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Why US had no other option but to kill Osama

Last updated on: May 08, 2011 00:07 IST
On May 1, United States President Barack Obama announced at the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of United States military assets. The instrument of bin Laden's death was SEAL Team 6 or as they are known today by their counter-terrorism title, DEVGRU. The location, within the walls of bin Laden's compound located in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Coverage: US hunts down Osama bin Laden

Many around the world are struggling to wrap their minds around the stated fact and clear supporting evidence. The sloppy handling and mixed messages put out by the Obama administration's media mill lends credibility doubters screeching for the release of photos documenting bin Laden's grizzle visage in death. 

On the whole, the Pentagon press shop and leaders such as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen would have done the superior job handling the press and disseminating information on a straight line.  The Pentagon knows the nomenclature and the mission better than anyone. Yet, the success of the mission, made handling the press a White House show.  

What's chiefly showing at the White House is Spokesman Jay Carney's slip. The preponderance of evidence suggests the Navy SEAL based at Little Creek, Virginia were sent on a hit or kill mission; yet it was an unfortunate loss for the intelligence community that bin Laden's courier was also killed.  

Where to detain a captured bin Laden for interrogation if captured alive? The Central Intelligence Agency jails in foreign lands, mostly in Eastern Europe, were abandoned as soon as Obama took office. This decision forced increasing reliance upon rendition that reduced options as to where captured terrorists were temporarily housed for interrogation.

As the breezes of the Arab Spring still sweep Egypt, its former president Hosni Mubarak, once prolific rendition partner now fights for his life or lifestyle.  For his army and security forces that once participated in the programme, those leaders may eventually take their lumps for those decisions made under Mubarak. 

Today, with the army in charge, one more rendition, especially of an all too hot bin Laden, would be one too many.

Other rendition partners, although not consulted ahead of time by the US including Jordan, Uzbekistan, Morocco and Thailand, would all eventually feel the fallout as the place where bin Laden was first imprisoned and to whatever extent is allowable these, tortured.

The only options left for Obama for extending bin Laden's life were Camp Platinum, home for the high-value detainee, at Guantánamo Bay, commonly referred to as Gitmo. Closing Gitmo, not adding high-value detainees, is the political position taken up by Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder, on 22 January 2009.

The other choice remains Bagram Theater Internment Facility, a prison for battlefield detainees well inside the wire of Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. If the choice were Bagram to jail bin Laden, the news of such events would not be slow in reaching the Al Qaida remnants and the Taliban. Each could again target the base with more fervor including suicide bombings or gird up for a uprising with the possibility of delaying Obama's July date to begin the quitting of Afghanistan.

So the only workable option for Obama was to kill bin Laden. Fortunately, the SEALs saved his brain, the brain being his computers and stored computer discs. 

For those who say why not a cruise missile or airstrike instead of risking the lives of the US military? It was Osama's data and the ability to retrieve it that made the decision.

On Friday, word trickles out from Jihadist websites with the message they believe bin Laden to be dead and to keep faith in the Al Qaeda movement. For many US citizens and some of their elected leaders who argue that releasing the photos of bin Laden's death face will convince the world of his death. 

If Al Qaeda affiliates and followers believe their leader is dead, then what's the point? The outcome rested upon Obama's prior decisions leaving no desirable place suited to the long task of breaking a terrorist like bin Laden without the aid of enhanced interrogation techniques.   Hence, bin Laden was shot on sight, according to plan.