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Obama decided that Navy Seals should kill Bin Laden in his hideout. Though no rational person can contest that Bin Laden deserves to die I wonder about the justification to do this without even a military tribunal. I think he is right, but Why is it just that Obama is judge and jury in one person?

asked May 03 '11 at 06:43

Bas's gravatar image


edited May 03 '11 at 07:38

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

The official story is that the Navy Seals were on a mission to capture Bin Laden, and that they were justified in killing him in self-defense. "A US official" is quoted as saying that "Bin Laden was shot while shooting back".

"The assessment going in to it was that it’s highly unlikely that’s he’s going to be taken alive, but if he decided to lay down his arms, he would have been taken captive." (http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-osama-bin-laden-cia-20110502,0,6466214.story)

Whether or not that is actually true, I don't think we'll ever know for sure.

(May 03 '11 at 14:29) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Hmm, apparently the official story has changed, and now they're saying he wasn't armed: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/54162.html

The US government is now saying that he "resisted", apparently without elaboration. I guess the justification is now along the lines of the military equivalent of the domestic "fleeing felon rule".

By the way, I think this question is really more about the legality of the killing, and not the morality of it.

(May 03 '11 at 15:20) anthony anthony's gravatar image

The war against international Islamic terrorism should be thought of as a war, not a police action, contrary to some of the stated rhetoric from our president and others in our government. War means identifying the enemy and fighting them, not conducting hearings or trials or tribunals -- or focusing narrowly on individual terrorists and their direct leaders while refusing to name the greater sources of responsibility (Islamic dictatorships). The question acknowledges that "Bin Laden deserves to die." Why? The answer is clear, and that is the justification for acting against Bin Laden.

The question also mis-states the role of the president in carrying out his duties as commander-in-chief of the U.S. military. President Obama is not single-handedly the "judge, jury and executioner" in this case. He consulted with key members of Congress (in strictest secrecy, for obvious reasons) long in advance; he publicly stated that Bin Laden would be targeted if or when he could be found; the U.S. Government intelligence agencies have developed overwhelming, conclusive evidence of Bin Laden's repeated role in multiple terrorism incidents over the decades, along with Bin Laden's own personal appearances on internationally broadcast video recordings; and Pakistan's rulers repeatedly portrayed themselves as ignorant and inept (ignorant of Bin Laden's whereabouts, and too weak to do much even if he were confirmed to be hiding the mountains along the Pakistani border). Pakistan apparently acted accordingly during the raid, taking no publicly reported action to stop the American operation or interfere with it in any way, despite the populous military oriented area where the operation took place deep in Pakistan.

Our president is not "just one man" acting on his own authority, nor was Bin Laden "just one man" acting as a terrorist on his own, without the support of an entire terrorist organization and multiple foreign governments. We are engaged in a de facto war, whether we correctly identify the true enemy or not; the enemy has declared war on us, even if we refuse fully to acknowledge who the ultimate enemies actually are. The removal of Bin Laden is certainly a major blow (for now) to the international Islamic terrorists (and apparently was brilliantly carried out), but it falls far short of putting a decisive end to international Islamic terrorism as such. Their war against Western "infidels" will undoubtedly continue.

For more insight on the Objectivist view of rational foreign policy, refer to the following topics in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: War, Self-Determination of Nations, and Foreign Policy. Note especially Ayn Rand's concept of all dictatorships as "outlaw" nations, to be treated accordingly as needed by any free nation.

answered May 04 '11 at 20:55

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

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Asked: May 03 '11 at 06:43

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Last updated: May 04 '11 at 20:55