Why was Osama killed instead of being captured? It doesn’t make sense

Osama was on the top of the 10 most wanted list. Wanted dead or alive — preferably alive.

US prefers to capture wanted criminals alive — if required via the extraordinary rendition — treat them as enemy combatants, interrogate, try and convict them. For e.g., US pulled Saddam Hussein from the hole he was hiding, interrogated him and then hanged him. We all saw pictures of a dazed and confused Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — mastermind of 9/11 — being flushed out late at night from a house in Pakistan in 2003 after a pitched gun battle. He is in prison awaiting sentencing.

There have been reports that the Seals came face to face with Osama, that he was not armed, that he did not put up resistance and yet they shot him in the head. If true, this doesn’t make sense. The marching orders for the Seals would have been to capture Osama live and kill him only as a last resort. The Seals would have had weapons at their disposal which would stun the enemy — even a rubber bullet might do — and take the prisoner alive.

So, based on the above, common sense would dictate only 2 possibilities:
1) Osama would have certainly woken up — or his guards would have woken him up — from the noise of the exploding windows and fire returned by his guards. He would have certainly realized the fate that shortly awaited him; he definitely would not like to be captured alive and get the Saddam Hussein or Khalid Sheikh treatment. Osama would have had enough time to go grab a gun and shoot himself once he knew that his enemies were at his front door. It is natural that the US would claim that they shot and killed Osama. For all practical purposes, they did.


2) If — and a big if — Osama was unarmed and didn’t put up resistance, Seals would have stunned Osama with Taser or equivalent and taken him out alive onto the chopper and then to some aircraft carrier equipped with a dialysis machine! Once they verified beyond doubt that they had Osama, they would have done a dummy burial at sea. I wouldn’t be surprised if Osama is being interrogated as we speak. The reason for doing this would be to avoid the never-ending media glare if they reported that Osama was captured alive. This way, the story will die out in a month or so though it may make a brief appearance courtesy of a Hollywood movie. Also, there may be attacks aimed at freeing him. Remember that India had to release a prisoner to secure the release of the passengers whose plane was hijacked to Kandhahar in 1999? And that prisoner was later involved in Daniel Pearl’s murder. If Seals had indeed shot and killed Osama, why would the US authorities not show his body to some embedded reporters in the aircraft carrier or to trusted reporters like Christian Amanpour?

I don’t believe that Osama would allow himself to be captured alive. I also don’t believe that the Seals would miss an opportunity to capture Osama alive if that was possible. Where is Oliver Stone?

About Babu Srinivasan

My interests are in computer security, cryptography, functional programming and general aviation. I occasionally write articles on these and other topics in my blog.

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