35
   

What precedent does Bin Laden's killing set?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:00 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
When that happens, Americans will suddenly become internationalists.


hehehehehehehe . . .

Especially in view of the extent to which they financed Mr. Bush's national debt.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  7  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:09 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
How many claim they are guilty, when they are in fact innocent - and there is a huge amount of evidence that they are guilty?

I don't know that Osama Bin Laden ever claimed he was guilty of terrorism. To be sure, he boasted about masterminding the 9/11 attacks. But to him, those attacks wouldn't have constituted terrorism, just freedom-fighting against American troops in Saudi Arabia. The individuals who carried out the 9/11 attacks were as terrorist to Bin Laden as the Nicaragua Contras were to Ronald Reagan: not at all. Killings are a matter of fact; terror is a matter of interpretation. And the US government's interpretation of terror is no better than anybody else's.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:12 pm
On the issue of shooting Bin Laden "after" or "in" a firefight, CNN just said he was unarmed, but the Navy Seal who took the shot didn't want to take any chances. This mostly affirms my hunch about Obama's usage of the word "after".
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:13 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
How many claim they are guilty, when they are in fact innocent - and there is a huge amount of evidence that they are guilty?

I don't know that Osama Bin Laden ever claimed he was guilty of terrorism. To be sure, he boasted about masterminding the 9/11 attacks.


There is no appreciable difference between the two things.

Quote:
But to him, those attacks wouldn't have been terrorism, just freedom-fighting against American troops in Saudi Arabia


His interpretation of his actions isn't material to the problem. Lots of crazy people think that they aren't crazy, but it doesn't change the diagnosis.

Quote:
The individuals who carried out the 9/11 attacks were as terrorist to Bin Laden as the Nicaragua contras were to Ronald Reagan: not at all. Killings are a matter of fact; terror is a matter of interpretation. And the US government's interpretation of terror is no better than anybody else's.


This I agree with. However, it doesn't have to be better than anyone else's. It's not a competition of differing interpretations, but instead, and action we decided to take based on OUR interpretation.

This is straying from the original topic a bit, so let me sum up by saying that I don't think our killing of OBL set a bad precedent at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:22 pm
I'm not sure why there should be a hue & cry about government conducted assassination as a tool of war, unless one is a high ranking member of a government who doesn't want to get plugged.

There is nothing outrageous about arguing that it is better that a general be assassinated if it could possibly prevent the necessity to kill thousands of his troops (which would require the deaths of a host of the assassin nation's troops).

Isn't this a condition of war that drives the anti-war crowd nuts? Leaders sending young men and women to die from the safety of their refuges?

The argument about the Chinese government sending assassins after a dissident in San Francisco may score academic points, but that's about it.

It is more than a theoretical right of the nation in which the assassination is conducted to treat the act as a crime. I'm not troubled that the Seals may have plugged Osama after the firefight was over, but their doing so in no way requires the US to permit all other nations from sending hit squads to an American city, and virtually no one is going to find it persuasive that because the US whacked Osama in Pakistan, the world has to accept China assassinating dissidents on foreign soil.

I'm 100% certain that if President Obama could have trusted the Pakistani government to capture or kill Bin Laden he would not have sent in the Seals.

If there is a Chinese equivalent of Bin Laden, China can trust us to apprehend or kill him if we are given his location.

I love when moral relativists demand absolute moral standards.

I, by the way, don't have a problem with assassinating Osama or Yamamoto or the leaders of any nation of group with which we are at war.




sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:24 pm
@Thomas,
There was a firefight, though. After that firefight, they got Bin Laden.

Quote:
The Seal team stormed into the compound — the raid awakened the group inside, one American intelligence official said — and a firefight broke out. One man held an unidentified woman living there as a shield while firing at the Americans. Both were killed. Two more men died as well, and two women were wounded. American authorities later determined that one of the slain men was Bin Laden’s son, Hamza, and the other two were the courier and his brother.


also,

Quote:
American officials insisted they would have taken Bin Laden into custody if he did not resist, although they considered that likelihood remote. “If we had the opportunity to take Bin Laden alive, if he didn’t present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that,” Mr. Brennan said.


This may or may not be true, of course.

both:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/world/asia/03intel.html

A really detailed article about the whole operation, one of the most detailed I've seen.
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:31 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
I, by the way, don't have a problem with assassinating Osama or Yamamoto or the leaders of any nation of group with which we are at war.


Me either, especially if it leads to a swift conclusion of the conflict. This sounds like the sort of rule put in place by... leaders of nations, who want their class to be considered off-limits, out of fear for their own hides.

Cycloptichorn
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:33 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
There was a firefight, though. After that firefight, they got Bin Laden.

... and that pedestrian did run into my car just before he happened to die.

Quote:
One man held an unidentified woman living there as a shield while firing at the Americans. Both were killed.

"One man"---not Bin Laden though. And again, I don't see why homeowners have a duty to let foreign soldiers invade their houses. When you start a firefight, you don't get to excuse your actions by claiming you were in a firefight. That's the same logic as killing your parents and pleading for mercy because you're an orphan. I understand another word for that is chutzpah.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:39 pm
It shows might is right despite all that ballyhoo about the pen being mightier than the sword.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:40 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
It is more than a theoretical right of the nation in which the assassination is conducted to treat the act as a crime.

That's not what the US told Germany. In 2007, Germany considered a lawsuit against CIA operatives who had abducted a German citizen to Afghanistan for torture. Far from encouraging Germany's rule of law, the US applied profound amounts of arm twisting to prevent such a trial. Pakistan's capability to try the Navy Seals for their political assassination of Bin Laden may be a theoretical right of Pakistan's. It certainly isn't a practical option.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 02:43 pm
@Thomas,
Just replying to this:

Thomas wrote:
On the issue of shooting Bin Laden "after" or "in" a firefight, CNN just said he was unarmed, but the Navy Seal who took the shot didn't want to take any chances. This mostly affirms my hunch about Obama's usage of the word "after".


There was a firefight. (The Seals didn't go in unopposed, for example. They didn't bomb from above, for example. There was a firefight -- there was shooting from within the compound, and Seals shot back.)

Here's what Obama said:

Quote:
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.


He's focusing on the small team of Americans throughout. They carried out the operation with courage etc. None of them were harmed. They did their best to avoid civilian casualties. They were involved in a firefight though. And after that firefight, they killed Osama Bin Laden.

At any rate, more and more details are coming out -- including specific corrections that are issuing from the White House.* It could all be lies of course, but I just don't see a situation where the White House (Obama +) is lying about whether Bin Laden was killed in the midst of a firefight.


*
Quote:
The White House has further corrected details of the intense, Sunday-night raid on Osama bin Laden's compound and subsequent killing in an attempt to clear up several misstatements from administration officials about what transpired inside the compound walls during the 40-minute covert mission.

President Obama's press secretary Jay Carney Tuesday afternoon read a Pentagon-prepared statement to reporters describing the events that took place inside the compound Sunday night.

The new account dispelled any notion that bin Laden was armed or used his wife as a human shield when a U.S. assault team entered his room, killing him with two bullets, one to the body and one to the head. The new account revises what John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, told reporters Monday: that he believed Obama had a gun, although he said he wasn't sure bin Laden shot any rounds, and that he was using a woman as a human shield, most likely his wife.

At the time, Brennan offered caveats to his account, several times saying "it is my understanding" when pressed by reporters for more details and openly acknowledging that he did not see the events unfold himself.


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/white-house-further-revises-narrative-on-obl-killing.php
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 04:54 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
At any rate, more and more details are coming out -- including specific corrections that are issuing from the White House.
That is an understatement...
Quote:
Abbottabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Osama bin Laden was not armed but did put up resistance when U.S. forces entered the compound he was in and killed him, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.
Providing some new details of the events that transpired early Monday in Pakistan, Carney said U.S. Navy SEALS went floor-to-floor clearing the three-story compound where bin Laden’s family lived along with others.
Three people were killed on the first floor, including a woman, Carney said.
U.S. forces then moved upstairs where they found bin Laden in a room with a woman believed to be his wife — both unarmed, Carney said. She rushed the U.S. forces and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden resisted and was shot and killed, Carney said

http://wtfman.net/2011/05/03/did-navy-seals-violate-rules-of-engagement-in-killing-of-osama-bin-laden/
Quote:
May 03, 2011 "Telegraph" -- US officials had claimed that Osama Bin Laden had been "firing behind" his wife when he was shot through the eye by a US Navy Seal, painting a powerful image of the world's most wanted man cowering behind a defenceless woman.
In the original account of the firefight, John Brennan, a US counter-terrorism official briefing the media, said "There was family at that compound, and there was a female who was, in fact, in the line of fire that reportedly was used as a shield to shield Osama from the incoming fire".

However US officials have now conceded that Bin Laden was not armed during the assault, did not fire back and that his wife was only injured in the assault, most likely in the crossfire, according to unnamed officials quoted by the US website Politico.

"A different guy's wife was killed", said the website, quoting an unnamed official who had briefed US television media, with the official adding that Bin Laden's wife was "injured not killed", having been shot in the calf.

"Two women were shot here. It sounds like their fates were mixed up," said the US official. "This is hours old and the full facts are still being ascertained as those involved are debriefed." The website also quoted another official saying "I'm not aware of him [bin Laden] having a weapon."

The discrepancy between earlier accounts and the new version of events was put down to "confusion" by the White House, who said that the "fact pattern" on the assault was only now becoming clear as more of the participants were interviewed.

The contradictions came despite the fact that other reports suggesting that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state and other senior officials had watched the assault on a live feed provided by a camera mounted on the commando's helmets.


The identity of the dead woman has not been made public. However, officials quoted by the Reuters news agency added that she had been in a different part of the compound from bin Laden when he was killed.

Twenty-three children and nine women were in the compound at the time of the assault and were turned over to Pakistani authorities, added the US official who requested anonymity to discuss an intelligence matter.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28012.htm

Even in death Osama wins, as America works to squander what ever remains of our moral legitimacy.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 05:09 pm
@sozobe,
Oh well, the rest of us can only see 20 pulses from them a month.

Class action in action. Go to your library, wait.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 05:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cyclo - Every now and again we agree completely, and this is one of those times.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 05:21 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
It is more than a theoretical right of the nation in which the assassination is conducted to treat the act as a crime.

That's not what the US told Germany. In 2007, Germany considered a lawsuit against CIA operatives who had abducted a German citizen to Afghanistan for torture. Far from encouraging Germany's rule of law, the US applied profound amounts of arm twisting to prevent such a trial. Pakistan's capability to try the Navy Seals for their political assassination of Bin Laden may be a theoretical right of Pakistan's. It certainly isn't a practical option.


Not at all.

It's not a practical option if the country wants to continue to curry the favor of the world's greatest's power, but it is actually much more than a theoretical one.

First of all, abducting a German "citizen" who had engaged in terrorist plots and/or attacks against the US is something different than assassinating a political dissident.

Secondly, either Germany or Pakistan could and can treat the actions of US as a crime. Obviously they would have a hard time getting jurisdiction over the persons who they believed perpetrated the crime, but if the Chinese assassin was able to make it make to China, do you think the US could get it's national hands on him? Just because the suspects escape, for a time or all time, the justice of the offended nation, doesn't mean said nation must just swallow the offense.

You seem to have a quaint notion that taking a stand on what is right will not and should not have consequences. That it does is what makes it heroic.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 05:53 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

Cyclo - Every now and again we agree completely, and this is one of those times.


Yeah, and I agree pretty much completely with your posts on the other thread on this topic as well. Perhaps there is hope for both of us, and even, the survival of the Union, yet.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  5  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 06:29 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
First of all, abducting a German "citizen" who had engaged in terrorist plots and/or attacks against the US is something different than assassinating a political dissident.

He hadn't engaged in a terrorist plot. The CIA had made a mistake.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Secondly, either Germany or Pakistan could and can treat the actions of US as a crime. Obviously they would have a hard time getting jurisdiction over the persons who they believed perpetrated the crime

Barring that, the Germans could just send their assassins into the US, take things into their own hands. And according to the legal theory you're offering, that would be okay. Correct?

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
You seem to have a quaint notion that taking a stand on what is right will not and should not have consequences. That it does is what makes it heroic.

Taking a stand on what's right isn't about playing hero. It's about promoting what's right.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 06:35 pm
@Thomas,
I'm not going through four pages to see if my answer is already there but this isn't a precedent because you have to be ubernaive to think that this is the first time this type of incident has happened before in the history of modern warfare.

And I can guarantee that this type of covert action has been done by dozens of other countries and their respective military operations groups.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 06:56 pm
Quote:
he U.S. officials who planned the mission that ultimately killed Osama Bin Laden assumed “from the beginning” that the raid would result in the al-Qaida leader’s death, CIA director Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

“We always assume from the beginning that the likelihood was that he was going to be killed,” Panetta said in an interview with CBS News.

In the off-chance that Bin Laden was captured, Panetta said that he believed the plan would have been to quickly transport him to an airfield in Afghanistan and then move him to a ship offshore until the White House decided how to proceed.

Panetta’s comments come on the same day White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted on the record that Bin Laden was unarmed at the time of the raid.

The statements add to the growing uncertainty around conflicting accounts from U.S. officials concerning the exact details of mission, both in its planned version and how it was ultimately executed.

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said Monday that the team of Navy SEALs that shot and killed Bin Laden were prepared to take him into custody if they had the opportunity and “if he didn’t present any threat.”
Brennan’s comments came hours after an unidentified U.S. official told Reuters that the mission was “a kill operation.”

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/05/03/bin_laden_killed_cia_director_leon_panetta_says_us_assumed_that_.html

The good news for team Obama is that there are probably less than 50 people who know the truth, and it appears that only one person so far has conducted an unauthorized communication of the truth, so this is fixable. It will be ten or more years before the books get written, and by then the truth will not harm the war on terror.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 08:01 pm
@Thomas,
I've just read this article in the New Statesman, which considers some similar issues to those which Thomas has raised. Here's a link to it, if you're interested:

Quote:
Law, justice and the death of Osama Bin Laden

Posted by David Allen Green - 02 May 2011 17:15

Does it matter if the killing was against the law?

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2011/05/bin-laden-osama

My own concerns about the circumstances of Bin Laden's death are similar to Thomas's.
The precedent for the future.
But then, there have been so many really concerning precedents set by this "global war against terror": "extraordinary detention", the rights of the detained "unlawful enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay, the legality of the invasion of Iraq, as a response to 9/11 ...
The "war against terror" has changed traditionally accepted standards for warfare, particularly for western democracies which claim to adhere to UN charters concerning war.
Yes, I know it can be argued that there may be precedents from the past, that none of these developments are exactly new. But I would argue that they have been institutionalized, made more acceptable even, by both sides in this ongoing "war".
I fear where this will take us in the future.

As for the circumstances of Bin Laden's death ....
It is most unfortunate, from the US's perspective, that the details of the story have kept changing.
First, it appeared that he'd been killed in a shoot out.
Then he was killed after the shoot out.
We thought he was armed, then it turned out he wasn't.
Then we heard that he'd used one of his wives as a human shield.
Then we were told that wasn't the case at all.
The information has been contradictory, which can only fuel more conspiracy theories.
Which might now give more fuel to the mad "jihadists" to continue, at a time when they were losing relevance & credibility following the Arab Spring.
For the record, from the information I've had access to so far, I believe Bin Laden was executed, but it is not so much the circumstances of his death that worries me.
It is what the repercussions of his death might be that is the worrying aspect.
 

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