May 10, 2011

Osama Bin Laden’s Son Speaks Out

Bin Laden Book

More dad related Bin Laden news, and this time it’s a doozy. Omar Bin Laden has decided that this is a good time to release a statement questioning the legality of the way his father met his end.

I admit that I haven’t read much about the Bin Laden killing, although I did stay up past my bedtime to watch President Obama‘s announcement. It’s not for lack of interest — I’ve had some personal dad-related stuff to deal with and haven’t even checked out the video and photos of the raid, much less peruse the pile of opinions that have been published.

What I didn’t realize until I read Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column on May 8 was how many people had been condemning the U.S. for killing Osama Bin Laden the way they did. Today, Omar Bin Laden joins that chorus.

Personally, I found the celebrations in the streets a bit morbid at best. I accept war as an extremely unfortunate fact of life at this moment in time, one of the many things I have no control over. (It sounds very Zen, but it’s more of a defense mechanism.) I’m not going to have a party for the death of Osama Bin Laden. I’m also not going to say that the President was wrong to order the raid that led to his death.

This brings us to Omar Bin Laden, one of Osama’s sons. According to, Omar says that his father was “the most kind” of the Al-Qaeda leaders. It’s a sensationalist article, quoting from an interview Omar did last year in which he said “it would be bad news for the West if his father was killed”. There’s no link, so I’m only quoting (That’s a journalistic caveat.)

The Times story reporting on a statement released by Omar Bin Laden is more relevant. The article refers to “Bin Laden Sons”, but acknowledges that it is possible that only Omar Bin Laden, who according to the Times had denounced his father’s terrorism some time ago, is speaking out about his father’s death. Omar’s complaint is that Osama Bin Laden “was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world.”

Here’s my take. I have to wonder what is going through Omar’s mind at the moment. I realize this is his father. (Talk about Daddy Issues. Sheesh.) At the same time, does he think we’re going to feel bad for him? If what I have managed to read about Osama Bin Laden’s life before he was killed in the raid is true, he was actively running Al-Qaeda from reasonably comfortable surroundings, not hiding in a cave somewhere. That means he was actively planning to kill more people.

Would it be better if Osama Bin Laden had been tried in a court of law? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Imagine what that trial would be like.

I don’t for one minute believe that we will ever hear a full and accurate account of what happened in Pakistan that day. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, just a realist. There are a lot of things that the public at large simply never finds out about. That’s the way it is. For example, we haven’t seen pictures of a dead Osama yet, and last time I checked, we weren’t going to anytime soon. (Aside: there’s a weird job — photographer during a military raid.)

My point here is that it is possible that Osama Bin Laden was going to be killed no matter what. They didn’t want him dead or alive, they wanted him dead. That’s pure conjecture on my part, but it’s possible. As much as Omar Bin Laden may not like the way his father met his end, it’s unclear what he hopes to gain by releasing a statement like this. He’s alive, and as far as I know, has plenty of money. Is he using it to further the cause of peace in the world in a meaningful way? None of the critics of how the United States handled the raid, not even his own son, would argue that Osama Bin Laden was innocent. Maybe Omar could spend a little bit of money and save the lives of babies in impoverished countries instead of releasing statements.

Bin Laden Sons Say U.S. Broke International Law (New York Times)

Osama’s son says other warlords are ‘worse’ than his father (

This post was written by Brett Singer

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