When the news was breaking last night that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden, special emphasis was placed on the fact the terrorist's body was "in U.S. custody." That didn't last long. By 2 a.m. Washington D.C. time, bin Laden's body had already been buried at sea. An explanation of the political concerns and diplomatic that influenced the handling and burial of the body, and a look at how the U.S. is making the case abroad that they really got their man.
Why so fast?
Because the White House is adamant the body be handled in accordance with Islamic practices, which state a corpse must be buried within 24 hours. A senior administration told Politico's Matt Negrin that properly disposing of the body "in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition" was "something that we take very seriously, and so, therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner." That reinforces the point President Obama made in his speech to the world last night, when he declared "the United States is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam."
Why at sea?
The New York Times says that by burying the terrorist at sea, "American authorities presumably were trying to avoid creating a shrine for his followers." A source tells The Wall Street Journal that Saudi Arabia (bin Laden's country of birth) was initially offered custody of the body, but declined