Guest Post: No, Bin Laden’s Death Does NOT Justify Torture

Washington’s Blog

There’s a new meme widely circulating today claiming that torture was okay after all, because it helped us locate and kill Bin Laden. See this, this, this and this.

As ABC News notes:

The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.

“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.

But as ABC notes in the next paragraph:

Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

Reuters points out:

But the possibility that detainees who at some point were subjected to physical coercion later gave up information leading to bin Laden’s discovery is sparking discussion among intelligence experts as to whether he could have been found without them.

“It will reignite a debate that hasn’t gone away about the morality and ethicacy of certain techniques,” said Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In reality, top interrogation experts (both conservative and liberal) agree that torture is an ineffective interrogation method which leads to false, unusable information:

Moreover, the type of torture used since 9/11 was a special type of torture specifically aimed at creating false confessions:

And see this.

Moreover, as I noted yesterday, we didn’t need to torture anyone to catch Bin Laden:

According to the U.S. Senate – Bin Laden was “within the grasp” of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in December 2001, but that then-secretary of defense Rumsfeld refused to provide the soldiers necessary to capture him.

This is not news: it was disclosed in 2005 by the CIA field commander for the area in Afghanistan where Bin Laden was holed up.

In addition, French soldiers allegedly say that they easily could have captured or killed Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but that the American commanders stopped them.


A retired Colonel and Fox News military analyst said that the U.S. could have killed Bin Laden in 2007, but didn’t:

We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 [Note: this is the exact same team that is credited with killing Bin Laden yesterday] — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it ….Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

Indeed, a United States Congressman claims that the Bush administration intentionally let Bin Laden escape in order to justify the Iraq war.

Moreover, as I’ve previously noted, capturing Bin Laden and taking down Al Qaeda was never the real priority:

American historian, investigative journalist and policy analyst Gareth Porter writes in the Asia Times:

Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

Feith’s book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing “new regimes” in a series of states


General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign in the Kosovo war, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia [and Lebanon].


When this writer asked Feith . . . which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, “All of them.” [Note: Clark subsequently confirmed this in a videotaped public speech]


The Defense Department guidance document made it clear that US military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties to terrorism. The document said the Defense Department would also seek to isolate and weaken those states and to “disrupt, damage or destroy” their military capacities – not necessarily limited to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Indeed, the goal seems to have more to do with being a superpower (i.e. an empire) than stopping terrorism.

As Porter writes:


A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.

If we had really wanted to get Bin Laden, we would have gotten him in 2001 (indeed, the Taliban offered to turn him over), or 2007.

But we had “more important” things to do. Specifically, U.S. foreign policy was focused on regime change in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, and in strategic interests not directly related to terrorism.

Postscript: Experts say that torture is unnecessary even to prevent “ticking time bombs” from exploding (see this, this and this). Indeed, a top expert says that torture would fail in a real ‘ticking time-bomb’ situation.

And, yes … waterboarding is torture:

  • Everyone claiming waterboarding is not torture has changed their tune as soon as they were exposed to even a small dose of it themselves. See this, this and this

But it wasn’t just waterboarding:

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. nonclassical

    ..coming soon to an American town near us all=rationale for
    torture ala September 11, 1973=torture of American citizens..

    real question might be whether U.S. is now military dictatorship?=”Shock Doctrine”, “Killing Hope”…as per neocon plan=”Project For A New American Century”…

    or is there any possibility Obama-military-industrial complex will now “change” course with world leader assassinations-renditions-torture?…

    is there any possibility defense budget will now be cut, thereby preserving Social Security + Medicare?…

    is there any possibility state and union employees (teachers, firemen, police, et al) will stop being scapegoated for economic destruction we all know they had nothing to do with?…

    perhaps the answers need to be “tortured” out of our government?…

  2. Muslim Sea Burial

    Voluminous post. It falls on deaf ears though, they’ll start the next war without the folks approval too. A bombin’ and a killin’ and a profit takin. Woo Weee!

  3. Nun

    There are 2 separate issues here. One is that, no, torture is not justified.

    The other is that you cannot claim Obama would have accomplished this today without that torture evidence. The US would still be directing resources to making the hunt a top priority.

    You are blending the 2 issues in your argument.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      Some speculate that the real tip that made it possible to get bin Laden came from inside the pakistani military/government. So the assumption that torture actually helped finding bin Laden may or may not be true.
      Just because some unnamed intelligence official who ordered or performed the torture now claim that it helped doesn’t necessarily make it so.
      It may just be spin to justify their work – even though there is no justification for it.

  4. Maju

    Regardless of the issue of torture, on which I totally agree, the real question is has anybody seen the corpse?

    The story we are being told is so unbelievable that I’m flippant that we are being told that at all (do not Obama and co. have any shame, self-respect, dignity?) but also that almost everyone else is accepting the claim at face value without even asking for any proof.

    It seems to me an exercise of testing the blind loyalty of the media (“hop!”) and the stupidity (pardon me) of the public. Parts of the public are not that stupid and have begun making questions – but nobody will answer them as long as the corporate media doesn’t ask.

    Next time they’ll say “flying pigs!” and we’ll see the “respectable” media all parroting the story about flying pigs, of course.

    1. Glenn Condell

      My sentiments exactly. Why in God’s name would anyone with half a brain believe anything told them officially by the US? What, have they started telling the truth all of a sudden?

      I would need the body and a DNA analysis of the blood compared to DNA taken from extant relatives and signed by experts appointed by the UN, none of whom would come from the US or Israel. Those appointed would need protection from the intel services of these vetoed nations, so that they could converse and deliberate privately, and be free of the intinidatory standover tactics so popular in the halls of imperium. Not to mention the David Kelly option. (Oh come on, of course they killed him)

      From finance to foreign policy, from health care to law and order, from climate change to terror threats, you name it, you simply cannot believe anything American officials or media tell you. Truth is for suckers; lying and scheming for elite interests is the default position. You can’t beat ’em, in fact you can only get ahead by joining ’em. Was it John Mack who said that while the music is playing you gotta keep dancing? Same diff – while it pays dividends to lie, you can expect lies.

      Hey, it might well be OBL but you would not bet your house on it because ‘officails say’ the DNA is his, would you?

    2. Name (required)

      Oh, cummon. Are you seriously suggesting the US high-up would run a fake “We killed bin Laden,” campaign when all the aforesaid OBL would need to do is to pop up in a videotape holding up a copy of the New York Times announcing his death, and laughing at it? Talk about egg-on-face.

      Of course, if OBL anticipated this and lined up a good look-alike to do that very thing, the fact that the US no longer has a body to produce could be very, very embarrassing.

      1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

        Bin Laden may have been dead already. If rumours are true he died December 13, 2001 (though other dates are given by some). The US knew about it but kept it secret to be able to continue their Global War on Terror.
        They may have decided that it was the right time to ditch bin Laden.
        The can come up with all the stories, pictures, witnesses they want, but knowing their history of lying those should be considered with care.

        1. JB

          Exactly. He died long ago, but his image was useful to Bush, and now having a dead Bin Laden helps Obama’s reelection!

      2. attempter

        Are you seriously suggesting the “buried at sea” notion makes any sense at all? That would be a serious blow to your credibility as having any common sense at all.

        One or both of two things have to be true here:

        1. Osama was not in fact killed in the time and/or manner which is being claimed; and/or

        2. The government wants conspiracy theories to proliferate all over the world. There’s no way they’re so stupid that they don’t know that will be the result of this bizarre disposal of the body without first publicly displaying it.

        1. DownSouth

          attempter said: “Are you seriously suggesting the ‘buried at sea’ notion makes any sense at all?”

          That’s my take—-the “buried at sea” notion makes no sense at all. It falls way short of passing the smell test. Any theory that is worth its salt—-that is for those in search of factual reality—-must explain all the facts, not just part of them.

          I tend to agree with the theory that Adam Curtis puts forward in The Power of Nightmares that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were nothing but exercises in mythmaking from the very beginning. I rank them right up there with other fictions like Biblical mythology, Classical Economic Theory and the American national myth.

          Nietzsche realized how adverse human beings are to factual reality. “But man has survived with his fictitious world,” George A. Morgan writes of Nietzsche’s philosophy in What Nietzsche Means,

          does that not prove it true? Not at all in Nietzsche’s opinion. Man, indeed, has been an incorrigible pragmatist, like other animals, ever maintaining the truth of those beliefs which seemed to help him live. Because of the age-long selective process, surviving modes of interpretation probably do stand in some favorable relation to real conditions—-just favorable enough for survival. “We are ‘knowing’ to the extent that we can satisfy our needs.” That truth is always best for life, however, is a moral prejudice. Falsification has been shown to be essential; truth is often ruinous, and sheer illusion helpful, as experience testifies.

          The evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson explores this theme in far greater depth in Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives. There is factual reality, the world as it is, and then there is practical reality, the world that man imagines it to be. As Wilson explains:

          In the past, religion has baffled the scientific imagination because it appears to so irrational. How can anyone entertain such outlandish beliefs for which there is no tangible proof whatsoever? These questions assume that rational thought and tangible proof are appropriately gold standards for judging religion, but why should this be so? From an evolutionary perspective, there is only one gold standard for judging religious thought—-what does it cause people to do? Once we employ the right gold standard, it becomes obvious that rational thought is capable of producing successful behaviors only under some conditions and that departing from rational thought can be highly successful under other conditions.

          The acid test for practical reality, therefore, is not whether it departs from factual reality, but whether it successfully “reduces the complexity of the real world to motivate a suite of behaviors that are adaptive in the real world.”

          So if “we think about our lives” like Nietzsche and Wilson do, the appropriate question concerning the Bin Laden and Al Qaeda myths is: Do they motivate behaviors that are adaptive in the real world?

          1. Dave of Maryland

            Did anyone see the headline picture over at Talking Heads Memo, that had the prez, the sec. of state, the entire Washington cabal, hunched over a TV set, watching the raid go down, LIVE – ?

            Hey, hey, what’s the difference between the Roman Republic & the American Dictatorship?

            In Rome, public enemies were dragged into a big stadium & ripped to death in front of cheering thousands. That’s a Republic!

            In America, that joy is restricted to the Big Cheese himself. The rest of us are denied that pleasure.

            The one small, crucial detail we don’t have is if Obama gave an explicit Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. If it was me, and Enemy No. 1 was rubbed out without my final say-so, I’d not be pleased.

            So, from the get-go, this was shoot-’em-first-ID-the-body-later operation. And so now imagine you’re the guy who has to do the ID-ing.

            You’re going to tell the Prez that he shot an innocent man? What distant planet do you come from? OF COURSE you’re going to tell him it’s Osama!!! Any other possibility will end your career on the spot & maybe get you charged with Murder 1. So what body part do you suppose they removed to test? A finger? An ear? A penis? Where do you suppose that will end up? Not the bottom of the ocean!

            Then of course dispose of the rest of the body quickly, so that All Sales Are Final.

            Given that America & Intelligence are alien to each other, given that American intelligence has time & again blown up wedding parties, arrested & tortured the wrong people (Bagram, Gitmo, anyone), given that the Pakistani ISI has repeatedly played us as suckers, there is virtually zero chance the man we murdered was Bin Laden. Even if he was still alive as of three days ago.

            If Bin Laden died years ago & if his death was kept a secret, there is now nothing stopping his friends from taking us to his actual grave. But that won’t be reported in America.

            By the way. “Amer” is the French word for bitter. I feel very bitter just now.

          2. DownSouth


            Since I ended my last comment with a question, perhaps I should attempt to answer it?

            The Bin Laden and Al Qaeda mythologies are grand performances designed to elicit “us-versus-them” behavior. The theater began with Bush. Obama has continued the grand drama. As Curtis theorizes, the purpose is to manipulate people’s innate emotions in order to gain and maintain political power.

            Other contemporary examples of pushing the “us-versus-them’ button for personal gain include:

            • As Martin Luther King explained in his keynote address for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957: “It is unfortunate, indeed, that at this time the leadership of the white South stems from the closed-minded reactionaries. These persons gain prominence and power by the dissemination of false ideas, and by deliberately appealing to the deepest hate responses within the human mind.”

            • The Southern Strategy of the Republican Party.

            • The attempt in the social security debate to pit young people against old people.

            • The attempt to pit public sector workers against private sector workers.

            As David Sloan Wilson explains in Evolution for Everyone:

            The average person is a facultative sociopath. We might not be fated by our genes to engage in violent conflict, but we are most certainly prepared by them. I do not wish for a moment to downplay the role of violent conflict in human genetic and cultural evolution. In addition to a rich archeological, anthropological, and historical record of murder and mayhem, there is ample psychological evidence that we are hardwired to distinguish between “us” and “them” and to behave inhumanely toward “them” at the slightest provocation, as science journalist David Berreby recounts in his book ‘Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind’. Much of this research was initiated in the aftermath of World War II to explain how decent people could have participated in the Holocaust. Henri Tajfel, a Holocaust survivor, discovered that he could trigger us-versus-them thinking merely by assigning people to arbitrary groups. In what has become known as the Robbers’ Cave experiment, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif and his colleagues showed that well-bred American boys at a summer camp could be easily set against each other by housing them in separate cabins and reunited just as easily by giving them a common task. Contemporary books such as ‘Among the Thugs’ by Bill Buford and ‘War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning’ by Chris Hedges describe violent conflict as instinctively pleasurable, like a sexual experience. In earlier chapters I described some adaptations as like elaborate “war plans,” ready to be implemented at a moment’s notice. The war plan metaphor includes not only metabolic strategies triggered early in development, as described in Chapter 8, but real war plans, triggered all too easily whenever they appear warranted. My dictionary defines a sociopath as “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior.” An ounce of evolutionary thinking makes it obvious that “extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior” do not necessarily reflect a personality trait or a disorder, but may be an evolved tendency that can be expressed by anyone in the grip of us-versus-them thinking. If we want to avoid this kind of facultative sociopathy, we need to avoid pushing the wrong psychological buttons…

            It’s important to realize that Bush and Obama intentionally “push the wrong psychological buttons” in order to induce “this kind of facultative socipathy.” As Wilson goes on to explain:

            How many times have you heard the conjecture that worldwide cooperation can be achieved only in the face of an invasion by aliens from outer space?…

            Another version of the evil alien argument is to portray one’s adversaries on earth as evil, such as the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” or Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an “axis of evil.” These two examples happen to involve American presidents belonging to the Republican Party, but I am not singling out any administration, part, or nation. This kind of language is designed to bring out the facultative sociopath in all of us by dehumanizing our adversaries. Our political leaders are cautious about pushing the fabled red button that is supposed to initiate a nuclear strike, but they bang away at our psychological buttons all the time. In personal interactions, we avoid people who act impulsively and cannot keep their emotions under control. We value people who remain cool, calm, and collected in tense situations. A nation should be held to the same standards.

          3. attempter

            Taking this psychological truth (that people on the whole don’t care about intellectual truth but about what works for them in practice) and using it to gull people into mythologies which are actually against their interests but which superficially seem to work for them is the only way the criminals can function and triumph.

            If humanity could look at things rationally, the game would be up, since the facts have a socialist (not “liberal”) bias.

          4. Glenn Condell

            ‘The one small, crucial detail we don’t have is if Obama gave an explicit Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.’

            I don’t think he is the decider. I don’t think GWB was either, or at least not as much as he liked to think he was, but he at least you can imagine him arguing the toss. Obama, not so much. They both simply took orders, but one of them is more accustomed and therefore comfortable doing so. Eisenhower was the last President who could act reasonably independently, but he saw what was coming and warned against it. Kennedy tried, but by then the array of forces with stakes to big too be in the palm of just one man had moved silently into place.

            I wonder whether Obama can take a crap without someone noting the time and duration. Can you imagine him sitting out in the Rose Garden with a laptop and surfing the web with no-one snooping? How private is even the White House bedroom?

            The whole notion of Presidential independence, the solemn, sotto-voce gravitas with which it is presented, is, like the two-party ‘choice’ offered to US citizens, amusing but in the end not very funny at all.

          5. Glenn Condell

            Scenario: Obama in the Rose Garden sneaking a ciggy and firing up the laptop, while the rest of his family shop for clothes. He surfs around and follows a link to Naked Capitalism, there to roam thru threads full of the sort of contempt for him that I for one cannot now prevent myself expressing, but he also sees the robust good sense of most posts and many of the comments and the genuine concerns that prompts it.

            Is there someone detailed to monitor such activity and report upon it? Surely. There could not be scope for unseen internet activity in that zone. Who would they report to? Would Obama himself be aware of this? Or would the sites and stories he visited be parsed by faceless grey men somewhere, reporting upward to even more faceless entities so that any perceived threat to the workings of the Marketing Dept (read White House) such as plausible new ideas to address festering problems or simply an accurate reading of informed discontent, can be nipped in the bud by strategists and spin-doctors, to whom I’m sure Mr Obama would give a respectful audience before doing exactly what they say.

            I’m sure they have nothing to worry about anyway. No-one with any capacity for maverick or even mildly assertive action based on conviction can get within coo-ee of that post now, reserved for functionaries with the best line in bullshit. We thought Obama was ‘one of us’ and he is, but no the ‘us’ the rest of us belong to.

            I used to think that if you had to sum up the US in the last decade and more in one word, that ‘bullshit’ would be doing battle with ‘hypocrisy’ for line honours. But I’m moving toward ‘secrecy’ or ‘obedience’ as more emblematic now, which is not to say the others no longer apply. They do, and each is intimately related to the other.

        2. Arka

          The buried at sea thing is what bothered me. I don’t know if he has been dead for 10 years or a few days but the fact that they dumped the body without any independent investigation triggered my tinfoil hat.

  5. Eureka Springs

    Nun, your second point makes no sense to me?

    As for the next war… Obama signed the executive order for Syria a couple of days ago.

    In addition to Mr. Washington’s excellent post. I would also remind people that Osama was never wanted by the FBI for 9-11… only for connections to the USS Cole bombing, Had He been captured and put on trial the Cole is likely what charges he would have faced. I’m no truther, i didn’t read blogs then and never caught up enough to form a firm opinion… but I always considered it quite telling and checked the FBI site frequently… it never changed.

    Finally, the sea burial assures endless conspiracy, probably by design… lack of trust in the least trustworthy government for a long, long time. I’m not surprised, but I am appalled and disappointed.

    1. jorges

      Least trustworthy government? Seriously? You really need some perspective. Your thoughts are scattered and your reason doesn’t add up.

  6. stockdude

    Simple, torture is wrong, both morally and legally. What is so hard to get about that?

    Osama did win…he got America to overextend itself, rid itself of freedoms, and last night Americans were jumping in the streets celebrating the assassination of a human, a religious leader no less. I would have to call this victory, for the bad guys.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      My view as well. Torture is illegal and it is wrong regardless of any claimed success – real or imagined. PERIOD.

    2. Name (required)

      Bin Laden won long ago, and needed to do nothing more as the US handed him the victory.

      In 2001 the US was the Emperor parading before its world-wide audience claiming it was clothed in Justice, Freedom, Democracy and the Rule of Law, and most people would have believed it.

      Bin Laden claimed that the US was wearing no such clothes, but instead of donning them for the world to see, the US just went and proved he was right.

  7. salesanalyst

    “…a religious leader no less.”

    are you serious? Not even Muslims accorded OBL that title.

  8. stockdude

    Sure seems like a religious thing to me, even if warped.

    Was the religious leader of Al Qaeda – Osama Bin Laden EVER working as an agent for the CIA ?

    Some researchers including John A. Saliba, Julius H. Rubin, and Lorne L. Dawson assert that the term is used to discredit the groups it is applied to, and to unfairly compare them with historically more harmful groups and movements. Authors including Peter A. Olsson, Steven Hassan, and Masoud Banisadr have linked destructive cults with terrorism, and have used the term to characterize Osama bin Laden as a destructive cult leader.

    I rest my case

  9. Paul Tioxon

    The City Of Philadelphia bombed the MOVE cult, at the instance of Mayor Wilson Goode, our first African American elected to the office. The Fire Department under threats from the Police on the sight were forced to cease containing the blaze and fighting the fire altogether. In front of an entire cast of police, fireman, and every news truck and cameraman in the media market, the entire block was left to burn, as swat teams fire machine guns into the barricaded house. Women, children, infants were found burned recognition. This was the 2nd police raid on the MOVE cult in the city. The first one in 1978 saw the surrendering members photographed as police beat him in the face with a police motorcycle patrolman’s hard helmet.

    Torture has gone on televised and photographed by journalists in this city, published on the front pages for millions to see. Then there was Rodney King. I guess that beating for almost 25 minutes with one cop after another taking turns with batons was not enought?

    More recently, in Chicago, a high school student was beaten to death with lumber. His beating was put on youtube and broadcast on the evening NETWORK news. There is torture going on everyday in America.

    Then there was the Police Riot in Seattle during the 1999 WTO conference. Public beating by the police against labor union activists, peace demonstrators, civil rights marchers are regular events, not done in secluded secret CIA jail cells, they just happen to people who did not go to HARVARD OR YALE LAW SCHOOL.

    GAY, LESBIAN AND TRANSGENDER CITIZENS are routinely beaten, tortured and murdered by the other citizens who hate them.,2228059&dq=police+brutality&hl=en

  10. attempter

    If killing Osama has made us less safe, as the government and MSM are already proclaiming in a full court press, then wasn’t it irrational to kill him, if in fact the government is telling the truth when it claims it only wants our safety? Wouldn’t it have been better to relinquish irrational emotions and leave him alive? Maybe some of the celebrants, if any are reading, can help me with this.

    But I think we already know the answer to what the government and its wars are really about.

  11. Chad

    Wow! This brought out the crazies. There are probably whisper quiet black UN helicopters circling half your houses right now trying to read your brain waves.

    1. LeeAnne

      Chad, for you

      Just another crazee here

      “It might take a long time to convince a section of Pakistanis to believe that the world’s most hunted man was living and killed in their neighborhood at one of their finest and sensitive towns, people said.

      Some also showed doubts in the U.S. claims about bin Laden killing. “Why did they avoid showing his body publicly and buried it into sea, and his photo might be created by computer,” argued one analyst.
      Editor: Chen Zhi

      1. Chad

        People here still believe Elvis is alive. I don’t care what they believe. Only what they saw and per that link they saw virtually nothing, so it doesn’t add much to the conversation.

        1. LeeAnne

          “they saw virtually nothing.” -so you get the point after all. And what have you seen?

          1. Chad

            Seen enough to know that I’m arguing with a believer, so it’s pointless to continue.

        2. JB

          Chad, you appear like one of those trolls who disrupts conversation. Comments about Elvis and black UN helicopters add nothing and are an interruption.

    2. attempter

      Not half as crazy (that is, holding strong views in direct defiance of overwhelming evidence) as an incorrigible slave like you who implicitly believes whatever power tells him. That’s all you’ve ever done here, so far as I can recall.

      Any objective observer would call you the crazy one.

    3. Elrod Cooter

      I believe the story that Osama was killed and then buried at sea within 24 hours out of respect for Muslim tradition.
      It has to be true because Wolf Blitzer himself said that killing Osama was a night we’d never forget, that we’d always remember where we were at the moment we heard it.

      Just like we respected Muslim tradition after the killing of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay (Oh wait, their bodies weren’t buried at sea within 24 hours, they were held for eleven days before being released for burial.) But nevermind, now we’re respecting Muslim traditions, and our President would not lie to us about something as important as killing Osama, just because his poll numbers are sagging.

      Besides if there was any reason to be skeptical about the buried at sea story, then the ever vigilant US media would not publish “Osama buried at sea within 24 hours story” on the front page of every newspaper across the USA.

      To believe otherwise would make the US press into nothing more than stenographers for the government, and only crazies believe that, the same kind of wackos who believe Wall Street bankers are worse for the country than public union teachers and garbage collectors!

      Well, I’d better get on with the rest of my stupid day of being dumb and believing whatever the US government and the media tell me.

      1. DownSouth

        He was Zindel Grynszpan, father of Herschel Grynszpan, who, on November 7, 1938, at the age of seventeen, had walked up to the German embassy in Paris and shot to death its third secretary, the young Legationstrat Erns von Rath. The assassination had triggered the pogroms in Germany and Austria, the so-called Kristallnacht of November 9, which was indeed a prelude to the Final Solution… The motives for Grynszpan’s act have never been cleared up, and his brother, whom the prosecution also put on the stand, was remarkably reluctant to talk about it. The court took it for granted that it was an act of vengeance for the expulsion of some seventeen thousand Polish Jews, the Grynszpan family among them, from German territory during the last days of October, 1938, but it is generally known that this explanation is unlikely. Hersehel Grynszpan was a psychopath, unable to finish school, who for years had knocked about Paris and Brussels, being expelled from both places. His lawyer in the French court that tried him introduced a confused story of homosexual relations, and the Germans, who later had him extradited, never put him on trial… Vom Rath was a singularly inadequate victim, he had been shadowed by the Gestapo because of his openly anti-Nazi views and his sympathy for Jews; the story of his homosexuality was probably fabricated by the Gestapo. Grynszpan might have acted as an unwilling tool of Gestapo agents, in Paris, who could have wanted to kill two birds with one stone—-create a pretext for pogroms in Germany and get rid of an opponent to the Nazi regime—-without realizing that they could not have it both ways, that is, could not slander vom Rath as a homosexual having illicit relations with Jewish boys and also make of him a martyr and victim of “world Jewry.”


        Anyone who had seriously protested or done anything against the killing unit would have been arrested within twenty-four hours and would have disappeared. It belongs among the refinements of totalitarian governments in our century that they don’t permit their opponents to die a great, dramatic martyr’s death for their convictions. A good many of us might have accepted such a death. The totalitarian state lets its opponents disappear in silent anonymity.
        ▬Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

  12. LeeAnne

    correction: I linked to, but failed to credit the source:

    Osama’s killing in Pakistan surprises its people 2011-05-03 14:53:03

    Special Report: Osama Bin Laden Killed in U.S. Operation
    By Jamil Bhatti

    ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan, May 3 (Xinhua)

  13. Tertium Squid

    This discussion highlights the danger of opposing torture because “it doesn’t work”, or making its efficacy a part of the argument at all.

    While I see great benefit in highlighting what torture is actually used for, i.e. extracting false confessions and terrorizing inmates, whether it helped get Bin Ladin or not should be immaterial. If it’s wrong it’s wrong. Only if it’s right does utility come into the picture. And by arguing such, the moral highground has been ceded.

  14. Parvaneh Ferhadi

    It beggars believe that after 10 years of war, over a million dead civilians that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or terror and finally assasinating the man allegedly responsible for it, they would not present all the evidence they had, to establish once and for all, that they actually did assassinate bin Laden on May 1st 2011 as they claimed.
    After all that carnage and the lies that led to this they owe it to the world, one would think.

    Instead they keep babbling about ‘torture worked’ without presenting proof of that either – just making claims as usual without any evidence to support is.

    Instead they keep babbling about continuing the war in Afghanistan now switchin enemies by replacing al-Qaeda with the Taliban.

  15. LeeAnne

    It is clear that the propaganda machinery of the gangsters in charge have progressed from ‘they will believe,’ to ‘they will remain employed if they support, argue, and promote everything we say.’

  16. Valissa

    Of course torture is morally wrong! But so what? (don’t misunderstand, I am personally AGAINST torture) The fact is that humans have been using various methods of torture since the beginning of time. History written and unwritten (via archeological digs) tells the story. It’s natural and organic, even though it is also ugly and despicable. People like us can protest against using torture into infinity and that will not change human nature when power, control and/or money are involved. The best we can do is to try and minimize it via laws combined with cultural disapproval… and those don’t seem very successful right now.

    1. DownSouth

      We are not fated by our genes to engage in violent conflict. Long before Darwin, our bloody past has been cited as evidence for the inevitability of a bloody future. Even though this argument is often stated in terms of genes, it makes no sense from an evolutionary perspective because no single behavior is adaptive across all environmental conditions. Bloody conflict is not everywhere. It has a “distribution and abundance,” like species in an ecosystem. It does indeed thrive under some conditions but loses to more benign strategies under other conditions. The Vikings of Iceland were among the fiercest people on earth, and now they are among the most peaceful. In principle, it is possible to completely eliminate violent conflict by eliminating its preferred “habitat,” regardless of how rare or common it has been in the past.


      Short-term emotional responses cannot be sustained and become toxic over the long term… The emotions of fear, anger, and hatred have such powerful effects on our bodies and minds that they are literally toxic over the long term, eating away at our immune sytems and even our brains, as my evolutionis collegue Robert Sapolsky recounts I his book ‘Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers’. A national policy or any other belief system that attempts to sustain strong emotions such as fear and hatred over the long term is almost certain to fail and to produce severe negative side effects over the long term. Human potential can be developed only when we are not scared, angry or hungry. Our evolution as a species required periods of safety and satiety, which we recognize and communicate through laughter…
      ▬David Sloan Wilson, Evolution for Everyone

    1. Valissa

      I find it interesting how people try and separate policy from human nature. You can in theory, but not in practice. That’s popular in economics as well and we know how well that turned out. It’s the modern intellectual disease of abstraction, which is what actually makes it difficult to solve some human problems.

  17. Dr. Buddy Tubeside

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea.

    That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea.

    The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred.” The Associated Press

    “The sacred texts of Islam prefer burial on land, “so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out”. However, if a person dies at sea and it is not possible to bring the body back to land before decay, burial at sea is allowed. A weight is tied to the feet of the body, and the body is lowered into the water.” wikipedia

    “In the famous Sunni Fiqh book Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik, the condition for sea burial is given as follows:

    “It is best to bury him (the deceased) in the cemetery… If someone dies on a ship and it is impossible to bury him on land, the body is placed between two planks and thrown into the sea so that it reaches shore, even if the inhabitants are non-Muslims, since a Muslim might find the body and bury it facing the direction of prayer”..

    “Pentagon officials said Monday that bin Laden’s body was to be handled in accordance with Muslim traditions, which include strict rules on burial taking place within 24 hours after death.” – CBS news

    “Credo quia absurdum” (“I believe because it is absurd”)
    – Tertullian

    1. Agit8dChop

      You seem to have doubts about this story, so let me help you to understand:

      1. The USA found Bin Laden in a mansion in Pakistan. They shot him and took the body. No photos or footage released.
      2. The mansion has been torched, and all evidence is now destroyed.
      3. His body was dumped at sea, to obey some non existent Muslim tradition.

      No body, no crime scene, no nothin’. Game, set, match.

      And what about the other three killed alongside him?

      The Easter bunny was flown back to Wonderland for burial
      the tooth fairy and the mad hatter were cremated in the helicopter at the scene.


  18. scharfy

    I thought the standard truther stance was that we did kill him 10 years ago?

    Wasn’t Bin Laden a patsy ?

    They killed Oswald almost immediately…. Why wait 10 years…

    Where was Dick Cheney yesterday? Did Seal Team 6 really land in Cleveland?

    Why was this story released AFTER the long-form birth certificate announcement AND the royal wedding?

    I’m just asking questions….. but I the TIMING seems almost TOO perfect.

    Good work George Washington, I really this you should dig into this and see if you can jam a few more unrelated theories together..

  19. skippy

    The thing[s that makes me laugh.

    a) One guy (with a few buddies) becomes *Americas Gross Domestic Threat*…cough… to the greatest super power the world has ever seen…more than USSR?

    b) That a few buildings and a few thousand people dieing could topple over such greatness…as advertised by the beltway…hence the need to expend all available resources, including future generations debt brought forward (servitude).

    c) 10 years and they only have a body, which they dumped into the sea.

    d) trillions of dollars, millions lives diminished, ended, made poorer globally.

    e) an increasing smaller segment of society hording global wealth / resources.

    f) a global financial system that has more fraud attributed to it than virtuousness (societal well being) , that under increasing stresses, it is deemed prudent to add orders of magnitude upon it in complexity (HFT, DP, Leveraged ETF, Low Reserve to Paper speculation), ad infinity)…untested (theoretical). Skynet is financial, not

    Skippy…I am reminded of an old SF novel where two earth bound society’s co-evolved. One living with knowledge within its environment, the other based on growth. This growth was a bludgeon, to which, they apply to the other (growth based systems always need more, regardless of consequences). Once physical environmental boundary’s were breached in their quarter, a custom ensued, the building of a circular tower and subsequent religious tradition of climbing said tower on a yearly day of supreme significance. This religious tradition sufficed until exponential population forces accrued, and the tower grew, till it succumbed to their engineering abilitys. The last observation of this religious right was the precursor to a final war, it failed in its objective. Too reduce its own internal population, as the masses in observance of their most reverent day…climbed too rarefied air…then laid down to copulate, at this time a horn sounded, and all that straddled it were no more, rendered to their atomic components by technology inside the tower…millions, an orbiting device was unleaded, final solution, ideology extremist, if not our way…morte.

    Personally I’m tired of climbing, our greatness has a rather increasingly acute angle…methinks.

    PS…@crazzyman I prefer my University…it has more social relevance see: Idiot Emeritus

  20. Erich Witcher

    Stellar site, would love to see a bit more media though! One of my favorite subjects… Then again my site hasn’t many posts either – Great post all around, added your XML feed! Love this theme, too!

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