Opinion: Obama makes no dead or alive pledge on Osama


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Barack Obama today drew another line of distinction with President Bush, this time over the hunt for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

A long while back in the heat of the initial hunt, you may recall, Bush said he wanted to catch Al Qaeda’s leader ‘dead or alive,’ a Texas kind of phrase that captured the revenge feeling of many, but not his wife, Laura, who gave the 43rd president something of a family scolding that evening for shooting from the lip.

In fact, in a SkyTV interview last weekend, which you can watch here, Bush said he now regretted using the phrase, though not the keen desire to bring the organizer of 9/11 to justice.


Today, according to a Swamp item by Mike Dorning, Obama said he’d try to avoid turning Bin Laden into a martyr who could provide a rallying point for a new generation of Islamic radicals.

Obama said he was not certain that the terrorist leader would be captured alive.

But if Bin Laden were taken into custody, Obama said he’d bring the terrorist to justice ‘in a way that allows the entire world to understand the murderous acts that he’s engaged in and not to make him into a martyr.’

Obama added that such a capture would offer a high-profile moment to demonstrate to the world ‘that the United States government is abiding by the basic conventions that would strengthen our hand in the broader battle against terrorism.’ Dorning’s complete story is available here.

--Andrew Malcolm