Osama Bin Laden

by Kenneth Anderson

I’m sure most readers are aware that President Obama is about to announce that Osama Bin Laden has been killed, in a mansion outside of Islamabad, Pakistan.  I’m just going to leave this as an open thread.  I’m not quite sure what the international law aspects of this will turn out to be, as we have no details at this point, but I’m sure readers will fill us in.

(For my own part: Having just heard President Obama, I thought it was a fine and moving speech.  I thought it captured very well the sensibility of the American people and our longer view of this struggle; the American people, I thought listening to the President, heard their voice through him.  Certainly President Obama spoke for me.  I’m sure other OJers and commenters take away different things and reflect differently on these things; I don’t speak for the nuances, difficulties, or alternative framings that others here might find.  I’m not attempting to offer an academically distanced comment here.

There are things to comment on in the speech in that way, of course, interpreting it as diplomats and international lawyers should, with regard to inferences and implications as to US views of international law and politics, questions of special ops and intelligence agents, means and methods, the possibly several and opposed roles played by elements of Pakistan’s government – but I won’t attempt to take that up tonight.  For my personal part, I intend to savor the moment and reflect on the sacrifices of those who serve and brought about this operation – those whom the President thanked directly and frankly in his speech – the military and the intelligence and counterterrorism professionals.  I thought Volokh Conspirator Dale Carpenter, with H/T to Bette Davis, got my feeling exactly:  “They say one should only say good things about the dead.  Bin Laden is dead.  Good.”)


2 Responses

  1. i just wanted to ask you something. since you seem to know a lot about war, a lot of people are asking was it worth it. well ,was it? did we save more people that this operation has killed? did we achieve deterrance?

     its a serious question, i know what happened during the taliban rule, and how many peoples lives they took.

    but what is a reliable link that will actually tell me if it was worth it

  2. Response…Great response and fascinating comments on the legal intricacies.  I agree with you wholeheartedly and can’t fathom the worrying over whether or not this was legal, legitimate, ethical, moral, or virtuous.  I don’t know what I would think about all this, however, if I knew for a fact that crucial information had been obtained under torture.  But as it is, I can think happily of him in heaven with his virgins or, more likely, of the happiness of the sturgeons whom he’s feeding.

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