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Protection Methodology in Civilized Society - And the Consequences of Not Honoring the Sanctity of LIfe

Reader comment on item: Thoughts on the Killing of Osama bin Laden
in response to reader comment: License to Kill

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Jun 15, 2011 at 16:27

This took some time to understand the tone of the observations expressed under the veiled (covert) threat of: 'Licensed to Kill,' as if the James Bond movie reference could be used here – tongue –in –cheek. While there may be some thinking that there is a government sponsored means to deal with a threat to the national security of any national sovereignty, of all the options to be considered as necessary, even of an evil necessity, it is appalling to think that a civil society must resort to such a method in order for there to be preservation of that which is held dear-protection of life. But while there is the distinction to be made from a governmental democracy acting in its vested responsibility versus others which are resorting to such means, the hazard is that there is little to make that somehow more appropriate than say, when a dictatorship or a terrorist organization resorts to the same. Thus there is the dilemma.

To cases, what Osama bin Laden achieved in targeting the World Trade Center the first time, and the second time along with the American Military Center at the Pentagon and other potential targets is tantamount to not merely declaring war, but effectively actuating it by indiscriminately killing civilians. The argument can be made that when the American military team breached the compound and effectuated what should have been the capture of the declared combatant leader, but in whose resistance to the attempt failed to defend himself, it was a military response. Only in the more liberal progressive mentality does a more litigative approach declare that the civil rights of the combatant leader were abrogated. Still, the question remains: was justice done?

In typical American legal jargon, it depends. To the victim's families of those lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks, have they found solace in that one of the chief perpetrators of the attacks is now accounted for; that in perception of his collusion and admitted participation in causing their deaths a penalty has been paid. In that there is a principle in American government by which the protection of the population is the government's principle responsibility, the penalty was exacted. But, was justice served? We'll never know, for the process was thwarted by the accused, by his fugitive status and final defiant refusal to be held accountable.

Now, in an attempt to be impartial, let us take the other perspective and present an opposing argument; that the supporters of the al-Qaeda ideology would say that Osama bin Laden was not guilty, though by any means other than a religious tenet, one wonders how that can be admitted when bin Laden admitted to the acts, even though by using a justification that is tantamount to the declaration of war against ideologies he opposed. From the al-Qaeda view, they see no justice, which is understandable, since justice requires observance of the rule of law, which they do not. In that frame of mind, one might just as easily categorize the demise of bin Laden as a casualty of the war he declared upon Western society so many years ago.
So, if not justice, what then can be the justification of dealing with individuals and likeminded groups who operate outside the rule of law? A consideration is that they have set their own standard of conduct, to be treated as how they have treated others. If they have killed with impunity and disregard the common standard of conduct in civil society, are they not in danger of being dealt with by their own sense (or lack thereof) of common decency? The evidence overwhelmingly brings about one certain conclusion; at some point in time, there will be a reckoning. Bin Laden managed to delay that for nearly ten years. Others have not been so successful.

Now returning to the earlier issue, is there a necessity for a 'license to kill;' and what of the necessity for the justification of such in civil society? Do the planned (as well as the supposed random) acts of violence necessitate an aggressive posturing of defense against the perpetrators of serial murdering; or does society find itself forced to abandon the rule of law in order to provide the security that the law-abiding sector of the population expects? In the events that surround the September 11, 2001 acts of terror and other such acts against civil society, it can be presumed that the rule of law will be imposed where it can; and the perpetrators are taking their own risk of a final penalty if they continue to defy the rule of law and are faced with the consequences of their actions in a method consistent with their own ways.

To the direct reference, Mugniyah and bin Laden did not have anything for defense except their hatred for opposing ideologies and expressed that hatred in causing the illegitimate deaths of so many for whom they had no sympathy. The actions of the governments in their responsibility to protect their citizens are in response to the failure of the perpetrators to respect the lives of those that died at their hands. In other words, no harm would have come to them had they respected the sanctity of life of their victims.

In the final analysis, saying that there is 'license to kill' goes against the refined sense of not taking a life, but in that there are those who ignore that sense of refinement, there should be no surprise that unless and until the hatred that perpetrates the ideology that killing is an appropriate means to achieve an end is ended, someone will always find a reason to legitimize and utilize the 'license to kill.' It is, after all, human nature in defiance of the true Almighty Eternal Sovereign, the LORD.

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