Friday, May 13, 2011

Justifying the Killing of Osama bin Laden

An uneasiness about the killing of Osama bin Laden lies faintly on the minds and in the hearts of those of us who care about justice and legal rights, but we shrug it off in this case because the memories of 9-11 won’t go away!
by Charlie Leck

Noam Chomsky had pretty rough words for the U.S. after the Osama bin Laden slaying in Pakistan. Now, mind you, I like Chomsky. He’s about as far left as a human being can get, but he does have some worthy ideas and he knows injustice when he sees it. For the record, though, I don’t agree with his comments about bin Laden’s death…

“We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.

Christopher Hitchens, writing on, took after Chomsky and his comments and I think I must come down on Hitchens’ side on this one. [read Hitchen's entire statement here]

Here’s what I know…

1. Osama bin Laden was a gruesome killer (untried it’s true, but self-confessed).

2. Our nation committed itself 10 years ago to hunting bin Laden down no matter the cost (and the cost has been extraordinary).

3. The opportunity to nail the infamous terrorist presented itself and our President issued the order to get him.

4. I would have preferred a full trial and I think such a trial would have served history well.

5. I am glad that bin Laden did not slip away in the night to kill again.

6. There is plenty of room for criticism of the way bin Laden was killed, but we were not walking in the shoes of those Navy Seals. We don’t know what the dangers were or under what orders they were working. We will probably never know.

There will be international reverberations to this historic event. They may not come for months or years, but they will certainly come. Insanity (in the name of religion) has been loosed upon the earth. Monstrous acts of hatred will again be committed and claims will be made that it is the will of God.


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