The Assassination of bin Laden: Does the Guardian of Human Rights Have a License to Kill? (El Tiempo, Colombia)

By Emma Flood:


Without trying to capture him and not even using the well-known lie that “he died in combat,” Osama bin Laden was assassinated by the United States Special Forces. Does the law change according to the wickedness of the subject? Do the ethics change if one is talking about a murder? NO. Is death something to be celebrated, stated the Church? Bin Laden was killed for “national security,” and this is the same argument that the United States government invalidated when it ordered embassies to double their security and alert citizens to take travel precautions.

If a police officer kills someone, can he/she use the justification that he/she had the obligation to capture the criminal? If you or I kill someone, can we justify it? Because the “Special Forces” are “special,” do they have a license to kill?

In the United States there has been a great effort to put an end to youth violence and to stop children from having toy guns; at the same time, they have been given an example of violence and disregard for the law. The United States demands that every other country respect human rights, but they do not include themselves in this obligation.

In a clear expression of his authority, Obama stated that the United States could do what it wanted to do and achieve what it wanted to as well. It has made itself the guardian of universal justice and always speak about “American Values.” Is killing a part of those “American Values”?

“Justice has been done,” proclaimed Obama. Bush and Clinton congratulated him, members of NATO were very pleased, and the people of the United States celebrated and then became frightened of the danger that an imminent act of revenge by Islamic extremists could have for them.

The United States has a strange concept of national security. It ignored its commitment to International Human Rights Law in order to kill Osama bin Laden. This act, in turn, has provoked the threat of terrorist activity. Will President Obama also be congratulated for finishing the job with Osama bin Laden?

Translated By Anne Seidenberg

2 May 2011

Edited by Heidi Kaufmann
Colombia – El Tiempo – Original Article (Spanish)

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