Thursday, May 05, 2011

Osama bin Laden, Dead

How should we react to the slaying of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALS? It is clear by now that the original story of how it was done was not exactly true. Would it have been preferable to just have arrested him? Even that might have been tested in court since the US did not have Pakistani authority for an incursion into their territory. A court might have declared the arrest invalid and ordered his release. Then there would have been all the arguments about the validity of the trial and the necessity of long, drawn out, litigation. I think it takes a decade or more to execute someone under US law.

However, I can think of no law by which the SEALS had the right to execute him in Pakistan.

I have been reading about the 1st World War, when tens of thousands were killed in a single day. The weapons used at the time were often of dubious legality for the rules of war. (The bombing of civilians from airships was definitely forbidden). We talk about the fog of war. The original reason for invading Afghanistan was to capture or kill bin Laden , who by his own admission was the instigator of 9/11 and in any case was already a wanted man for several heinous crimes committed by AK. But a decade has passed and the wounds have healed over a bit. This could hardly be called hot pursuit.

I am reminded of The Searchers and John Wayne's relentless pursuit of the brave who kidnapped Natalie Wood. Long after others had forgotten about the hurt, he pursued his revenge. Was this all about revenge?

What if it was? The USA can act pretty well as it likes in the world and no-one can hold it to account. It may not always be so. But it is a dangerous move for American citizens. If the American President can kill whom he likes without recourse to law, then who is safe?

I am sure many in America will today feel vindicated. The man was clearly a criminal and they will feel that justice has been done. No doubt we will hear a more complete story as the days pass, but one could wish that Osama had been found with an AK47 in his hand.


Anonymous said...

No mortal can ever be certain what constitutes the correct answer, much less the consequences of such an action, but I believe (in it's simplest terms) that the action taken was necessary if America and the World is ever to get past the era of modern islamic radicalism and its associated terrorism. I see the action as "taking an eye for an eye"

My one concern about what has been written and said about all of this (including the very words of the American President) is that "justice" was done...JUSTICE WAS NOT NECESSARILY DONE, BUT VENGEANCE WAS CERTAINLY EXTRACTED.

I hope that you are feeling better...Rick

Burke said...

Legally, it was probably murder. Morally, it was necessary to protect innocents who would have been kidnapped and beheaded on videos by fanatics trying to effect bin Laden's release. The law should be changed to permit such things.

I believe the Pakistanis delivered bin Laden to the US in exchange for Adfhanistan, as hinted at in this news story:

Logo said...

Shortly after 9-11, media in the muslim tyrannies published polls on support for OBL. No poll anywhere found less than 60% support for the terrorist. How many American slaves-of-Allah support al-qaeda's calipha-by-genocide policies? I can't see it being less than 60%. When paks see our indulgence of those savages, they feel licensed to aid and abet terror.