Was Killing Bin Laden Justice, Or Should He Have Been Brought To Trial?

I set off a a explosive discussion and pissed off a couple people (as only I can) on Facebook by the following status update in reference to the event that was the assassination (killing sounds less humane) of Osama bin Laden: The next time an unarmed Black man gets shot by the cops, I’m gonna call it justice and start chanting, “USA! USA!! USA!!!” Will you join me? I learned from the feedback I received, that my “thought” was inappropriate.

Many missed the hidden question or message as asked by Alan Colmes over at Liberaland: Was It Legal To Kill Bin Laden? It’s a really nice quick read and I urge you to check it out. Like my Facebook status and subsequent comments alluded, the real question is whether bin Laden himself should have been afforded due process as afforded per the U.S. Constitution? Well, checkout the following via POLITICO, as some food for thought. Like Alan Colmes asked in his post: Can  you imagine if another country sent commandos to the United States to assassinate someone who was living here?
[…] human rights and civil liberties groups that have sharply criticized the Obama administration for its use of lethal force against terror suspects outside of war zones remained largely mum after the notorious bin Laden was shot by U.S. Navy SEALs in an operation that took place in Pakistan, where the U.S. is not involved in formally declared combat.

Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said his group wasn’t prepared to express an opinion “until we know more solid details about the facts of the operation.”

“There are certainly circumstances under which lethal force is justified even in a law enforcement situation far from the battlefield,” Malinowski said in an email. “But we’ll have to know more about what actually happened before making a judgment.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has vocally opposed the Obama administration’s use of lethal force outside of armed conflict zones, told POLITICO it has not released an official comment on bin Laden’s death, and has no plans to comment on it.

Some legal scholars and intelligence analysts are also expressing concerns that the covert military operation in Abbottabad was further evidence to them that the U.S. is taking the wrong approach in the so-called “global war on terror.”

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern went as far as to say that bin Laden was “martyred by U.S. forces acting arbitrarily and independently in a Muslim nation.”

“The professor turned president was out to show how tough he is and how his crackerjack extrajudicial assassins can get their man,” McGovern said. “There are commonly accepted legal ways to capture and bring such people to a court of law — yes, even the ‘bad guys’ like Osama bin Laden.”

Terrorism – even that perpetrated by Osama bin Laden — is a criminal action and doesn’t necessarily require military force, according to Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. “If we’re not there by the authorization of the U.N. Security Council, then we should be using law enforcement methods – not military force,” she told POLITICO.

But O’Connell added that at least for the time-being, White House counterterrorism John Brennan’s statement on Monday that “if we had the opportunity to take [bin Laden] alive, we would have done that,” was significant.

“It was very important that he said that, as that would have been consistent with what international law and fundamental principles of the rule of law would require,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell spoke before the White House acknowledged that bin Laden did not have a weapon at the time he was shot. However, U.S. officials continued to insist, while not offering details, that bin Laden resisted the U.S. military team. CIA spokesman George Little said: “This decisive, successful and necessary action was conducted in strict accord with American law.”Here’s another take on this via The Real News Network. As for my thoughts? Shit, if killing Osama bin Laden is justice enough to satisfy the American public, why are we even having a military tribunal convened for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? I mean, why waste time and money trying to do the right thing, right? Fuck, just kill him with a bullet in the head and call it justice.

BIO: Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated foreign affairs columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Dawn, Daily News Pakistan, Sun Malaysia, Mainichi Tokyo, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Globe and Mail and the American Conservative. His internet column www.ericmargolis.com reaches global readers on a daily basis. He is the author of two best selling books, War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan And Asia, and nominated for the Governor General’s prestigious award for American Raj: Resolving The Conflict Between The West And The Muslim World. As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Lebanon, Turkist Kurdistan, Peru, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalist to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Lubyanka.