Sunday, May 08, 2011

The death of bin Laden

Make no mistake, Osama bin Laden was an enemy of the United States, someone determined to do us harm. Of course, he had reasons why we wanted to do that, and we should understand those reasons. As i understand it, some of it had to do with US military personnel wandering holy cities in Saudi Arabia. For that, hundreds of thousands, Americans, Iraqis and Afghans, have died?

That said, we are now dealing with the aftermath of the death of bin Laden. Mostly, which is to say almost overwhelmingly, Americans are pretty close to ecstatic that bin Laden was killed by the US. But a few journalists have expressed contrary opinions. Glenn Greenwald desperately wants to know if bin Laden was in custody before being killed, and wants to talk about the implications of that in terms of what America is supposed to stand for. Jack Kelly, on the other hand, wants to complain about how the Obama administration talked about the bin Laden operation. In fact, Kelly apparently wants suggest that maybe Obama didn't want to or even didn't give the order to kill bin Laden:

"The bold risk taker is so different from the passive, tentative, risk-averse president we'd seen before that some doubt Mr. Obama played as substantive a role in the bin Laden hit as the White House is claiming."

When liberals questioned evidence for invading Iraq, they were accused of being unpatriotic or even traitors, but I guess Jack Kelly operates under a different standard.

Meanwhile, just to return to an earlier thought, I am still disturbed by the notion that we could have captured bin Laden and instead deliberately killed him. I heard David Frum complaining to Glenn Greenwald (in the small part of a thing I watched) that it might have taken months or even years to bring a captured bin Laden to trial. I say - yeah, and so what? Isn't that part of what makes America great? To strongly defend the rights of all defendants? I mean, I could have seen bending some trial and detention rules for bin Laden, keeping him incommunicado, assigning him counsel, etc. But summary execution isn't the American way, any more than mobs lynching blacks was/is the American way. But Jack Kelly wants to nit pick about how Obama talked about the operation.

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