Skip to comments.Justice, American Style: Was Bin Laden's Killing Legal?
Posted on 05/03/2011 9:03:22 AM PDT by presidio9
US President Barack Obama gets precious few opportunities to announce a victory. So it's no wonder he chose grand words on Sunday night as the TV crews' spotlights shone upon him and he informed the nation about the deadly strike against Osama bin Laden. "Justice has been done," he said.
It may be that this sentence comes back to haunt him in the years to come. What is just about killing a feared terrorist in his home in the middle of Pakistan? For the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and for patriotic Americans who saw their grand nation challenged by a band of criminals, the answer might be simple. But international law experts, who have been grappling with the question of the legal status of the US-led war on terror for years, find Obama's pithy words on Sunday night more problematic.
Claus Kress, an international law professor at the University of Cologne, argues that achieving retributive justice for crimes, difficult as that may be, is "not achieved through summary executions, but through a punishment that is meted out at the end of a trial." Kress says the normal way of handling a man who is sought globally for commissioning murder would be to arrest him, put him on trial and ultimately convict him. In the context of international law, military force can be used in the arrest of a suspect, and this may entail gun fire or situations of self-defense that, in the end, leave no other possibility than to
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
When an organization commits a domestic act of war killing thousands of your citizens and takes refuge in sympathetic countries, it is a political not a legal matter. The only controlling law if force of arms. At least for now.
For the next couple of weeks or so. I agree with some others on this thread that we've known about this compound for quite some time. I'm sure the president would have liked to put this attack off for the next 17 months or so, but something changed to force his hand at this particular moment. Otherwise, I just can't see him releasing the birth certificate the same week as this mission.
I believe our intelligence community knew about the compound for far longer than they let on, naturally. Maybe even years. I’d like to assume they were monitoring the communications and gathering even more info, but with obama in charge, who can say?
I'm fairly sure OBL wasn't an American citizen entitled to BOR protections and also that Davey Koresh and his homies never admitted to blowing up 3K innocents on a single day. Maybe we could use that as a line. If that's not good enough, we could also use domestic vs. overseas operations as a distinguishing factor.
HOWEVER, notice they won't release how Osama resisted. He had no gun. I don't have a problem with the Navy Seals following orders. But now we need to get to HOlder and Obama and see if this was legal. But here is what I think...no way the CIA would ever allow this man to trial. He had been involved with the CIA in past.
Nobody cares about your prediction ...
Stuff a sock in it, and pretend to be a conservative somewhere else.
Ethically, does two wrongs make it RIGHT??
Thanks for proving my point.
That would make this idiot (and perhaps Eric Holder, if he had a spine) LeBoeuf, the CIA Mattie Ross, and the SEALs Rooster Cogburn, I guess.
I would have loved to have been the one to put a bullet in ol bennie’s head. I just wished they had removed his head and brought it back in a gunny sack or a sand bag.
Watch how fast the left turns on this one on priciple after they notice how much most of us approve of it.
I don't know, DOES they?
Why in the hell would we want to try him in the haque? Why put ourselves through that crap. This is the best way, he is dead, the muzzies will be pissed for awhile, then in a few months he will just be a memory.
Legal? Who cares. It was the right thing to do.
I was talking about trying Obama at the Hague.
Obama is alive and well.
No need to be so critical of what a fellow man do.
There is a line, and it's not "fine" at all. In fact, it's enormous - it's called a border - as in Waco happened inside the territorial border of the US, and bin Laden direct action engagement did not. US service members are not allowed to engage in military operations (with some HIGHLY limited) exceptions, under the terms of Posse Comitatus. No such restrictions apply outside our borders.
Right. That's exactly why the issue of "governing jurisdiction is so important. The legal limitations for U.S. military personnel under U.S. law aren't terribly important in the Waco example I've used. It's not as if we'd feel any better about the whole matter if the Branch Davidians had been incinerated during a raid by Brazilian commandos, right?
There are, in the rules of international warfare, rules that prohibit such actions outside the theater of combat. But, IMO, those rules are more than a bit anachronistic as they relate to this current threat. Where isn't the battlefield in this war? And, I clearly think that the quasi-tribal areas of northern Pakistan are well-within those battlefield borders.
This is why a clear declaration of war by Congress is so critical, not some half-@ssed "authorization of force" that can be construed to mean anything a civilian or military leader wants it to mean. As for the question I've highlighted from your post, you obviously believe there are places that are not part of the "battlefield" in this "war" (e.g., Waco, Texas).
Having said that, I think your point is meritorious when discussing US service members engaging US citizens outside the confines of the country, and targeting those citizens for "assassination". That, as a US legal matter, becomes much more complicated. I think reasonable people can disagree about its legality.
That's right, but keep in mind it also has to do with non-citizens who are acting inside or outside the U.S. That's part of the whole dilemma here. If Osama bin Laden is targeted because he's an enemy of the United States, then does it make sense that he can be "legally" killed in Pakistan but must be apprehended and subject to prosecution if he had been living on a compound in Dearborn, Michigan?
Oh well, damn my eyes, carry on then. :>)