This morning, it was announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. Most world politicians seem to believe this is a good thing. But not Congressman Ron Paul.
Bin Laden with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir.
The death of Osama Bin Laden was big news here in England, and even bigger in the USA, understandably. People, and especially Obama supporters, were outside the White House in the small hours calling for “Four more years”, which he will probably get. British Prime Minister David Cameron – Call Me Dave, as he is known – was among the first to congratulate Obama, along with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Though the possibility or even the likelihood of Al-Qaeda striking back has not been overlooked, and we have all been put on alert, there is something else everybody seems to have overlooked in the euphoria; everybody except Congressman Ron Paul, who in a speech delivered February 24, 2010, Now, It’s Assassinations, asked some embarrassing questions:
“What have we allowed ourselves to become? Are we no longer a nation of laws...have we decided that the writ of habeas corpus is not worth defending? Is torture now an acceptable tool for making us safe? Unfortunately the single answer to all of these questions from the leaders of our country and to many of our citizens appears to be yes. And now we’re told that assassination of foreigners as well as American citizens is legitimate and necessary to provide security for our people. It is my firm opinion that nothing could be further from the truth.”
To paraphrase Ron Paul from this speech, Osama Bin Laden was a very bad person, and was undoubtedly guilty of many crimes. But, if he was so obviously guilty, why was he not arrested? Why did Uncle Sam send a task force into a sovereign nation to assassinate a wanted fugitive without due process? And what about the people who died along with him: three men and a woman? What do we know about them?
Would it not have been possible to arrest Bin Laden by staking out the place? In October 2002, Russian special forces used a gas to subdue terrorists during the Moscow Theatre Siege; tragically, this led to the deaths of over a hundred of the hostages, but there were no hostages in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. There are numerous ways Bin Laden could have been subdued without raiding his compound, which could have resulted in the deaths of many innocent people, including the soldiers involved in the operation.
Let’s be clear about this, Osama Bin Laden wasn’t simply a bad person, he was the baddest dude on the planet, but some would argue that because of the magnitude of his crimes – which have not been proved in a court of law – it was not only desirable but essential that he be subjected to due process.
Shortly after Des Plaines police arrested serial killer John Gacy, they dug the remains of twenty-six bodies out of the crawlspace of his house. Surely that evidence was compelling enough to warrant his immediate execution? Instead, Gacy was brought to trial, and spent fourteen years on Death Row before he was executed by due process of law. Was Osama Bin Laden less deserving of due process than John Gacy? And if the answer to that question is yes, then who will be the next enemy foreign or domestic who is deemed unworthy of arrest and a fair trial? And who will decide he is not so entitled – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, some anonymous individual sitting in a CIA office, NSA office, FBI office? Or Dirty Harry perhaps?
Yes, Osama Bin Laden probably did deserve to die, but let us be clear about how he died; he was assassinated, he was the victim of an extra-judicial execution, one that will probably see Barack Obama elected for another four years. Or if not him then another politician, Democrat or Republican, who shares the same mindset and who will unhesitatingly follow in his footsteps by ordering the extra-judicial execution of the next public enemy number one.
Another thing worth considering is that Bin Laden has already been buried, within hours of his execution. Or rather his body has been dumped in the sea in order to prevent his grave becoming a shrine to his fanatical followers. This will undoubtedly be grist to the mill for the whackier conspiracy theorists.; by this time next week if not sooner there will be speculation all over the web that Bin Laden is not really dead, that he has been paid off by his masters in the Order of the Illuminati – the real perpetrators of 9/11 – having served his purpose, and helped pave the road to the New World Order.
[The above op-ed was first published May 2, 2011. Some time after publishing this article I concluded that kiling Bin Laden was the correct thing to do. Putting him on trial would have caused enormous logistical and other problems. Here are some comments I captured on it. And here.]
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