A major question lingers unanswered at the center of this story: Why was bin Laden killed? Michael Scherer has reported that the Navy Seals who landed at Osama bin Laden’s safehouse were not given orders specifically to kill, but were on a “kill or capture”mission. That implies they were prepared to accept bin Laden’s surrender. It didn’t work out that way. But despite earlier reports to the contrary, including from White House counter-terror adviser John Brennan, Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that bin Laden was in fact unarmed. (“Resistance does not require a firearm,” he said) So, what happened?
...What exactly was bin Laden doing in the moments before he was gunned down? Did he threaten the SEALs who confronted him, perhaps by reaching for a gun? Did he have an object that looked like a weapon but wasn’t? Or did someone have an overwhelming human impulse to dispatch perhaps the most hated man in America with a quick “double-tap.”
Was this, in other words, a combat death–or, in all practical terms, an execution? The White House needs to explain this in clear detail as soon as possible.
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