Osama bin Laden is Dead

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Woofsie » Mon May 02, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

The thing that annoys me about the burial at sea is that it will fuel all the crazy conspiracy theories about him not really being dead. Really, just bringing him back and letting people see the body would have prevented some of that.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sje46 » Mon May 02, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

Steroid wrote:Why did this take so long? Why wasn't a more thorough and ongoing search being made during the last 10 years? Is it really this difficult to get one guy, and if so, what does that tell future terrorist leaders?
Wow...are you freaking serious? We waged a WAR to find him. How many hundreds of [EDIT: thousands of] soldiers have we sent over there?

Do you really think it's because the US military was *sloppy* that we couldn't find a single man in a LARGE, mountainous country?
Last edited by sje46 on Mon May 02, 2011 1:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby kadak » Mon May 02, 2011 12:52 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:George Bush is responsible for probably ~100x as many civilian deaths as Bin Laden is.

[citation needed]
LaserGuy wrote:Many of these (say, all Iraqi deaths) are the result of an illegal and immoral invasion of a sovereign nation that posed no threat to the United States or its allies.

Emphasis mine.
[citation needed]


What ? Now you are saying Bush didn't ignore the UN on the Iraq invasion?

sje46 wrote:
Steroid wrote:Why did this take so long? Why wasn't a more thorough and ongoing search being made during the last 10 years? Is it really this difficult to get one guy, and if so, what does that tell future terrorist leaders?
Wow...are you freaking serious? We waged a WAR to find him. How many hundreds of soldiers have we sent over there?

Do you really think it's because the US military was *sloppy* that we couldn't find a single man in a LARGE, mountainous country?


Come again ? I thought the war was about weapons of mass destruction.
Last edited by kadak on Mon May 02, 2011 1:07 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Eowiel » Mon May 02, 2011 1:06 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Steroid wrote:Why did this take so long? Why wasn't a more thorough and ongoing search being made during the last 10 years? Is it really this difficult to get one guy, and if so, what does that tell future terrorist leaders?
Wow...are you freaking serious? We waged a WAR to find him. How many hundreds of soldiers have we sent over there?

Do you really think it's because the US military was *sloppy* that we couldn't find a single man in a LARGE, mountainous country?


I think that's part of the point he wants to make. If such a vast amount of resources is used to find one man and he is only found 10 years later, it's apparently not that hard to hide from the US (and thus, anyone else).

Other terrorists could find reassurance in this fact, it's not like a search campaign like this can be set up for any terrorist.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon May 02, 2011 1:25 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:I don't see any moral quandaries.

Here you go. The US was offered bin Laden alive by the Taliban a decade ago, and they turned down the offer. They chose to go after him this way, when it was not necessary to do so. They also chose to follow policies that they knew would lead to hundred of innocent deaths, when they were not forced to. This killing was not forced to happen by bin Laden's flight from justice, nor by his decision to resist his capture. It was the freely chosen policy of the United States that did this, and all the suffering in the name of this over the last ten years.

That raises moral quandaries about our decision in 2001, not about the current situation. Looking back on the path not taken is irrelevant to the question of what the best move is in the current situation.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby ownershipyardstickmanhandler » Mon May 02, 2011 1:29 pm UTC

When one nation has a great deal of power across the globe, there will inevitably be some rage against the machine. In my view, al Qaeda is more or less just the current manifestation of this rage, but if it wasn't an Islamic group it would be some other ideology, with largely the same motives.

Americans don't seem to realise how much power the US has throughout the world -- or if they do realise it, they take it for granted. The thing is, with power comes responsibility, and this childish game of retribution is an abuse of that. Moreover, two questionable wars is an abuse of that. Don't you find it at all objectionable to kill your enemies? Don't you see that this is why some people truly hate the US? To people in the rest of the world, it seems like the US believes that the life (and death) of a US citizen is worth more than that of someone else.

In essence, I'm saying that this is counter-productive and supremely childish. Before today, I hadn't realised the extent to which bin Laden had been turned into a figure of hate within the US. Outside the US, people don't see the "war on terror" in such black and white terms.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Soralin » Mon May 02, 2011 1:34 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Steroid wrote:Why did this take so long? Why wasn't a more thorough and ongoing search being made during the last 10 years? Is it really this difficult to get one guy, and if so, what does that tell future terrorist leaders?
Wow...are you freaking serious? We waged a WAR to find him. How many hundreds of soldiers have we sent over there?

Do you really think it's because the US military was *sloppy* that we couldn't find a single man in a LARGE, mountainous country?

That he wasn't in any of the countries we declared war on would make it rather difficult to find him there. :) Surprise, surprise, it turns out that war isn't a very good method for finding someone.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Mr Pete » Mon May 02, 2011 1:34 pm UTC

Kimmo wrote:
OllieGarkey wrote:Image


Has anyone got context for that kick? It just seems to come outta nowhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3SFXQfE4kk

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In other news, Prince Harry is reported missing after secret fancy dress party in Pakistan...

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Angua » Mon May 02, 2011 1:37 pm UTC

I"d just like to say, after reading through the thread, several people hinted at (but didn't outright say) that there are many countries where the death penalty has been abolished, and so you need to accept that there are people who don't think that people 'deserve to die' just because they did some terrible things. Also, the same with torture.

According to this website that's 137 countries (out of 195?) that no longer have the death penalty. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Spambot5546 » Mon May 02, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon May 02, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

ownershipyardstickmanhandler wrote:Don't you find it at all objectionable to kill your enemies?

Er, no, assuming there's reason and due process involved in the killing.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dream » Mon May 02, 2011 1:44 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Dream wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:I don't see any moral quandaries.

Here you go. The US was offered bin Laden alive by the Taliban a decade ago, and they turned down the offer. They chose to go after him this way, when it was not necessary to do so. They also chose to follow policies that they knew would lead to hundred of innocent deaths, when they were not forced to. This killing was not forced to happen by bin Laden's flight from justice, nor by his decision to resist his capture. It was the freely chosen policy of the United States that did this, and all the suffering in the name of this over the last ten years.

That raises moral quandaries about our decision in 2001, not about the current situation. Looking back on the path not taken is irrelevant to the question of what the best move is in the current situation.

Who said anything about the path not taken? I'm talking about the deliberate choice to take the path that was taken, and arguing that because it was taken by choice, the moral burden of the consequences falls squarely on the United States. Bin Laden was responsible for his crime, but not for the United States' decision to pursue him violently, using torture and kidnapping and killing untold numbers of civilians. None of that had to happen, but the US preferred it to.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sje46 » Mon May 02, 2011 1:45 pm UTC

kadak wrote:
sje46 wrote:
Steroid wrote:Why did this take so long? Why wasn't a more thorough and ongoing search being made during the last 10 years? Is it really this difficult to get one guy, and if so, what does that tell future terrorist leaders?
Wow...are you freaking serious? We waged a WAR to find him. How many hundreds of soldiers have we sent over there?

Do you really think it's because the US military was *sloppy* that we couldn't find a single man in a LARGE, mountainous country?


Come again ? I thought the war was about weapons of mass destruction.

You're thinking of Iraq. No one thought Afghanistan had WMDs. We went into Afghanistan to oust terror networks.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby LaserGuy » Mon May 02, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:George Bush is responsible for probably ~100x as many civilian deaths as Bin Laden is.

[citation needed]


Civilian deaths in the Iraq war are currently estimated to be on the order of 100,000 to 1 million. In Afghanistan, the figures are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25,000. If 3500 people died in 9/11, then GWB is responsible for 35-283 times as many deaths civilian deaths as Bin Laden, just looking at those two wars. 100x is therefore not an unreasonable estimate.

LaserGuy wrote:Many of these (say, all Iraqi deaths) are the result of an illegal and immoral invasion of a sovereign nation that posed no threat to the United States or its allies.


Emphasis mine.
[citation needed][/quote]

Wow. Where have you been the last eight years? I guess you can start here and follow the links that interest you.

Coles Notes version:
-There was no link between Saddam and Al-Queda or 9/11.
-There were no weapons of mass destruction, and this was known by US intelligence prior to the start of the war.
-While Saddam had committed a number of atrocities, particularly against his own people, these are not particularly worse than regimes that we ignore or even support. Indeed, during the period that Saddam committed many of the worst of his atrocities, the United States was explicitly backing his regime.
-Even if Saddam did have WMDs, it does not mean that he would have used those weapons against the US, nor is the existence of said WMDs a sufficient pretext for war. There are plenty of other unpleasant regimes that have WMDs as well, and yet we don't regularly go around invading those countries.
-At least some of the evidence for WMDs appears to have been outright fabrication.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon May 02, 2011 1:58 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Who said anything about the path not taken? I'm talking about the deliberate choice to take the path that was taken, and arguing that because it was taken by choice, the moral burden of the consequences falls squarely on the United States. Bin Laden was responsible for his crime, but not for the United States' decision to pursue him violently, using torture and kidnapping and killing untold numbers of civilians. None of that had to happen, but the US preferred it to.

You're still not talking about any moral quandaries related to the current action, assaulting Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killing him there in a shootout. That's what I said I didn't see any moral quandaries about. If you misinterpreted my statement to have a broader meaning, then consider the record clarified. Obviously the actions taken by the United States have not always been moral, and you don't have to look very far to find examples of this. But I consider the killing of a man who was the leader of an organization responsible for killing thousands of American citizens and intent on committing more violent acts to be completely justified.

If you disagree, please argue that point, instead of continuing to attack positions that nobody is defending.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Very well. I disagree. I disagree with your statement that "the killing of a man who was the leader of an organization responsible for killing thousands of American citizens and intent on committing more violent acts ..." is "... completely justified." I disagree with the death penalty, full stop.

edit, accidental submit. I meant to continue as follows:

To be fair, I agree with the idea of bin Laden's capture, trial and - if found guilty through due process - incarceration.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon May 02, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:To be fair, I agree with the idea of bin Laden's capture, trial and - if found guilty through due process - incarceration.

In an ideal world, I agree with you. But how many soldiers' lives would you be willing to sacrifice to capture alive someone who is shooting at your soldiers, when you could kill him without any soldiers dying? My answer: 0.

LaserGuy wrote:Civilian deaths in the Iraq war are currently estimated to be on the order of 100,000 to 1 million.

No. Civilian deaths are very close to 100,000. The higher numbers cited in your link refer to total dead, not civilians dead.

Also, if you're going to attribute all civilian casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to GWB, then you should attribute all civilian casualties of Al-Qaeda attacks to ObL, not just the ones from 9/11. So GWB is probably only responsible for something like 30x as many civilian casualties as ObL, not 100x.

Why didn't we prosecute him for war crimes again? Oh right, because it would have cost too much political capital, and ultimately wouldn't have accomplished anything.
Last edited by skeptical scientist on Mon May 02, 2011 2:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 02, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

Woofsie wrote:The thing that annoys me about the burial at sea is that it will fuel all the crazy conspiracy theories about him not really being dead. Really, just bringing him back and letting people see the body would have prevented some of that.


this post just makes me think of James Bond (*hums you only live twice theme*)

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 2:22 pm UTC

The Guardian - Hamas condemns Bin-Laden assassination and praises him as holy warrior and martyr, while Fatah applauds the assassination.

Red Hal wrote:To be fair, I agree with the idea of bin Laden's capture, trial and - if found guilty through due process - incarceration.


That's all very civil and neat. But in the real world, after 9/11, Americans just want to see the fucker dead, and I really do understand them.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dauric » Mon May 02, 2011 2:23 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:Very well. I disagree. I disagree with your statement that "the killing of a man who was the leader of an organization responsible for killing thousands of American citizens and intent on committing more violent acts ..." is "... completely justified." I disagree with the death penalty, full stop.

edit, accidental submit. I meant to continue as follows:

To be fair, I agree with the idea of bin Laden's capture, trial and - if found guilty through due process - incarceration.


That would have been an ideal circumstance, theoretically capture would do less to make him a martyr for those who share his ideals. However it becomes more problematic when the person you're trying to capture, and others in the compound you're trying to remove said individual from returns fire. Another complicating circumstance is when you're sending in SpecOps (reportedly Navy Seals in this case) in to a nation without that nation's foreknowledge of the operation.

However Osama wasn't found haggard and unkempt in a hole in the ground that would otherwise resemble a field latrine without any fight left in him, he was found in a walled compound more-or-less prepared to go out guns blazing, which he did.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Belial » Mon May 02, 2011 2:24 pm UTC

theGoldenCalf; wrote:That's all very civil and neat. But in the real world, after 9/11, Americans just want to see the fucker dead,


I want lots of things. So?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

I say start a war
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:In an ideal world, I agree with you. But how many soldiers' lives would you be willing to sacrifice to capture alive someone who is shooting at your soldiers, when you could kill him without any soldiers dying? My answer: 0.
In an ideal world I would agree with you! However, as you rightly point out, we do not live in an ideal world. Also, you present something of a false dichotomy here. I am not sure if you intended your statement to refer to the action to capture bin Laden, so I apologise if I have drawn a false inference, but you seem to imply (for which read "I infer that your statement implies") that killing bin Laden or soldiers dying were the only two possible options; they were not, based on the information we have to hand.

This also applies to comments made by theGoldenCalf and Dauric. By way of analogy, suppose that you have jumped off a cliff. You have two options; land on a person walking below you which will save your life but kill them, or don't land on that person and die. I'm saying supposing you chose not to jump off that cliff in the first place?

Yes, given the fact that you have two armed groups of people shooting at each other, then there are almost inevitably going to be casualties, and yes I would much rather those casualties were "the bad guys"; but was that the only way to go about attempting the capture?

Edited: transpositional reror.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 2:32 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I"d just like to say, after reading through the thread, several people hinted at (but didn't outright say) that there are many countries where the death penalty has been abolished, and so you need to accept that there are people who don't think that people 'deserve to die' just because they did some terrible things. Also, the same with torture.

According to this website that's 137 countries (out of 195?) that no longer have the death penalty. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html


Abolishing the death penalty doesn't mean that you think people don't deserve to die. I'm anti-Death Penalty but there are plenty of people who deserve to die. It's just not within our rights to carry that out. But again, this is different because Osama was a combatant, not just a criminal.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 2:34 pm UTC

He wasn't a combatant from a tactical perspective until the guys in camo arrived ...
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 2:34 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:He wasn't a combatant from a tactical perspective until the guys in camo arrived ...

That's true of virtually any soldier. They're only combatants when soldiers arrive. Hey, if he'd have come peacefully he'd still be alive now and then we could have tried him.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 2:36 pm UTC

Do you honestly believe that?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 2:38 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:Do you honestly believe that?

Um, yes, because there's no combat before that. There's only combat when both sides are there.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

Spoilered for length.

Spoiler:
Okay, more confusion about morality, torture, murder, etc., while I was asleep. I think this is how it breaks down, that people need to consider:

When someone undertakes certain, horrible actions, it can be said that they "deserve" some sort of punishment to balance the equation. Yes, this can sometimes be based in vengeance, but it appeals to the basic sense of ethics we have built into us. It seems "just" for a murderer to be killed, etc.. Now the thing to consider relative to Sourmilk's position is, he is aware that certain actions are so extreme that, even if you're doing them in pursuit of "justice," the performer still becomes tainted by them. A soldier/killer is not necessarily a murderer, but a torturer IS a torturer, regardless. Having torturers is NOT a happy place for a society to be in, ever, so we tend to try not to reach for such an extreme case of retribution (in theory, of course. We SHOULD NOT have Waterboarders).

As has also been said though, the full extent of "retributive" justice's usefulness is debatable, hence another reason why it is not always desirable to execute murderers, etc..

To further extrapolate on what Sourmilk was saying about a "natural event:" let's say that someone was trapped in a cave-in for a long period of time, with food, water, oxygen, etc...but no human interaction. When they were released, they had been driven insane by the solitary confinement. If this happened to the average person on the street, you would say it was horrible, and feel instant sympathy and pity for them. It would be a horrible tragedy. However, if it happened, say, to the people who ordered Bradley Manning put into Solitary Confinement, wouldn't the term "Poetic Justice" be applicable? (In addition to delicious irony, of course). But if a PERSON did this to someone, we'd nonetheless think that they were a sick and twisted individual.

Likewise, if bad things happen to bin Laden, it's hard to feel much sympathy for him. It can even be said that he "deserves" them. But to do them ourselves will taint us (beyond simple capture and/or killing in combat for our own protection), so we SHOULD NOT do them.

One further point everyone, ESPECIALLY Sourmilk and company need to remember: "Evil" is a term that largely has religious connotations. Many people on these boards are atheist, and as such, such an extreme term is very subjective to them. People do good things, people do bad things, but no one is purely "Evil" or purely "Good."

On a final note regarding who "deserves" what: Who here would NOT feel glee/feel that "justice" had been done / he had gotten what he "deserved" if Fred Phelps was struck down by lightning in the middle of one of his funeral protests?


EDIT: Oh yeah, I was unaware of Bush having a shot at just getting bin Laden from the Taliban. If he had that shot and turned it down, then YES, I feel that whatever you say bin Laden "deserves," the same can be applied to Bush.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dauric » Mon May 02, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:He wasn't a combatant from a tactical perspective until the guys in camo arrived ...


When you pull a gun you become a combatant. He was one of four casualties that (reportedly) fought back when two helicopters of Navy Seals came to bring him back dead or alive.

This wasn't a "death penalty" situation, but thanks for the false equivalence. This was the shootout situation where the criminal gets fatally shot by police in the exchange of fire.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:Spoilered for length.

Spoiler:
Okay, more confusion about morality, torture, murder, etc., while I was asleep. I think this is how it breaks down, that people need to consider:

When someone undertakes certain, horrible actions, it can be said that they "deserve" some sort of punishment to balance the equation. Yes, this can sometimes be based in vengeance, but it appeals to the basic sense of ethics we have built into us. It seems "just" for a murderer to be killed, etc.. Now the thing to consider relative to Sourmilk's position is, he is aware that certain actions are so extreme that, even if you're doing them in pursuit of "justice," the performer still becomes tainted by them. A soldier/killer is not necessarily a murderer, but a torturer IS a torturer, regardless. Having torturers is NOT a happy place for a society to be in, ever, so we tend to try not to reach for such an extreme case of retribution (in theory, of course. We SHOULD NOT have Waterboarders).

As has also been said though, the full extent of "retributive" justice's usefulness is debatable, hence another reason why it is not always desirable to execute murderers, etc..

To further extrapolate on what Sourmilk was saying about a "natural event:" let's say that someone was trapped in a cave-in for a long period of time, with food, water, oxygen, etc...but no human interaction. When they were released, they had been driven insane by the solitary confinement. If this happened to the average person on the street, you would say it was horrible, and feel instant sympathy and pity for them. It would be a horrible tragedy. However, if it happened, say, to the people who ordered Bradley Manning put into Solitary Confinement, wouldn't the term "Poetic Justice" be applicable? (In addition to delicious irony, of course). But if a PERSON did this to someone, we'd nonetheless think that they were a sick and twisted individual.

Likewise, if bad things happen to bin Laden, it's hard to feel much sympathy for him. It can even be said that he "deserves" them. But to do them ourselves will taint us (beyond simple capture and/or killing in combat for our own protection), so we SHOULD NOT do them.

One further point everyone, ESPECIALLY Sourmilk and company need to remember: "Evil" is a term that largely has religious connotations. Many people on these boards are atheist, and as such, such an extreme term is very subjective to them. People do good things, people do bad things, but no one is purely "Evil" or purely "Good."

On a final note regarding who "deserves" what: Who here would NOT feel glee/feel that "justice" had been done / he had gotten what he "deserved" if Fred Phelps was struck down by lightning in the middle of one of his funeral protests?


EDIT: Oh yeah, I was unaware of Bush having a shot at just getting bin Laden from the Taliban. If he had that shot and turned it down, then YES, I feel that whatever you say bin Laden "deserves," the same can be applied to Bush.


So, I wouldn't say that Fred Phelps deserves to be struck by lightning because he hasn't killed anybody. He certainly deserves something though. As for "evil": I wasn't using it in the religious sense, as I am an atheist. One who does bad things (willingly, without provocation, all that jazz) is evil. That's all. But other than that, that's pretty much exactly what I mean.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby LaserGuy » Mon May 02, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Aikanaro wrote:Spoilered for length.

Spoiler:
Okay, more confusion about morality, torture, murder, etc., while I was asleep. I think this is how it breaks down, that people need to consider:

When someone undertakes certain, horrible actions, it can be said that they "deserve" some sort of punishment to balance the equation. Yes, this can sometimes be based in vengeance, but it appeals to the basic sense of ethics we have built into us. It seems "just" for a murderer to be killed, etc.. Now the thing to consider relative to Sourmilk's position is, he is aware that certain actions are so extreme that, even if you're doing them in pursuit of "justice," the performer still becomes tainted by them. A soldier/killer is not necessarily a murderer, but a torturer IS a torturer, regardless. Having torturers is NOT a happy place for a society to be in, ever, so we tend to try not to reach for such an extreme case of retribution (in theory, of course. We SHOULD NOT have Waterboarders).

As has also been said though, the full extent of "retributive" justice's usefulness is debatable, hence another reason why it is not always desirable to execute murderers, etc..

To further extrapolate on what Sourmilk was saying about a "natural event:" let's say that someone was trapped in a cave-in for a long period of time, with food, water, oxygen, etc...but no human interaction. When they were released, they had been driven insane by the solitary confinement. If this happened to the average person on the street, you would say it was horrible, and feel instant sympathy and pity for them. It would be a horrible tragedy. However, if it happened, say, to the people who ordered Bradley Manning put into Solitary Confinement, wouldn't the term "Poetic Justice" be applicable? (In addition to delicious irony, of course). But if a PERSON did this to someone, we'd nonetheless think that they were a sick and twisted individual.

Likewise, if bad things happen to bin Laden, it's hard to feel much sympathy for him. It can even be said that he "deserves" them. But to do them ourselves will taint us (beyond simple capture and/or killing in combat for our own protection), so we SHOULD NOT do them.

One further point everyone, ESPECIALLY Sourmilk and company need to remember: "Evil" is a term that largely has religious connotations. Many people on these boards are atheist, and as such, such an extreme term is very subjective to them. People do good things, people do bad things, but no one is purely "Evil" or purely "Good."

On a final note regarding who "deserves" what: Who here would NOT feel glee/feel that "justice" had been done / he had gotten what he "deserved" if Fred Phelps was struck down by lightning in the middle of one of his funeral protests?


EDIT: Oh yeah, I was unaware of Bush having a shot at just getting bin Laden from the Taliban. If he had that shot and turned it down, then YES, I feel that whatever you say bin Laden "deserves," the same can be applied to Bush.


So, I wouldn't say that Fred Phelps deserves to be struck by lightning because he hasn't killed anybody. He certainly deserves something though. As for "evil": I wasn't using it in the religious sense, as I am an atheist. One who does bad things (willingly, without provocation, all that jazz) is evil. That's all. But other than that, that's pretty much exactly what I mean.


I'll ask again because you may have missed it: Do you feel that George W. Bush also deserves to be killed/tortured under your moral system?

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Adacore » Mon May 02, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

I had, if anything, a negative reaction to the news. I can't see how Osama's being killed in a special forces raid is good for anything other than a few US politicians re-election chances*. A human was effectively hunted and summarily executed with no due process, no trial, and the most likely result is that it turns him into a martyr and makes the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and potentially the rest of the middle east an order of magnitude worse. Plus, such a blatant display of the fact that humanity (or sections thereof) can openly rejoice in someone's death leaves me feeling... not quite sickened, but kinda hollow.

I realise most of that's been said before, but I just thought I'd add my thoughts.

*Which, I suppose, given I much prefer Obama to any of the Republicans is potentially a big bonus.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 2:49 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Um, yes, because there's no combat before that. There's only combat when both sides are there.
I apologise for not being more precise in my question. I was asking if you honestly believed that if bin Laden had come quietly then he would have just been captured and would now be winging his way to a cell in Guantanamo to await trial.

Dauric, I am not drawing a parallel, I am doing the opposite. Go look at my previous post where I say I understand that in a firefight, people are going to get shot. I am not attacking this part of your position, as I believe we are in agreement; I certainly agree with your assertion that once the action started it was not a "death penalty" situation. I am attacking the assertions that:

a) bin Laden "got what he deserved" because of his prior actions,
b) the inference (as yet unvalidated) that there was no other course of action open except armed assault, and
c) the implication that bin Laden was ever going to get out of that compound alive, regardless of his actions.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

Adacore wrote:I had, if anything, a negative reaction to the news. I can't see how Osama's being killed in a special forces raid is good for anything other than a few US politicians re-election chances*. A human was effectively hunted and summarily executed with no due process, no trial, and the most likely result is that it turns him into a martyr and makes the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and potentially the rest of the middle east an order of magnitude worse. Plus, such a blatant display of the fact that humanity (or sections thereof) can openly rejoice in someone's death leaves me feeling... not quite sickened, but kinda hollow.

I realise most of that's been said before, but I just thought I'd add my thoughts.

*Which, I suppose, given I much prefer Obama to any of the Republicans is potentially a big bonus.

It's a very HUMAN reaction for them to have. They're PEOPLE, not ANGELS. When someone openly states, "I am your enemy, I want as many of you to die as possible," and then that person gets killed, why would they NOT be happy?

Please note that in an absolute case I completely understand where you're coming from I think watching massive amounts of Doctor Who has been altering my views on mercy somewhat, in that in theory, every person can and should be brought back from whatever darkness they're consumed by....but just as bin Laden is not absolute evil, neither are the innocent civilians absolute good. Take what you can get.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 2:55 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Um, yes, because there's no combat before that. There's only combat when both sides are there.
I apologise for not being more precise in my question. I was asking if you honestly believed that if bin Laden had come quietly then he would have just been captured and would now be winging his way to a cell in Guantanamo to await trial.


We did that with Sadaam, so yes.

LaserGuy wrote:I'll ask again because you may have missed it: Do you feel that George W. Bush also deserves to be killed/tortured under your moral system?


Bush fucked up miserably, but he's not the same as Osama. He started an idiotic war, but that's not quite the same as targeting and killing. Basically, there's a difference between fucking up so badly that tons of people die and killing tons of people. One is manslaughter, the other is murder.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon May 02, 2011 2:55 pm UTC

Yes, given the fact that you have two armed groups of people shooting at each other, then there are almost inevitably going to be casualties, and yes I would much rather those casualties were "the bad guys"; but was that the only way to go about attempting the capture?

Not the only way, no. But it was the one most likely to succeed. When you have the chance to take out someone like Osama, with minimal casualties (either by capturing or killing him), you should take it, because the result of not taking it is likely to be more people dead. If you accept that decision, you basically have two choices:
1) attempt to capture or kill him in whatever way poses the least risk to your soldiers;
2) attempt to capture him without killing him, which poses significantly greater risk to your soldiers.
I'm saying that under these circumstances, 1 is the best option, being better than option 2, and far better than inaction.

I see this as similar to sending the cops to arrest a suspected serial killer. You have to do it, because arresting the killer is the only way to prevent more killings. Obviously the goal is an arrest, trial, and conviction, but if he gets into a shootout with police, you shoot the fucker dead and don't worry about it, because a trial is not enough better than an outright killing to risk police lives. You also don't worry about the possibility that he might be innocent; he forfeited his right to a trial when he shot at the cops.

Whether he was ever going to get out alive, regardless of his actions? That I don't know. I would hope that Obama would have ordered the soldiers to take him alive, if possible, but nobody who wasn't in the situation room or on that mission will ever know for sure.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:It's a very HUMAN reaction for them to have. They're PEOPLE, not ANGELS. When someone openly states, "I am your enemy, I want as many of you to die as possible," and then that person gets killed, why would they NOT be happy?


While the happy happy reactions are quite understandable, it still feels kind of morbid.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon May 02, 2011 2:59 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:I am attacking the assertions that:

a) bin Laden "got what he deserved" because of his prior actions,
b) the inference (as yet unvalidated) that there was no other course of action open except armed assault, and
c) the implication that bin Laden was ever going to get out of that compound alive, regardless of his actions.


The first point is probably quite debatable. On the second point, this is the compound of the leader of an organization whose aim is to kill your people. What outcome other than armed operatives would you assume feasible? The third point also seems to assume bin Laden would have surrendered if given the chance, but that the Americans clearly came to kill him regardless of his actions. Why is it less feasible to assume that he was prepared to die rather than be captured and to fight to the death rather than commit suicide?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dream » Mon May 02, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Dream wrote:Who said anything about the path not taken? I'm talking about the deliberate choice to take the path that was taken, and arguing that because it was taken by choice, the moral burden of the consequences falls squarely on the United States. Bin Laden was responsible for his crime, but not for the United States' decision to pursue him violently, using torture and kidnapping and killing untold numbers of civilians. None of that had to happen, but the US preferred it to.

You're still not talking about any moral quandaries related to the current action, assaulting Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killing him there in a shootout. That's what I said I didn't see any moral quandaries about.

If you want to set the moral goalposts just so, you're free to do that. But analysing the morality of any situation without context is futile. Whether to storm the compound or not is the least of the issues here. I don't think you'll find anyone arguing he should have been let go. The serious moral question is whether he should have been hunted at all, be that because there was an opportunity to apprehend him earlier, or because the cost in lives of the hunt was unjustifiable.
skeptical scientist wrote:hen you have the chance to take out someone like Osama, with minimal casualties (either by capturing or killing him), you should take it, because the result of not taking it is likely to be more people dead. If you accept that decision, you basically have two choices:
1) attempt to capture or kill him in whatever way poses the least risk to your soldiers;
2) attempt to capture him without killing him, which poses significantly greater risk to your soldiers.
I'm saying that under these circumstances, 1 is the best option, being better than option 2, and far better than inaction.

He's not superman. This was 4 guys in a compound with guns. If capture was really a desired outcome, 4 guys with guns is not a tall order for a well trained military unit.
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