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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2011 1 Iyar, 5771

Rules for Killing Rogues

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The welcome end of Osama bin Laden at the hands of helicopter-borne American military commandos raises a number of issues.

Americans rejoiced at news of the end of this psychopathic mass murderer, and, privately, are probably relieved that he was not to be captured and extradited to Guantanamo. If bin Laden had been taken alive, we might be revisiting the controversy surrounding the Obama administration's failed efforts to try in a civilian federal court bin Laden's subordinate, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- the master planner behind 9/11.

But what, exactly, are the moral, legal or practical rules in going after terrorist leaders or the savage dictators of rogue regimes? We went into a foreign country to kill, not capture, bin Laden. Was that killing permissible since a firefight preceded it, or because he was a terrorist rather than a head of state?

Furor surrounded the waterboarding of Mohammed that purportedly resulted in valuable intelligence about future terrorist operations. But why was that considered immoral and illegal when we routinely act as judge, jury and executioner of suspected terrorists through predator drone attacks inside Pakistan?

Mohammed, a confessed killer, was one of just three detainees waterboarded. In contrast, we have executed from the air well over 1,500 suspected terrorists by Predators. President Obama has ordered four times as many drone attacks in the last two years as former President Bush did in eight. Are those killings more constitutionally suspect than Bush's treatment of the three terrorists at Guantanamo?

Last week, NATO warplanes deliberately targeted Muammar Gadhafi's family compound and residence in Tripoli, purportedly killing the dictator's youngest son, Saif. A surviving son, also named Saif, not long ago was a Western darling who bought a doctorate from the London School of Economics, and wined and dined Western intellectuals and oil executives. At what point do dictators' sons devolve from darlings to demons?

The United States had just days earlier sent two predator drones to Libya -- no doubt to help the British and French focus their attacks on the Gadhafi family. Are such targeted airborne assassinations the type of killings expressly forbidden by U.S. law? Or are they permissible on the grounds that enemy dictators are military commanders -- and their fortified homes are thus legitimate wartime targets?

Could we then legally, morally or practically drop a team in Tripoli to kill Gadhafi and his son in the manner that we killed bin Laden and his son? What are the rules that govern the killing of enemy leaders?

First, it seems OK to assassinate a terrorist kingpin either by air attack or commando raid. But legal and moral problems arise if he is captured, detained, waterboarded or tried in a military tribunal. A quick death seems to end almost all legal discussions and controversies.

Second, there is also no problem in assassinating a foreign dictator as long as the mission meets two criteria: We must be engaged in some sort of conventional battle with his forces, and we have to kill him through aerial bombing. For some reason, vaporization by a bomb seems to raise fewer ethical issues than execution by a sniper's bullet.

Third, targeted assassinations are better done under liberal presidents, who are more likely to be seen as humanitarians who only reluctantly order such killings. The Bush antiterrorism protocols -- tribunals, renditions, preventative detentions, Predator assassination missions, Guantanamo Bay -- were decried as illegal and immoral. Such furor vanished, however, when President Obama embraced or expanded them all. The effort to preemptively remove the mass-murdering Saddam Hussein to foster democracy in his absence was seen by many in the media, universities and legal community as morally wrong -- and yet preemptively bombing Gadhafi to foster democracy in his absence is now considered morally justified.

Fourth, success seems to end moral ambiguity in much the same way failure invites it. Had we gone into Pakistani territory and landed in the wrong compound, legal and ethical issues would have been raised. If we keep killing members of the Gadhafi family without hitting Gadhafi himself, at some point the denial of targeted assassination will seem empty. Targeted assassinations apparently have to work on the first or second attempt to be deemed moral and legal.

In recent years the United States has been in a number of undeclared wars against terrorists, insurgents and authoritarian dictators -- Mohamed Farrah Aidid, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Slobodan Milosevic, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Manuel Noriega, Mullah Omar, Muammar Gadhafi, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and others -- whom we sought to kill, capture or put on trial.

It is about time that we clarified the rules that determine their fates.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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