Killing Osama legal?

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  • #1
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Here in Europe some people say killing Osama was not legal. The US should have taken him into custody and bring him to court.

Suppose it was really a kill mission. Would that be legal?

(My reaction was who cares, he was a mass murderer. But people here say there are still laws, you can't execute him just like that.)

thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
He was armed and was not agreeing to the Navy Seals demands. If they didn't shoot him, Osama might have shot a Navy seal.
 
  • #3
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He was armed and was not agreeing to the Navy Seals demands. If they didn't shoot him, Osama might have shot a Navy seal.
There are reports that he actually was not armed. A lot of conflicting reports are starting to emerge.
 
  • #4
drankin
Here in Europe some people say killing Osama was not legal. The US should have taken him into custody and bring him to court.

Suppose it was really a kill mission. Would that be legal?

(My reaction was who cares, he was a mass murderer. But people here say there are still laws, you can't execute him just like that.)

thanks
Maybe it wasn't entirely "legal" by international standards. I don't know what law(s) specifically that the US would be bound to regarding this. If anyone can point to a documented law that the US has agreed to abide by it would be interesting to read.
 
  • #5
turbo
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We have some "pundits" in the US saying that the killing was illegal, too. Not surprisingly, such claims have been made on FOX. If this "illegal" raid had been carried out under "W", they would have been over the Moon with joy. IMO, if Obama had rescued a cute puppy from a burning building, the FOX loons would find a way to slam him for that. Please consider the sources.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/shep-smith-bin-laden-illegal_n_857356.html
 
  • #6
arildno
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Of course it was legal.
Because he was beyond the pale of law, due to his own actions.

He was a classic example of "hostis humani generis".
 
  • #7
Evo
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Yes, it's legal according to our law.

What the Presdient did is quite legal.

However, following the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and on the basis of a (secret) favorable legal opinion, President Bill Clinton issued a presidential finding (equivalent to an executive order) authorizing the use of lethal force in self-defense against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, seventy-five Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at a site in Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden was expected to attend a summit meeting. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, President George Bush reportedly made another finding that broadened the class of potential targets beyond the top leaders of Al-Qaeda, and also beyond the boundaries of Afghanistan. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered Special Operations units to prepare a plan for “hunter killer teams,” with the purpose of killing, not capturing, terrorist suspects. Using the war paradigm for counterterrorism enabled government lawyers to distinguish lethal attacks on terrorists from prohibited assassinations and justify them as lawful battlefield operations against enemy combatants

President Barack Obama’s administration has not changed the policy on targeted killings; in fact, it ordered a “dramatic increase” in the drone-launched missile strikes against Al-Qaeda and Taliban members in Pakistan. According to commentators, there were more such strikes in the first year of Obama’s administration than in the last three years of the Bush administration. CIA operatives have reportedly been involved in targeted killing operations in Yemen and Somalia as well, although in Yemen the operations are carried out by Yemeni forces, with the CIA assisting in planning, munitions supply, and tactical guidance. Obama has also left intact the authority granted by his predecessor to the CIA and the military to kill American citizens abroad, if they are involved in terrorism against the United States.
http://harvardnsj.com/2010/06/law-and-policy-of-targeted-killing/ [Broken]
 
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  • #8
gb7nash
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What's meant by legal? International law? Pakistani law? U.S. law?
 
  • #9
Evo
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What's meant by legal? International law? Pakistani law? U.S. law?
Try researching it. There is a lot about "Targeted killing in Internationl law".
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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Here in Europe some people say killing Osama was not legal. The US should have taken him into custody and bring him to court.

Suppose it was really a kill mission. Would that be legal?

(My reaction was who cares, he was a mass murderer. But people here say there are still laws, you can't execute him just like that.)

thanks
What American police force has jurisdiction to arrest a Saudi in Pakistan?

In any case, regardless of whether he had a gun, he was the leader of a paramilitary terorist organization. Clearly a military target. Now where it does get sticky is with the Geneva conventions which forbid soldiers from killing people who are unarmed. That's a little sticky to me, though, because we could have killed him even easier (and safer) by just dropping a big bomb on the compound.
 
  • #11
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Given that the compound was filled with armed persons who fired during the raid, would it matter that bin laden was unarmed?
 
  • #12
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The fact that he was killed does not mean his killing was against any international law, rule of engagement, or otherwise that the US agreed to.

No one here, on FOX, on Huffington, or anywhere else can conclude exactly what happened, even if they claim they can.
 
  • #13
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We have some "pundits" in the US saying that the killing was illegal, too. Not surprisingly, such claims have been made on FOX. If this "illegal" raid had been carried out under "W", they would have been over the Moon with joy. IMO, if Obama had rescued a cute puppy from a burning building, the FOX loons would find a way to slam him for that. Please consider the sources.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/shep-smith-bin-laden-illegal_n_857356.html
You can't be serious about the Shep Smith question (begins at about 3:10 on your link and begins with distortion - btw)? He didn't label anything as being "illegal" and he didn't pronounce anything a "fact" - just some word twisting by Huffington in it's description. You need to consider your sources - IMO.
 
  • #14
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Huffington Post reporting about Fox News. Might as well read an article about "fine italian dining" on dominospizza.com, written by the owner of McDonalds.
 
  • #15
Amp1
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor just about as instantaneous as you can get we were at war = OBL . Two witnesses (?) Two bombs, footprints (?) sorry .... digressing .... thinking about ... lines from the movie "The Omen"
 
  • #16
Al68
Yes, it's legal according to our law.

What the Presdient did is quite legal.
Yes, that's exactly right, and our law is the only law that matters. The U.S. President is necessarily never bound by any foreign law, as far as his official duties are concerned. His loyalty must lie with the U.S. exclusively.
 
  • #17
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.. Now where it does get sticky is with the Geneva conventions which forbid soldiers from killing people who are unarmed.
It seems unlikely that the Geneva conventions apply, which is an agreement between "high contracting parties", which are is defined as parties to any international agreement which have both signed and ratified it. Al Qaeda is probably not a high contracting party. So obviously the normal international laws and agreements would prevail here. And I'm not sure about the legimacy of infringing the territory of a sovereign state to conduct violent acts. Maybe some diplomacy has ironed out some possible wrinkles preemtively.

But even if one can justify the lethal action against a terrorist, what about the other victims?

Yes, that's exactly right, and our law is the only law that matters. The U.S. President is necessarily never bound by any foreign law, as far as his official duties are concerned. His loyalty must lie with the U.S. exclusively.
Does it really work that way? Isn't the keyword 'mutual' here? Suppose that some hypothetical local tyrant in a conflict area, that had been subject to an American invasion, conducted an insurgical action like that to liquidate the president, who is seen as the symbol of all evil? So if heads of states were to ignore laws of other sovereign states, what would be the result for humanity on a global scale?
 
  • #18
cristo
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Yes, that's exactly right, and our law is the only law that matters. The U.S. President is necessarily never bound by any foreign law, as far as his official duties are concerned. His loyalty must lie with the U.S. exclusively.
You realise how arrogant this sounds, right? I'm sure I've heard something like this before...

team-america-photo.jpg
 
  • #19
turbo
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Huffington Post reporting about Fox News. Might as well read an article about "fine italian dining" on dominospizza.com, written by the owner of McDonalds.
Well, did you follow the links? I suspect not.

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201105020016

The spinning and twisting at FOX ("violation of the constitution" for instance) is designed to sway the weak-minded with no knowledge of our laws and/or those with an idealogical bent to reject the actions of our President. I wish William F. Buckley Jr. was alive to provide some honest commentary from the right.
 
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  • #20
drankin
You realise how arrogant this sounds, right? I'm sure I've heard something like this before...
Sure, it sounds "arrogant". But it is what it is. We would expect the same from the UK or any other country under the same circumstances.
 
  • #21
Evo
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Sure, it sounds "arrogant". But it is what it is. We would expect the same from the UK or any other country under the same circumstances.
Targeted killing is now also legally used by the UK.

Melzer discusses how perceptions shifted in the United Kingdom after the September 11 attacks, towards a viewpoint where targeted killings were supported by the government and within law enforcement. The author argues that Metropolitan Police officially endorsed a "shoot to kill" strategy directly after the terrorism occurred in the United States. Melzer finds it odd that the UK made this change to its policy, due to the fact that targeted killing was never previously a legitimate police strategy. Prior to the September 11 attacks, law enforcement officers in the UK that utilized targeted killing methodology were repeatedly held to criminal proceedings. Melzer characterizes the September 11 attacks as a turning point by which state-endorsed targeted killings became legitimized in the UK.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_Killing_in_International_Law#Contents
 
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  • #22
Al68
The spinning and twisting at FOX ("violation of the constitution" for instance) is designed to sway the weak-minded with no knowledge of our laws and/or those with an idealogical bent to reject the actions of our President. I wish William F. Buckley Jr. was alive to provide some honest commentary from the right.
If you think there's no room for Fox News after decades of the big three spouting socialist propaganda, "spinning and twisting" everything, that's fine. But many of us were frustrated for decades by the left wing monopoly on news.

Say what you want about Fox News, at least they don't have a monopoly, and are in fact in the minority. The days of the left dominating every news source are over, permanently. Live with it. People now have at least some access to both sides of the issues, even if some are now too brainwashed or stupid to comprehend one side, or don't bother listening to it.
 
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  • #23
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Say what you want about Fox News
They are a disgrace to journalism. I think they have an ethical obligation to, at the very least, label it as a conservative news source.

The days of the left dominating every news source are over, permanently.
Perhaps a bit of a hyperbole? Historically, I think every news source has had some small amount of bias, but in recent times it has exploded. And now liberals have MSNBC and conservatives have FOX and the biases are a lot more clear.

The sad part is that journalistic integrity is being thrown out the window, and it's so much easier for the common person to just get news that doesn't make them question any of their beliefs. News is becoming less of an educational tool, and more of a "tell me what to believe" tool.
 
  • #24
russ_watters
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You realise how arrogant this sounds, right? I'm sure I've heard something like this before...

team-america-photo.jpg
Its not arrogant, it's a practical necessity and a reality. The US does not belong to a body such as the EU and any treaty has to be ratified: like it or not, we are subject only to the international laws we say we're subject to. It would kinda defeat the purpose of a government by and for the people of the US if we were subject to foreign laws....and by the way, that has nothing whatsoever to do with that movie!
 
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  • #25
russ_watters
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They are a disgrace to journalism. I think they have an ethical obligation to, at the very least, label it as a conservative news....
Do all news sources have such an obligation or just Fox?
 

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