The champagne is either flat or gone by now, so it's time to start sorting through the welter of fact vs fiction already spinning out of control with regards to the death of Osama bin Laden. Sources in the UK and the Middle East tell us that there is significant question in certain quarters if, indeed, this death has occurred, to which we reply: "Uh, yes." Do not--repeat, do not--go down this road of conspiracy unless you want to be relegated to the bin that includes birthers and moon landing doubters. Let's get to the much more interesting stuff. For example, the question: Did torture techniques lead to critical information that lead to bin Laden? This will become a much-debated point because so many (and we're looking at you, John Woo and Dick Cheney) have so much riding on torture providing tangible evidence. However, as even our sources in the Special Forces have told us repeatedly: torture does not provide information; it provides disinformation. Moreover, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld himself confirmed that " [information] was obtained through 'normal interrogation approaches' and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a 'myth.'"
And what about Pakistan? Well, this gets a little sticky. Back in 2009, war correspondent Elizabeth Rubin commented on the role Pakistan has played in Afghanistan: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXvgWD8Rku0[/youtube]
But aside from some prominently placed photographs of protests today, Pakistan is largely calm. Why? Murztaza Haider, a management professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, had returned to his native country to do research and was in Islamabad when bin Laden was killed. He told Scientific American, "I have trouble processing as to why there is so much calm. Usually when there is news like this, it spreads like fire. When [former Pakistani prime minister] Benazir Bhutto was assassinated [in December 2007 while running for prime minister once again], within hours the whole country was in flames. Railway engines were set on fire, highways were blocked—it was a chaos within hours. [Regarding the bin Laden news] it's not that no one knew about it. We have 24-hour news channels that people are watching live. I think they don't care."
Haider pointed to a Pew Global research poll that indicated little support (18 percent) for bin Laden among Muslims worldwide.
(Fun fact: an estimated 56.7 million people in the US watched President Obama deliver the news on Sunday night--his largest audience to date, but lagging far behind the 95 million viewers for the O.J. Simpson slow-mo chase through Los Angeles in 1994.)