35
   

What precedent does Bin Laden's killing set?

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:03 pm
@msolga,
Though I do think there is a difference between purposefully targeting civilians as your primary focus and being reckless about who you kill in a mis-guided military debacle.

I think.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:05 pm
@Eorl,
Quote:
An opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world how civilised people deal with criminals was wasted I think. Instead, America has declared openly they agree with AQ's MO, that one's enemies are simply to be killed in thier homes. Some example!
And we have also largely agreed with AQ on treatment of prisoners as well. Somewhat over looked to this point is that this execution of Osama has brought out all of the torture cheerleaders, who are now claiming that this shows that torture works...never mind that it took a decade to work. also never mind that most of what found Osama was our technology, not our torture skills.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:06 pm
@dlowan,
Yes.
A "misguided military debacle" is an entirely different matter, in my opinion.
Misguided & unpredictable things happen in such circumstances.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:08 pm
@msolga,
Well, that kind of contradicts what we both just said about Bush, for example, and only power being the difference between him and a terrorist.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:19 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:

We were at war. He was our opponent's General...


Well, the USA is at a war on drugs as well.

Additionally to that what Thomas wrote (and I agree totally with that), I just to make annotation that the "declaration of war" seems to have changed as well: at first, it was countries, now groups and criminals ...

Exactly what Thomas said above:
Thomas wrote:

It's not about excusing Bin Laden. It's about abstaining from lynch justice and from violating other countries' sovereignty.


It's not that “justice has been done”.
This was not justice, it was an extra-judicial execution, it was revenge.

Quite understandable revenge, as an legitimate emotional response. But it wasn't justice.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 10:50 pm
@dlowan,
Quote:
Well, that kind of contradicts what we both just said about Bush, for example, and only power being the difference between him and a terrorist

But the Iraq invasion "purposelessly targeted civilians" as an unavoidable consequence. Baghdad was where they lived, after all. It might have been "misguided", depending on your political perspective, but I'd argue that it was more calculated than "a reckless military debacle".
Lash
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 11:29 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Understanding varying perceptions, Walter, OBL was considered by most people in our country to have declared war on us by killing a couple thousand of our citizens. From that day til the day he died, he was considered a war criminal by our country.

It is my impression that our military has been attempting to locate and capture him to answer for the murders and prevent more since 2001. I think revenge slips a bit easily from your keyboard. He deserved to be arrested, detained and punished.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 11:32 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
He deserved to be arrested, detained and punished.


And here I do agree. Totally.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2011 11:53 pm
Whenever someone who deserves it so much as Osama gets what is coming to him people often neglect pesky things that are essential to justice such as due process. With his guilt being undisputed in most people's minds it can seem absurd to even quibble about the concept of justice.

But using Osama as the litmus test makes people forget important and legitimate qualms people have with assassination. The real problem with this is that it is an execution that dispenses with the judge and jury and those processes exist for a reason. Giving people the power to assassinate is to give them the power to be above the law. When it happens to a guy like Osama nobody cares all that much but these things are important for a civil society.

This now really does look like an extrajudicial execution (if he was unarmed then they clearly didn't try to take him alive) and if the ethical issues don't give you pause at all it is worth exploring whether you see the issues in other cases:

What if Mexico, in their war on drugs, just started targeted killings across the border? Even if they tried to target really really bad guys and all, would you accept that?

What about when Israel assassinates people they claim are terrorists or who have aided them? They've killed innocent people in their targeted killings (not just the 1:1 ratio of innocents they historically have killed along with the target, but actually targeting someone innocent) and have had to settle in civil court.

What about if your police department just started assassinating murderers instead of arresting them?

I can't bring myself to care all that much about this happening to Osama, but I do think that the fears about putting Osama on trial are not a valid reason to dispense with due process and think that they influenced the apparent unwillingness to take Osama alive in this mission. Due process works best when it isn't granted "but he obviously needs killing" exceptions.

In short, if Osama is a special case there should be mechanisms to determine such cases that are codified in law. It should not be merely up to the good judgement of the CIA or even the president.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:06 am
@Robert Gentel,
Exactly!
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:12 am
@Walter Hinteler,
What do our laws mean to a man who obeyed none. He destroyed life, distorted truth and had no love for justice. He played on the ignorance of his followers, issuing forth innocents to slaughter. He handcuffed an entire religion and caused unprecedented restriction on the rest of the world.
He taunted and toyed with the US and put up his dukes.
A trial would have been a gong show. And then, what, he sits on Death Row? For years and years of appeals... Becoming a saint.
No, the only choice was death.
OBL could have turned himself in. Lived under the protection of another government. And maybe he did. But he knew what he was in for, he'd signed a covenant in blood.
For 10 years the US has been very open of their blood lust. Not one country, not one, has jumped in to offer Bin Ladin a safe haven, then again maybe one did? There have been no emergency meetings held at NATO or behind closed door meetings (we've been privy too) stating the US should not follow through on their plans. Or to prevent the US from getting their revenge.
Has any country (aside from Pakistan recently) complained about the plan? Was Amnesty championing his cause? Have any nations ordered ambassadors out of the US, or vice versa, based on any complaint? Or directed US citizens to leave their countries because of this death warrant?
No.
Maybe for their protection in the aftermath, but that's another matter altogether. In fact, most of the world just heaved their shoulders in acceptance, of the foregone conclusion.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:15 am
@Robert Gentel,
I suppose it could be argued that any resistence to capture posed a threat to the success of the mission, armed or not. The result was in keeping with Mr Bush's old west proclamation of dead or alive.

The question of precedent seems very real here, but there is some room for argument.
I understand we had not kept secret from Pakistan, that if he were discovered there we would not hesitate to come after him.

I think the story, at present, leaves some room for argument that any resistence constituted a threat to the lives of the seal team.
hawkeye10
 
  5  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:15 am
@Ceili,
Quote:
What do our laws mean to a man who obeyed none. He destroyed life, distorted truth and had no love for justice. He played on the ignorance of his followers, issuing forth innocents to slaughter. He handcuffed an entire religion and caused unprecedented restriction on the rest of the world.
He taunted and toyed with the US and put up his dukes.
As has already been pointed out by msolga and kinda sorta by Robert, it is not about him, it is about us.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:24 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
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).


But that was clearly not the case. Taking him alive in this situation may only have required a willingness to do so, it was clearly not a choice between doing so and having to kill thousands. They'd killed pretty much everyone at the compound who was armed. After the firefight they killed him unarmed but stuck around to pick up dozens of items of interest such as computer disks and usb drives. It seems pretty clear that if they wanted him alive they could have taken him alive.

This mission was conducted by 25 or so highly trained individuals who suffered no casualties and I can't imagine that an unarmed Osama posed a threat they could not have dealt with non-lethally (after all, we'd except a couple of low-level cops to be able to handle unarmed resistance non-lethally). I think their rules of engagement were something like "yell 'surrender' and shoot" and that there was a strong preference for a quick execution over a rendition.

Now it's hard to quibble about Osama and justice given the emotional baggage he brings, but if it were just as easy to capture him as to kill him (as opposed to your thousands of lives scenario) do you think the right thing to do is capture or kill?
Eorl
 
  4  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:28 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

What do our laws mean to a man who obeyed none. He destroyed life, distorted truth and had no love for justice. He played on the ignorance of his followers, issuing forth innocents to slaughter. He handcuffed an entire religion and caused unprecedented restriction on the rest of the world.

This is your closing statement for the Prosecution? Thankyou Council. Sit down, Defence. You'll not be needed. The sentence has already been carried out.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:37 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:
What do our laws mean to a man who obeyed none.


Whether or not someone has broken laws is itself a determination that there are things like due process for.

Quote:
He destroyed life, distorted truth and had no love for justice.


You and I can agree that this was a very bad guy, but we can't just dispense with the process just because someone is notorious.

Quote:
A trial would have been a gong show. And then, what, he sits on Death Row? For years and years of appeals... Becoming a saint.
No, the only choice was death.


That is certainly not as emotionally satisfying to most people as due process is, but due process shouldn't be suspended just because the trial may be controversial.

Quote:
For 10 years the US has been very open of their blood lust.


So was Osama open about his long before 9/11 but transparency about one's motives doesn't necessarily justify them.

Quote:
Not one country, not one, has jumped in to offer Bin Ladin a safe haven, then again maybe one did?


I don't see how the dearth of countries willing to offer him a safe haven says anything about the ethical legitimacy of extrajudicial killing.

Quote:
Has any country (aside from Pakistan recently) complained about the plan? Was Amnesty championing his cause? Have any nations ordered ambassadors out of the US, or vice versa, based on any complaint? Or directed US citizens to leave their countries because of this death warrant?
No.


What is your point? Sure, few are going to pick this battle, are you saying that this is evidence that it was the right thing to do?

That would be an argument based on the fallacy of the appeal to popularity.

Quote:
Maybe for their protection in the aftermath, but that's another matter altogether. In fact, most of the world just heaved their shoulders in acceptance, of the foregone conclusion.


Are you operating under the assumption that popular acceptance of an act makes it right?
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 12:53 am
@wayne,
wayne wrote:
I suppose it could be argued that any resistence to capture posed a threat to the success of the mission, armed or not.


If you wouldn't accept that excuse from a couple of rent-a-cops using lethal force to subdue an unarmed attempt at resisting arrest why would you accept it from 25 highly-trained SEALs?

If they wanted the guy alive they could have taken him alive.

Quote:
The result was in keeping with Mr Bush's old west proclamation of dead or alive.


I think the rules of engagement were made in a way to ensure the dead part.

Quote:
The question of precedent seems very real here, but there is some room for argument.
I understand we had not kept secret from Pakistan, that if he were discovered there we would not hesitate to come after him.


Osama made clear he wanted to kill Americans too. I don't think his transparency about it makes a difference in regard to the ethics of doing so.

Quote:
I think the story, at present, leaves some room for argument that any resistence constituted a threat to the lives of the seal team.


I think creating this perception was intentional and part of a well-managed news cycle.

The language used was clearly intended to portray that he died in a firefight when the story was hot and the narrative was being defined. The subsequent corrections will thusly be only a subtext to the narrative debated only by the more pedantic among us.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 01:20 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
If you wouldn't accept that excuse from a couple of rent-a-cops using lethal force to subdue an unarmed attempt at resisting arrest why would you accept it from 25 highly-trained SEALs?

If they wanted the guy alive they could have taken him alive


I can't say if that's valid or not. Osama was not subject to the civilian laws that rent-a-cops enforce.
I'm not familiar with military law, when you're declared an enemy of the state.
There may already be precedent for a no tolerance policy "STAND DOWN OR YOU WILL BE SHOT" type of thing.

Quote:
I think the rules of engagement were made in a way to ensure the dead part.




Looks that way.

Quote:
Osama made clear he wanted to kill Americans too. I don't think his transparency about it makes a difference in regard to the ethics of doing so.


So, we're to compare our intrusion into Pakistan to Osama's intrusion into America?
Pakistan's tacit cooperation has already been trotted out.

Quote:
I think creating this perception was intentional and part of a well-managed news cycle.

The language used was clearly intended to portray that he died in a firefight when the story was hot and the narrative was being defined. The subsequent corrections will thusly be only a subtext to the narrative debated only by the more pedantic among us.


I have no doubt that management of the news cycle has been a high priority since the mission was first planned. I would bet they are far ahead of us at defending the action of the seals.
I'm betting there is some point of military law that works in favor.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 03:23 am
Some of you are saying that the Seals could have taken him alive if they wanted to.

We will never know the truth, because we werent there, but I would like to point out a few things.
First off, the Seals were under fire, conducting a raid in what they knew was a very hostile place.
The decision to kill Osama had to have been made in a split second, by the person that pulled the trigger.
The safety of the team is the first priority in a situation like that, and all of the armchair quarterbacking cant change that fact.
In a firefight against superior numbers, you have to move fast and eliminate as many threats as possible, as quickly as possible.
The members of ST6 did exactly what they are trained to do.
And lets not forget that President Obama had authorized the killing of OBL if it was necessary, and that gives the commander on scene immense latitude in deciding what "necessary" means.

And if they had captured him alive, what then?
Do you have a trial in a civilian court?
Do you allow him to use the trial as a means of getting his message out?

I have been in a few firefights, and have some idea what ST6 was up against.
They did the right thing, and did it well.

Wayne said this...
Quote:
There may already be precedent for a no tolerance policy "STAND DOWN OR YOU WILL BE SHOT" type of thing


That policy exists on every military base.
If you attempt to enter certain areas, or if you attempt to access certain things, the MP's have the authority to use deadly force to stop you.

And lets not forget that the Seals are not police officers.
As soldiers, their job is to kill the enemy and to destroy the enemies will to resist.
So while they might have wanted to take OBL alive, they will not risk any of their team to do that.
If he didnt do exactly as they said, or if he made a move that was considered hostile, the safety of the team comes first, period.
Ionus
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 03:28 am
@Lash,
Quote:
He deserved to be arrested, detained and punished.
In a mass media show trial where he would use every opportunity to gain more followers and incite them to violence .
 

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