Monday, May 02, 2011
Photo number 8:
From this collection over at the Atlantic of images related to the killing of Osama Bin Laden
. It had been a long and stressful day, with Obama in the Situation Room in the afternoon while the operation was taking place, then giving the speech in the late evening. The picture shows Obama leaving the East Room of the White House.
Not that I have a bit of trouble with Bin Laden being dead, which I don't. But ...
We sent in a helicopter full of commandos with orders to kill, not capture. We apparently did have the option to capture, because according to reports he was "double tapped" -- subdued then shot twice in the side of the head at point-blank range.
A couple of years ago this would have been called a "death squad", and liberals would have been jumping up and down screaming until their faces turned blue. I don't hear a single liberal complaining about it so I guess that the objection on the part of the left was more situational than moral.
Is jms complaining that Osama was shot dead? Could it have been "suicide by cop"? Perhaps jms wanted Osama captured alive, to torture and eventually tried and executed.
Or is jms' point that if done in a Republican Administration, liberals would have complained?
If it is, to jms, a moral issue, then perhaps he should set forth his case. Who knows, some liberals might agree with him. But methinks jms is trying to make lemonade with this situation for what he perceives as political points. Of course, he can shift gears and credit Bush and Cheney for the kill.
Bush captured Saddam Hussein, put him on trial in Iraq, and delivered him to the execution ground uninjured and untortured. Defiant even. It would have been easy for Bush to issue a "kill on sight" order against Hussein, and it probably would have saved everyone a lot of grief and effort, but no such order was given. It would have been easy for Hussein to have fallen down a few flights of stairs on the way from the prison to the gallows, but that didn't happen either. When Hussein was found, he was taken into custody and treated correctly.
It's one thing if Bin Laden had been shot dead while shooting back, or was threatening the soldiers with a weapon (the definition of suicide by cop), but now we have Leon Panetta on record saying that the order was to kill, and that capture would only be done if Bin Laden had the presence of mind to put up his hands and ask to surrender in the split second between the soldiers bursting into the room and carrying out their orders to shoot him dead. We also have White House press secretary Jay Carney on record saying that Bin Laden was unarmed and did not use a human shield.
Specifically, I would have liked him captured alive, treated with far more dignity than he deserved, put on trial in New York City, convicted and executed. I would certainly hope that the Obama administration would at least match the standard of conduct established by the Bush administration and not torture Bin Laden.
I would also have been just fine with blowing the entire compound to smithereens with a couple of drone-launched missiles. It would certainly be a reasonable conclusion that it would be too dangerous for special forces to attempt an invasion. That wasn't done because Obama wanted a corpse.
I take exception to Obama's statement that "Justice has been done." No, justice is what happens after a trial. If Obama had been shot while brandishing a weapon, or if we had been forced to kill him with explosive warheads from a distance, then one could say that he had received his just deserts, which is something quite different. This was neither. This was vengeance. Justified vengeance? Perhaps. Satisfying? Definitely. But Justice? No. It cheapens and soils the word.
So now hit squads and assassinations are part of the Obama doctrine. Does it end there? Why not take out Kaddafi the same way? After all, he killed 190 American citizens on flight 103.
There were a lot of people frustrated with George Bush in the sense that he treated unlawful combatants as if they were entitled to Geneva protections. This was frustrating to conservatives, but served a purpose.
It was said during World War II that the one thing that a civilian population had reason to fear and dread the most during wartime was the appearance in their town of a group of young foreign men in uniform, because the appearance of foreign soldiers usually meant rape, killings and destruction. The one exception was the American soldier, who shared their cigarettes with the adults and their Hershey bars with the children, and offered medical treatment to injured civilians. American soldiers earned unprecedented respect among civilian populations for the scrupulous adherence to the laws of war, and their intolerance for violations. The most amazing thing to the Iraqi population wasn't that American guards had abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The most amazing thing to them was that the guards were actually tried and punished.
Barack Obama stands ready and willing to discard 65 years of hard-earned respect and goodwill towards the American soldier for little more than the satisfaction of instantaneous vengeance. The moral question is, are we a country that behaves this way? Well, clearly today we are. And clearly vengeance is popular -- witness the crowds of people taking to the street to celebrate a U.S. military assassination -- something I've never seen before. However, adopting political assassination as a preferred instrument of foreign policy, in preference to capture and trial, puts the United States on a new and different moral path, and I don't like it.
jms, with this:
"Specifically, I would have liked him captured alive, treated with far more dignity than he deserved, put on trial in New York City, convicted and executed. I would certainly hope that the Obama administration would at least match the standard of conduct established by the Bush administration and not torture Bin Laden. "
reveals himself as the reincarnation of the Hollywood screenwriter of America's "Old West" justice of "We'll give 'im a fair trial and then hang 'im."
Also, jms would set the trial in NYC, in apparent disagreement with the Republican dance card on trials outside of Guantanamo . And jms focuses on the capture of Hussein, ignoring the torture of lower level Iraqis with Cheney approved waterboarding.
As to civilians being killed, jms seems to ignore the bombings in WW II in Europe and in Japan.
And jms' sweet tooth reference to GI's kindly giving Hershey bars to children avoids GI turned comedian Herb Shriner's schtick on his time in France: "I spoke pretty good French until I ran out of Hershey bars."
War is hell. Bad thing are done sometimes, perhaps too often, by good people that shouldn't have been done. Morality? Just take the Bush/Cheney years, especially with invading Iraq. The Patriots Act(s) impacts citizens' liberties here. Did Bush/Cheney in 8 years provide justice?
As to jms' remarks on vengeance he has never seen the likes of before, what planet was he been living on during the Bush/Cheney 8 years. I'm for justice and morality. But it is clear that jms' focus is solely upon Obama, in jms' ignoring the lack of justice and morality that is often associated with wars. Has jms had an epiphany following 8 years of Bush/Cheney? No, jms just hates Obama for rather obvious reasons.
"We should have tried Osama in court, because what he did on 9/11 wasn't any worse than what American soldiers did at Abu Ghraib."
Or some insane bullshit like that. He contradicts himself in every post.
This is one liberal who would have celebrated the death of OBL regardless of which president ultimately did it. But Bush was "truly not that concerned about him." Well, no shit. He had seven years to get him, and could have, were it not for a completely unnecessary war in Iraq. Bush dropped the ball, Obama picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown. Deal with it.