The Washington Times - June 19, 2008, 03:52PM

It’s not exactly President Bush’s “dead or alive” marker, but John McCain today says Osama bin Laden is in for the ultimate end: “Under my administration, Osama bin Laden will either be killed on the battlefield or executed.”

McCain and Barack Obama have spent the past couple of days sparring over the way the war on terror should be pursued, ever since Obama favorably referred to the way the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was handled as a law enforcement matter and after he said he wouldn’t want to make bid Laden a martyr.

Democrats, of course, point to the fact that Bush has had six years and hasn’t gotten the most wanted man in the world.

“It is absurd that the same group of people who have failed to kill or capture Osama bin Laden for over six years are now arguing about what we should do if we capture him” said Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy. “A bad decision that George Bush made and John McCain fully supported — to divert forces from Afghanistan to Iraq — left Osama bin Laden free to promote his vicious brand of violence, and empty tough talk can’t reverse that fact or make up for bad judgment.”

Obama’s campaign also pointed out he’s said in the past that bin Laden would qualify for the death penalty after he gets due process.

It’s possible this issue is so polarized that no voters are going to be swayed by it, but it’s also possible those Hillary Clinton primary supporters are open to persuasion. If so, we can expect plenty more back-and-forth where this came from.


Stephen Dinan, National political correspondent, The Washington Times