The president's spokesman has finally confirmed that bin Laden had no weapon when he was killed and that he did not use his wife as a human shield, as initial accounts suggested. Indeed, the only armed resistance came early in the 38-minute mission, when bin Laden's courier -- the one whose name CIA interrogators obtained from enhanced interrogation -- fired on SEALs as they entered the compound's outer buildings.
So the president is perfectly willing to kill terrorists but not willing to waterboard them? It makes no sense.
Holder has already had to reverse himself on military tribunals for detainees and has admitted that Guantanamo will not likely be closed before 2013. It's seems that both decisions were influenced by the fact that Obama knew that bin Laden was within our grasp. Even Holder couldn't imagine putting bin Laden in a U.S. jail and trying him in criminal court.
Obama has taken much of the credit for making the decision to go after bin Laden and to risk American lives in taking him on the ground: "(L)ast August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice."
It was the right decision -- but the president should reward all those who made it possible, including those initial CIA interrogators. It's time for the administration to admit its error and drop the investigation of the intelligence professionals whose work ended in bin Laden's death.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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