Should We Trust the Obama Administration’s Account of Bin Laden’s Death?

May 9, 2011  |  

Since last week when Obama announced that the world’s public enemy number one had been killed, close friends and family have been asking me all sorts of questions about the mission.

They know I read a lot, and subsequently post a lot of what I read on various social networking sites. They also know that I usually have an opinion about things. However, I have been hesitant about discussing the matter too much out of sheer exhaustion of having fruitless debates with folks, which will not change the outcome that Bin Laden is literally swimming with the fishes.  But I do tell them that while I believe he is dead, I do have questions about the official story.  Of course, the usual response that follows is a smirk and another question,  “But why would they [the Obama Administration] lie?”

I don’t know why or if they did.  But I do know that the official story has inconsistencies big enough to drive a truck through. For instance, the first official report was that Osama lived in a multi-million dollar mansion with no electricity, Internet or telephone. There was a firefight and Osama went down in a blaze of glory. Not only did he hide behind a woman, but he used her as a human shield, causing her death also.

But after that was debunked, the second version went something like this: Osama lived in a relatively expensive house and he might have had electricity. There was a firefight, but Osama wasn’t armed. However, he did resist capture. The lady in question wasn’t actually killed; she was injured when a stray bullet hit her in the leg.

There is no visible proof of either story other than the words of our administration, which seems to change stream every time a new hole is punched. The quick sea burial, the decision to kill probably one of the biggest sources of intelligence in the war on terror and the 20-25 minute gap in the video stream during which Obama and his staff missed important parts of the operation, all linger as unanswered questions. Yet print and TV media outlets have only seemed to embrace these talking points without critical analysis.

But I, and others like me, can’t risk disparaging the official story without being called extremist nutcases. Why?

Well, thanks to the turn of events only days before the “We Got Him” speech, Obama was in a position to banish any and all criticisms placed upon him.  One of the greatest moves of his political campaign was to release the birth certificate, thwarting not only the ongoing speculation about his citizenship, but also setting the stage for the world to laugh and mock those who did not believe the president. Just a week later, many of the same folks who once joined the merciless ridicule of the Birthers now find themselves wearing a label of their own – the Deathers.

Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist whose Army specialist son was killed in Iraq, is one of those folks who cannot shake off the Deather label. In a piece called “I’m Not the Deather,” she writes, ” I guess this slur is a riff on the ‘Birther’ movement that claims that the current POTUS was not born in the US and therefore is not qualified to be in office—I think the Birther movement is a ruse and distraction from the real issues, as is OBL’s latest death is.”

I believe that one of the major issues is that for a long time, the government and the mass media have intentionally been misleading the public for various purposes, including war. Bush claimed that Saddam had WMD while Colin Powell sold the war on claims of yellow cake—neither of which was true. Due to his refusal to release any evidence that Osama is dead, President Obama is not only allowing a great story to amplify into a shroud of mystery, but he is also missing an opportunity to restore a measure of believability and trust in the government, which was lost over the last decade.

The Obama Administration is standing firm by their decision not to release pictures or any other evidence to support their claims. This decision appears to sit well with a vast majority of people, including a number of democrats who have used terms like “unpatriotic” and Bin Laden “sympathizers” to describe so-called Deathers. Sound familiar? It’s the same rhetoric that was vocalized by the republicans under the Bush regime.

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

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