By now you've heard the news. Bin Laden's plans to change careers to become a stage magician came to an abrupt end when he screwed up the bullet catching trick. Perhaps his choice of magician's assistant, US Navy Seals, wasn't the most prudent.
They found the compound by following a courier that brought news in and out of the compound. There were no electronic communications systems in the compound: no telephones, no internet. I have to wonder if this was because they were worried about their communications being intercepted or if this was because they were being true to their faith. The Taliban had banned TV's in Afghanistan because they thought that the radio waves would interfere with the passage of prayers to Allah. The same could be said about telephone and internet.
The compound was well inside Pakistan, not in the area just inside the border. It was in the middle of the city Abbottabad, not in a remote mountain compound. Typical religious leader. Everyone has to live in poverty and squalor except for me.
The SEALs came in by helicopter. It stalled, but they did manage to land it inside the walls of the compound. It wasn't going to lift off without repairs so they planted bombs on it and blew it up to make sure nobody else could use it either. The last thing anyone wants is AlQaeda to become an air power. Another helicopter came to get the SEALs back out.
Bin Laden had given his people orders to kill him if they were ever raided. He didn't want to be captured or killed by "the west". This didn't happen. "The west" shot him in the face.
Bin Laden was buried at sea 12 hours later. This is significantly kinder than how the Russians deal with terrorists who self-identify as Muslim. The Russians smash their balls between bricks, wrap them in pig skin, and bury them face down. This ensures that, according to their own beliefs, they're not getting into heaven. But one could argue that by showing kindness and treating prisoners and the dead respectfully we're showing that surrender doesn't mean torture and abuse. At least, not anymore. Not for those who aren't already at Guantanamo.
I'm not sure I like the burial at sea bit. It may have been a quick burial to honor Muslim burial practices. It may have been to ensure that there'd be no "heroic" raids on the place where the body was put to rest in an attempt to recover it. Many will claim it's because something is being hidden. Maybe we're only claiming to have him. Maybe he's alive and captive and we're only claiming he's dead. Maybe we had to kill him because he knew something.
It might have been nice to put him on trial. It'd be a way to publicly list the charges against him and for him to be loud and arrogant in front of the cameras. It could have humiliated him and make the leader of his corrupt little Muslim sub-sect appear human to his followers. But there would have been rescue attempts. Our best security would be a prison aircraft that never landed.
On the other hand, like with Hitler, no trial means there's never any serious public debate about the facts. Being dead with no trial means pretty much everything said about him will stick. All except with the inevitable Bin Laden deniers.
Once the inevitable revenge killings are over my hope is that AlQaeda will go the way of the megachurches in the United States. For all that the megachurches have they're really a cult of personality. Once the preacher retires or dies the whole thing falls apart. The congregation leaves. They're usually filing for bankruptcy after a year or two. I'm thinking that Bin Laden was that kind of leader. He WAS AlQaeda. Some will leave. Some will split into other, smaller terrorist groups. A new terrorist organization may expand to be the new great threat. But AlQaeda will survive as a small, neighborhood, mom and pop terrorist organization.
So long Osama. The SEALs didn't miss you and neither will we.