The Killing of Osama bin Laden: An Act of War Not Justice
Reflections May 14, 2011jsc
The killing of Osama bin Laden by elite U.S. Special Forces by order of President Obama as Commander in Chief was an act of war, not justice. And I believe Obama knows that, but political strategy makes it important to repeat George Bush's refrain of "dead or alive". This killing of a man wanted for crimes against humanity was carried out more like an assassination. There was no call to surrender, no call to meet at the peace table and settle as nations at war have always done. Better to jaw jaw than war war I believe no less than W. Churchill admonished.
Killing him justly (even as killing by Christians is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shall not kill".) would have meant an order from the Court of International Justice for Osama bin Laden to surrender to the justice of international courts or face the teeth of international police back up by special forces. Since it appears the United States of America may have the most advanced weaponry, it might well have been the same U.S. Navy SEALs under order of the International Court who could have arrested him, and failing surrender, killing him. Protecting the innocent justifies killing according to common law. This court and others like it (International Courts) are part of building a global justice system such that those guilty of hiding global criminals become accessories to the crime. Instead, one country solely because it can used its superior military force to enter another country’s territory and assassinated. Pakistan did not previously permit this act, and has been, ever since, complaining about this act; the latest, I hear, is that it is demanding closure of the U.S. base from which this act was taken in the name of war. How ironic that the bullet that killing Osama, could be the arrow that broke the back of a fragile Pakistan U.S. alliance. It may (or may not) be a good thing that Osama is dead, but let us not be blind to our president's precedent. George W. Bush (and by implication President Obama and even we the people for electing them) are guilty of war crimes. Former President George W. Bush does not dare not leave the territory of the United States for fear of arrest of in foreign lands. Law must be supreme, the Goddess of Justice blind to those who stand before her. Obama's act of lawlessness in killing Osama has done little to end the age of terrorism that is now associated with his name and the events of September 11, 2001. This is a date in history our children will be reading about a thousand (1000) years from now. Osama is already more than a footnote in the history of century Twenty One. Obama still has a chance for greatness in that chapter. (Sacrifice)
No one in the West and some in the East who are confluent with the West in the matter of power is raising much of a fuss as to the matter of Osama's killing. But in predominantly Muslim countries there is a lot of fuss over this unilateral act of war, of killing without justice being done. According to President Obama, echoing the refrains of President W. Bush, "Justice has been done". Has it?
By any measure the killing of Osama bin Laden was an act of war, of terrorism no less. Let us consider. The president of the United States of America has assumed as his power to authorize the killing of anyone, even an American citizen, fiat. Just because his predecessor did it, does not make it right. We are a people with checks and balances on power, are we not? That Osama's killing may be a "victory" for the West, this I can accept; justice I do not. But as an act of war George W. Bush should sleep a little less easy. Following Obama's lead, any nation brave enough, that believes it can outsmart us in the matter of war, can come get George W. Bush in the middle of the night. Much as I agree with those who hold the premise of his guilt in war crimes and crimes against humanity, killing him by extra-lawful means would still be wrong. Justice is always supreme. Our Founders, among others, said that.
Having a kill on our side, now the other side surely feels it is justified in doing the same, having done so before. And that inevitably will result in war as far as the eye can see into the future. Where will it all end?
The only question real question for history 21st century: will humanity avoid or have to pass through World War III on the way to the next step in global legal human development, The World of Nations. Global justice for global criminals. Local justice for local crimes. (Vision)
George W. Bush cannot safely leave the United States of America for fear of arrest. When and if he is arrested, together with others who have sided with him, including our current president, and when and if leaders learn to fear international law justly applied, then the age of terrorism has a chance of ending peacefully.
The killing of Osama bin Laden changes nothing in the balance of terror in which we all live. Justice fairly applied to all may be a bridge too far. War unending on the horizon is what we continue to see.