terrible accidents

U.S. Attorney General: Bin Laden ‘Not Assassinated,’ Just Kind of Fell Down

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Osama loved Thin Mints.The BBC — Queen Elizabeth’s personal version of the Huffington Post — has a hawt new video interview (after a Priceline commercial?) with U.S. attorney general Eric Holder regarding this whole “assassination of Bin Laden” thing. Eric Holder says it definitely was not an assassination because Osama bin Laden was not the U.S. president at the time of the killing. And only presidents can be assassinated, according to the Eighteenth Amendment. Also, according to Holder, those Navy SEALs/Special Forces would have totally accepted Bin Laden’s surrender under a very secret set of circumstances. “If the possibility had existed, if there was the possibility of a feasible surrender, that would have occurred,” Holder said. He later confirmed that the conditions of a “feasible surrender” were unknown to both the SEAL team, who were already confused enough being in some grim arid suburb rather than in the water, and to Bin Laden himself. (Haha that is a patriotic joke; the Navy SEALs are very used to grim arid suburbs, because they train in San Diego!)

It’s a funny thing we do in this country — and by “we” we mean “them” — because we kill people all the time all over the world, hundreds of thousands of them, sometimes with robot planes and sometimes by letting our puppet government gruesomely execute somebody (Saddam Hussein, etc.), and sometimes we do shit like promise the Kurds we’ll back their revolution in the last days of the First Gulf War and then we’re all, “Haha, pysche.” But no matter what we do, eventually some stuffed shirt like Eric Holder comes out to give a “legal explanation” for it.

Why not just say The Truth, for once? Something like this: “We spent TWO TRILLION DOLLARS on two awful wars and another half-dozen undeclared wars and thousands of dead U.S. troops and tens of thousands of maimed U.S. troops and the whole world hates us more than ever and we’re still living off oil taken from the Middle East due to arrangements with corrupt leaders on our payroll, forever, and we will MOTHERFUCKING MURDER anybody who tries to encourage anyone to fuck us up, is that clear, world?””

Darth Vader never needed a danged “civil rights lawyer” to explain to the BBC why Alderaan got ‘sploded. [BBC World Service]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • jeezycreezy77

    Ken, this bickering is pointless

    • policonoclast

      yes, all this energy would be better spent on someone who wasn't a certifiable murdering a-hole. Holder's got a point, too. Besides, imagine the political shitstorm if we had captured the guy? Send him to gitmo? draw and quarter him? solitary until some Republican president trots him into daylight to scare grandma every four years?

      • V572..whatever

        Yeah because justice is so inconvenient that sometimes you just have to say, "Fuck it," and snuff the dude. All over the world, people are admiring us because of this attitude.

        • jeezycreezy77

          I didn't see you weeping in your glass of blue milk for all the thousands of storm troopers and TIE-fighter pilots that died when the rebels blew up the Death Star the first time. But you want to be taken seriously when you chastise us for celebrating the death of Darth Vader? The man killed an entire school of Jedi children!

        • policonoclast

          Unfortunately, you are absolutely right. Sometimes its better just to kill the bad guy. But still, I don't think there's a legal or moral obligation to arrest him if he's not a US citizen, not in the US, and not covered by Geneva Conventions (which apply only to uniform-wearing troops of signatories to the treaty, as W made abundantly clear).

          • jeezycreezy77

            In a way, by striking him down he has become more powerful than we could possibly imagine.

          • V572..whatever

            You're right too. But think how it would have looked to the world if we'd given him a trial. ————————– Sent using BlackBerry

      • DarwinianDemon

        You shouldn't forgo giving someone their day in court because it's difficult. It's always easier to get a lynch mob. That being said, it was Osama bin fucking Laden and we can say "he deserved a trial" without turning him into some kind of hero because he was anti-US. The idea that anyone attacking or criticizing the U.S. is always good is the lazy flip side of the idea that anyone attacking or criticizing the U.S. is always bad.

        • anniegetyerfun

          Yes, thank you. I am fisting you in an upwards motion.

        • jeezycreezy77

          many Bothans died to bring us information of OBL's whereabouts. Would you say they died in vain?

      • Gopherit

        well, we can all agree we wouldn't give him a trial in New York or well, pretty much any place else where there is a federal courthouse because the republicans would puss out again and start crying like day old kittens.

      • jeezycreezy77

        But Alderaan is peaceful. They had no weapons of mass destruction.

        • DangerHelvetica

          Fear will keep the teabaggers in line.

          • Gopherit

            Hell, fear is the exact justification for not having a trial for any of them……way less scary to declare them enemy combatants and blow them to hell from a distance. I guess in Osama's case, someone wanted to make the message more personal…….but no one should mistake vengeance for justice.

          • usernameguy

            OK, the people not getting the Star Wars jokes are making me sad.

          • Gopherit

            Wonkette has become schizophrenic…..does it want to be angry and bitter using humor as an outlet, or does it want to be snarky and too cool for everything? My personal preference is to use snark until you talk about state sanction murder for vengeance, but your mileage may vary.

          • jeezycreezy77

            You could say there is a light side, and a dark side to the force of wonkette

          • WriteyWriterton

            We're getting them, but we're easily distracted by shiny objects/policy arguments. Go figure.

      • MasterDebater

        Um, it's just a Star Wars reference. I don't think jeezy said what you think she said.

      • GOPCrusher

        Oh please, we had to kill him. If we would have brought him back to stand trial, he would have just escaped prison and killed us all with his super human powers.

  • Tengu

    We didn't kill Bin Laden, it was 'Enhanced Capture'.

    • MasterDebater


    • WriteyWriterton

      "Expedited death from natural causes."

    • user-of-owls

      So few words, so much win.

  • Buzz Feedback

    First Defenestration of Abbottabad.


      Abbottabad, and Costelloworse.

    • James Michael Curley

      I'm have been planning to defenestrate my computer since upgrading to IE9.

    • TheSheriffsNear

      BF, you really have to be either a student of the Wars of Religion or a vocabulary maven to get that one.

      Fortunately, I am both. Well done.

  • Gopherit

    It's possible that if bin Laden were laying on the floor of his room, in a pool of his own filth, cowering and screaming "Not in the face, not in the FACE!" that Seal Team 6 would have arrested him. But then, only maybe.

    • ttommyunger

      Not a fucking chance!

    • Tundra Grifter

      Don't Tase me, Bro'!

    • Extemporanus

      It's also possible that if he'd been doing what you described, he'd have been mistaken for a Republican politician and urged to run for re-election.

      • bagofmice

        Nah. Republicans would at least have the decency to wear diapers. Vitter. Keeping Santorum classy.

  • WhatTheHeck

    Spend a couple of trillion on one guy.
    Not a bad return on investment.

    • Nothingisamiss

      We spent a couple of trillion on Cheney, what with the Halliburton contracts and government healthcare. Now there's an investment that did not pay off.

    • riverside68

      For UBL that was the point. Bankrupt US as USSR and UK were, in their turn, in Afganistan. He was all about cost control: remember the memos on the cost/benefit of the FedEx toner bombs?

      In combination with the Repug's retard Koch sucking, he may have the last laugh, Are we going to be able to afford $B's/year to Israel in 10 years?

  • el_chupacabra


  • SudsMcKenzie

    In this post 9/11 world, every time I see an old man in underwear, I assume its Esplody Underwear.

    • jeezycreezy77

      I have to admit, when I see people boarding a plane, and they're wearing the traditional undergarments, traditional under-garb, you know, I get a little nervous.

      • HempDogbane

        said Obi Juan Kenobi

  • __kth__

    This is actually a little reassuring; I was concerned that they weren't pushing back on the assassination characterization, but were tacitly embracing it because badass. So of course it was an assassination, but at least the message isn't "you goddam right I ordered the code red!"

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Besides, assassin derives from hashishin, and that name derives from the drug the original assassins used prior to commencing their assignments. At least that's one version of the story. Anyway, with piss tests still abounding in the military, I'm sure them Seals weren't smoking no hash, despite it's widespread availability over there.

    • V572..whatever

      Fun as it is to get high, it's hard to imagine wanted to be stoned when you have to suit up in all sorts of gear, board helicopters in the middle of the night, fly low over the terrain for a few hours, jump off the bird into a courtyard full of you don't know what, and start going room to room in the personal residence of the world's current leading mass murderer.

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Hell, I don't even feel like mowing the lawn when I cop. "Wonder what's on TV? Maybe a nap…"

      • James Michael Curley

        V, Youse talking about most of the year I spent in Viet Nam.

        • V572..whatever

          Really? Spent a bit of time there myself, in the dangerous neighborhoods of Tu Do Street and 100-p Alley in Saigon. Scary! But for different reasons…

          • James Michael Curley

            Bought a pack of 'smokes' and a cold coke in a bottle – yeah – on Tu Do street on my way home through Cam Rahn Bay. My only visit and purchases. You can Google Tu Do street on Google Maps and take a walk down it with those little yellow men that Google puts on their maps. You won't recognize the old neighborhood.

      • zhubajie

        Rum mixed with cocaine, in WW I.

    • http://www.vinoverve.com Maman

      But they were reporting that there was a patch 'o weed in/near the bin Laden-dome…. Coincidence? What are we supposed to suspect that it grows like a weed or something over there?

      • HistoriCat

        Here's the dialog from the raid:
        "Osama – you're surrounded. Surrender!"
        "Osama's not here man"

        So they had no choice but to shoot him.

  • DaRooster

    "…and we will MOTHERFUCKING MURDER anybody who tries to encourage anyone to fuck us up…"
    … but only with this President. Any others will do the whole 'let's kill a bunch of innocent people and ruin entire countries so we can INVEST more in our war machine' thing.

  • V572..whatever

    Manuel Noriega approves of this post.

  • Gopherit

    Just curious, do we put the Miranda warning on every Hellfire that gets launched from a drone? That might make it totes legal.

  • iburl

    Bush should get the credit for all these wonderful new ways to justify murder.

  • baconzgood

    Hey BBC alotta of us here in America gave up low interest college loans to wack this guy. Oh, by the way…..WHERE'S ALL OUR FUCKIN' $$$$$ BACK FROM THE LEND-LEASE ACT OF 1941??????!!!! HUH? THEN SHUT UR FACE!!!

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Actually, they paid it off back in 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/47571

      • baconzgood

        Took those limeys long enough. Then: WHERE'S ALL OUR FUNKIN' $$$$ FOR YOU STEALING AND HOMOGENISING OUR DELTA BLUES!!!!!!


        • WriteyWriterton

          Jeepers, baconzgood, you don't take "No" for an answer. Fortunately.

  • OzoneTom

    Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin!

    • ttommyunger

      Biblical graffiti is still graffiti, O.

      • zhubajie

        It means something like "Iran will profit from this"

  • Thurman Munster IV

    Bin Laden's not dead. He just went to live with a nice farm family upstate. He gets to run around all day with lots of his old friends.

  • BloviateMe

    I'm still going to refer to him as has-been Laden.

    …as an aside, I wonder if someone from the SEAL team check Laden's junk, to see if all that anger stemmed from a small wang.

    • DashboardBuddha

      Or a tiny taint?

  • undeterredbyreality

    Geez, Ken,

    It's getting harder and harder to snark if you're always gonna be all serious 'n shit on us all the time.

  • freakishlywrong

    How soon before the neocons and wingtardies try to impeach Obamar for this? At least it would shut up the assholes tying to give dubya credit.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Thirty people standing around when the guy got capped but no witnesses. Works for me.

  • Sue4466

    "The conduct of the Americans of the United States towards the aborigines is characterized . . . by a singular attachment to the formalities of law. . . . It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity." — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    We saw how it turned out so well for American Indians, so we took the show on the road. Nothing succeeds like success.

    • V572..whatever

      That Alexis, what a kidder!

      Here Indians, welcome to Indian Territory!

      What, what, there's oil here? Okay redskins, you can still have the panhandle.

      There too?

      A diós, Geronimo. In a hundred years you'll have casinos in California and all be rich!

      • zhubajie

        Don't forget commercial scalp-hunting in Texas!

    • zhubajie

      de Tocqueville didn't know what he was talking, about in this instance.

      • Sue4466

        He did actually.

        • zhubajie

          No, no, no. He wondered why Natives didn't just join theAnglo-Americans, and didn't consider that if they spent any timearound White Americans, they ended up dying of whooping cough,measles, etc. (Like Europeans in Africa!) Didn't notice forcibleethnic cleansing, either.Of all the American countries, only the US, Canada, Argentina, andUruguay are not majority Native American or Mestizo. That is not anaccident.

          • Sue4466

            Yes yes yes. You’re missing his point: the Americans used legal justifications for their eradications. Indians living with EuroAmericans, indians being shuttled off to OK or reservations, Indians being isolated from EuroAmerican culture–all of that was about assimilation and all of it had US law behind it–either statute, treaty, or court opinion. Even our violation of Indian treaties had the stamp of legal approval through the Supreme Court. That’s the sort of thing the de Toqueville quote is about.

          • Sue4466

            Yes yes yes! You're missing his point. He's talking about the fact that the US did all the things it did to Indians with the color of law. All those treaties we broke? The Supreme Court said that was legal. Shipping them off on the Trail of Tears? Done by executive order. Taking their land & allotting it? Done by statute. Taking all their land and deeming them mere occupants of land they had occupied prior to European settlement? Supreme Court decision. Hell, even the Spanish when they arrived would read a proclamation claiming the right to enter the land, use its resources, and kill of the native population if they didn't comply. It was all read aloud, in a language the natives didn't understand, but it was "legal" by European standards. All of that was done with the intent to destroy or assimilate native populations and it was done under the color of legal authority–OUR legal authority.

  • fuflans

    well SOMEBODY has to look out for tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

  • Nothingisamiss

    It's so nice being the beloved country of the world. Thanks, government!

  • DarwinianDemon

    So Osama bin Laden was a poor innocent gunned down by an evil emperor? Geez…is this purposely so over the top to counter the Rah Rah Rah he's dead bandwagon? I hope so.

    • __kth__

      I don't think that's it. I think it's that the considerations that led Obama to greenlight an extrajudicial execution are, when you look at them closely (there will be a circus! what will Fox News say!) are pretty lousy ones.

      I happen to think that, since there was no doubt of bin Laden's guilt, it was prudent to kill him without a trial. But it was prudent to kill him because we are a sick country.

      • zhubajie

        If put on trial in open court, who knows what he might reveal? He might embarrass quite a lot of US oligarchs.

    • zhubajie

      Hardly innocent, but not the Prof. Moriarty of world terrorism, either. Probably someone else will be the designated Bad Guy soon enough.

  • Mumbletypeg

    Know who else cried out "Haha, psyche!" as they pulled the wool from over the suckers' eyes?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      The Legacy of the Reagan Administration? Oh, wait, wool is still there.

    • SayItWithWookies

      The Wisconsin GOP?

    • jonzin

      The hooker from last night?

    • WriteyWriterton

      Arthur Laffer?

  • BornInATrailer

    USA! USA! USA!

  • HempDogbane

    What Jack Nicholson said, in that movie.

    • SexySmurf

      "I want you to hold it between your knees"?

      • Mumbletypeg

        Beat me to it.

    • zhubajie

      "The US Navy don't care if you live or die"?

  • RadioPlasticSurgery

    Lawyers are sure good at whacking off.

  • Toomush_Infer

    The Truth?….Ken, I'm pretty sure I can't handle the Truth….anyway, it's more fun imagining the SEALs training session, where the guy in the back said, "So, do we kill him or what…." and the ensuing metaphorical discussion…

    • Mumbletypeg

      The Jack Nicholson is strong in this thread

  • SheriffRoscoe

    He later confirmed that the conditions of a “feasible surrender” were unknown to both the SEAL team, who were already confused enough being in some grim arid suburb rather than in the water, and to Bin Laden himself.

    One of the SEALS was reported to have said "Wow. This is awkward", right before they popped that cap in his ass.

  • ttommyunger

    I have a hard time criticizing our actions in this regard. Barry is just using my rules writ large.

  • HobbesEvilTwin

    so Holder's now competing with John Yoo for the dumbest government lawyer award?

    • WriteyWriterton

      Yoo retired that particular trophy, but Holder keeps his eyes on the prize. I don't get him. At all.

    • zhubajie

      They both serve the rich and powerful, like court eunuchs and lawyers always do.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Uncle Eric Holder, remember, never look backwards.
    9 11 liars bush cheney rove rummy rice liars 9 11

    • DarwinianDemon

      "Uncle" Eric Holder?

  • CapeClod

    Assassinations only happen when you shoot some one in the back of the head while they are watching a play, and I doubt that Bin Laden was taking in a production of "Private Lives" when he got capped.

    • Guppy06

      I would have guessed "Avenue Q."

    • zhubajie

      Rocky and Bullwinkle? Pleasant Goat?

  • baconzgood

    "You have the right to be exploded. If you cannot afford to be exploded we just spent $2.2 Million dollars worth of ordinance to provide an explosion for you"


    OBL was sealed and enhancenly waterboarded.

  • hagajim

    We didn't kill Bin Laden….we flew a plane into his eyeball and out his ear hole….everyone knows that….granted it was a gunpowder propelled plane…but one good turn deserves another eh.

  • zappadoo76

    And don't forget: things are even more insecure now that Bin Laden is dead, for freedom, because this will really piss his supporters off and they will do any form of insanity to avenge his death, including blowing us all up as we wait in line at the airport, which is why there have to be even more intrusive feelups, gropes and patdowns and guys with M16s in the passenger lounge. Gotta tap your phone and count your keystrokes more, too. And none of that habeas corpus b.s., either. Secret military trials for all. Only in America!

    • zhubajie

      I think we make plenty of enemies on our own, via droned weddings, rape&murder night raids, etc. As ever, we are our own worst enemies.

  • Schmannnity

    Only criticism of Navy Seal 6: Miami P.D. would have had a throw down gun to put in his recently alive hands.

  • Tundra Grifter

    Many years ago, a young Border Patrol officer shot a suspect on a bridge between Texas and Old Mexico. The officer claimed the suspect had a gun, but there wasn't one at the scene. [Back in the day, the Southwest BP had more gunfights in a month than any other police unit of similar size had in a year. I don't think things have changed much, despite what the right wing nutz tell us!]

    The investagators went fishing under the bridge and found half a dozen "throw down" pistols.

    True story! You can read it in a fascinating book called "No Second Place Winner."

  • jeezycreezy77

    Assassination – killing a head of state, gov't official, leader of a legit political/social movement

    OBL was nothing more than a perp resisting arrest for 10 years. This was just good police work.

  • Tundra Grifter

    "The BBC — Queen Elizabeth’s personal version of the Huffington Post…"

    That's some funny stuff, Ken!

  • zappadoo76

    Are the Freepers spamming this thread?

  • Ohforcripessake

    "..and we will MOTHERFUCKING MURDER anybody who tries to encourage anyone to fuck us up, is that clear, world?”

    That would be very un-christian to say something like that.

  • pinkocommi

    "… according to Holder, those Navy SEALs/Special Forces would have totally accepted Bin Laden’s surrender under a very secret set of circumstances.“

    Bin Laden did not say "Mother, may I?" The rules are a bitch, but those are the rules.

  • chascates

    And we're stiffing the SEALs on the reward money to boot!

  • glamourdammerung

    Is there a way to have dealt with bin Laden that the teabaggers would not throw a tantrum over? The birther nonsense already answered this question.

  • stronginva

    http://tinyurl.com/67fpn9h It goes on and on. NATO just admitted shooting a 12 year old Afghan girl in the back, as she was running away.

    • zhubajie

      Winning hearts and minds just like in Viet Nam!

  • problemwithcaring

    "Why not just say The Truth, for once?"

    Ask Rev. Wright.

  • zhubajie

    If he'd gone on trial, he might have said something that would embarrass the Bushies!

  • LiveToServeYa

    Apology accepted, Osama bin Laden.

  • zhubajie

    Don't forget the Rapture! Speeding the Rapture and the Second Coming was surely one of Bush the Younger's aims.

  • ShaveTheWhales

    Ken, I am not completely on top of this, but I believe that the AG made the admittedly ridiculous determination that this was not an assassination because there are still some random laws floating around that prohibit, or at least discourage, assassinating people, even foreigners. Ironically, I think most of these strictures were put in place to try to keep right-wingers from offing moderate leftists, but the laws/regulations do not specifically refer to the political orientation of the potential victims.

    For the same reason that the Bush DOJ declared torture to not be torture, the Obama DOJ must declare assassination to not be assassination. And that reason is, to short-circuit attempts by the opposition party to make a big deal out of it.

    In absolute terms, it's a bad thing to do — it chips away a little more at the shared fiction that we have a government of law. But I'm not prepared to accept that it would be better to let the Republicans further undermine a Democratic President for having succeeded where a Republican President failed. (And, by "succeed", I mean "kill OBL". There has never been a reasonable probability of apprehending him).

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    remember Benazir Bhutto hit her head on the sunroof latch
    after telling David Frost that Osama bin Laden was dead ~

  • justkillmenow

    Toby Keith? Is that you?