In fact, they did NOT follow Islamic law on this.
“623. * If a person dies on a ship and if there is no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship, it should be kept on it and buried in the ground after reaching the land.”
Buried at sea is to be avoided! And only done when there is no other viable option.
Bin Laden was killed on land, so there was no religious excuse to not bury him on land pronto. They move the body to a ship - a no-no - and then dumped it overboard when “there [was] no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship”.
The Navy may say they complied with tradition, but couldn’t have screwed it up more without adding bacon. The term “malicious obedience” comes to mind, but I don’t think malice was involved.
Burying him at sea was meant to forestall that scenario. It is intended to prevent the construction of a site of homage to the bloodthirsty Sheikh.
Thank you for telling me this. It is comforting. :)