The XX Factor

Bin Laden Used Wife as “Human Shield,’ Says White House

Update, May 3, 2011: The White House has since issued an updated statement saying that the woman killed was not in fact Bin Laden’s wife, nor was he using her as a human shield.

Yet more detail on the woman who died during the Osama bin Laden shoot-out: Talking Points Memo reports that John Brennan, a counterterrorism advisor to the president, says that it was Bin Laden who grabbed the woman and used her as a “human shield,” during the shoot-out. (Bin Laden “was engaged in the firefight, but it was unclear if he got any shots off.”) Brennan also said he understood that the woman was, in fact, one of Bin Laden’s wives. I suppose if you’re married to a man who’s been responsible for the deaths of thousands, chivalry isn’t exactly expected, but this detail strikes me as incredibly telling-the pure callousness with which Bin Laden regarded human life was monstrous to the very end.