I'm not going to deny it. My response to the death of Osama bin Laden is not elation. Had he been captured I would have been very pleased. That's because I care about answers. I care about understanding things. His death means we won't get answers.
And we need them. Let's recall a few historical facts. In the immediate wake of 9-11 bin Laden denied involvement. A war in Afghanistan was launched, despite the Taliban's repeated efforts to turn bin Laden over (reported in The Independent and also buried within the text of a Washington Post article). In November a video tape was discovered in Afghanistan which claims to show bin Laden talking about advanced knowledge of the attacks, though he appears to be talking after the events themselves (transcript here). In June 2002 Robert Mueller, then FBI director in testimony before the Senate, a full 8 months after the bombs had begun falling and after one of the most intensive investigations ever undertaken in the history of humanity, tells us that he does "believe" that the idea for 9-11 came from Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan though the actual plotting was done in Germany and the financing came from the United Arab Emirates from sources in Afghanistan. In 2004 another video surfaces in which Osama bin Laden takes responsibility (transcript here).
He may have been responsible. That's probably a best guess. On the other hand he may be boasting. He may want to take credit even though he didn't do it. What would be nice is to capture him and use him to fill out the missing pieces of the puzzle. I'd like to understand what happened as well as possible. That gives us the best chance of actually identifying the culprits.
Osama bin Laden is a murderer and deserves punishment, but the legal process is important, even for the most heinous crimes. Actually I'd say especially for the most heinous crimes. What if you wrongly identify the culprit? What if some of the plotters escape? This is more likely at this point because instead of getting interrogation we got bullets to the head. Was that necessary? We are talking here about the world's most elite fighting force. They can put a bullet anywhere they want. They can go with left eye, right eye. They can take out a leg or an arm. I don't know what happened. I don't know if they had no choice based on the resistance they encountered. But capture would have been nice.
We now learn that bin Laden was unarmed when killed, yet resisted, and had a weapon? Makes little sense. Also the earlier rumors that he had a woman as a shield look to be false. He was with a woman that ran towards the soldiers and she was shot in the leg.