Have you ever noticed that the first story - and maybe the next several - that comes out around some critical event is never true? NEVER!
Remember that, class - whatever you hear about such an event can't be true - CAN'T BE.
The raid leading to the killing of Osama bin Laden was supposedly videoed in "real time" - I heard several commentators say that. I could tell when they did that it wasn't true, because (a) they hadn't seen the video, (b) the vague way they described what that meant indicated they didn't know what they were talking about (the technical term for this is "bullshitting"). One guy said that all the raiders had night cameras on their helmets that streamed video "back." Back where? Was there a director taking all the feeds and creating a single narrative for Obama and the others in the situation room to view?
Of course not - that's idiotic.
Here's what actually occurred, according to Leon Panetta, director of the CIA: "once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you there was a time period of almost 20 to 25 minutes where we really didn't know just exactly what was going on, and there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information."
As a result, the stories we have been fed have already changed radically.
Remember when bin Laden fired an automatic weapon?
He was unarmed.
Remember when he used a woman in the room with him as a "human shield" and she was killed?
The woman who died was on a different floor.
Remember the armed guards at the bin Laden compound whom the raiders fought off during an intense firefight?
This isn't true, according to the Times: "Bin Laden no longer had a circle of Arab bodyguards, or mujahedeen who had fought with him against the Soviet Union, but two married men and their young families." Both men died with him in the compound. It seems that bin Laden had NO security. The firing and explosives employed by the Seals, which took more time than anticipated, seem to have been used to penetrate the inner compound/actual house walls. They then simply faced bin Laden, his family, and some retainers, including the woman (NOT bin Laden's wife) who was killed along with the two Pakistani family friends.
It's not the confusion of events that makes for these misstatements. Oh, the confusion permits the untruths. But the made-up facts are there to fulfill a narrative. Bin Laden was armed because Americans would never shoot an unarmed man. Bin Laden used a woman as a human shield, which was why she was killed, because Americans would never kill a woman otherwise. And bin Laden's manse was well-guarded because a large team of brave, well-trained military assassins HAD TO encounter furious armed resistance - they don't just go in and kill people!
That's what Americans needed to hear; that's what they were told.
P.S. (From Maureen Dowd's column, October 2, 2012):
Last year, the White House had to backtrack from the overwrought initial contentions of John Brennan, a deputy national security adviser, who said Bin Laden died after resisting in a firefight and that he was “hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield.”
Now that one of the members of the Navy SEAL team, Matt Bissonette, has written a book, there are contradictory accounts, one by a Democratic White House dying to sound tough, and one by an eyewitness. Bissonette wrote that the lead commando shot an unarmed Bin Laden in the head when he peered out of his bedroom door and they shot his convulsing body again inside the bedroom. In the administration’s version, the shot in the stairwell missed.
Follow Stanton on Twitter