U.S. was right to kill bin Laden | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 1, 2011 · Updated 7:17 AM
To the editor:
This is in response to Mr. Rick Abraham’s letter that appeared in the June 22 issue of the South Whidbey Record, in which he decried the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Abraham points out that Nazi leaders were not executed without trial, and that Ratko Mladic will also be brought to justice rather than summarily executed. He laments the fact that bin Laden was killed without having first enjoyed all the benefits of our justice system.
I agree with much of what Mr. Abraham says, but he needs to be set straight on wartime rules of engagement. The difference between the Nazis, Mladic and bin Laden is that the former were prisoners of war, and bin Laden was not.
We do not execute prisoners of war without due process. Bin Laden was not a prisoner of war; he was a self-declared enemy combatant fighting in a war that he initiated against the United States. That he was not wearing a uniform and was not a member of a recognized political entity’s army did not make him any less of an enemy.
When our armed forces encounter a recognized enemy combatant whom they believe to be armed and dangerous, they are entirely within their rights, according to the rules of war established by international conventions, to kill that combatant.
That’s what the military is trained to do, Mr. Abraham: defeat the enemy. They are not policeman charged with bringing miscreants to justice. And make no mistake, Mr. Abraham: bin Laden had weapons at hand. That they were perhaps not in hand is irrelevant. We are taking hours to debate an event that transpired in seconds.
In my opinion, Osama bin Laden invited his demise when he ordered the attacks on the Twin Towers. Our government’s response was correct morally and legally. He finally received what he so richly deserved and I, for one, applaud the actions of our government for giving it to him.
RICHARD T. PORTER