Monday, May 16, 2011

One Less Headache

It just occurred to me--if Osama Bin Laden had been captured rather than killed, it would have presented an odd problem for the Obama administration.  Not just the ones that everyone talks about, such as classified information being released at trial, terrorist incidents to free him, propaganda opportunities, etc.  No, this would be something weirder.

If we were holding him now, the Obama administration would be attempting to get information, but, presumably, would not use "enhanced interrogation techniques." I'm pretty certain most Americans would support such techniques, though.

So imagine the debate.  Obama, who captured Osama, would say we're getting plenty of useful intelligence.  His opponent would claim we've got to waterboard him.  I could almost imagine the election turning on the issue.


Blogger QueensGuy said...

Feh. "We are, of course, doing everything permitted by law to get the maximum amount of intelligence from this heinous criminal. I cannot discuss specific techniques that are, or are not, being used on this one prisoner, because doing so would only provide valuable recruiting propaganda to our enemies. Rest assured that -- just as we did in capturing him -- we are doing the best possible job in interrogating him. [insert talking point to bring the conversation back on message]"

The reasons I've heard from some folks why we shot first and asked questions later were (1) he'd be a PITA prisoner, not for the reason you mention so much as it'd encourage kidnapping of Americans with the idea of a prisoner swap; and (2) it was quite possible our folks would wind up captured by the Pakistanis, and we'd rather have him dead than in their custody.

6:13 AM, May 16, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's a bit more finality this way."

(NOTE on 9-11, while watching the towers fall on a conference room, someone, a RE professional int he room, who, to be charitable, I think was shocked and babbling and not thinking about the people inside, made that statement in the context of the NYC urban planning approvals that would have been necessary to tear those damaged buildings down)

7:56 AM, May 16, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Perhaps that's why the debate would get so weird. Obama would insist we're doing everything we can, and his opponent would demand to know if we're waterboarding him, and if not, why not?

By the way, I believe your point #1 is covered by "terrorist incidents to free him."

10:20 AM, May 16, 2011  

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