The briefing is taking place as I blog. Jay Carney has so far told us that much of what we heard Monday about the bin Laden raid was wrong. There were two helicopters involved, not four. OBL was not hiding behind a woman, and was not armed. He did resist, and was shot. How the story got so convoluted when the White House was literally watching a video feed as the operation transpired is left to the imagination.
Carney said the photos of the dead man have not been released yet due to “sensitivities,” and when asked to elaborate, Carney said their gruesome appearance could be inflammatory. But to whom might they be inflammatory, and why? Carney refused to answer. He said the White House has not yet made a decision to release the photos.
Carney described in some detail how the body got the Islamic treatment. An Arabic speaker even translated remarks that were said at the funeral aboard the USS Carl Vinson before the corpse was “eased into the sea.” Our government has made this point so many times, it’s as if they’re trying to make bin Laden the good Muslim in death that we have consistently said he was not in life. This attempt to mollify will not satisfy anyone: Moderate Muslims should take it as an affront while the radicals still want us dead. It makes us look nice, but maudlin and a bit unserious. Less information on this point would have served us better in the long run.
Carney also tried his hand at fiction, stating that Pakistan is “vital” to our fight against terrorism.
Update: Jay Carney, spokesman for a petulant president, also insisted that Obama’s position on enhanced interrogation techniques has not changed. He further described it as “strange credulity” to think a single piece of information gleaned from a captured terrorist eight years ago led by itself to bin Laden. Of couse, no person on earth is making the case that that’s what happened. No one. People are making the case that the information gleaned from enhanced interrogation helped pull the strings that eventually led to bin Laden. Carney set up and assassinated a straw man in order to deny the previous administration any credit, and in order to maintain a political view of enhanced interrogation that should have died with bin Laden in Pakistan.