OK–it’s easy to figure the reasons someone decided it was a good idea to ditch Osama bin Laden’s corpse at sea. First, there’s the putative sensitity to Muslim tradition: the body of the departed must be put to rest with in a day. Second, you want to avoid a lurid body-viewing spectacle that could inflame opinion, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Third, you want to avoid creating a mecca for would-be jihadis to visit.
But if the reaction of my mild-mannered and not rabidly political spouse is any indication, getting rid of the body without first providing some very public and very convincing show of proof that the official account of bin Laden’s demise is accurate is a serious mistake. “They just said he was buried at sea,” my not-rabid partner said. “Why would they do that? I want to see some evidence that he’s really dead.”
We don’t live in a world where anyone’s going to be willing to just take the government’s word for something this big and let it go at that. Without a body, someone in the White House better be ready to offer a complete narrative of how this all happened complete with the gory show and tell they want to avoid.