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  • Was it right to kill Bin Laden?

    I will not shed tears over Bin Laden, but I confess to growing doubts about what was done.

    Was it an act of justice--or revenge?

    If Bin Laden was unarmed and presented no threat, how was his execution different from murder?

    Why did the US not follow the example of Israel when they captured Adolf Eichmann, took him back to Israel and put him on trial, with a defence counsel?

    I believe we should try to act in accordance with our moral codes, not the codes of our enemies. I would like to hear a better case for the US action than I have heard so far.

  • #2
    I've the same. I'm not sorry he is dead but it is never right to kill somebody who is unarmed and who can be arrested IMO. I can see why they went with the easier option, but execution without trial is in no way justice and indeed plain murder.

    Actually I think that it would've been best if Bin Laden got a trial at the International Criminal Court. That would've been justice, since it's an objective court which is made for criminals like Bin Laden who caused so many innocent deaths in several countries. But I guess America wanted him dead, which wouldn't be an option at the ICC. And keeping him in a cell (no matter if it's in America or in The Hague) would be a risk since terrorists would try to set him free.
    Last edited by Nina; 05-05-11, 06:23 PM.

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    • #3
      Yeah, I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with all of this as well. I did find it to be somewhat disconcerting to hear the PM of my country, which does not support capital punishment, “welcoming” Bin Laden’s execution and calling it “justice.” It’s hard not to see that as a blatant contradiction of Australia’s values, regardless of who he was or what heinous crimes he committed.

      I think they need to release more information about what happened during the operation. They claimed that he “resisted” but then also stated that he was unarmed. So it’s a little unclear on how much resistance he really could have put up against a group of armed Navy Seals. Honestly, it sounds like a political assassination and although I despise Osama Bin Laden with every fibre of my being, I can’t say it doesn’t feel a bit wrong to me. I would have preferred he stand trial for his crimes and I think they need to offer a better explanation for why it was necessary to shoot an unarmed prisoner in the head.

      If their best defense is "because it was easier" then, sorry, but that's just not good enough.
      - "The earth is doomed" -

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      • #4
        Yes, it was fine. I don't care or need for one of the many inconsistent details of the mission to include a firefight or self-defense or human shield or a weapon within reach. Going and killing bin Laden is no different than going under your house and clearing out a nest of snakes. Or, if one prefers, from going to the castle and staking a vampire.

        The US owes no apology whatsoever here. Pakistan should be apologizing for what is now self-evidently at best willful blindness but more likely was willing complicity in hiding this putrid wretch.

        Taking him alive would have been politically problematic for too many reasons just for the sake of a show trial. A trial exists to test the proof against an accused and demonstrate that proof to the public. Neither of these were at issue for bin Laden, who freely and repeatedly admitted his crimes, and about which no legitimate question of fact needed an answer.

        He received a religiously appropriate burial, in a demonstration of why what the Seals that took him stand for is morally and objectively superior to what he himself stood for, and even that was generous. They could have done what they needed to document his identity, cut off a finger for DNA, and then thrown him out like a bag of feed.

        Usually you'll find no bigger proponent of the civilian judicial process of the US, but bin Laden didn't fall under it anyway. Typically, trials around the actions of creatures like bin Laden, even back to Nuremberg, are processes of law invented for the purpose of that trial. It's pretense.

        I'm proud of the JSOC and this President for killing him. To borrow a curse from Stephen King's "The Dark Tower", may his first day in hell last 10,000 years... and may it be the shortest".

        EDIT: The Hague? What building got dropped there? That court isn't a forum of redress nor sovereign over any victim. The only civilian criminal courts I would have considered able to show jurisdiction were New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, or the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. That's the largest nexus of the "criminal" enterprise (actually paramilitary), so he'd have been their man.
        Last edited by KingofCretins; 05-05-11, 06:29 PM.
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        • #5
          Frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing about Bin Laden altogether, but like I said in another thread, I do believe that he got what he deserved... and I don't usually think that way about this kind of thing.

          However, he was seen as a threat and whether he was unarmed or not pales in comparison to his crimes, let alone the fact he has so many followers that would gladly follow his example. If he stood trial or was held captive, he could either have gotten out or gotten off on some technicality. Not exactly what I'd call justice.

          I'm aware some in other countries think US is horrible for celebrating his death and though I'm not dancing in the streets about it, I'm not feeling sorry for him either.
          Last edited by Kiera; 05-05-11, 06:32 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kiera View Post
            I'm aware other countries think US is horrible for celebrating his death and though I'm not dancing in the streets about it, I'm not feeling sorry for him either.
            For the record, I don’t think the US is horrible for celebrating his death. I admit, in Australia you just wouldn’t see people dancing on the streets like that but that’s just because we have a very different culture. I think some people over here were slightly perturbed by it but the majority, I think, were quite sympathetic to why Americans were so happy even if we wouldn’t have reacted the same way. I don’t think there’s any judgement there, I think it just looks a bit strange to some foreigners and, for me at least, it was a bit unexpected. I just never could have anticipated that people would react that way but it just goes to show how different we all are because I’ve been told by many Americans that I’m quite naive to say that!

            If he stood trial or was held captive, he could either have gotten out or gotten off on some technicality. Not exactly what I'd call justice.
            That's a very slippery slope, though. If we started deciding that some trials just aren't worth it and that it'd be easier to just execute the prisoner, then that could lead everybody down quite a dark path. I'm not very comfortable with the idea of making 'special exceptions' for some prisoners just because more people are so disgusted by them. Yes, bin Laden committed truly atrocious crimes and he hurt thousands of people. However, the pain that his victim's families feel is no greater than in any other murder case and we don't advocate executing other prisoners incase the trial goes pear shaped. I can't consider it justice if the same rules don't apply to everyone and it seems like in this particular instance everybody (including my PM) is saying "Well, I don't advocate murder but in this case I hate the guy so much, so..." which is a little icky, IMO. People can't say that they don't advocate murder if they're willing to make excuses for it depending on who it is that happens to get killed.
            Last edited by vampmogs; 05-05-11, 06:40 PM.
            - "The earth is doomed" -

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            • #7
              I cannot fault the Americans for celebrating this death. Over 20 yrs ago myself and fellows Romanians we were celebrating Ceausescu's brief trial and execution on a Christmas day.

              But I believe that if OBL would had been taken in custody for trial the repercussions would have involved kidnappings, torture and horrible killings of innocent people around the world (possible seen on TV) as ransom for his return.
              "Gunn dies, Illyria Survives, Spike shanshus, Angel looses an arm and Xander looses an arm too, which is odd because he wasn't even there."
              Joss Whedon at the High Stakes convention - 2004

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

                That's a very slippery slope, though. If we started deciding that some trials just aren't worth it and that it'd be easier to just execute the prisoner, then that could lead everybody down quite a dark path. I'm not very comfortable with the idea of making 'special exceptions' for some prisoners just because more people are so disgusted by them.
                I totally agree with everything you said, but especially this part. As almost everyone else, I do feel a kind of relief and I do agree with the pursue of this man, it is very uncomfortable though that for some people the laws that bind us don´t apply. All matters aside, a murder is a murder, and it doesn´t matter if you kill a thousand or just one person. You´ve taken human life and you should be punished for that. But human life is a human life and I feel strange seeing that for some "villains" our laws apply and for some they don´t. Who gets to decide who has the right for a trial and who should be killed immediately? How far will this come if everyone just turns a blind eye on the fact that the laws that are part of human society are being broken with excuses being made up along the way?

                Don´t take me wrong, on some level Im glad that Bin Laden is dead. Though I never felt personally endangered by him or terrorism as a whole, I am content with the "punishment" that he got and which he truly deserved. It is just a little unsettling to me to think of where this one precedent can lead. Laws are laws for a reason, if they only applied to certain members chosen by a certain higher entity, they might as well be called "guidelines" for whatever it´s worth.
                Last edited by Destiny; 05-05-11, 10:30 PM.
                In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ubi4soft View Post
                  I cannot fault the Americans for celebrating this death. Over 20 yrs ago myself and fellows Romanians we were celebrating Ceausescu's brief trial and execution on a Christmas day.
                  I saw somebody (pretty sure it was an American) commenting about the Europeans having a party when Hitler killed himself in defence of the American parties this week. I think Hitler's death and also Ceausescu can't be compared to Bin Laden's death and our parties can't be compared to the celebrations on the streets of NY.

                  These deaths were for us the end of repression and (in Hitler's case) war. We were not free in our own country. Their deaths meant freedom, which is a worthy reason to dance and sing on the streets. I'm afraid my knowledge of the history of Romania is lacking, but for me comparing the American army shooting an unarmed and hidden Bin Laden through his head and a nation getting rid of their repressor is a huge difference.


                  That said: I've not heard any person say that they think the US is horrible. Nor did I met anyone who really understood the parties and "USA USA" shouting. But like Mogs said; the American culture differs a lot from other western cultures. And while we already knew that, this did caught us by suprise and no not everybody here thinks it's that tasteful. But again; we don't consider raising the flag of our own country on normal days tasteful, we link that to national socialism.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                    That's a very slippery slope, though. If we started deciding that some trials just aren't worth it and that it'd be easier to just execute the prisoner, then that could lead everybody down quite a dark path. I'm not very comfortable with the idea of making 'special exceptions' for some prisoners just because more people are so disgusted by them. Yes, bin Laden committed truly atrocious crimes and he hurt thousands of people. However, the pain that his victim's families feel is no greater than in any other murder case and we don't advocate executing other prisoners incase the trial goes pear shaped. I can't consider it justice if the same rules don't apply to everyone and it seems like in this particular instance everybody (including my PM) is saying "Well, I don't advocate murder but in this case I hate the guy so much, so..." which is a little icky, IMO. People can't say that they don't advocate murder if they're willing to make excuses for it depending on who it is that happens to get killed.
                    There's no slippery slope here. First of all, 9/11 is not a criminal act that falls within the scope of civilian criminal authority in the first place -- it was a paramilitary act of asymmetric warfare. There is no criminal authority that has a legitimate claim of jurisdiction over Osama bin Laden's "crimes", as it were, in the first place. If they were, they would be in the state courts of New York, Pennsylvania, and the federal courts of the same and of Washington, D.C. -- no other. But they weren't.

                    Second of all, criminalizing the conduct of warfare is at best problematic. At Nuremberg, the tribunals basically convened under unpromulgated laws established for the purpose of carrying out the tribunals. They were, in many ways, a horse and pony show and the outcomes were all but predetermined -- because the point of holding them isn't a test of law and fact against an impartial arbiter (which is the premise of any and all trial system that owes its roots to English common law), the point is to demonstrate through rhetoric that the side that won a war was right to win it.

                    Were bin Laden tried, it would be only one of two things -- a farcical show of convicting a man, or a farcical show of acquitting a man, both despite the fact that the case involved no disputed question of fact or of law (other than if he felt like arguing justification).
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                    • #11
                      I won't pretend to know anything of law since I don't, but I think the International Criminal Court is the perfect place for a trial like this. It's [and I quote wikipedia] "a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression."

                      While 9/11 was his biggest action and the American army the biggest force in the war against Al Qaida and the Taliban, he did attack many countries and almost every country of the western world has soldiers, experts or trainers on mission in Afghanistan. It's not America vs Bin Laden. He is an enemy of the international community, that's why so many countries are at war in Afghanistan.

                      Not only would he become less of a matyr if he got a trial, it would've showed that the western world rates their own juridical system. We ask African counties to send their dictators to The Hague for a fair trial and they do that despite wanting to see those dicators dead (which will never happen at the ICC). This all could raise questions there about why they should honor our juridical system if we don't even do that?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nina View Post
                        I won't pretend to know anything of law since I don't, but I think the International Criminal Court is the perfect place for a trial like this. It's [and I quote wikipedia] "a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression."
                        The problem with the ICC is its essential illegitimacy. That wikipedia definition makes me ask two questions -- "... under what authority?", "... on whose behalf?"

                        You can't, to my mind, have a legitimate judicial authority where there is not legitimate/sovereign political authority, and there isn't one involved. The ICC pretty much has the authority of its own say-so and the United Nations, neither of which has even the slightest political authority over the jurisdiction in which the "crimes" (I still dispute that characterization) of 9/11 took place (or any other jurisdiction). That's the first problem, and it informs the second -- on whose behalf does it act? The victims of 9/11 were predominantly American, but even those who were not... the ICC gives no voice to these victims, it is not representative of them or reflective of their consent to authority.

                        While 9/11 was his biggest action and the American army the biggest force in the war against Al Qaida and the Taliban, he did attack many countries and almost every country of the western world has soldiers, experts or trainers on mission in Afghanistan. It's not America vs Bin Laden. He is an enemy of the international community, that's why so many countries are at war in Afghanistan.
                        I'm going to sound like the ugly American here, I know, but... can't help it. I think that, as much as this raid was kept secret to keep Pakistan from mysteriously or accidentally tipping him off, it was kept secret because nobody in the White House was going to indulge the question of who "gets" bin Laden.

                        If someone picks a fight with you and you bring friends, they're with you but it's still your fight, so in that sense, I do think that it was "America vs. bin Laden". And I'm not even remotely inconsistent here -- if jetliners had crashed into Parliament (I honestly can't think of an iconic commercial structure in western Europe, are there no skyscrapers?), I'd A) want the US to be helping the UK pursue the man behind it, because we've got their back, and B) think it was for the UK to decide what happened to him.
                        Last edited by KingofCretins; 06-05-11, 10:32 AM.
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                        • #13
                          I'm against the death penalty as well and I'd have preferred a trial or arrest or something as well, but above all the important thing was that he was detained, and given how long it's taken to find him and catch him, I can understand why they wanted to be "better safe than sorry" and kill him so that there was no chance of him escaping again. I believe he was wanted "dead or alive"...
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                          • #14
                            I'm a little concerned about the whole situation. Personally, I do not think Obama thought about the consequences of what he has done. I'm in no way condoning what Bin Laden has done, but I do not believe he should have died, I don't believe in the death penalty. I know that if the USA arrested Bin Laden there would have been kidnappings and the like, like someone said above. But Obama had him killed when he wasn't armed. That is going to send rage through his followers. I'd up my security if I were him, he's going to have a target on his head now. Maybe not straight away...but eventually. Which isn't good.

                            Although I'm a little miffed that we don't know exactly what happened. And why was the body thrown straight into the sea...? I'm just confused about the whole thing.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              Yes, it was fine. I don't care or need for one of the many inconsistent details of the mission to include a firefight or self-defense or human shield or a weapon within reach. Going and killing bin Laden is no different than going under your house and clearing out a nest of snakes. Or, if one prefers, from going to the castle and staking a vampire.

                              The US owes no apology whatsoever here. Pakistan should be apologizing for what is now self-evidently at best willful blindness but more likely was willing complicity in hiding this putrid wretch.

                              Taking him alive would have been politically problematic for too many reasons just for the sake of a show trial. A trial exists to test the proof against an accused and demonstrate that proof to the public. Neither of these were at issue for bin Laden, who freely and repeatedly admitted his crimes, and about which no legitimate question of fact needed an answer.

                              He received a religiously appropriate burial, in a demonstration of why what the Seals that took him stand for is morally and objectively superior to what he himself stood for, and even that was generous. They could have done what they needed to document his identity, cut off a finger for DNA, and then thrown him out like a bag of feed.

                              Usually you'll find no bigger proponent of the civilian judicial process of the US, but bin Laden didn't fall under it anyway. Typically, trials around the actions of creatures like bin Laden, even back to Nuremberg, are processes of law invented for the purpose of that trial. It's pretense.

                              I'm proud of the JSOC and this President for killing him. To borrow a curse from Stephen King's "The Dark Tower", may his first day in hell last 10,000 years... and may it be the shortest".

                              EDIT: The Hague? What building got dropped there? That court isn't a forum of redress nor sovereign over any victim. The only civilian criminal courts I would have considered able to show jurisdiction were New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, or the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. That's the largest nexus of the "criminal" enterprise (actually paramilitary), so he'd have been their man.
                              Totally, totally agree. It's ludicrous for people to be talking about how killing him was so wrong and how he "deserved" to be treated with more respect. He sure as hell didn't show respect for the thousands of people he murdered in cold blood, so he didn't deserve anything more than what he got.

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