Osama Dead and Targeted Killing Vindicated

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Accordingly, those who have opposed the very concept of targeted killings should be railing against the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Among others, these critics include officials in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, the EU, Jordan, and the United Nations. Former British Foreign Secretary once said, “The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive.” The French foreign ministry has declared “that extrajudicial executions contravene international law and are unacceptable.” The Italian Foreign Minister has said, “Italy, like the whole of the European Union, has always condemned the practice of targeted assassinations.” The Russians have asserted that “Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and ‘targeted killings.’” Javier Solana has noted that the “European Union has consistently condemned extrajudicial killings.” The Jordanians have said, “Jordan has always denounced this policy of assassination and its position on this has always been clear.” And Kofi Annan has declared “that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law.”

Yet none of these nations, groups or individuals have criticized the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US. The reason is obvious. All the condemnations against targeted killing were directed at one country. Guess which one?  Israel, of course.

Israel developed the concept of targeted killings and used it effectively against the “Osama Bin Ladens” of Hamas, who directed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, killing and wounding more Israelis, as a percentage of its population, than the number killed by Bin Laden. It was when Israel managed to kill the head of Hamas, that the international community, with the striking exception of the United States, decided that targeted killing was illegal and immoral.

But now that it has been used against an enemy of Britain, France, Italy and other European nations, the tune has changed.  Suddenly targeted killing is not only legal and moral, it is praiseworthy (except, of course, to Hamas, which immediately condemned the US killing of Bin Laden).

Well, the truth is that when used properly, targeted killing has always been deserving of approval—even when employed by Israel, a nation against which a double standard always seems to be applied.

Indeed, in Israel, the use of targeted killings has been closely regulated by its Supreme Court and permitted only against terrorists who are actively engaged in ongoing acts of terrorism.  In the United States, on the other hand, the decision to use this tactic is made by the president alone, without any form of judicial review.  So let the world stop applying a double standard to Israel and let it start judging the merits and demerits of military tactics such as targeted killing.  On balance, targeted killing, when used prudently against proper military targets, can be an effective, lawful, and moral tool in the war against terrorism.

Alan Dershowitz’s latest novel is The Trials of Zion.

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  • Amused

    "capture and bring to justice " ? Absolutely not . For a myriad of good reasons . "hunt down and kill " being the ONLY right thing to do . , immediate and unmarked interment at sea ,the best of all possible choices , no grave , no body – the only protests raised , possibly from other previous residents of Davey Jones' Locker .
    Now lets get # 2 and # 3 .

    • davarino

      Ok, now we agree : )

      I still say they should have shot him out of a cannon

      • GypsyTyger

        Or fed him to hogs.

      • Rifleman

        Using a depth charge at his feet in the shroud instead of a 5in shell for ballast would have been a technical challenge, but worth a try.

        I hope the honor guard remembered used live ammo and shoot the body for their 'salute'.

      • aspacia

        Men are often too nice. Capture, let some blood with numerous cuts, wrap him in pig skin, let the pig fat sink into his skin for an hour, then hang him with an illformed knot. Shooting is too clean and easy.

    • SpiritOf1683

      He was finally brought to justice. What a pity he wasn't smeared with pork dripping before being thrown to the sharks.

      • aspacia

        Ha, I retract my previous claim.

  • Fred Dawes

    the best ways is always the old ways, its good to know bin laden is dead.

  • kafir4life

    I would sincerely like to congratulate Obama for keeping every one of GW Bush's policies in place that led to the death of a monster. I would sincerely like to praise and thank President Bush for putting those policies in place. I'm thankful that Obama wasn't able to do any of the things he promised (other than raise gas prices) during the campaign.

  • kafir4life

    And to the gentle folks over at cair…….I am sincerely sorry that you've lost one of your brothers…….a fellow follower of the one true faith…….the ummah…….a true believer………the shining light of islam……take solice that he's now with allah….and mohamat………
    allahu snackbar

  • Dispozovdaburka

    I hope they doused Bin Laden's body with pigs blood prior to his execution.

    • tanstaafl

      One can only hope.

  • alexander


    Here’s Nancy Pelosi from a press conference on September 7, 2006:

    [E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done . . . is done. And even to capture him now I don’t think makes us any safer.

    And here’s Nancy Pelosi yesterday:

    The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. . . . I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. . . . [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic. . . .

    • Jim_C

      What's the problem? Are you saying these statements don't gel with each other?

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks


    Sometimes desperate men do desperate things to save themselves from failure and defeat. And such a man is Barack Hussein Obama. Indeed, our blundering, ill-starred, failing president faced with a faultering economy, rising deficits, a weakening dollar and turmoil in the Middle East ordered the death of Osama bin Laden as a desperate measure to save his disastrous presidency. That is the truth. Patriotism, national security, the common good had little or nothing to do with Obama's "gutsy" move. For Obama is too political, too partisan, to un-American and narcissistic for that. What Obama did on the historic night of May 1st he did mostly for himself-for his political fortunes and legacy.


  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks

    Did he have the tragedy of 9/11 in mind, and the deaths of 3000 Americans? No! Not the man who backed the Islamist mosque at Ground Zero; not the man who sat in a racist church for 20 years listening to the lunatic ravings of an American hating preacher who saw in 9/11 the avenging hand of God. Not the power grabbing, big government statist who hates this unjust, capitalist country to such an inordinate degree that he wants to "fundamentally and foundationally" transform it. What Obama did on May 1st was not for me and you, but for he.

    Click my name to read he rest of this piece.

  • umustbkidding

    Only a politician would have to look for vindication of bin Laden's killing. We the people are glad to see it done.

    It seems that politicians have no moral compass.

  • Rifleman

    Obl wasn't “any other accused murderer,” he was a mass murdering illegal combatant waging a declared war on the USA. He and the rest of aq fall under military law and have no right to a civilian court.

    The last time New York executed a murderer was in 1963, almost 50 years ago. Where have you been?

    • Reason_For_Life

      You allowed your emotions to overrule your brain. The last execution in New York was in 1976 not 1963. There is, at present, a court ordered moratorium on executions on very feeble (New York State) constitutional grounds. Putting bin Laden to death would probably not be an issue since the NYSC ruling was based on a New York State law that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life in the case of a jury deadlocked over whether to apply the death penalty. The argument was that jurors might "settle" for a death sentence rather than see the mandatory 25 years to life sentence imposed since it allows for parole.

      OBL is a murderer not a soldier in a war. Being a soldier is an honorable thing; there is nothing honorable about a cult leader who sends his cultists out to kill innocent people. OBL is Charley Manson with a better beard, nothing more.

      To treat OBL as anything other than a common criminal grants him a status he doesn't deserve and would only contribute to his legend. He deserved zero respect, as I said getting rid of him is merely dumping garbage, no more, no less.

  • "gunner"

    bin ladin was an amateur, he finally got to see how the professionals operate, up close and personal.

  • morristhewise

    No witness protection program was costlier, it was almost perfect. It kept Osama protected for over 10 years.
    The Big questions are:
    1: Who ran his witness protection program?
    2:Were his protectors in the blackmail business?
    3:What information did Osama possess?
    4:Would the release of his testimony rock the foundations of the world?
    5:Would Osama have become the most revealing witness since Moses?
    6:Is there anyone but me that would like to know these answers?

  • Len Powder

    Targeted killing of bin Laden is totally acceptable as a tactic in the war on terrorism. Yet why is the attempt to assassinate Qaddafi considered by many to be 'acceptable'? He is an opponent of Al Qaida and after President Reagan reminded him he is not unreachable he's been pretty well behaved, as Arab dictators go. If the 'right to protect' is cited as justification then why can't this principle be applied to Iran and Syria? As is so often the case, lawyers and politicians complicated what would otherwise be simple decisions. When it comes to murderers 'Frontier Justice' works best.

  • Rifleman

    So, if true, Reason-For-Life, NY hasn't executed anybody in 35 years, not 48. That changes everything, huh?

    Again, aq are illegal combatants waging a declared war against the USA and deliberately targeting civilians. Ignoring the facts and denying reality doesn't make it untrue or inapplicable. Call them warriors, rather than soldiers if it makes you “feel” better, but they aren't robbing us or committing simple civil murder, they are waging a declared terror war. Legally, they are beneath civilians, soldiers, and even spies.

    Illegal combatants can be lined up and shot upon their capture just like those German SOLDIERS we caught performing acts of sabotage in American uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge, or tried by a military commission and executed like those nazi saboteurs we caught over here dressed as civilians. Granting them civil rights and civilian trails is an insult to soldiers AND civilians, and an unacceptable risk to our national security and military secrets. You say obl is dishonorable and beneath soldiers (who are beneath civilians legally), then insist on honoring him by elevating him to a legal status above soldiers to which he isn’t entitled. That makes no logical sense, so who’s letting their emotions overrule their brain here?

  • aspacia

    If your suggestion had been taken, it would put every Western person at risk of being taken hostage and have her/his head sawed off.