Friday, May 6, 2011

He's Dead

This is a follow up to Andrew's great picture earlier.  I laugh every time.

Also, if you that initial thrill has worn off the bin Laden situation and you want to think a little more about it, here are a couple good things to read.

 First, Greenwald is asking some important and difficult questions that I think need to be answered:
But what has surprised me somewhat is how little interest there seems to be in finding out what actually happened here. We know very little about the circumstances of bin Laden's killing, because the U.S. government has issued so many contradictory claims, which in turn contradict the reported claims of those at the scene.


Beyond the apparent indifference to how this killing took place, what has also surprised me somewhat is the lack of interest in trying to figure out how the bin Laden killing fits into broader principles and viewpoints about state power and the War on Terror. I've seen people who have spent the last decade insisting that the U.S. must accord due process to accused Terrorists before punishing them suddenly mock the notion that bin Laden should have been arrested and tried.


Then there's the strange indifference to finding out whether bin Laden was actually captured before executed. . . .  How can that not matter? Hasn't the entire debate about torture centered on the proposition that states have a moral and legal obligation not to abuse helpless detainees, given that their captivity means they have been rendered harmless? Shouldn't we want to know if bin Laden was captured before being killed, and wouldn't that make some difference in assessing one's views of his killing?
In response, Balloon Juice agrees but still refuses to get too nuanced about it all (Warning, offensive language, i.e. swears):
I’m the hypocrite here. I’m stridently against extrajudicial killings, the death penalty, targeted assassination, etc. I’d wager most of you are, too.  But when I heard that Osama had been killed, I’ll be damned if I didn’t think “Thank God that monster is gone.” Sure, in my ideal world he’d be brought back to the US, tried, and then imprisoned for the rest of his life. But you know what? I can not honestly say I give a damned that he took a double tap to the skull. Sorry. And I’d be also willing to bet that is where most of you all are- this may or may not have been legal, but you don’t give a shit, because that scumbag is at the bottom of an ocean somewhere and got what he deserved. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a primitive part of me was sort of sad he didn’t experience any pain.
I am still trying to sort out how much I care about how this was carried out, which is really a question about justice.  On the one hand, one exception to the rules (the bin Laden exception, we'll call it) might open the door to increasingly lawless government acting outside of what we consider open and moral bounds for what could at best be considered a ephemeral notion of justice, on the other it was Osama bin Laden, and he got what he deserved and we all know it.  Not easy . . .


Jacob S. said...

Also, if anyone is interested, here is the definitive proof that torture does not work, from the naked capitalist.

And no, bin Laden's death cannot be attributed to torture:

Architect said...

Leon Panetta, CIA Director, was given three opportunities to exclude waterboarding from the box of tools used to get information during an interview with Brian Williams on national TV. He was not direct. He did not deny. Why not?

James said...

"We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region."

Noam Chomsky:

Shawn O. said...

Thanks for the link James. Always been a big fan of Chomsky.