If ever there was anything that would increase my doubts about the legality of the mission to kill Osama, it would be an editorial from Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap:
SOME ARE questioning the legality of the raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Was it lawful for a team of Navy SEALs to launch a mission in Abbottabad without permission from Pakistani leaders? Did they comply with international strictures when they killed the al-Qaeda leader rather than capturing him and bringing him before a court of law?
In a word: yes.
One of the things I found interesting about the inevitable flame post yesterday (inevitable because I quoted Greenwald), is the number of people who are mad that Glenn would ask basic questions like “Was this legal? Was this an assassination? Why are these stories not adding up?” It’s kind of funny to me, and we had an email exchange about it. Glenn is a civil libertarian, he cares deeply about extrajudicial killings, about targeted assassination, about government secrecy and cover-ups. He’s not being some sort of hypocrite asking about those things, even though Osama was an absolute monster. He’s just sticking to his principles.
I’m the hypocrite here. I’m stridently against extrajudicial killings, the death penalty, targeted assassination, etc. I’d wager most of you are, too.
But when I heard that Osama had been killed, I’ll be damned if I didn’t think “Thank God that monster is gone.” Sure, in my ideal world he’d be brought back to the US, tried, and then imprisoned for the rest of his life. But you know what? I can not honestly say I give a damned that he took a double tap to the skull. Sorry. And I’d be also willing to bet that is where most of you all are- this may or may not have been legal, but you don’t give a shit, because that scumbag is at the bottom of an ocean somewhere and got what he deserved. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a primitive part of me was sort of sad he didn’t experience any pain.
The thing to remember, though, is that it isn’t Glenn or those who question the administration who are out of line or straying from their principles. It is me. This kind of reminds me of that ass in Orange County who emailed the blatantly racist Obama pictures to every one, and when caught, immediately started screaming “I’m not a racist! Everyone knows I’m not a racist! Ask
all of my former black friends!” We’re in some bizarro world where being called and labeled a racist is somehow worse than, you know, being a racist and sending racist emails.
People are more worked up about the fact that someone might be calling them a hypocrite than looking at the monster in the mirror who may be acting hypocritically in regards to Osama. I know I’m being a hypocrite, and like Jonathon Capehart, I am ok with it in this case. I’ll promise to do a better job sticking to my principles and caring about the law when it comes to someone who hasn’t murdered thousands of people. I swear.