His capture, like Saddam Hussein's in December 2003, would have provided invaluable intelligence and been an even greater example of U.S. military prowess than his death.Yoo scoffs at the assertion that the orders were to take bin Laden alive unless he presented a threat:
As Sunday's operation put so vividly on display, Mr. Obama would rather kill al Qaeda leaders—whether by drones or special ops teams—than wade through the difficult questions raised by their detention. This may have dissuaded Mr. Obama from sending a more robust force to attempt a capture.
Early reports are conflicted, but it appears that bin Laden was not armed. He did not have a large retinue of bodyguards—only three other people, the two couriers and bin Laden's adult son, were killed. Special forces units using nonlethal weaponry might have taken bin Laden alive, as with other senior al Qaeda leaders before him.