A- A A+

The murder of Osama Bin Laden

Moira Rayner |  03 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden'When thy enemy shall fall, be not glad, and in his ruin let not thy heart rejoice.' Proverbs chapter 24, verse 17.

We have not achieved justice, as US President Obama announced, by acting unjustly.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of another Democrat President of the United States, brought to magnificent life on 10 December 1948 provides that:

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

The US adopted the UDHR, and it has not ratified any significant international human rights treaty since. It committed itself morally, if not in domestic law, to outlawing the kind of extra-judicial killing that mars the public lives of governments in Africa, South America, parts of Europe and other 'advanced' countries that have presidents, parliaments, and coups and under-classes.

These are killings not authorised by courts and judges after a fair trial. Extra-judicial killings are, as Osama bin Laden's death was, murder. Bin Laden was not brought to justice. His execution by agents of the sovereign people of the United States was a fundamental breach of Article 10 of the UHDR.

Even the Israelis — not renowned for their embrace of the internationally recognised human rights of Palestinians — acknowledged this distinction when, more than 40 years ago, they put Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem, after kidnapping him in South America, to face formal charges that he had planned and facilitated horrendous crimes against humanity.

We have slipped, politically, far from the objectives of both the International Court of Justice in The Hague — where Bin Laden could have been tried — the domestic tribunal that tried (then ordered the execution of) Eichmann, and the extraordinary nobility of the aims of the Nuremberg trials.

It was the US and their second world war allies who set the extraordinary precedent of providing independent courts of justice to address the massive crimes against humanity carried out in Europe by Nazis against their own and others' citizens: not only murder, but genocide; torture, retaliation killings of citizens in response to unrelated partisan atrocities; retrospective laws and politically partisan 'courts' that sent men and women to horrible deaths after travesties of 'hearings'. All of it condemned, and all of it challenged by the concept of justice for all, no matter who wins the war.

I do not argue that Obama is an international criminal, but that the laws of civilised behaviour must apply to every actor in every circumstance. Killing Bin Laden, rather than capturing him and putting him on trial, was obviously the objective of the attack on his retreat, so let us not pretend otherwise.

Politically, Obama had every reason to do what he did, but in the process he committed his people to a legal and ethical mistake which will be a continuing obstacle to the West's integrity in its pursuit of freedom and democracy, internationally recognised standards of justice and human rights, and lasting peace.

The author of Proverbs speaks for every one of us who respects the Book that is the common heritage of men and women of goodwill who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim, and every good and humane leader whether or not she is committed to an organised or institutionalised faith. A quote commonly attriubuted to Martin Luther King sums up my sentiments most precisely:

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

When I was admitted to practice I committed myself to the rule of law, because without order and predictability and an agreed limit to power there can't be any self-control, room for liberty to flourish or confidence to grow that an individual can safely lower their guard and share with strangers, which we need to move away from the comforting cage of family, tribe, village and city and nation.

We are still faltering over at the frightening realities of the global village and the global economy, and genuinely scared about the responsibilities that come with the globalisation of human rights (look at how we treat refugees).

But what are now UN-initiated 'universal human rights' had their genesis in so-called natural or divine laws, and an effort to make us see that our deities aren't shaped by particular human culture, and wrongs have unintended long-term consequences.

There may be exceptions to a particular rule of the law, which is a living instrument, but the regulation of revenge was what made local customs 'common', and nations grow. Both law and spirituality define revenge as an outlawed reason for any act, no matter how brave and skilful or how great the provocation. 

Moira RaynerMoira Rayner is a barrister and writer. She is a former Equal Opportunity and HREOC Commissioner. She is principal of Moira Rayner and Associates.



Comments should be short, respectful and on topic. Email is requested for identification purposes only.

Word Count: 0 (please limit to 200)

Submitted comments

Beautifully and justly said, Moira

Vacy Vlazna 04 May 2011

The article rests on the assumption that the agents were sent ot kill OBL, but some reports suggested that the killing took place when he "refused to surrender" suggesting the intention was indeed to arrest him, something of which I for one would have approved. I do agree completely that the rejoicing that accompanied his death was both misguided and appalling.

The Israelis may have put Adolf Eichman on trial, but his arrest was a kidnapping, and presumably the same was the intention in this case, which failed. However the Israelis had no such intention in the more recent case where they simply executed a Hammas leader using fake Australian passports to hide their identity.

Bill Venables 04 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden proved he was not fit to breathe the air of this world by planning and then organising the deaths of so many people simply because he despised the modern western world.

His actions certainly did not entitle him and his followers to any human rights or a voice in the International Court of Justice. To grant him this would have simply sent the world into turmoil as his fanatical followers would have held the world to ransom seeking his release. The US must be commended for the way in which they have handled the eradication of the worlds most feared terrorist.

Colleen Burriss 04 May 2011

America's economy is in ruins. President Obama's popularity is unfortunately so low that he has to produce his birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen, and he has protested too much about having no Islamic sympathies.

The murder of Bin Laden without trial may boost Obama's election chances for a while; the American right will find other excuses. Was the body buried at sea to prevent martyrdom or is there something else we don't know.

Annabel 04 May 2011

Thank you Moira for telling it how it is. The reaction to this story and the reaction of the 'public' in the news reports was sickening. Justice was not done.

russell 04 May 2011

Couldn't agree more, Moira. And the sight of young people rejoicing outside the White House as if for a football victory made me sick at heart. Unfortunately so few are aware, especially in that age group, of the historical provenance of our concept of human rights, and how painfully it came about. To exult over anyone's death is, to my mind, a lamentable form of barbarity.

Sara Dowse 04 May 2011

What is the war on terror? Please define your terms. From the 11th of September 2001 the leaders of the United States have said they are engaged in a war on terror. This is an unknown quantity in historical terms, though familiar enough under other names for those who read imperial history. Simply, the removal of the leader of El Quaeda is an action in that war.

The American people have lived with this war on terror for ten years, even if most of them couldn't tell you exactly what it meant. I agree with Moira that there is a moral compromise going on with this execution, but for the Americans this is war. We see it differently, even though part of the coalition of the unavoidable.


Congratulations, Moira - a very good comment piece. It's an irony, to say the least, that Obama spoke of America as the land of "justice and liberty", yet couldn't admit that bin Laden was summarily executed, as seems obvious. Those who declare themselves the champions of goodness inevitably spawn demonic adversaries. As the ancient Greeks said - hubris breeds nemesis.

Sasha Shtargot 04 May 2011

Moira Rayner's and Tony Kevin's articles are make an interesting - and confronting - juxtaposition. I tend to side with Moira on what the deeper, Gospel value here may be. But the counter-argument is by no means an empty one. Just after 9/11, a pacifist Christian colleague and I were debating this very point.

Killing as a by-product of self-defence is morally acceptable to most. One can well argue that removing Bin Laden as a baneful symbol was an extension of collective self-defence. Could one have done as in the Eichmann case? We'll never know.

Fred Green 04 May 2011

You are right, Moira. But Osama Bin Laden would never have been tried at the International Court of Justice- the US has not signed up for this. He would have been taken to Guantanamo Bay and tried by a version of a military commission. Obama would not have been allowed by Congress to have him on the US mainland. This just highlights how far removed the US is from the international institutions of law and justice. Furthermore, Bin Laden's presence at Guantamano Bay would have had other consequences in galvanising his supporters and providing an even stronger focus for anti-American sentiment.

Kate 04 May 2011

I am undecided on whether the killing of Bin Laden was justified, but I wholeheartedly agree with Ms Rayner that it is nothing to rejoice over. The quotation from Dr King was most apt. However, I find her too willing to tell us to take the splinter out of our own eye, but ignore the plank in the eye of other countries.

She uses the example of how we treat refugees. I would not argue for one moment that there is no room for improvement here. However, there is no comparison between this and the treatment that Christians are receiving in various Muslim countries. This topic receives scandalously little attention in the western media.

Christians in Pakistan are regularly attacked by Muslim mobs. Christian schools and shops were shut after Bin Laden's death for fear of reprisal attacks, as if they were somehow complicit in the whole affair. There is also a systematic campaign to "cleanse" Iraq of Christians by Muslim fanatics. And the Copts in Egypt are not basking in the sunshine of post-Mubarak secularism as some here suggested they would.

I would appreciate some articles at ES taking a good hard look at how Christian and other minorities are treated in Muslim majority countries. We may be surprised that our own record on human rights is not bad by comparison.

John Ryan 04 May 2011

No doubt, from his viewpoint, Osama considered the heinous murder of thousands as justifiable. Like Hitler, or any other murderer for that matter, he was a warped, inhumane being.

However, I stand with Moira Rayner, and believe, with the untrialled murder of Osama, we have forsaken the ethics of a civilised species.

Obama's actions opens a can of worms about the true ethics of the United States!

Kay Bushnell 04 May 2011

Well done, Moira, for speaking out with integrity -- it is the moral courage that sadly seems to be lacking in all our politicians.

Noel Will 04 May 2011

Thank you, Moira. In this article, you have made palpable the 'lesser evil' to which Tony Kevin deferred from his perspective of international politics. Especially poignant were the quotations and references to Proverbs, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. It is very sad to see people in the streets, mindlessly rejoicing at the death of the vanquished foe. Yet it seems to be intrinsic to the Human Condition and independent of Culture. Moira, thank you for reminding us of our universal human rights and the sovereignty of the rule of law.

Bob GROVES 04 May 2011

If the intent was to kill Bin Laden the President of the United Staes is indeed a murderer. He has put him self down at the level of the terrorist. This is an grossly unjust action against an unjust man's humanity. It will solve nothing but continue to perpetuate the seemingly endless history of man againt man. The Christian message is counter culture and is clear; do not kill unjustly, and love, yes love your enemy.

Michael Gravener 04 May 2011

In an age in which there are no front lines in War, the killing of a key leader can be seen as an act of war to be judged in the light of the "rules of law" governing the conduct of war (if there are any). This can explain the killing, but not justify the sickening US rejoicing over the death of an adversary.

Ted Holmes 04 May 2011

Thank you. This obviates the necessity for any of my comments on Tony Kevin's extraordinary article.

Leigh Miller 04 May 2011

Thanks, Eureka St for the publication of the perspectives of both Moira Rayner and Tony Kevin on this difficult moral issue. Personally, I found both perspectives a great help in trying to clarify my own ethical assessment - I 'm still working on it!

Peter Johnstone 04 May 2011

It seems to me that a great deal of the moral murkiness of this whole operation is crystalised in Michael Leunig's cartoon in The Age this morning.

Unfortunately morality is often blurred by the time factor. During the Vietnam War an assassination program - 'Phoenix' - directed at Nth and Sth Vietnamese communists was prosecuted by special forces including the Australian SAS.

The Israelis have become expert in this kind of extra judicial murder: post Munich Olympics, silent wars on Fatah and Hammas etc. Political murder was common place in Sth Africa during Apartheid. The Americans are not the first to step outside the boundaries of civilised International law in this regard.

Unfortunately, as Moira points out today and commenters yesterday on this Board, the more it happens the lower become our moral sensitivities and the higher our tolerance levels.

We'll see 'Geronimo E-KIA' all again on video games and on the big screen sooner than later.

David Timbs 04 May 2011

What a relief to read Moira Rayner's article today after reading Tony Kevin's "Justifying Bin Laden's Execution" article yesterday! Having endured 24 hours of media saturation of wildly jubilant young Americans, is is consoling that Eureka Street returns to a voice of truth and reason... and calling it as it is. At the end of the day, it shows just how crazy (and challenging) the fundamental message of Jesus is... "love your enemy". And if you can't do that, at least respect him with a fair trial.

Terry Cleary 04 May 2011

Moira and Tony both forwarded much to consider. I wonder whether anyone would tell me what the alternative was? I'm still struggling with the rights and wrongs.

Patricia Taylor 04 May 2011

Ah, without black and white, the primary colours could not provide nuances.

Joyce 04 May 2011

Thanks for a well-stated reflection of the legality and morality of extra-judicial killing. i have been disturbed by the shooting of Bin Laden but more by the rejoicing that ensued at all levels. Two panelists (both rural women) on the ABC's Q&A on Monday are the only people I've heard noting publicly that any death is to be treated soberly. If we stand for human rights and justice, these should apply even to those who refuse to observe such principles. By the way, nowadays the Israelis routinely 'take out' or assassinate their enemies, rather than take them to trial.

Myrna T 04 May 2011

Thank you Moira. In being made to vanish from the earth rather than stand trial, Bin Laden likely lives on as a being of mythic proportions, retaining a hold over our imaginations that is illusory and undeserved. Rather, as a human being, he bore a moral responsibility to face and be judged on his actions.

Samantha Semmens 04 May 2011

Thank you for expressing, far better than I could, my feelings about this murder. In my view, America has brought itself down to the level of the terrorists. There is no justice in this killing as its repercussions will probably be more death and destruction. Justice is able to bring something good out of a situation. Thank you Moira.

Donna Brider 04 May 2011

Thank you Moira, I'm pleased I was not the only one who felt that way.

Richard Byrne 04 May 2011

Nicely said Moira. The rule of law, and the separation of Executive and judiciary is so fundamental to democracy and accountable government. To transgress that basic precept is to step into the shoes of the very worst dictators we condemn for their summary executions. It is of concern how easily so many people put that aside, in order to satisfy revenge. Very worrying.

Helen Bergen 04 May 2011

Perfectly written, Moira. His killing is not the end of anything. It is the end of his life and leadership but not the end of their movement.

rhonda 04 May 2011

Like everyone else, I am a life-long learner of English, so I want to ask whether "argue" is a synonym of "deny", as Moira Rayner seems to suggest. As for gloating, it is some comfort that it seems to have been done by very small groups only in the Western world. Note the contrast with the mass celebrations when terrorists on the other side carry out a murderous mission and are subsequently honoured publicly honoured.

Thomas Mautner 04 May 2011

How many more civilians do the US and coalition armed forces intend to kill? How many more terrorists do they intend to kill? How will they know when they have killed enough civilians and terrorists; what are their decision-making criteria? If "rendition" was to be used on their decision-makers, then, would we receive answers?

Gavin Bracebolt 04 May 2011

Thank you, Moira. As usual, you are a voice of morality and integrity. To hear Prime Minister Gillard gloating over the death of another human being, was to be reminded that Christianity does make a difference. For us, it is an inescapable truth that God loves Osama Bin Laden as much as he loves Mother Theresa, John Howard, Adolf Hitler, Bishop Bill Morris, Weary Dunlop, or George Pell. Osama Bin Laden did almost unimaginably evil things, but to claim that he had no rights diminishes us all.

Peter Downie 04 May 2011

Of course the US had to assassinate bin Laden; in the absence of any international rule of law, what else could be done?

The tragedy, therefore, is the absence of an international rule of law. Given this absence, the murder of bin Laden was simply a restatement of business as usual, namely the rightfulness, such as it is, of might.

I once saw a photograph of a mid-teen Osama bin Laden, taken around 1970. It showed a smiling slender boy in his then-fashionable brown flared trousers, among many of his siblings.

Would that boy have cheered any of what was then his future, of what is now our common past?

David Arthur 04 May 2011

Even though Osama was unarmed, his bodyguards weren't, and the slim hope that he would have surrendered faded quickly. Perhaps by killing Obama, the firefight was stopped. I also imagine that the fellows who went in there knew that their own lives were on the line; if they went down, so would their quarry. President Obama gave the news in a dignified way and is not responsible for the revenge expressed by the people.

Osama made it clear that he had encouraged many people to create terminal havoc. The USA made it clear that they wanted him dead or alive. It was his choice, given the very nasty deeds that he encouraged to call his gunfighters off. Its a sad day when any killing occurs, however, this was specified ahead of time - he was wanted for his crimes.

Dawn Baker 04 May 2011

While I appreciate your article, it is all right for some people to sit in their chairs and pontificate, particularly a lawyer, Would you feel the same if you were at the coal face and had suffered severe personal loss.

Bringing Bin Laden to trial would have been a field day for lawyers and the amount of money to be spent, incomprehensible - for what reason? To pronounce him guilty of horrific crimes on mankind. To execute him saved a lot of trouble and money. His hidden life and his hidden retreat were indications of his admission of guilt for crimes. Nobody knew more than Bin Laden about what he did - and we, the world suffered his atrocities.

Sorry, Moira, as I said, this would have been a field day for lawyers if he had come to trial. He was guilty, he knew it, he didn't want to be found, he hid and we found.

shirley McHugh 04 May 2011

A magnificent article. Thank you for expressing the truth with such clarity.
If Obama gets reelected on the death of Bin Laden it will be no victory. I'm sorry that a good President took this terrible path to murder.

Maurice Shinnick 04 May 2011

Maybe Rayner should argue, using Robert Richter's words (once used of her), that Obama "had made an innocent mistake" and that his order for the operation to go ahead was (as in her own words) "a slip of the tongue".

Saul 04 May 2011

I beg to differ from many comments expressed above.While the extra judicial execution of Ben Laden must be regretted, the fact is he would have been the source of far too many problems had he lived and placed in goal. While I do not condone "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", dealing with Ben Laden under our system of justice would have been neigh impossable.

The bottom line is he showed scant regard for our laws and if the boot was on the other foot, as did happen with hostages, he was prepared to kill them without any compunction.

He was killed in exactly the way he would have killed anyone of us-
end argument!

Gavin O'Brien 04 May 2011

One can look in the past to similar "murders" such as that of Yamamota in WW2 and the citizens of Hiroshima & Nagasaki but sometimes "murders" can be justified for the good of humanity.

Don 04 May 2011

This so needed to be said, Moira. More prosaically, one of our legs to stand on has been shot away..and any moral outrage we show in future will be hollow indeed.Sad.

rosemary bedford 04 May 2011

I often have cause to disagree with Moira's writings, but not this time. I can certainly agree that the world is a better place without Bin Laden, and am relieved that he has gone.

But the question of widespread public rejoicing at a death -and especially one achieved in such dubious manner is another matter and is to me appalling. The telling political point (as distinct from the valid moral points)in Moira's piece is that the US has now invalidated any claim to legitimacy or the high moral ground as a champion of freedom.As for little madam echo in Australia,moral legitimacy is even further reduced than before.

Dennis Green 04 May 2011

The action against Osama bin Laden, was a military attack on the headquarters of an enemy who had declared war on America on 9/11, and it succeeded in eliminating the leadership of that enemy. That’s not “murder” Moira Rayner, no matter how much you and your ilk dress up your arguments in a cassock of “justice”.

Ross Howard 04 May 2011

Nice to hear another point of view, but...I think, Ms. Rayner, you are caught up in an abstraction. I am very anti-war, but when someone attacks us as Bin Laden did, without so much as a declaration of war, he must expect us to go get him and the world should applaud. We should have done that on 9/12/01 instead of mounting two full scale wars.(How much better it would have been to seek out Hitler and kill him, instead of plunging into World War II.

A trial for bin Laden? 'Twould have been a huge distraction for the U.S. and for the world, a distraction from the real economic and human problems we face. Yes, I am an American, and I appreciate it, Ms.Rayner, that you make me think a little more deeply about this. But when I put myself in Pres. Obama's shoes, I think I would have done the same thing..


Thorough and thoughtful piece from Moira. A few notes: It is our own Church which posits the theory of just war, in which self-defense is allowed; by that theory, which has always seemed specious to me, a murderer murdered in turn is 'moral.' I think that's silly, if we actually listen to what the Christ said, which was unambiguous and revolutionary; but it is an ancient code among us human mammals. Bin Laden planned, fomented, and paid for the murders of innocents, and was in turn murdered -- the proper word.

Second, for the many writers here appalled by celebrations, a feeling I share, I ask you to remember that very many Americans were personally affected by the murders of Americans (and people from many other countries) on American soil. If 3000 Australians had been murdered in Sydney one day, I suspect Australians ten years later might well laud revenge. I am ashamed at some of the things said in the streets here, but I can understand why they are said.

Brian Doyle 05 May 2011

where did Martin Luther King provide that quote, if you could provide a source from before May 2011 that would be handy.

Billy bob 05 May 2011

Perhaps if members of your family had been murdered by Bin Laden and his band of terrorists you might think otherwise. I for one do not mourn the loss of such an animal. The fact that he lived for as long as he did disturbs me more. He stole the lives of many thousands of innocent people. Bin Laden and others like him don't care about human rights or equal opportunity and it is proven each time they slaughter innocent people.

Lesley 05 May 2011

Not all extra-judicial killings are unlawful. Every soldier who kills an enemy combatant commits an extrajudicial killing, as does every policeman who kills a criminal to protect his or the life of another. Bin Laden was an illegal combatant -- deserving even less consideration -- in a war that he had declared. His death as such was extra-judicial but not unlawful. And perhaps you would suggest whose son should be the one to take the extra risk when in apprehending Bin Laden that he was not wearing a suicide vest or was not posing some other potential threat in the midst of a firefight. In any case, the soldiers who dispatched Bin Laden risked enough for civilisation. Bin Laden was an illegal combatant and mass murderer of innocent men, women and children. Justice was well served, if late.

Alan RM Jones 05 May 2011

I would like to know exactly what evidence you base this charge of murder on. The visual display units were not functioning during the raid and no interviews were published with any of those who were actually in the room. Plus OBL was on record many times as saying he'd rather die a martyr than be captured. So how is that murder? Where's the evidence? Sorry to spoil your US bashing with facts... You seem to have far more sympathy for a dead mass murderer (OBL) than the thousands, perhaps millions of people he could have killed in future.

Scotty 05 May 2011

Ah yes, nothing like the perspective of those who live in the land of tinsel and teddy bears.

Ben 05 May 2011

People like you would have us all believe that all crime and it's prosecution has absolutely no cost to the community. Justice isn't free and bringing criminals to courts certainly isn't even risk free for those involved. How many soldiers lives were you prepared to loose or put at risk so Osama could have a fair trail Moira? I note that your high moral values don't actually seem to have any cost to you. You condemn the revenge of something of which you did not suffer. You seek to give rights to the very people who deny those rights to their victims and yet somehow you still think you have helped those victims and acheived a greater good.

BTW those "UN-initiated 'universal human rights'" didn't have their genesis in so-called natural or divine laws but by imperialist Westerners like yourself who sought to impose their contemporary view of morality across the world under the guise of altruism.

Louis 05 May 2011

In the world of ideaology and political correctness, no doubt you are correct Moira.

Rest your voice, resist the urge to lecture, clamber down from your pulpit, step outside your ivory tower and you'll find that we don't all breathe your rare air.

The real world is a brutal hard place where for many the doctrine of survival is paramount. Next time you feel the urge to lecture the world from the moral high ground, stop and smell the roses first.

Then reflect on how lucky your world is that you have a garden before you cast judgement on those that don't even have the safety and space to plant one.

Warwick 05 May 2011

Congratulations Moira. You express my sentiments on this important matter much better than I could do myself. Although the initial reports of what happened in the assault of Bin Laden's compound are a bit confused it seems that President Obama's statement that Bin Laden was killed after the fight indicates that the intention all along was to kill him rather than capture him, and that in fact he was unarmed. This is not justice being done but an extra judicial killing, which, as you point out so well, is murder.

Eichmann was kidnapped, it is true, but I think everyone would say that that was beside the point. He got a trial. Surely the USA, who had little trouble in getting Bin Laden's body out of Pakistan without the government knowing, could have got him to America to stand trial. Now USA has established a precedent which may come back to haunt us later.

Tony Santospirito 05 May 2011

Well said, be that it may that Osama was a terrorist, he was entitled to a fair hearing & execution. The president in his haste to prop up his political career is no different to the man he has slain. How many murderers do you have to commit to be a murderer? He & Clinton should be judged accordingly. Thy also should face the music over the killings in Libya.

Manny Jack 06 May 2011

Thank you Ms. Rayner for your insightful article on the murder of "our enemy" Osama. As an educator of young people it is difficult to express the values you highlight. Thank you for helping the western world see the light.

Fr. Jerry Hayes, SJ 06 May 2011

Just for reference, only a tiny part of that quote that has been sweeping social networking sites can be attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. The rest was written by a 24 year old teaching English in Japan. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/anatomy-of-a-fake-quotation/238257/

Gemma 06 May 2011

Thank you for such a reasoned article. I agree that Obama's decision to minutely plot and carry out the murder of Bin Ladin will have severe and ongoing repercussions. It is unfortunate that America sets itself up as a leading nation for moral integrity and lets itself down so intensely losing credibility. It may have lost 3000plus citizens but I wonder at the number of innocent (or not) people that were killed/maimed/tortured across countries to capture him. It exposed his global philosophy as belonging to the 'me' philosophy, and this is of concern.

Susan 10 May 2011

Obama is calling for democracy in the Arab world. Democracy implies the rule of law - not action based on the wishes of the ruler. The United States has been involved in many wars since WW2. None of those wars has been declared. Unless Congress acts to declare war US troops should not be ordered into combat unless there is a domestic insurrection or an attack on the United States or its people. The US Constitution provides for a Declaration by Congress to protect the people against autocratic action by the rular.

Obama should have been impeached for ordering US forces into action in Libya without calling for a declaration of war and getting it. His predecessors should also have been impeached for their illegal wars.

David Fisher 20 May 2011

Similar articles

Justifying Bin Laden's execution

Tony Kevin | 03 May 2011

Osama Bin LadenObama was admirably honest that Bin Laden had been killed after, not during, the firefight. Why wasn’t Bin Laden taken alive and returned from Pakistan to face US courts? Here is a case where the cutting of the Gordian knot through an on-the-spot execution may be justified as the lesser evil.

Fast-tracking Prince William and John Paul II

Michael Mullins | 02 May 2011

Many argue that the holiness attributed to John Paul, who was beatified yesterday just six years after his death, is tempered by evil deeds that took place under his watch. Arguably, fast-tracking his route to sainthood is an offence against due process, as fast-tracking Prince William's route to the throne would be.

Greens' and Abbott's guilt by association

John Warhurst | 02 May 2011

Tony Abbott, people's revolt, Juliar is Bob Brown's BitchPolitical alliances can be strategically useful, but leaders must be careful not to appear too close to extreme groups. Tony Abbott and the NSW Greens have experienced 'guilt by association' in recent times, but the concept has a long history in Australian politics.

Refugee rage

Kerry Murphy | 28 April 2011

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship say they can't tell me anything. The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security tells me to contact DIAC. As an immigration lawyer I find this frustrating. How much worse must it be for asylum seekers kept in detention with no end in sight?

Forgotten Aboriginal war heroes

Paul W. Newbury | 19 April 2011

Australian War Memorial image ART50023. 'Mounted Police and Blacks' depicts the killing of Aboriginals at Slaughterhouse Creek by British troops.In 1790, resistance hero Pemulwuy killed Governor Phillip's convict gamekeeper for his abuse of Aboriginal women. The subsequent Frontier Wars raged for 140 years. Anzac celebrations tend to neglect the many Indigenous Australians who died in defence of their land.