Is that your final answer?
I have to offer my congratulations. Obama had promised to go after bin Laden, and he got him. I'm happy to see that the president can put his money where his mouth is. But I'm still bothered by a few things. You see, the White House can't get its story straight. If this were a police investigation, we'd even suspect that it's hiding something.
What really happened?
Each day, we've heard a different answer to each of these questions:
Did the US violate Pakistani sovereignty — and international law — to get bin Laden? Did the commandos try to take him alive or just gun him down? Were bin Laden's people even armed? And why haven't we seen any photos of Osama, the dead terrorist?
The 9/11 story is ending with the same confusion with which it began. The conspiracy theorists are already coming out of the woodwork.
I'm inclined to believe the official story, but so many things we were told about the "global war on terror" were flat-out lies. The Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden: not true. Bin Laden was actually running Afghanistan: not true. Iraq had a connection to Al Qaeda: not true. Iraq refused to let in UN weapons inspectors: not true. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: not true. The Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories: not true.
The body of bin Laden, as we know, was quickly removed and disposed of — allegedly to conform with Muslim tradition. Why couldn't they have buried it at a military base instead?
There'd be far fewer questions if we had captured him alive. Think about it.
What about Nuremberg?
The Nuremberg trials gave the world truth and justice. If anyone questions how bad the Third Reich was, we can show them a film of Nazis admitting to their crimes. Take the opposite approach, like the Soviets did with Hitler's body, and closure never comes.
I've heard three official reasons why we haven't seen any bin Laden photos. The first is that the US is afraid of creating bin Laden cults. Interesting. When the US killed Saddam Hussein's sons, it showed the pictures to shocked Iraqis in order to prove that Uday and Qusay weren't going to lead them. And gruesome as the cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein's execution was, it proved the same thing.
The second is that it might be possible to identify the US commandos, thus putting them in danger. Please. All we need is a head shot.
The third is that Osama was shot in the eye. This makes more sense. But we see this sort of imagery in movies all the time; it wouldn't be that shocking.
So, as they say on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, "Is that your final answer?"
Seeing is believing
The White House is apparently deciding whether to release a photo. The decision rests with Barack Obama.
The president should know what to do. He's been the victim of enough conspiracy theories himself. Only last week, he released his long-form birth certificate, which left even the biggest conspiracy theorists — Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump — speechless.
All the shaky amateur videos of the Arab uprisings show that the world wants documented proof of anything its governments do. So whenever you're closing in on any bin Ladens, Aladdins, or bin liners, be sure to get those cameras rolling.