By Mohammed Adamu
By the way, the directive was not even to bring Osama ‘dead, not alive’! It was to cast him ‘dead, at sea’! What civilized way to actuate a ‘suspect’! Ironically by the ‘most democratic’, most ‘law-governed’ nation, America, that prides herself as the ‘conscience of humanity’.
Clarence Darrow, America’s pre-eminent trial lawyer of his time said of the psychology behind state killers: “before you can get a trial to hang somebody… you must first hate him and then get a satisfaction over his death.”
Ironically Osama did not even get a trial! Not because Osama could not have gotten a trial; but because Osama was not entitled to a trial! But if bin Laden was so ‘guilt-laden’ that he did not deserve a trial, should he take just ‘two bullets’? Shouldn’t he be killed many times over? Or did not many Iraqi children, without any guilt, also die of a bullet or two? But no! These deaths were inadvertent! Sincerely ‘regrettable’!
Yet, isn’t there one too many ‘regrettable’ deaths caused by America that the world should just as well settle, instead, for terrorism’s ‘once-in-a-great-while’ bangs? How can any death be ‘regrettable’ which, anticipatorily, is known definitely to happen? Or where is the sense that Osama’s 3,000 victims deserve more pity than America’s ever ‘regrettable’ or ‘retaliatory’ hundreds of thousands? Why should ‘terrorism’ be defined ‘in-personam’? –so that if innocent lives are lost and the killers look ‘bearded’ or ‘turbaned’, it is ‘terrorism’; but if a whole innocent nation is liquidated and the killers look ‘clean-shaven’ and ‘bereted’, it’s a mistake!
Denying Osama a just trial was not enough to exact an equal measure of recompense for his alleged offence! Or, was his assassination even unpleasantly ‘jungle justice’ enough when many Iraqi children decapitated — and made invalids by America’s murderous illegal war — would wish they were similarly popped! Nothing can be more desirable to these limbless kids than being dead at ‘sea’, gobbled by sharks and nibbled out of the misery of existence by marine planktons.
Rubenfeld said America was justified killing unarmed and non-resistant bin Laden because “No soldier had a duty to take the slightest risk to his own life because Osama bin Laden (by a gesture of surrender) promised to be good from now on”. But a promise of ‘future’ good behaviour would presuppose admittance of ‘present’ guilt. Which Osama did not! Making it thus grotesquely presumptive gleaning repentance from an accused not given the benefit of arraignment or the right of plea.
Why should a hypothetical surrender by Osama be construed as a gesture of promise of future ‘good’ behaviour and not, possibly, one of innocent submission to and a plea for ‘inexorable justice’ Either way he should’ve been in court talking, not his body at sea, eaten! Even manifest ‘murderers’ are no enemies of the Temple of justice! This is a time-honoured Socratic duty: to ‘follow the law in all circumstances’!
They said Osama missed out from this primordial gratuity because having gruesomely killed, he should gruesomely die! Not like Milosevic — in the ambience of the law. This Serbian mass murderer had tremendous respect for the sanctity of life: he slaughtered, sacrificially. Not bombed! And although he killed a couple of hundreds of thousands more than Osama, he ‘compassionately’ gave his victims ‘decent’ mass-burials.
Rubenfeld’s righteous invocation of sections of the U.S. Naval Handbook pretends to confer on it universal applicability. He would cite so- called “sane construction of the law of war” and yet arrogantly announce the U.S. Army’s discretionary acts of gratuitous mercy in deciding combatants who benefit from the “opportunity to surrender” and those who do not.
“We give enemy soldiers the benefit of this (opportunity to surrender) for two reasons. First, because soldiers who have fought honourably, complying with the laws of war, have earned it. And, second, because we want the enemy to treat our soldiers the same way”. The use of first person plural pronoun “we”, clearly asserted no ‘law’ but ‘America’ herself as ‘the law’!
Nor was Rubenfeld’s moral espousal of ‘honourable soldiering’ any less fascinating. Soldiers of ‘honour’! maybe like those who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki? -leaving unhealed innocent civilian wounds six decades after? Or those who send bat-blind drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan killing daily innocent civilians? Or those who raped Iraqi women in the course of an unjust war? Or who used white phosphorous on stones-throwing victims of an illegal occupation? Or, yet those who levy a proxy war against Palestinians by sending money and munitions to Israel who kill innocent civilians whose resistance against occupation is — in Rubenfeld’s notion of ‘laws of war’ — ‘dishonuorable’, including when they build tunnels to smuggle food!
Bin Laden, for Palestinian’s sake was a ‘terrorist’! Not a freedom fighter; like America’s Benjamin Franklin and George Washington who, for the liberation of America, were declared terrorists by Britain; but who were later Presidents and co-equals with the Crown! Nor was Osama a freedom fighter, like Menachen Begin, number one terrorist against the British Mandate, who, ironically, was rewarded with a country — Israel, an office — her first Prime Minister and – hold your breath- an award, later, of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Making ‘one man’s terrorist truly another man’s freedom fighter’?