March 10, 2014

Why The White House Hasn’t Released Photos Of Osama bin Laden’s Corpse

There are a lot of puzzled expressions on people’s faces when it comes to the subject of the late Osama bin Laden and why the White House has not authorized the release of any pictures of his body. Photographs and video were released of Saddam Hussein’s hanging, as well as post-mortem pictures of his criminal sons, Uday and Qusay, after Delta Force took them out. Why not release a few pictures of Public Enemy #1 to prove that he is dead and show the world what happens when you take on the U.S. of A?

Matt Bissonnette, one of the SEAL Team 6 operators on the bin Laden raid, partially outs the reason in his book “No Easy Day.”  The book reads, “In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”

But this is perhaps the most measured and polite description that one could give of how operator after operator took turns dumping magazines’ worth of ammunition into bin Laden’s body, two confidential sources within the community have told us. When all was said and done, Osama bin Laden had more than a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.

Was this a one-time incident or part of a developing trend of lawless behavior? Consider these two other incidents:


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About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

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  • Shortstack

    BrandonWebb Shortstack  OMG, to error by calling Admiral McRaven a General was shameful and I do know better and I do apologize to all. Shortstack

  • MizBeckie

    LawyerHandle Unable to add to the discussion about UBL, so I just went another direction.  However, I do hope that are military does not sink to the level of those who cut off heads and leave them in the road.

  • MizBeckie

    LawyerHandle I missed the pistol.  I need to go spend a day in that library to see what else I missed.  I did see Marcus Luttrell's Texas patch.

  • MizBeckie

    oldSquid(Mafia) JohnChristopher1 OS, always can count on you to make the corrections.   :)  Thanks.

  • michaelr2c

    Recon6 michaelr2c travisarnold1 JohnChristopher1  It would be nice to just be able to destroy everything and bring the enemy to their knees, but, that hasn't been war since 1953, and I believe war will become less and less a nation state part of diplomacy.  Yes, nations saber rattle--China expanding its influence, Russia and Ukraine, India/Pakistan, etc, but, the reality is that non state actors are everywhere creating havoc in the world.  Our military, even after 12 years of COIN and rewriting (or mostly copying the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual) the manual, is now, once again, poised to forget and retool toward a totally conventional threat. Disaffected people have more power today, and access to more powerful tools, than ever before in history.  It is the disaffected who will be the perpetrators of future conflict (as well as today's conflicts all over Africa, and in so many other places).  Technology allows them connect with each other all over the world and learn their craft.   Environmentalists coined the phrase:  "Think globally, act locally."  Well, that is the perfect description of modern warfare. COIN needs to be ingrained in our regular forces, not at the expense of conventional operability, but, as an equal skill and understanding.  SF will always have the role of working to foment insurgencies that support our strategy and security through UW.  They will always be invaluable in the FID role.  But, the relationship between SOF DA capabilities and conventional force capabilities (using a big hammer or a surgical hammer) is the same type of relationship the regular forces should have with COIN and SF capabilities. You'll never send conventional forces (even if they are superb at COIN) into some other country covertly to gather their anti-government elements and turn them into an insurgency.  They are totally too blunt for that.  But, they can be excellent at the other side of the coin (no pun intended)--operating in a COIN environment when bad guys have started the insurgency.  I was thinking this way back in the 80's, and no one was receptive to it.  I was always so surprised about how my Marine Corps always touted its history of experience in COIN--the Banana Wars and the CAP program in Vietnam, but, how few, if any, of my fellow officers had any clue about it.  They all wanted to just blow stuff up (which is fun, don't get me wrong!)  Then again, at the time I hit active duty everyone was just coming home from the first Gulf War--so everyone had the totally conventional mindset.  The vast majority of our future is just not going be that way anymore.  Black and white are only going to grow more and more grey.