So John Kerry wants to “blow Osama bin Laden’s brains out.” Good for him- welcome to a BIGGGGGG club. I wonder if we will see any reactions like these to Mr. Kerry’s rhetoric:
1.) “He uses a lot of cowboy terminology,” said Marwan Bishara, a lecturer in international relations at the American University in Paris. “He seems like a guy who makes too many statements from his ranch.
“He comes up with all kinds of metaphors which are way off the mark, not just for the Arabs but also for the entire international community,” he said.
2.) Thus, today, we confront an America, with wide Western support, applying the law its way. Faced with this horrendous crime against humanity America has chosen to try and capture Osama bin Laden, in Mr Bush’s words, “dead or alive”. There is no public discussion of where to try him and certainly no push by America’s allies to compel America to be more forthcoming on the subject.
3.) President Bush invoked the Wild West in claiming that the federal government would do whatever it takes to apprehend Osama bin Laden, even though a 26-year-old executive order outlaws assassinations by government personnel.
“There’s an old poster out West as I recall that said: ‘Wanted, dead or alive,'” Bush said Monday in a press conference.
The executive order was signed by President Ford in 1975, and it was later amended by Presidents Carter and Reagan. It now reads, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”
4. Perhaps it was only to be expected that the Bush administration, and the U.S. President himself, would react with the very strong language that has already been used (although the relative restraint, at the time of writing, with regard to the actual use of force is a cause for some relief). Of course, the immediate identification of Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect may appear a bit too pat. Similarly, George Bush’s Wild West-type statements about wanting him “dead or alive” without needing to display any proof or showing any regard for due process are obviously problematic in terms of the long term implications for international law.”
5.) Bush said he wants bin Laden “dead or alive.” While such words may be music to American ears, to others’ they are tantamount to a war cry and smack of vengeance. Just after the attack, there was worldwide sympathy for the U.S. With the recent rhetoric, however, it is morphing into a sense of concern that an American-led all-out war could inflict further, heavy, unnecessary civilian casualties. We strongly oppose terror, but we aren’t ready to support such a response.
6.) “Two surprising incidents happened yesterday…. One was the reopening of Wall Street in an atmosphere of near-hysteria…. The other unpleasant happening that needs to be noted is President Bush’s metamorphosis into the character of a Western film sheriff as he spoke to the press…and called for Bin Laden, ‘dead or alive.’ The lightness of the apparent joke leaves us with a bad aftertaste as one thinks of the man responsible for the apocalyptic carnage and about the thousands of soldiers who will track him down and will probably never come back. If President Bush sees the operation as a simple attack on a stagecoach, we can honestly wonder about his capacity to lead a war between good and evil.”
7.) “This (dead or alive speech) is President Bush’s first mistake since the start of what he chose to call a war, but it’s a mistake that will cost him dearly. That’s a shame, because all the headlines will carry those words instead of the very fine speech he made a few hours later at the Washington mosque, where he spoke of tolerance and reassured members of the United States’ Muslim community…. But when he said he wanted Bin Laden ‘dead or alive,’ just like in cowboy movies, Bush committed two mistakes. First, he will alienate the international community–especially the moderate Arab states whose support he desperately needs…. The declaration is also a mistake in the United States because it raises the bar very high: Nobody knows for sure if bin Laden will be captured. After all, the man has been wanted since Bush Senior was president… Recent history shows such a situation is dangerous for Mr. Bush. Popularity acquired during a crisis does not last forever.”
And so on, ad nauseum. Anyone want to bet Kerry’s comments get ignored- and don;t get me wrong- I find nothing wrong with Bush’s or Kerry’s comments.