Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On bin Laden's killing

This subject, as well as this post  are somewhat old now, but important enough that I still feel I should comment on them.

Let me preface this by saying that I don't miss bin Laden's life at all.  I am perfectly content that he is no longer with us.

I do, however, agree with some of the points Ron Paul made, as well as have some of my own as to why this was carried out incorrectly.

First of all, there are international norms.  First and foremost is sovereignty.  We had no business sending military and intelligence personnel inside of another country and essentially assassinating someone without at least asking for the host country to arrest him first.  Unless there was a credible reason to believe that the security of the information would have been threatened by involving Pakistan, that country's government should have been involved.

Second, from a norms and moral standpoint, capturing an enemy is always preferable to killing an enemy.  Osama should have been arrested, not shot.

On the same note, Osama lead a movement based on a religion (radical Islam, not all Islam) which still believes in martyrs.  The men bin Laden funded and trained to carry out the 9/11 attacks gave up their lives fighting for their cause.  They are considered heros by radical Muslims.  By killing bin Laden in a military attack, we have made him a martyr.  By capturing him and putting him on trial in a U.S., Western style court, we would have brought about his end through the very system he has spent his whole life fighting.  This would have been a much more clear message to terrorists around the world.

Quite frankly, between the anger over his death and our blatant disregard for the sovereignty of the Pakistani government, and the fact that he died a martyr, I am a little surprised that nobody has stepped up and publicly claimed the leadership of al Qaeda yet.  I also doubt that we will see the anniversary of bin Laden's death without another major terrorist attack.  We have enraged radical Muslims, and given bin Laden the hero's death so many of his followers actively seek.  Do we really think this was the best way to handle the situation?

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