Since the days of the Iran hostage crisis, when a botched Delta Force raid cost President Jimmy Carter reelection, US officials have recognized the risks of ground raids.
What’s more, Gates argued that an air strike would be less of an invasion of Pakistan’s sovereignty, according to Bissonnette.
But an air strike came with its own risks and costs, requiring 32 bombs weighing 2,000 pounds each. The bombing would create a crater dozens of feet deep, in the event that the compound had a bunker system.
This in turn meant that “the possibility for collateral damage was high,” and the possibility of finding identifiable remains was “low.”
“If we were going to conduct this mission either with an air strike or raid,” he writes, “they wanted proof it was bin Laden.”