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If bin Laden had been given a trial it would have been pure theatre anyway.

So you're saying there isn't some sort of, I dunno, principle involved?

I'm not disagreeing with the letter of your post, but I can't help but feel it misses the point...

Then again, maybe not. Maybe the significance of holding a trial for America's greatest enemy would be lost on pretty much everyone. That it wouldn't have made the statement it should have made. Maybe the principle I alluded to doesn't exist anymore. It has been forgotten.

A phrase comes to mind for some reason: sanity is statistical.

I don't get the dancing on the head of this pin.

As if "Right" and "Good" are always exactly the same thing.

We took out the architect of one of the most virulent and malevolent ideologies the world has seen in a long time.

As a candidate, the President said explicitly this was what he would do. If Pakistan wouldn't give him up, we would go in and get him. That's what he said. We made every effort through aid, diplomacy, and consistently measured responses to facilitate a different outcome. For two years. Remember, Richard Holbrook, one of our very best, arguable gave his life in seeking a diplomatic resolution.

There comes a time to play your hand.

With respect to the Pakistani Military, I'm reminded of that song "Pancho and Lefty"

"All the Federales say, We could a had him any day. Only let him slip away, Out of kindness I suppose."

I haven't read all about Osama's demise, so maybe if missed something, but were the following points clear?

(1) Did the Navy Seals know that Bin Laden would be unarmed and how much time did they have to determine that he was unarmed?

(2) Did they know with a high degree of certainty that Bin Laden wouldn't be taken back from them by other forces in the building?

(3) Were the Seals certain that the Pakistanis wouldn't intervene even after Osama's capture andf demand he be given up to them? Given the collusion of the ISI with Al Qaeda for a very long time, is there any good reason to rule that out?

With these points in mind, the only good reason not to go in shooting is the intelligence value OBL might have offered. At the risk of sounding like a right-wing reactionary, this is a case where liberal hand-wringing gives us a bad name.

Those who lived in New York, and more specifically those who lived in NYC, and even more specifically those who lived in NYC near Ground Zero, and those from Pennsylvania, and those who were in the Pentagon when it was bombed, might have a different opiniion vis-à-vis the death of Bin Laden than others do.

The further removed we are from an event, the more philosophical and legalistic we can be.

Are you saying New Yorkers would have had him tortured before the execution? I guess that's why we don't put victims on the jury for their own case.

I was responding to the killing of UBL, not any torture. As far as I know, he was executed, not tortured, unless you consider being executed the same as being tortured? As to his guilt, there is ample evidence. Do you question his guilt as the leader of the death of innocent civilians?

Do I believe he is responsible for the death of innocent civilians, yes I do. Exactly which civilians I don't know. I don't recall seeing any evidence at all, just the word of our government and his statements. As to those statements, I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't claimed credit for some he had nothing to do with.

I know you were responding to the killing, my comment was just an aside, that if New Yorkers had planned the attack they would have preceded the killing with a little torture.

The further removed we are from an event, the more philosophical and legalistic we can be.

Also rational and seeing the cold hard facts more clearly. Not talking about this case in particular, just generally.

Wonder how people would respond if some village in Iraq, where people were victimized by unjust kidnappings and torture, decided to hire some mercenaries to assassinate President Bush? Would they be equally justified in celebrating such an assassination?


OBL was a self-appointed assassin. Bush had to at least con a sufficiently large enough fraction of his people to claim to be their legal representative.

The ruling oligarchy has managed to successfully sell the notion that assassinating heads of state is horrible while making war on whole nations with false justifications is just fine, even humorous.

That's one of the points made in Chomsky's piece linked to above.

Well, would it be legal. Probably not. Killing the General in charge is probably comparable. Even then would we all sit back and analyze the legality?

Most likely no.

Is it wrong in this situation to assassinate a leader of an opposing force that we know has attacked us on multiple occasions? No, not in my opinion. Any way you cut it. His death saved lives. His trial mayhave to but it could have lead to more violence to complete and he would likely be convicted based on a non- 9/11 attack.

I find American's queasiness with this assassination very disconcerting.

Here are Americans celebrating Japanese surrender after we dropped H-bombs on two civilian targets

If celebrating the death of the criminal leading a network of religious racist criminals is distasteful than we aren't really using any context to understand the world around us.

Afghanistan and Iraq are distasteful. This animal got of easy.

I find American's queasiness with this assassination very disconcerting.

Not being born and raised here in the U.S., and not by any chance being a muslim, I see the mobs yelling "U-S-A! U-S-A!" on the streets after an execution of an enemy very creepy. And there's a difference with the official ending of a war (actual enemy surrendering), especially one like WWII.

Of course, like JoAnn says, I'm very emotionally removed from all this compared to New Yorkers and Americans in general, but what it really says is that it's a matter of perspective, isn't it?

You were talking about Americans, but surely many of them can also see this issue less emotionally, and that doesn't mean they care less.

There's a difference with being just glad something like this happened, and going all nationalistic mob over it.

This is as close to an end to the war on terror as it is ever going to get.

There will be no treaty, surrender or armistis. they will get weaker but never go away completely.

I do find it a little odd to jump up and down at a man's death, but that's how this war has been sold. The USA Vs OBL and his network of evil.

re Andyo: "There's a difference with being just glad something like this happened, and going all nationalistic mob over it."

that's surely right. Watching the tv coverage of the mob at the White House that night, near as I could see the difference was a fair number of pints imbibed by college kids from the pubs along the avenue from Georgetown. Drunk frat boys will cheer and holler at most anything.

My comment from yesterday seems to have disappeared.

I've been getting a lot of spam the last few days. I probably deleted your comment when I was dealing with those. Sorry.

I appreciate and understand the above comments. I'm at a state in my life in which I do my best to understand those from opposing sides of any debate, and I thus end up waffling back and forth, sitting on the fence looking left and right.

Juan Cole has a good analysis of this at

It is hard to label this a simple assassination when the team clearly did not know if the target was OBL.

It is hard to call the action illegal when in this case all UN charters and sections authorize it.

It is hard to discount OBL's confession as Chomsky does. If a hostage claims to be the kidnapper and points a gun at police, he is shot by the police. If Osama takes credit for mass murder, and declares further war on US, a capture or kill mission is completely authorized.

Why can't you just admit that Barack Obama is one efficient, steely-nerved, multitasking, black ninja gangsta president?”?

~Bill Maher



The monologue on that ep. (5/6) was very funny.

Maher though, later in the discussion, talked about what we were just talking here. He mentioned Katy Perry and others getting in trouble for tweeting something along the lines of "should we be celebrating the death of a human being", and said some pretty dumb-assed things about it. He then proceeded to do a pretty idiotic movie one-liner bit imitating Scharzenegger's voice about what they could have said while killing OBL.

He speculated (of course, in a derogatory, condescending tone) that it's probably because a lot of celebrities are "christian" and in their "celebrity, naive christian way" they followed Jesus's words. Of course he "doesn't have such conflict" on account that he's not religious.

Bullshit, as some here (likely atheists), and on what's arguably the atheist-est corner of the web, atheists are also conflicted about this, ranging from all for it, to deeply against it.

I still don't think Maher gets it right about his reasons for being atheist/skeptic. Seems it only derives from his scorn of religion, rather than anything resembling careful consideration.

Also worth noting about that ep.: Maher showed an old clip from 2008 where Christiane Amanpour apparently knew in what kind of place OBL was hiding (i.e. not a cave).

Probably a lucky shot though, with everyone and their mother speculating where the most wanted man in the world was, someone was bound to be right.

Amazing how many people weren't looking very hard for this guy.

The good thing about liberals is that we aren't always in lock-step with one another. While conservatives pretty much stand behind any racist half-wit just to keep the party line, liberals very often disagree on fundamental issues. I am completely in agreement with the OBL operation. Taking him prisoner would have been a nightmare.

Feeding him to the sharks went over well in most of the world. The Spanish press certainly didn't lose any sleep over his assassination and mostly praised Obama. The USA looks good for a change. We look competent, which is much more than you could say about us during the Bush era. OBL will soon be forgotten by his followers. It is up to us to give them a more positive path to follow--like one that leads to prosperity, education, and rights for women.

How hard would it be to come up with a better message than the shit OBL was laying on his people? His bitches were locked up for six fucking years, for crying out loud. It's time to put away the arms and bombard them with goodwill.

We need an education drone missle.

Smart bombs!


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