[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Disposing of the body before there was independent verification, refusing to even release photographs of the body? Heckuva job there, Barry. Now we get this from Pakistan:
Abdul cheerfully told me how he had lain awake five nights earlier and heard the thump of American helicopters as they swooped on the world’s most wanted man. So what did he think about the death of Osama Bin Laden.
‘Oh, I don’t believe he is dead,’ he said. ‘If someone was shot in that house, it was not him. You cannot trust the Americans, they have changed their story so many times already.’
Abdul is not alone in his disbelief. A survey found two-thirds of people in Pakistan share his refusal to accept Bin Laden’s death, despite confirmation by Al Qaeda. Even the country’s most revered lawyer told me ‘the ghost of Osama has survived his execution’ given the lack of concrete evidence, storing up problems for the future.
But, hey, while it might not be strategically wise in the War on Terror, it apparently works just fine as election strategy:
The latest NBC News poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans back President Obama’s decision not to release the photos taken after Osama bin Laden’s death.
Fifty-two percent said they strongly believe the Obama administration should not release the photos, and an additional 12 percent agreed, although not as strongly.
Which means he will feel little pressure to do the right thing, which is to be as transparent about this whole thing as possible.
Also, in Pakistan they arrested around forty people in Abbottabad in relation to the bin Laden capture:
Pakistani security forces have arrested 40 people in Abbottabad suspected of having connections to Usama bin Laden.
Pakistani sources called the arrests near bin Laden’s compound the “second phase” of the operation that killed the Al Qaeda leader, according to the Open Source Center.
Is this a sign of cleaning house, or finding scapegoats? Honestly, it beats me. But it seems implausible to believe that there weren’t a lot of elements in Pakistan that knew exactly where bin Laden was.
H/T: Hot Air.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The quote suggests that, as much as the refusal to release the pictures, the administration’s bungling of the reporting is contributing to some of the skepticism. As commenter daleyrocks put it: “The SEALs killed Bin Laden and we got the 72 versions.”