5 years ago
From The Guardian.
The AP reported that the Americans found “barriers” at each stair landing of the three-storey building, encountered fire once and killed three men and one woman. The account did not specify how many of the dead were armed.
After 15 minutes the Seals, passing huddles of frightened children, reached the top floor where they found Bin Laden at the end of the hallway. They said they recognised him “immediately”. Bin Laden ducked into a room, followed quickly by three Seals.
The first soldier pushed aside two women who tried to protect Bin Laden, apparently fearing they were wearing suicide vests, while the second opened fire on the al-Qaida leader, hitting him in the head and chest.
Moments later, as the Americans photographed his body, they found an AK-47 rifle and a Makarov pistol on a shelf beside the door they had just entered. Bin Laden had not touched the weapons, according to the AP account.
That settles it. Their mission was to kill OBL. I’m okay with that. Actually, there is a little more to the story than that. The CJCS Standing ROE and the Iraq- and Afghanistan-specific allows specific targeting of designated terrorist groups and declared enemy combatants. But this gets muddled, and a prime example of this is when Moqtada al-Sadr was removed from that list. Members of the Mahdi militia in Iraq could then no longer be targeted, and had to be treated as insurgents in the balance of Iraq, and captured if possible.
Members of the Taliban are like that. But more to the point, because of the detailed intelligence surrounding the killing of OBL, the executive order and the fact that OBL was previously designated as a target, it was an easy decision for the SEALs.
Fast forward to the Helmand Province today. In Marjah, 71% of the interviewees in one recent poll said that OBL’s death was a bad thing. And regarding OBL’s death, the Marines are saying the following.
“We’re still here in Afghanistan, Sangin is still very hostile, especially where we’re at here, the enemy is still going to fight us, and we have to maintain our composure — not get complacent. Just because we took out the head honcho doesn’t mean these guys are gonna throw up their arms and be done with it.”
“There’s still a lot of work that needs to get done here. It’s a huge step in the right direction … but we still need to finish our mission. …”
“There’s always gonna be insurgency, it’s never gonna end. … This fight’s definitely gonna be a hard one to win, but I don’t think it’s impossible.”
“What happens tomorrow? We’re gonna just do the same thing. We’re gonna wake up and keep doing what we’re doing every single day until we’re out of here. Because we’ve got a job here. We’ve got a mission to complete. And that’s what we’re gonna do.”
“I think that everyone’s gonna be real happy about the fact that it’s one bad man that can’t hurt anybody else, but … It’s one more day. … It didn’t end the war for us. … I think everybody’s just gotta stay focused on what they’re doing.”
The war continues. And there continues to be a double standard concerning rules of engagement.
Prior: Bin Laden: Mission Kill!