where credit is due. After years of intelligence gathering – that may have started with enhanced interrogation techniques at Gitmo – reports this morning indicate President Obama was provided with an option to bomb the suspected bin Ladin compound in Pakistan. Obama wanted – and we needed – proof of death.

Jake Tapper writes this morning…

Sources tell ABC News that in March President Obama authorized the development of a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound with two B2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on the compound.

But when the president heard the compound would be reduced to rubble he chose not to pursue that option. …

[I]nstead the president authorized this incredibly daring and difficult operation, scheduled for a time of “low loom” – little moon luminosity – so the US helicopters could enter into Pakistan low to the ground and undetected.

Gutsy move I would think, but we’ve already got commentators suggesting something does not smell right since the body has already been buried at sea even though DNA testing is not complete and we’re depending on intelligence and facial recognition.

The UK Guardian notes…

Although the swift burial complies with Islamic custom and should therefore avoid causing any offence in Muslim countries, the apparent haste could lead to claims that the person killed was not really Bin Laden – though the US authorities have taken DNA samples and appear to have no doubts.

I find the comments concerning Obama “getting the job done” while President Bush “failed” more than a bit disturbing. Those statements clearly imply the military and intelligence services were failing during the Bush administration. I won’t accept that garbage.

Again, props to the US Navy Seal Team and the pilots who were tasked with the mission to capture or kill bin Ladin and to the president who gave the order to proceed with the mission.


National Journal has a “timeline” piece giving some historical background concerning the lead-up to the raid. They also note…

The CIA developed its theory through leads from individuals in bin Laden’s inner circle and other captured fighters following September 11. Intelligence officials were repeatedly told about one courier working for bin Laden as someone that America’s most wanted man deeply trusted.

The detainees provided U.S. officials the courier’s nickname and identified him as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, once al-Qaida’s third-highest-ranking official. (He was captured in 2005.)

Pajamas Media notes…

Piece all that together. KSM was captured in Pakistan in 2003. Al Libbi was captured in 2005. Both, and many other captured al Qaeda terrorists, have been held at Gitmo for years, where they have been interrogated, queried, quizzed and waterboarded. And the information they all have dribbled out has been patiently pieced together over years, finally giving US intel a name and an operational picture that was actionable. If we had simply killed them with drone aircraft, or made the decision early on not to find out what they knew, the raid to get Osama bin Laden would never have happened.


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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. weregettinghosed on May 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    What must be pointed out, the intelligence gather came not under Obama’s watch but Bush’s; surely if left to this regime, no intelligence would ever be gathered; in fact, Obama has shut down such intelligence gather procedures, calling them cruel and unusual punishment. Of great interest, Obama has taken credit for the operation’s success based on intelligence gather under cruel and unusual punishment, perhaps he should have not used such, standing by his principles.? What we see clearly is a man raising his ego level to near bursting, the gain, not security but political rise, a campaign boost to beat all, and the amazing point being, not only his supporters were fooled [obviously] but many conservatives gave credit where no credit? was due. Your alert factor should be sending fair warnings, Obama puts out his birth certificate [while it be fake or naught] and then has Bin Laden taken out; surely a red flag goes up; my question is what next.

  2. sammy22 on May 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Great comments!

  3. the Chief on May 4, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Give credit to water-boarding.? In this case, more members of SEAL Team 6 experienced? water-boarding as part of their training (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape?- SERE School) than Al Queda prisoners we hold.? Its time we have some backbone in this country instead of bending over backward to over appease the left.?
    This week the Navy commissions the USS Michael Murphy in Bath, ME.? This ship is named after the SEAL officer who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for action in Afghanistan.? How fitting…..?? and God Bless all who will serve aboard her and our military.


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