Bin Laden’s Last Seconds

Posted by By at 4 May, at 13 : 36 PM Print

Osama bin Laden did not have a gun in his hands when American forces shot and killed him.

Details of his death do not match the pictures or video’s we have all grown accustomed to seeing; the world’s leading terrorist liked to be photographed with an assault rifle in clear view.

Through his demonic speak, he often intoned, at least the best that I could tell, that U.S. forces would never take him alive. His wish came true.

Perhaps it was those images, or misspoken words from the White House, hours after the raid in Abbottabad that led us to believe bin Laden fired on American forces, and that has brewed a mini-firestorm, because as we now know, he was not armed. Bin Laden also did not use a woman to shield him.

We have grown to expect instant, verifiable information, and, unlike crime shows on TV, the real world is not such a perfect science. Now the searing questions about whether American forces could have taken bin Laden alive, but instead killed him.

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to see it all go down.

I don’t care how much technology we have developed, how many satellite photos were obtained, there is no way that team of Navy SEALs could see or know everything about life inside that house, or plan for every twist and turn. The raid began during the night, and night vision goggles don’t replace sunlight. According to the White House, from the time commandos blasted through the door, and or windows, (details still emerging) they came under heavy fire.

U.S. forces could not know for certain how many people were inside, if the house was rigged with dynamite, or if bin Laden strapped an explosive device to his body. This much we know, when they confronted bin Laden in an upstairs room, at least two shots were fired; one found its way to his head, the other to his chest.

CIA Director Leon Panetta on the “PBS NewsHour” said bin Laden did not sit still he “made some threatening moves” that represented a clear threat to our guys.”

In my mind, if American forces had that feeling for even one-tenth of one second that bin Laden could kill them or escape, they were justified in taking deadly force. On the other hand, If bin Laden held the gun, do you think he would have given even that much thought before killing an American.

In the rush to keep up with a 24 hour news cycle, the White House like so many other agencies and departments erred in accurately disseminating the facts the first time around. My hunch is there’s nothing sinister, nothing political, it was mixed up details set around a clock that never stops.

And to think that some people want to armchair quarterback what action the Navy Seals took in mere seconds.


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Eric is a national award winning storyteller. Eric’s work is credited with changing laws, saving lives, and in one instance, saving taxpayers about $2,000,000.00. Mr. Zager’s career in journalism is ripped from the pages of an adventure novel. Upon graduating from the esteemed Newhouse School of Public Communications, he headed north, about as far as one can travel and still stand in the Continental U.S. The call of journalism not a penchant to play with Polar Bears brought Zager to the ‘Last Frontier-Juneau, Alaska. Over the course of Zager’s more than 20 years in journalism, he has covered the political side of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, dodged horse manure on the backside of Churchill Downs, and has uncovered numerous scams and scam artists. Eric is constantly in search of a meaningful story to tell. - Email Eric Zager

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