Was it legal to kill Bin Laden? Is anyone below the law?

(CNN) — Was the killing of Osama bin Laden legal under international law?

The administration says yes, absolutely. Experts are unsure.

Attorney General Eric Holder told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound was lawful “as an act of national self-defense.”

Bin Laden “was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September the 11th,” Holder said. “It’s lawful to target an enemy commander in the field.”

The raid “was conducted in a manner fully consistent with the laws of war,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Carney declined to offer specifics, but said “there is simply no question that this operation was lawful. … (Bin Laden) had continued to plot attacks against the United States.”

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had all issued orders to kill or capture the al Qaeda leader.

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2 replies

  1. There may need to be a commandment, “Thou shalt not kill without due process!”
    I am unconditionally opposed to terrorism, as that takes away innocent lives. But, what bothers me in this whole affair is that no one is above the law, what we were repeatedly reminded when Bill Clinton had an affair, likewise no one is below the law. This extra-judicial killing of unarmed Osama also violates the articles of Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, I have provided the link on About Us page our site:


  2. The question whether it is legal to kill an unarmed person is the big question, of course. The obvious answer is ‘no’ I would think. But there is another aspect to this ‘killing’: Why do the Americans not want Usama in a Court of Law? What could he tell us that they do not want us to hear? Most likely they would not have sufficient evidence to convict him for instance of the 9/11 attack … just some thoughts…

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