Thursday, May 5, 2011

Terrorism and the Death of Osama bin-Laden

Osama bin_Laden, 1957(?) - 2011

I believe that the vast majority of Americans feel, as I do, that justice was served when US special forces killed Osama bin-Laden last Sunday, May 1, 2011. Bin-Laden’s death occurred some ten years after the al-Qaeda planned and executed suicide attacks on Nine-Eleven killed nearly 3000 people.
We can all be proud of and grateful for the bravery of those who carried out the attacks and those who made them possible, from our president, to the anonymous intelligence analysts painstakingly sifting through massive amounts of seemingly disparate facts and rumors.
Eric Rudolph (2005) pleaded guilty to
bombing a Birmingham abortion clinic
and 3 other bombings, including the
1996 Atlanta Olympics
Now is the time to come together as one people and celebrate the bringing to justice of this international criminal; in ridding the world of his evil intent and deeds forever. At the same time, we must know that those bent on perpetrating indiscriminate violence to achieve their ideological views remain and they are of all stripes. In addition to Islamic extremists, Christian fundamentalists, environmental and animal rights extremists, and globalization opponents, among others, employ terror as their instrument of change. The US National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) reports that, “Approximately 11,000 terrorist attacks occurred in 83 countries during 2009, resulting in over 58,000 victims, including nearly 15,000 fatalities” (NCTC Report on Terrorism, 2009).
There is a need for effective counter terrorism measures to combat the continuing threat. At the same time, the Nation must continue to address the thorny issues that have plagued us since Nine-Eleven and our response to it. President Obama deserves credit for his leadership in the operation to eliminate Osama bin-Laden, but he has been less proactive in addressing some of these crucial issues, including the balance between our civil rights and the need for effective surveillance, intelligence gathering, and incarceration. Guantanamo remains open and detainees remain under indefinite detention. Should terrorists be tried in civilian courts or by military tribunals? And perhaps most troubling morally, the tracking down of bin-Laden has rekindled the torture debate; did “enhanced interrogation techniques” result in the identification of bin-Laden’s hideout? Do the ends justify the means?


Angela said...

I think bin Laden had the right to be tried, despite what he did. Every criminal, no matter how great their actions, deserves a tribunal. Otherwise, then it is not just and we are just having double standards.

Richard Badalamente said...

There's an interesting, if somewhat legalistic argument relating this issue in Salon,