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Straight up question:

If that's what the order was in fact to do, Would you have approved of an order to shoot to kill bin Laden?

Poll

I would have approved of an order to shoot to kill bin Laden?

92%307 votes
7%25 votes

| 332 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

    by deepsouthdoug on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:32:49 AM PDT

  •  Uh, durr? (6+ / 0-)

    Assuming all the many moving parts were in place as needed, of course.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:43:31 AM PDT

  •  I voted yes, but I have to admit I had to think (6+ / 0-)

    about it for a while.  Not nearly as long as the President thought about it, but for a while.

    The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:44:24 AM PDT

    •  Yes, it's not an easy decision and (8+ / 0-)

      the circumtances do matter.  It's easy for us to say "yes" now, and I did, but think how it would have been if the mission failed.  Might be diff results in the poll.

      Almost Everyone loves a winner.  That said, I'm glad the President made the choice he did.  

      WWRHD? What Would Robin Hood Do?

      by TomP on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:52:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw it as more a question... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont, MGross, TomP, allergywoman, denig

        ...about the nature of the operation itself, rather than about whether to give the "go" order on the operation in the first place.

        As in, "assuming that the mission was going to go forward with SEALs raiding the mansion, would you give them an order to shoot to kill Usama?" In other words, I figured that the alternative was taking more risk of capture, American casualties, or mission failure in order to try to capture him alive.

        The question you asked would take a bit more thought; the question I thought I was answering was a pretty quick decision.

        •  The intent of the question (4+ / 0-)

          Was to ask if you approved if it was OK to shoot to kill bin Laden on sight.  No chance of surrender.  I think most people are voting assuming that was the order.  

          It's not impossible to think that the President gives the go order for the attack and the decision on how to 'execute' the command is made at a lower level - possibly by the book.  

          I recall during the Cuban Missile Crisis what happened after Kennedy gave the blockade order. The literal by the book rules of engagement were to sink ships that ran the blockade.  That almost happened, but after the rules were explained to him, just as the Navy was going to open up on a couple of Russian freighters,  JFK changed the by the book rules.

          Because of that you are reading this comment ;-)  

          The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

          by deepsouthdoug on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:16:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are legal problems taking him alive. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, deepsouthdoug, vcmvo2, skrekk, dewtx

          The same problems (if not more) arise if you order him killed (without trial) after being apprehended.

          All of this is avoided if you simply tell the SEALs to shoot on sight.

          You are not required to give legitimate military targets a chance to surrender. It's not like Osama could have surrendered to a GBU-10 coming through the roof, either.

    •  actually, Zedmont, that decision was made (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vets74, vcmvo2, Predictor, skrekk

      sometime during WJC's 2nd term.

      GOP spin to the contrary, it's always been Democratic presidents and their personnel who really care about the whole country's safety, as opposed to Republican presidents' focus on moneymakery.

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:12:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  yes. (8+ / 0-)

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:45:15 AM PDT

  •  Yup (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, allergywoman, IndieGuy

    As of right now,

    39 ayes
    0 nays

    (sure to change)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - MLK

    by edwardssl on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:47:32 AM PDT

  •  OBL, being a legitimate military target, (14+ / 0-)

    and lacking a practical plan to take him alive, I have no problem with an order to kill him.

    Or pulling the trigger, for that matter. He declared war on the US -- literally -- and so war's what he got.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:47:43 AM PDT

    •  I have to admit I don't think I could do it myself (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepsouthdoug, allergywoman, raptavio

      but I also can't bring myself to kill anything larger than a medium sized spider or a scorpion. I actually had to kill a scorpion once, in my bedroom carpeting, in my bare feet, without a weapon handy, and I knew I had to kill it, but frankly I didn't want to. I did it but not without a weird sensation of wishing I didn't have to take this life. But it posed a clear and present danger and killing it was the only option.

      I am very glad that president Obama had Osama bin Laden killed. I am glad he is dead. To me he's like that scorpion, on a global scale.

      And I am deeply grateful to everyone involved in dispatching him, from president Obama, to the intelligence operatives who found him and gathered the intel to successfully pull off this mission, maintaing secrecy over years, to the very brave Seals who went into the compound and did the job. They all are highly deserving of gratitude and appreciation.

  •  Yes. (6+ / 0-)

    WWRHD? What Would Robin Hood Do?

    by TomP on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:50:39 AM PDT

  •  Two people voted no already? (5+ / 0-)

    Is this like the 2% of the American people who, on the day of Nixon's resignation, had never heard the word "Watergate"?

  •  Absolutely, this was NOT a good guy. He murdered (6+ / 0-)

    thousands of people.
    Go big or go home, I say.

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:51:58 AM PDT

  •  All enemy combatants have a kill order on them... (13+ / 0-)

    that is how war works.

    I just got my pony - bin Laden dead 05/01/2011

    by LiberalCanuck on Fri May 06, 2011 at 07:56:22 AM PDT

    •  UBL was a legitimate target: head of operations/ (6+ / 0-)

      finance for an outfit that had in fact declared war on the US. His attacks included the embassy bombings and the Cole bombing,
      as well as the 11SEP01 attack on the WTC & Pentagon.

      He thought of himself as a modern-day Mohammed; he was in
      some ways almost a modern-day Rommel.

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:15:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This. Legitimate military target. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        Giving the order to attack OBL's compound was no different, legally or morally, from giving the order to attack a group of armed Taliban on a hill in Afghanistan.

        Nowhere in the laws of warfare does it state that one must only shoot at the rank and file soldiers, and not leaders or generals.

        I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

        by eataTREE on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:50:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  LOL. (0+ / 0-)

      Because we surely have people who don't know that.

      Took us till last night to get the party going at Joe's Bar. We're slow. Very slow.

      Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

      by vets74 on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:52:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not going to second-guess a group of (5+ / 0-)

    highly trained Navy SEALS with their lives on the line, but it would perhaps have been better to have brought Osama back alive for trial a la Nuremburg. Then there wouldn't have been all this "Deather" crap spewing from the rightwing. Or will anything stop them? Guess that's a question for another poll.

    •  amazing how those guys usually turn out to be (0+ / 0-)

      wingers, when it's the wingers who disrespect them so much.  Same goes with a lot of the institutions we have, for example,  the Village media.  They're constantly dissed, yet they bend over and ask for more.  That's fascinating to me.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:29:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Deather crap" serves a purpose. (0+ / 0-)

      It identifies the loons among us.

      My sig line, Item # 3 --

      Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

      by vets74 on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:54:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Instead we would have had kidnappings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepsouthdoug, collardgreens

      of Americans, then demands of hostage trading.  And endless arguments about where he should be held and where he should be tried. And every other fucking thing the Repubs could have done to turn the end of Bin Laden into a giant ugly, unending mess.

      Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal. ~Molly Ivins

      by denig on Fri May 06, 2011 at 10:34:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not just "Yes," but "Hell, yes" n/t (6+ / 0-)

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by bwintx on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:00:31 AM PDT

  •  In a New York Minute. He deserved it (5+ / 0-)

    .

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Fri May 06, 2011 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

  •  Wow. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eataTREE, vets74, roycej, deepsouthdoug

    Poll results.
    I wonder how this compares with opinions on capital punishment generally.

    I can't imagine the immensity of the knowledge our president holds in his head, nor the gravity of his decisions; that is, literally, it is unimaginable to me.  

    I've seen this question posed somewhere:  "If you knew that by killing one man, you could maybe save the lives of many more, would you kill him?"

    I don't want to kill anyone, but I just don't know.

    •  I oppose capital punishment generally... (6+ / 0-)

      ...but international terrorist masterminds like UBL occupy kind of a gray area in my thinking in this regard—somewhere between war and crime.

      It was more than eminently clear that he was guilty of planning and conspiring in acts of terrorism; he admitted as much, on multiple occasions. And 9/11 wasn't a conventional criminal act; it really was an act of war. While I'm not on board with the construction of efforts against al-Qaeda as a "war on terror," and generally think terrorism should be dealt with using the tools of a police squad than the tools of an army, there's a sense in which this situation in particular is much like a war—kill or be killed. If UBL lived, he would continue to mastermind terrorist acts—acts of war like 9/11—that would cost innocent lives.

      I'm not completely sure I can square my opposition to capital punishment as a means of criminal punishment in the US and elsewhere with the fact that I really do think it was the right thing to do to kill UBL, but to be honest, what cognitive dissonance I feel there is (a) really not all that uncomfortable and (b) based on a somewhat unique situation that's unlikely to arise again for me in terms of my own decision-making. It feels too thought-experiment-y for me to feel too many pangs of conscience on the matter.

      •  I pretty much agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        Although I would emphasize one of your points

        It was more than eminently clear that he was guilty of planning and conspiring in acts of terrorism; he admitted as much, on multiple occasions.
        My concern about capitol punishment revolves around getting the wrong guy.  OBL seemed to take pride in his act of mass murder.

        There are two other considerations I would offer:
        1) Attempts to capture would subject the raid team to additional risk in an already risky operation
        2) Bringing him back would give him an opportunity to spew more filth and become more of a martyr and symbol for his cause.

        The fact that he publicly took credit would have made the decision simple for me.

      •  I think capital punishment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        is inconsistent with the 5th, 8th, and 14th amendments of the Constitution.  These considerations trump political accountability, where the death penalty is generally popular.  I also think there are policy arguments against it such as expense, lack of a real deterrent effect, and inconsistent application. There is no ex ante legal prohibition aginst killing bin Laden, and so the President should defer to popular will and national interest on that point.  The bigger difference is that killing bin Laden is not the punishment (though I suspect he'd be executed for his crimes -- I'd only favor it if in a military tribunal, e.g.) but something outside the legal process entirely.  That said, any order to kill him must be carried out in accordance with the laws of war -- accepting his surrender if offered, no unnecessary cruelty.

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:10:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think there's a distinction (6+ / 0-)

      I suppose one could say it's a rather cowardly answer - I struggle with it - but I've answered emphatically when called into a jury pool that "No, if a conviction were to lead to the death penalty, I could not render a guilty judgment"...  

      I do have a moral problem with the state putting someone to death when that someone has been neutralized and is in custody.

      But in a situation like this?  I think I could and would give the order.  I would struggle with it - struggle with it to the point that there's zero chance I'd ever be elected President, and frankly -- for the security of the country, it's probably a good thing that there IS zero chance.

      When you look back through US history - there are plenty of decisions, decisions made by Presidents we revere and respect that have made decisions I'd have struggled with.

      Would I have been able to give Sherman and Sheridan the order to lay waste to civilian property in the South, as Lincoln did, knowing full well that there would be noncombatants - women and children - would starve because of that order?

      Would I have been able to OK the firebombings of Dresden or Tokyo?  Or drop the atomic bomb?

      Would I have ordered John Pershing to pursue Pancho Villa into Mexico?

      Blockade Cuba and risk a nuclear war?

      All decisions that I would struggle with and all decisions I'm glad someone else has had to make.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:03:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm opposed to capital punishment. (9+ / 0-)

      I don't see this as even remotely similar.

      •  I have to agree with you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, roycej

        I STRONGLY feel capital punishment is just state okayed murder, but I do not think these two things are even remotely similar.

        And as to the idea if Bush would have been the one to do this, I did some hard soul searching, and decided with as much as I hated everything Bush did, I would have made some snarky comment about how a blind pig can find truffles....I may not have given him full throated respect or love for "shoot to kill" UBL, (because of that whole no respect for anything he did) but I would have not have said he was wrong.

        I think I hate this "liberal" pie fight more than any other since I've been a member here, and there have been many many many (many many many many) meta-fights.

    •  Perfectly consistent with my position. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      I think the death penalty is way overused, but I still think it should be used for mass murderers.

  •  No, he should have been captured (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smellybeast, social democrat

    and brought to trial.  Extrajudicial killings are illegal.

    I wish the White House hadn't changed its story so many times. Of course it would have been appropriate to kill him if he were posing a threat to the U.S. troops.  But the evidence seems to the contrary.

    I reject the notion that bin Laden was a "military commander" on a "global battlefield" in the "Global War on Terror" who had "declared war" on the United States. Bin Laden was a criminal who should have been captured, lawfully interrogated, and prosecuted in a court of law.

    The jingoism in a thread like this, even on DKos, is a little disturbing.

    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

    by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:15:00 AM PDT

    •  Your idealism is commendable (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seeds, roycej, gooderservice

      but woefully niave.

    •  I think insisting on a live capture (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loge

      would have put our personnel and the success of the entire mission at risk.

      If OBL had come out waving a white flag (which we all knew was never going to happen), he might still be alive. Or perhaps not.

      I"m not losing any sleep over this.

      •  I did not "insist" on a live capture. I said (0+ / 0-)

        it was the preferred option if possible.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  is that a legal or moral argument? (0+ / 0-)

          legally, there's no requirement to prefer it under these circumstances, acts of Congress, and appropriate UN resolutions.  morally it's a tougher question, but the President has a duty to the country, including representing popular will, so private, personal morality might not come into play.  Now, it's possible that facts will emerge that might show the operation was conducted in violation of international law, but doubtful.  Really, it just turns on whether bin Laden surrendered or was "outside of conflict" due to incapacitation, and there's no evidence of either.  The fact of his death, even if he could have been taken alive by force, is not prima facie evidence of lawbreaking.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:15:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Would it be legal for a commando team (0+ / 0-)

            from Iraq to helicopter into George W. Bush's compound in Texas, shoot him dead, then drop him into the Atlantic, on account of his illegal war that killed tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis?

            Do you think the fact of his death in such circumstances, even if he could have been taken alive by force, is not prima facie evidence of lawbreaking?

            If no to these questions, what is the difference from the bin Laden killing?

            It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

            by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:22:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  we are not at war with Iraq, (0+ / 0-)

              just at war "in" Iraq.  Nor do we consent to Iraq's violation of our airspace as Pakistan did with respect to the raid on bin Laden.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:25:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I don't think your first sentence (0+ / 0-)

                is relevant.  

                As to the second, there are conflicting reports.

                I'm glad the "good guys" got the "bad guy." If the Pakistanis did in fact authorize this as a police mission, then I don't challenge the legality of the mission.  That would, in fact, distinguish this from my Bush hypothetical.

                We'll probably never get a complete answer on this. The Pakistanis are embroiled with a war on their own territory with the Taliban and other jihadi groups, and they just cannot speak openly.

                It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

                by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:31:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The existence of non-existence of a state of war (0+ / 0-)

                  is absolutely relevant to when countries can kill each other's military leaders (of which Bush is no longer).  Actions by Iraqi insurgents would be illegal as they are unlawful combattants the second they start operating outside of Iraq.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:34:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Certainly you are not claiming that bin Laden (0+ / 0-)

                    was a "military leader."

                    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

                    by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:37:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Certainly, I am (0+ / 0-)

                      well, an unlawful combattant enemy leader (3rd Geneva Conv., Art. III).  Sort of like a pirate captain.  

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 12:06:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Bush is also no longer (0+ / 0-)

              a military leader, unlike bin Laden who was still the head of Al Qaeda, as far as anyone knows.  Killing Bush at this stage accomplishes no strategic goal in your hypothetical.  As a non-combattant, he enjoys all the rights of civilians under the Geneva Conventions.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:31:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Oh - well. As long as random internet yahoo (0+ / 0-)

      declares it to be illegal, who cares what Congress and the UN said.

      lols

      I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

      by punditician on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stupid comment. (0+ / 0-)

        The United Nations has not declared it legal. I think they have asked for an investigation.

        Congress has not declared it legal, and wouldn't have authority in any event to contravene international law.  Under the Constitution, treaties are the "supreme law" of the land.

        Yahoo?  You're the one being the big bad Internet tough guy.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:55:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And why was he just a "criminal" again? (0+ / 0-)

      I seem to have forgotten, what did he do again to have the mean 'ole USA come after him?  Since it was not a declaration of war it must have been something.

      "To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Thomas Jefferson

      by meatwad420 on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:55:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Respect your perspective, disagree with conclusion (5+ / 0-)

      As I commented up thread, OBL had taken credit for 9/11 on multiple occasions.  He was proud of his actions.  He continued to preach jihad against the US.

      The scale of his mass murder and the fact that he remained the leader of the non-state organization that sponsored it made him an enemy of the United States in a military way.

      Trying to capture him would have posed a greater risk to the raid team.  Recall that suicide bombing is the hallmark of his organization.  Giving him the chance to take a bunch of seals with him and martyr himself in the 11th hour would have been a tragedy.

      I agree with you that we should have a VERY high standard for extrajudicial killing.  I think that OBL met the standard.  I don't say that glibly... your reservations are valid.

      •  Your comment here is persuasive, (4+ / 0-)

        almost enough to make me change my mind.

        I read an article in the semi-scurrilous Daily Mail today (just looked and can't find the link again) that claims that anonymous congressional staffers were told that the team was instructed to kill bin Laden unless he was naked, on the assumption he might have on a suicide vest.  (The article also claimed that bin Laden's wife said he and she had both stayed in that very same room for five years without leaving.)

        Considering al Qaeda's history, the notion of a last-ditch suicide vest is actually quite plausible.

        Okay, I change my mind.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 10:07:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not an "extrajudicial killing" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loge, Leftcenterlibertarian

        This was a military operation to kill or capture a high-value target, not an illegal action that would classified "extrajudicial."

        I don't think he was trying to surrender, if he was, a SEAL accidentally lighting him up gets put in the "Shit Happens In a War Zone" file.

        I'm guessing the operational priorities in order were 1) don't let that motherfucker get away; and 2) try not to get your ass shot off.

        The SEALs did both.

        Way down on the list, there may have been something about taking him alive if safe to do so; I'm delighted our SEALs had their priorities in order.

        •  Disagree. That's just militaristic spin, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leftcenterlibertarian

          which basically boils down to:  Might makes right and who gives a fuck about the law?

          A private house in a foreign country is not a "war zone." That's Bush/Cheney neocon GWOT bullshit.

          But for what it's worth, given the chance that bin Laden might have been wearing a suicide vest, I've changed my mind about the propriety of shooting him.

          It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

          by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:17:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  With respect, I think the problem is the reverse: (2+ / 0-)

            Bin Laden was legally a belligerent, and international law considers him a belligerent whether he's on a battlefield or hiding in a house in someone else's country.  The Bush/Cheney/neocon problem was treating members of Al Qaeda like belligerents when shooting at them, then arguing that they weren't prisoners of war when captured, but some quasi-criminal status in order to prevent Geneva from kicking in.  Which is nonsense.

            Even in our own law we argued, in the AUMF, that this was a military operation, but then treated captures not like military captures, and on top of that tried to avoid giving them criminal status, which would have gotten them certain legal protections.  It's a mess of doublespeak.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:31:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  With someone like bin Laden (0+ / 0-)

            There can be no expectation of surrender. If he tried to even move from the position he was in, it would be considered a threat to the safety of the military personnel. He could have been wearing a suicide vest. He could have been running to hit the button to send the whole building sky high. This was a military raid, not a garden party. Gentilities didn't apply.

    •  I believe it was the media who changed the story (0+ / 0-)

      so many times. Or do you have links to White House reports where they, themselves  changed the story?  

      Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal. ~Molly Ivins

      by denig on Fri May 06, 2011 at 10:40:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is rather lame link demandism. (0+ / 0-)

        The many various retracted details, such as the woman being used as a shield, the death of bin Laden's wife, etc. all originated with the White House, or other parts of the national security team, and were retracted by the same people.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:15:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I sincerely wanted to know. If you consider the (0+ / 0-)

          request lame,  then you do.

          However pico did answer my question, rather than tell me how stupid I was to ask.

          Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal. ~Molly Ivins

          by denig on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:50:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  White House changed their story, too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denig

        Brennan's press conference on Monday was walked back by Carney's, and then aspects of Carney's were further walked back.  I discussed it quite a bit here.

        Frankly I'm glad they're trying to get the story as accurate as possible, rather than the alternative.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:24:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Are you saying... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    social democrat

    That is what Obama did?  Because I don't think he did.  According tot he official report, their goal was apprehend if possible or use lethal force if necessary.  Just like any drug raid in the US.

    There is nothing more powerful in human existence than an idea that has been proven wrong.

    by RichM on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:21:41 AM PDT

  •  he should have been apprehended. (0+ / 0-)

    killing on sight makes us as bad as them. worse was when we were dancing in the street celebrating his death.

    i remember a time when we used to be appalled by the sight of "terrorists" celebrating the death of american soldiers.

    i have seen the enemy, and he is us.

    Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?~ Groucho Marx

    by Horse Traitor on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:45:28 AM PDT

    •  no, that would be if we waited (0+ / 0-)

      until he walked into Petronas Towers in Malasya, and then flew a few C-130s into them.  

      Killing someone when it's fully consistent with the laws of war and killing innocent civilians is not the same thing at all.  (To say otherwise is getting into Ward Churchill "little Eichmanns" territory.) And I didn't dance at all when I heard the news, but only one is cheering for justice.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:20:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  justice is served in a court of law, not out the (0+ / 0-)

        end of a gun in somebodys house.

        Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?~ Groucho Marx

        by Horse Traitor on Fri May 06, 2011 at 02:38:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You evidently have a romanticized notion, (0+ / 0-)

          of what goes on in courts of law . . . i don't even know if bin Laden could get a fair trial even if we bent over backwards to give him one.

          in any event, a justified killing in the course of a conflict that meets the standard of a just war -- I stand by my claim and deliberately provocative phrasing of it.  If bin Laden surrendered, or offered to surrender but was refused, we're having a different conversation, but I don't think this is unjust solely because it was a military operation.  

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 02:50:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and will you feel the same if/when the seals come (0+ / 0-)

            looking for you?

            we protect all in order to protect the innocent.

            or has the 8 years of bush/cheney human rights violations decided for you?

            Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?~ Groucho Marx

            by Horse Traitor on Fri May 06, 2011 at 05:05:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bush and Cheney (0+ / 0-)

              broke the law.  This doesn't.  I have 5th amendment rights that bin Laden doesn't.  I object strenously to the violations of civil liberties in the name of terrorism, but it also helps in that regard that i know what they are, as opposed of indulging radical chic bullshit.  But please, feel free to throw some more cliches at me.  That'll overcome my legal training.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:38:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  an order to kill... (4+ / 0-)

    ...under any and all circumstances -- i.e. even if the enemy attempts to surrender, even if the enemy is incapacitated, etc -- contravenes the laws of war.

    Obama takes the rule of law pretty seriously, so I bet his orders were by the book -- capture or kill.

    But I'd also bet it was made clear in mission training that Osama was extremely dangerous and unlikely to surrender, so that anything he did other than surrender immediately and unambiguously would be interpreted as a hostile act.

    Prison rape is not funny.

    by social democrat on Fri May 06, 2011 at 10:02:16 AM PDT

  •  I'd have fired the shots. (4+ / 0-)

    And if that put me behind bars for murder, so be it.

  •  Here's my question... (0+ / 0-)

    Is the organization that he nominally leads (led) in fact an enemy of the United States, engaged in military or paramilitary conflict with the United States?

    If so, he is essentially a military leader; military leaders are generally considered acceptable targets for assassination during a period of military or paramilitary conflict.

    I don't know if I personally would have said "Yes, please, if you get the opportunity, shoot him", as opposed to "He's probably worth more to us alive, but don't hesitate to defend yourself"; I think that decision requires more information.

    "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

    by Shaviv on Fri May 06, 2011 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

  •  Not only yes, but hell yes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice

    I'd have pulled the trigger, given the option.

    Fuck bin Laden.  The best thing about his burial at sea is that he's rotting in fish piss.

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:07:56 AM PDT

  •  When Bin Laden saw the U.S. military (0+ / 0-)

    in his room and he immediately interlocked his hands behind his head, and the SEALS were positive that Bin Laden wasn't wearing an explosive vest of some sort, sure, capture him alive.

    Otherwise, kill him and be done with it.

    It's not a hard choice.

    To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

    by gooderservice on Fri May 06, 2011 at 11:19:14 AM PDT

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