PJP PARTICIPANT JEFF GREENFIELD IMAGINES: WHAT IF WE HAD CAPTURED — NOT KILLED — OSAMA BIN LADEN AND THEN TRIED HIM IN THE FEDERAL COURTS?
In a fanciful, but compelling, column for the Washington Post, PJP Participant Jeff Greenfield, a former network news correspondent for CBS and ABC, fantasies over what could have transpired if the Navy SEALS had captured the al Qaeda leader. His discussion touches on a lot of tantalizing topics. For instance, if bin Laden had surrendered to the SEALS, wouldn’t the rules of engagement have forced them to take him live? If he was then brought to the US for trial in a federal court, would his prosecution be hampered by the inadmissibility of evidence achieved through so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”? What if his capture and trial led to a rash of terrorist acts, including the taking of hostages, held on the demand that he be freed? In short, Greenfield seems almost to suggest that the SEALS and the Obama Administration were lucky that bin Laden resisted — assuming that this detail is true — and was then killed for the capture and trial could have triggered a disastrous series of events that might have strengthened, not diminished, bin Laden’s appeal as a heroic figure among radical Muslims.