Bin Laden Wanted: Dead or Dead

I was a bit startled to see the headlineIf bin Laden is found, he’ll be killed, Holder says” appearing at the Washington Post (via Memeorandum). It appears to be sensationalistic, however:

Osama bin Laden “will never appear in an American courtroom,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told House members at a hearing Tuesday.  “Let’s deal with the reality here,” Holder said in response to questions from Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.). “The reality is, we will be reading Miranda rights to a corpse.”

Members of an Appropriations subcommittee pressed Holder about the Justice Department’s response to the failed Christmas Day bombing plot and the abortive decision to try in Lower Manhattan the alleged masterminds of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

He grew most heated, however, amid GOP attacks over the hypothetical capture of bin Laden. No law enforcement response would be necessary, he said, because “he will be killed by us or by his own people.”

It seems to me that Holder is merely making a prediction, not stating the public policy of the Obama administration.  That is, we presume that Osama would rather be a martyr than be taken prisoner.   Further, we presume that Osama’s cronies have the same preference.

Conversely, while I’m sure the members of the special forces or intelligence team with the opportunity to shoot or capture Osama would very much enjoy pulling the trigger, that they’d much rather have the intelligence and propaganda value of dragging the Big Cheese in.

UPDATE (Dave Schuler): I have corrected a typographical error in the final sentence.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Oops.  I actually made the Obama/Osama typo twice in the post and caught the first instance.  Nothing nefarious intended:  While I typed “Osama” very frequently in the early years of the blog, I now type “Obama” several times and day, so my brain’s just rewired to do it automatically.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Terrorism, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    Looks like you accidentally flew your true colors in that last sentence.




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  2. Richard Gardner says:

    Bin Laden captured alive would be a major threat to our troops as his followers would capture hostages to trade.

    Better off dead.




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  3. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Having been a longtime follower of OTB, I know that its just a typo…but a pretty major one.

    Conversely, while I’m sure the members of the special forces or intelligence team with the opportunity to shoot or capture Obama Osama would very much enjoy pulling the trigger, that they’d much rather have the intelligence and propaganda value of dragging the Big Cheese in.

    There you go.




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  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Since Osama Bin Laden is probably already dead, it’s a pretty fair prediction.




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  5. Triumph says:

    Nothing nefarious intended: While I typed “Osama” very frequently in the early years of the blog, I now type “Obama” several times and day, so my brain’s just rewired to do it automatically.

    It’s ok since there is no difference between the two.




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  6. Apparently, there are no mistakes, only veiled intentions.




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  7. An Interested Party says:

    Apparently, there are no mistakes, only veiled intentions.

    Who knew we were talking about Iraq…




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