I commented on The Heresiarch blog…. as always, a very interesting and thoughtful blog…..
My comment is repeated here…
Given interdiction and killing on foreign sovereign territory, the territory of an ally, and the apparent nature of the ‘shoot to kill’ instruction – although this was later tempered by the White House – and the fact of apparent resistance, it was an assassination, at worst – or necessary self defence at the improbable best.
We do not know – but I suspect that US and UK special forces have engaged in assassination in Afghanistan. I seem to recall Margaret Thatcher’s surprise to find that one Iranian terrorist escaped death at the hands of the SAS (Iran Embassy siege). Perhaps if the TV cameras had not been so present, there would have been no survivors?
In the court of public opinion – these actions are often justified. One only needs to read the endless (and many rather unpleasing) tweets on twitter to realise that most delight in the death of Bin Laden
If we are to have a rule of law and not law by rule then it is not justified. Due process calls for (lawful) extraction, fair trial and punishment. In many countries, as everyone knows, the death penalty is not applied.
I was asked by a tweeter if The US had any choice but to kill given resistance by OBL….
Then… I asked what seemed to be a vaguely reasonable question….
Justice is done? Interesting idea…. certainly… in the Court of Public Opinion.. and I do understand a need for the court of public opinion to get the ‘pound of flesh’.. but is it the right way? I’m asking… not telling…
I am not that keen on primitive medieval systems of ‘retributive’ law… where the biggest bullet wins. I really do prefer the *concept* that world affairs are dealt with by law. War doesn’t work. Even Churchill got that one right…. with “Jaw Jaw… not war..war”. That is all I will say on the matter.
I am, obviously, out of touch with modern legal thinking…. Pity… I shall find something more beneficial to the human condition to do if we are to applaud *The Law of Rule*
What… in the cold light of day.. do you really think about this?
UPDATE… I was asked a question on twitter…. with a touch of irony…. I suspect. My response is ironic (ish)
Another UPDATE… I have just seen this Indie report at 00:51 3rd May 2011
I am more than happy to agree with what a well known silk says on this issue…. Geoffrey Robertson QC in The Independent… – a good read…
Geoffrey Robertson: Why it’s absurd to claim that justice has been done
[ Unfortunately… yet again.. we have a British prime minister… rushing in to comment that the world is a better place….. without really engaging the *British Government Brain* on this issue. I find that rather tragic. I was not impressed with the prime minister’s statement this morning – presumably from Chequers – even if he was wearing a suit with a purple tie. Shocking….truly. BBC: “Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the death as “a great success” but said it was not the end of terror threats”.]