The Curious Case of Osama Bin Laden

There ya have it folks, Osama bin Laden is dead. The leader of al-Qaeda, the world’s most elusive boogeyman, was pumped full of lead. It wasn’t his kidney troubles, but a few Navy Seals. This all sounds grand, but let’s examine the situation critically.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former US Assistant Treasury Secretary, asks a few very valuable questions:

What are the chances that a person allegedly suffering from kidney disease and requiring dialysis and, in addition, afflicted with diabetes and low blood pressure, survived in mountain hideaways for a decade? If bin Laden was able to acquire dialysis equipment and medical care that his condition required, would not the shipment of dialysis equipment point to his location? 

Precisely. It is absolutely mind boggling that American intelligence did not consider this point. How could bin Laden survive in the mountains of Pakistan with all of this high-tech equipment? What about all of the other medical supplies that he needed? Last I checked, electricity and running water are not amenities that are often found in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Additionally, bin Laden has been rumored to have kidney disease since 2002. Logistically speaking,  years of dialysis would have required a tremendous amount of material and equipment to be shipped and moved about. How is it that this shipment route was never once discovered or, at the very least, interrupted by American or Pakistani intelligence agencies? No matter what way the question is answered, it warrants one of two possible responses: this demonstrates a horrendous failure on behalf of the Pakistani and American intelligence agencies, or inaction by the Pakistani and/or American intelligence agencies. 

The previous question can better be explained by asking a few more:  Was Osama really in the mountainous regions of Pakistan? — or has he been mostly in the urban areas of Pakistan, such as when he was killed in Abottabad? — or has he been moving throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, from the mountains to the cities? Unfortunately, this will probably never be known.

It is, however, very suspicious that bin Laden was able to live in a compound in a tourist hotspot in broad daylight. How is it that bin Laden, along with the 22 other people he lived with, were never recognized as being affiliated with him? Did Pakistani authorities not find it suspicious that this compound lacked telephone and internet access? Or that all trash was burned within the compound? What is most intriguing about the compound itself is its curious placement: a mere 1 kilometer away from the Pakistan Military Academy. Why would bin Laden be so bold as to build his compound near such an installment?

Furthermore, this whole operation came at a very interesting time. Relations between Pakistan and the US recently iced over in light of the Raymond Davis incident as well as Pakistan’s demands that US drone strikes cease immediately. Despite that, why didn’t the United States inform Pakistan of their operation? Would this have compromised the mission? Is the United States aware of Pakistani links with Osama bin Laden? 

Perhaps the strangest aspect of this whole event was the order to kill bin Laden. Why would such a valuable asset be killed? Is there a reason for this? Many analysts have already said that this will hardly affect al-Qaeda’s operations and will only fuel animosity towards the United States amongst terrorists. Was there something they didn’t want said? Could America’s past relationship with bin Laden have compromised all of America’s misguidedly named “War on Terror?” Even if he had not said a peep, his capture would have provided the United States with a tremendous amount of leverage. This is in desperate need of explanation.

Finally, there are many consistencies concerning post-death Osama. How was his death confirmed by DNA tests so quickly? DNA tests are not something that can be done in a matter of hours. They usually take days. Why was such a quick autopsy done on him? Shouldn’t his body had been scrutinized and closely examined? And alas, the “burial” of bin Laden. The justification that the Obama Administration has offered for promptly throwing bin Laden’s body in the North Arabian Sea is to prevent the establishment of a terrorist “shrine,” to prevent political difficulties of transferring his body to a host country, and to respect the Muslim tradition of a quick burial. Why would a corpse as important as this be quickly disposed of? Why has “following Muslim tradition” been given as a justification when burying a Muslim in the sea is seen a grotesque and heretical, according to some? And since when has the United States been so concerned about offending the religion of Islam, especially as they regularly kill its people, destroy their cities, and vandalize their mosques?

There are many questions that need to be answered. But now that the infamous bin Laden is dead, can we finally end the wars, bring our troops home, and get our civil liberties back? I can only hope, but I doubt it. 

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