Loc: Alexandria, VA
Holder misunderstands the law if he believes that a victim's willingness to surrender in that situation determines the response permitted by those soldiers - and unfortunately for him that's what he implied.
No, that's what you inferred. Again, the legal justification he cites in the interview has nothing to do with surrender or not, so I'm not sure why you keep putting those words into his mouth:
"The attorney general reiterated that the operation was legal, saying that international law allows the targeting of enemy commanders."
"It was an act of national self-defense." (from the video)
Sending planes over to New York with specially trained crew is not the same as standing bearded and unarmed in a concrete compound surrounded by soldiers.
I gather Holder's assessment is based more on the ongoing threat bin Laden posed to the US as the enemy commander not just on the immediate situational threat bin Laden and his beard(??!) may have posed during the actual raid.
the legal justification he cites in the interview has nothing to do with surrender
No that's wrong - the only legal justification for killing someone in these circumstance is self defence meaning that the soldiers believed they had to kill him to stay alive themselves. Holder's reference to bin Laden's willingness to "surrender" suggests a misunderstanding of the law in that regard.
"What’s clear is that people on both sides of the debate have had an emotional reaction to bin Laden’s death. They’re embracing as fact whatever claims support their reactions, and selecting only those sources of law that lend credence to their previously held assumptions."
Edited by katlpablo (05/13/1110:20 AM) Edit Reason: Added quote.
Loc: Alexandria, VA
Well, it looks like we could go 'round and 'round with the "surrender as justification" theme that you seem to get from what Holder said and I clearly disagree. But this seems to be the crux of your point:
- the only legal justification for killing someone in these circumstance is self defence meaning that the soldiers believed they had to kill him to stay alive themselves.
You're trying to apply tests regarding an individual's right to self defense against personal attack to a State engaged in hostilities against an enemy, and those tests just don't scale appropriately ...
A State has a right to self defense and the right to kill an enemy engaged in hostilities against it. Were that not true warfare itself would be illegal, which, for better or worse, is clearly not the case ...
During such hostilities, a General, for example, doesn't have to be physically brandishing a weapon before he can become a legitimate target for his enemies -- that he plans and directs others who do the actual fighting legally makes him as much a combatant as they are. Likewise, bin Laden in his capacity as leader of al Qaeda -- an organization actively engaged in hostilities against the United States and actively planning further action against it -- didn't need to be actually holding a gun or threatening to detonate a bomb before becoming a legal, legitimate target for US forces ...
Holder's point I think is that short of bin Laden actually offering to surrender, killing him was a legal act of State self defense in the context of ongoing hostilities between al Qaeda and the United States ...
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