Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Should've practiced that reach-for-the-sky move

The New Yorker has perhaps the most detailed report yet on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden:

A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Laden’s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. “There was never any question of detaining or capturing him--it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.) Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Laden’s life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye.
The remark by the SO officer might make this a jury issue -- does anyone train these guys in the law of war? -- but if OBL didn't make an overt attempt at surrender, I doubt there's a material violation here.


  1. I'd offer that it appears to be hearsay evidence at best due to the one being quoted in the article not being actually in the room at the time. Or at least that's my reading of the article (which was great). Of course I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me to be a kindasorta poor bet at best to find a jury that would convict the shooter in the USA.


  2. It would be a military court, I'd imagine, but still you are correct. I just wish that our officers displayed enough grasp of the laws of war to at least know not to run their mouths about planning to commit war crimes (at the most uncharitable interpretation of his remarks).