What an interesting last twelve hours or so... Lots of great conversations at a customer site today and a few questions that were intriguing:
* Why didn't Obama order a bomb strike at the site? *
From journalist Jake Tapper:
[I]n March, President Obama authorized a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound with two B2 stealth bombers dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on the compound but President Obama ultimately decided against that The helicopter raid was riskier. It was more daring, an official said. But he wanted proof. He didn't want to just leave a pile of rubble. Officials also knew there were 22 people living there, and Obama wanted to be sure not to kill all the civilians. So he ordered officials to come up with an air-assault plan. The forces held rehearsals of the raid on April 7 and April 13, with officials monitoring the action..."
EDIT: (forgot to comment). To address the larger picture, an obliterated compound with nearly unrecognizable casualties would leave a permanent doubt that bin Laden was truly dead. The myth of bin Laden's survival is perhaps as bad as his existence.
This was substantally more risky for those Navy Seals. I can't even begin to extend enough gratitiude to
them. The risks those gentlemen expose themselves to are nearly unmatchable to any individual of the nation they serve.
* How can they be sure if it's bin Laden's DNA if they are only 99.9% sure? Humans and chimps share over 99% of our DNA *
Classic misunderstanding of Bayesian analysis. Statistical confidence comes from the tolerences of measurement. 99.9% confidence represents about 3.5 to 4 sigma. The error in all likelihood comes from their base sample of his DNA and perhaps to a lesser extent the DNA sequencing equipment.
* What do you mean by "now I understand why he presented his full birth certificate"? *
If we consider political elections as a game, it would have made sense to keep this, for lack of a better metaphor, "trump card" until after the Republican nominee placated the addressed demographic. This made little sense, and in a way looked comical and weak when split screened next to Donald Trump's news conference in New Hampshire.
But, I would guess that Obama knew what he was going to order the strike later in the week and knew what impact it would have. He knew that it was going to galvanize his presidency across party lines, and he wanted to leave the "birther curious" without a negative Pavlovian response to the killing of bin Laden.
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