It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we apprehend several hijackers and planners, who were all Al Qaeda affiliated? Isn't the place that the plot was hatched utterly irrelevant, since we invaded on the grounds that the Taliban had offered Al Qaeda asylum? Also, note that he insists on us following the standards of both criminal law and international war crimes law- he wants Osama to be both a criminal AND a soldier so he can argue maximum legal protection for him and maximum criminality for any and all American decision-makers.
There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.
The lack of nuance and understanding in this paragraph gives me a headache. We buried him at sea (in as respectful a manner as any enemy could expect, which I believe shows considerable national character on our part) because choosing an appropriate site for his burial would have been damn near impossible. We've been conducting operations in other parts of Pakistan for years, so while this is controversial it's hardly anything new. It is also well-known that many in the Pakistani government and defense establishments have conflicting interests that lead them to favor Pashtun terrorists and militias over their American allies, for reasons that are perfectly understandable but still dangerous obstacles to us.
We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.
I may be unpopular for saying this, but- for any country, much less states like the UK, the USSR, the United States, and France- to condemn declarations of war as the "supreme international crime" was astonishingly hypocritical. I also find the attitude that warfare is innately criminal to be a complete fantasy. The Nazis should have been tried for their crimes against Jews and all other minorities they oppressed, brutalized and murdered, but I can't help but scoff at the idea of the Allied empires criminalizing expansionism. FUCKING INDIA, GUYS. SERIOUSLY.
Also, I'm sure Chomsky would find this hypocritical, but heads of state do get a little more leeway in my book than terrorist capos.
There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.
Regarding this... all I can say is that Bush is not a very smart man, and the Bush doctrine was hazy and oversimplistic.
Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders.
I actually could empathize with this sentiment (I think that, at worst, Geronimo was a tragic/quixotic figure, and I grew up near the Apache reservation, visiting their ruins and learning about what a badass warrior culture they produced), except I know that names for operations are not intended to carry very much symbolic depth. And also, even as someone who respects Geronimo and Native American culture in general, I realize that their struggle with the US was unavoidable and they were destined to lose it. I don't believe any race or nation should be made to feel guilt for coming out on the winning side.
1) I take offense to him characterizing all military hardware as "murder weapons."It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
2) The Apaches are still studied by the American military as an example of a strong warrior culture. MCMAP puts them up there with the fucking Spartans ferchrissakes. They're not some poor victims that we just rounded up and put in camps, they're a historically tough, resourceful adversary that still commands a lot of respect among the people who know their history. Tomahawks (which is to say Native-style axes) were already a common American weapon before Independence, so that's even less apt.
3) Godwin's Law.