March 16th, 2010
08:20 PM ET

Analysis: The last 100 yards to bin Laden

The fact that Attorney General Eric Holder believes that Osama bin Laden will not be found alive is not surprising to those I speak to in the national security community.

Senior military and intelligence officials have said to me over the years they don't really expect to get bin Laden alive.

The feeling is either he has a poison pill such as cyanide that he would take if cornered, a weapon on his person at all times to shoot himself, or his immediate security personnel - who are with him at all times - have taken a vow to shoot and kill him before he is taken.

Holder went on to say as much after his initial comment Tuesday.

"The chances he'll be captured alive are infinitesimal. He'll be killed by our people or his own people so he's not captured by us," Holder told Congress.

This has been a long-standing view by almost everyone I have spoken to, that generally the "last 100 yards to bin Laden" would be the toughest because of this scenario.

It was back in 2001, one week after September 11, that I asked then-President George W. Bush about catching bin Laden. His answer became iconic.

"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West… I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'"

But since then, almost everyone I talked with said the former option was the most likely. It has generally come to be understood it will not be alive.

Related: Whatever happened to bin Laden?

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Cowboy

    We need a new boogieman to distract people from all the jobs going overseas and big corporations bringing workers from India when we have such unemployment at home.

    March 24, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. rob2tall

    As a former CIA operative -bin Laden wont be taken alive-he has far too much on the USA to get made public

    March 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. that buy at 12:35

    Osama has been dead for years now... the Government just didnt tell anyone because they knew it would Martyr him solves both problems at once

    March 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Devis Sri lanka

    prayers and blessings for the brave men who fight against evil in the desserts far away from their homes ,. lord will answer his humble servant"s prayer soon!!

    March 23, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. russian leader

    i know you will never populaize my comment, coz i no american, okay,
    bin laden is dead and its confirmed, bin laden is a hoax, he is dead,, some authorities used osama bin laden as a reason to attack and exploit poor third world countries,
    why dont these troubling countries do the same to china or russia my country?
    im studying nuclear physics and a part timer in russian army, i believe some people are too much liars that feed on weak countries, we all know your war was after oil,,,,
    he is dead coz he doesnt exist in the first place, all videos sent acclaiming hijackers were fake, you all know clearly what pc programs could do, you could create a new charater from scratch e.i tomb raider, tekken, blah blah blah,,,
    so sad people,,, so sad present,
    take care

    March 23, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    What ever happened to "dying within the belly of the eagle" within one year? Wasn't that like 5 years ago? I thought Bin Laden was going to do something he considered heroic. I guess he chickened out. No suprise there.

    March 23, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. stan thain

    Hes probably dead, the US government should forget about him and go after the real big time terrorists . the executives of the merrill lynchs of the world for a start.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. shortyjohan

    Justic would be to give him to the mothers of all the children who have died because of this scum bag. Then let them do what they want with this guy.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Keith B

    Is Bin ladin even still alive ?? Supposedly he was sick with kidney disease
    and that's been 8 or 9 years ago when that came out.

    March 23, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. bucky123

    pegleg, you're missing the mian point here...4 airplanes killed thousands of people horribly, and back then it really wasn't that hard to do...I say find those responsible, and hit 'em with a Predator.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sorrowful Joe

    You're all operating under a sever misapprehension. The 'average' IQ in America is around 100 by today's standard scale. Look at the posts that surround yours. Look at your post. The people searching for Osama are not necessarily any brighter than that. Although frightening it is the truth. Don't create fanciful scenarios of government conspiracy when I can honestly say I've seen some of those government people who have to take off their shoes to count higher than ten. Osama... might be alive. He might not. Whatever the case you must understand that (as has already been said) he is an incredibly powerful figure. He's also NOT uneducated and is probably appreciable smarter than a significant portion of the people reading this post. It is entirely possible to hide on this earth still today if you seperate yourself from society and limit your contact with the outside world. Whether we find Osama alive or dead, or perhaps find him at all, it doesn't change the fact that the average citizen will not be inconvenienced by whatever happens at all. Stop laying your problems at the feet of another person, get up, do something that makes you smile. Go have fun. Your life is short, why waste it on ignorant bigotry or worrying about what someone else is going to do? You could die tomorrow from cancer. You could die from a plane crash. You could die from a terrorist attack. No matter what you will still be DEAD. Don't waste the time you have.
    If you feel you have to flame this post because you don't agree with the viewpoint then I challenge you: Find another viewpoint that makes as much LOGICAL and CREDIBLE sense. Prove your theory. Mine is proved by the posts that surround it.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. nannikapoor

    Osama may not be the end of all terror in this world. Today Pakistan is helping US to fight terror with terror,the way it happened in the first Afghan war. The dynamics are the same – only the names change. Yesterday it was Al Qaeda today it is Taliban and the dreaded Lashkar i Tayyeba duly supported by Pakistan.

    America had to revisit Afghanistan after the first Afghan War and if the efforts at finding lasting solution to Af Pak without liquidating groups such as Lashkar are taken – a revisit is very much on the cards.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joe

    I believe that Bin Laden was just a good photoshop job. One of the biggest viral marketing ploys there ever was.

    March 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joop Kaashoek

    The US wants to keep him alive and free, so that he can make threats that will justify the military-industrial complex's existence and the defense budget at reccord heights.

    March 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sky

    Yeesh, not everyone who believes in God is a foaming-at-the-mouth religious fanatic. Don't paint us all with the same brush–reasonable religious people DO exist, they just tend to be quieter.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Edith O.

    Been dead since the raids on Tora Bora

    March 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  17. hoops

    I sure as hell don't want him found alive. Finding him alive then means using my tax dollars for an expensive trial that he doesn't deserve. Screw that!

    March 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Pegleg

    OBL has been credited with masterminding the most infamous terrorist attack ever on 9/11.
    Are we really that gullible that we believe an act so complex and so secret was planned and carried out without anyone from either the CIA, MOSSAD or any friendly countries secret service not knowing anything about it.
    The alternative though does,nt bear thinking about, an inside job no less.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  19. ramsey marvin

    Send Fannie Mae or Social Services after him. I betcha they would find him.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joe

    I can't belive people still think he is alive! Ha. You don't think he would be making a video every two weeks like he was before 9/11? Please people, get a clue, you're all so gullable. It's actually the most brilliant thing Bush ever did – letting the media speculate, for obvious reasons. Bin Laden was killed during the first attacks on Afghanistan when the US sent 50 cruise missles into the Afghanistan Kush.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  21. MaxVanguard

    Will all of you conspiracy theorists please quit getting your information from comic books, poorly made web "documentaries", and crackpots like Michael Moore?

    Read factual accounts from reliable news sources, books from people who've been there, and other foreign sources who have actually met Bin Laden personally. Quit getting your deep dark notions about the CIA and the dastardly "military/industrial complex" from the paranoid guy who wears tin foil on his head and hasn't left his basement in 15 years because he's afraid that the government will be able to read his thoughts. Heaven forbid that those pesky black helicopters keep following him around.

    Osama Bin Laden is/was very real, not some fictional character conjured up by our government to scare the kiddies. And this supposed "military/industrial complex" hasn't existed for quite some time now, folks. I work for a very large steel manufacturer, and we haven't seen a real military contract of any significance for decades. Our government gets its military hardware from more specialized contractors now. I'm not saying there isn't money being made there, but the notion that we would have callously killed 3000 American civilians just to get a chance to try out our new military toys is just absurd. The world is full of dangerous people, and there will never be a need to conjure up imaginary boogymen to engage in warfare - there are plenty of truly bad people out there (real bad guys) that will force us into unwanted conflicts. It used to be that warfare was generally good for the economy, but the last 9 years have proven that this is no longer the case.

    Your conspiracy theories are laughable, and this is no laughing matter.

    March 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Insane1

    If we capture him alive thats great, if we find his body thats great too.

    March 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  23. dh61

    I say get him alive and strap his butt to the front of a drone aircraft and let it fly around the mountains of Afghanistan unti it runs out of fuel.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Glenn

    Too many conspiracy nuts here. Go put on your tin foil hats and stop posting. To the actual topic at hand... I hope they can do a stealth operation at night and inject some sleeping gas into his house. But even if he dies it'll still be a victory.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Junior

    Come on people...really. Do you really think that we can't find this dude? We have the most sophisticated weapons and information gathering equipment in the world. Plus, I would believe that we have more than enough people undercover or in lines of sight to Obama. It is the old Washington "Magic Show". They know where he is and are waiting for the best time to produce him to the public. Dead or Alive. When public sentiment is at it's lowest....Hey everyone, look who we found! And then everybody feels warm and fuzzy again. It is so going to happen.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  26. kevin

    we are all wrong

    March 22, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  27. GA

    If a leader cannot stand up for what he believes in and decides to kill himself instead of facing the consequences, that in itself should be a message to his followers that his ideals are demented!!! I just cannot imagine there are people in this world that still believe in his cause!!!! Dead or Alive................ the untold suffering of millions has to stop........ and I hope that day will be soon!

    March 22, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  28. ZACH

    We are killing innocent people for no reason. Bin Laden is dead somewhere in ASIA,. We have not heard from him for years. This topic should be a closed book.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  29. risa

    I heard on the news when all this first began that he is on dialysis for kidney failure if there is any truth to this and he is living in caves he will soon if not already be dead form infection or heart attack due to the proper acid and bicarb not being used.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  30. andy

    Bin Laden is very truly alive under the care of the pakistani agencies somewhere inside pakistan. Pakistan is bleeding the americans with demands of cash, and what not, as their returns for capping his activities on a periodic bais. Well done america, for your holy war on terror. america will continue paying the price to pakistanis to hold back their weapons of terror .

    March 22, 2010 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
  31. doug e

    Why does it even matter anymore? Alive or dead the results are the same. We will still be seeing terrorists. The addage cut off the snakes head does not apply here when theres more than one snake.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  32. Chris

    The idea that giving him a trial and putting him away for life to rot in a prison cell is "hollywood liberal" thinking is bogus. It's American thinking. We are the good guys. We are the people that live under a document called the Constitution. We follow our laws.

    This absurd idea that kangaroo-justice is better really indicates we need to be teaching remedial citizenship in our schools. There is no American jury that will find him not-guilty, and the right prosecutor will be able to debate bin Laden's justifications and turn this onto a new Scopes-Monkey trial that ultimately dissects and destroys the rationalizations for terrorism.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  33. nauman ahmed

    this sick man and his cronies should be taken out and isolated from the rest of mankind.his freak mind set has tarnished the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world.some people who wanted to pin the label of terrorism on Islam and Muslims may be helping him in cash and kind.unified humanity,not divided into nations,cast ,creed or religions should try to find out this,in the name of God whom we all believe in and for peace and tranquility in the world. hatred and spreading mis understanding only, through media, will not help

    March 22, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  34. hothead007

    It is the devil satan bush who should be as Wanter Dead Or Alive, because he lied to the world about weapons of mass destruction and committed Genicide of innocent unarmed civilians in Iraq & Afghanistan so he should be tried in the World Court an be hanged by his balls till death

    March 22, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  35. Birdman36

    If they do catch him dead or alive, so what? It won't stop terrorism or extremism

    March 22, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  36. Crowflight

    Why doesn't Sen. John McCain marshall is his forces as promised. " I know how to find and capture bin laden" Is it time for him to ante up? what is he waiting for? I am sure other are waiting.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  37. Derek W. Carlon

    Use your imagination. If he is alive, he can be captured alive... by himself or with a small army of bodyguards surrounding him. This is not impossible. We all have to breath, We all have to drink, We all have to eat, We all have to sleep. Pieces of a picture.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  38. waqa

    i think, he is no more available to be caught. he is just a story now which is been used for certain hidden objectives......

    March 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  39. mark C

    *** Did they ever find Hitler? No. They never even found a body. He was as non existant as the WMD's. He was just a boogeyman created by the decadant powers to justify a war. ***

    Dude, you SERIOUSLY need psychiatric help ASAP.

    March 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  40. DaveC

    Why always so negative about Osama Bin Laden? I bet that if you really got to know him you'd see that deep down he's a nice guy. A family man just doing the best he can.

    No doubt he tells infidel jokes, has cute 'pet' names for George Bush and Obama – that sort of thing. He probably really opens up when the tea gets flowing.

    So don't be so negative about Bin Laden.

    March 21, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  41. Ian C

    Who benefits from announcing that this guy is dead? Anyone on either side?

    March 21, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  42. Ko, Hai-Sheng

    Does Osama Bin Laden still believe that he still has a slim hope to realize his dream. As of now he must be aware that such dream is hardly to realize in his life, but what he is still stuggling for. Probably, if the Western World can offer him an opportunity to allow him to realize part of his dream from the negotiation table by giving up any voilence. If some one can work out this scenario, he might have a chance to receive the Nobel Prife in peace. Do you want to try instead of capturing him alive or dead.

    March 21, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  43. old man

    Alive or dead it makes no difference. He becomes more irrelevant every day. After 911 and other attacks where his intelligent operatives were killed or captured there is a great brain drain in his ranks. There are many fatwas from leading clerics against him. He now has only dirt poor and illiterate followers who are easily brainwashed.

    March 21, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  44. reallyIknow

    OBL is already captured and has been held in a very top secret location to spend the rest of his days in a no-view square cell, without any knowledge of time, day, or season. He won't be killed nor brought to trail. it serves everyone's purpose, including Al Quada, this arrangement,

    I can't say any more at this time.

    March 21, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  45. charles bowen

    Maybe they would have more luck finding bin laden if they looked in saudi arabia. Bin laden construction worked on many of the kingdoms holy sites and also constructed safe havens all over saudi arabia for the royal faimly and given that 20 of the 911 hijackers were saudis who do you think would help him disapear. Saudis are not our friends and 911 was a message to stay out of the middle east saudi arabia owns it. Black Gold Texas Tea . Try looking Where he may be not where he is'nt and who knows you might find him.

    March 21, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  46. tony

    If you dont believe any posted comment on this topic,believe posted comment #17. Well put my friend.

    March 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
1 2