Wednesday, May 4, 2011

White House: 'No Question' Osama's Death Was Lawful

The White House said today that it "acted in the nation's self-defense" and insisted Osama Bin Laden would have been taken into custody if it had been "feasible," answering questions over the disclosure the Al Qaeda leader was unarmed when Navy SEALS confronted him Sunday in his sprawling compound in Pakistan.

White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested Bin Laden did not acquiesce to rules "consistent with the laws of war."

"The team had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender, in which case the team was required to accept his surrender if the team could do so safely. The operation was conducted in a manner fully consistent with the laws of war. The operation was planned so that the team was prepared and had the means to take bin Laden into custody," Carney said reading from his notes.

"There is simply no question that this operation was lawful. Bin Laden was the head of al Qaeda, the organization that conducted the attacks of September 11, 2001. And al Qaeda and bin Laden himself had continued to plot attacks against the United States. We acted in the nation's self-defense. The operation was conducted in a way designed to minimize and avoid all together, if possible, civilian casualties. And if I might add, that was done at great risk to Americans. Furthermore, consistent with the laws of war, bin Laden's surrender would have been accepted, if feasible. That's my response," Carney added.

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