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The Taliban insists Bin Laden is innocent.
September 15, 2001 10:30 PM   Subscribe

The Taliban insists Bin Laden is innocent. Let's just pretend for a minute that Bin Laden is not the mastermind behind these most recent attacks. Do you think the U.S. should (try to) take him out anyways to safeguard against future aggression?
posted by catatonic (26 comments total)

 
I presume by "take him out" you don't mean "take him out to lunch". Are you advocating assassination as a matter of policy? Do you think a government should be allowed to kill any individual it perceives as a threat?
posted by jjg at 10:45 PM on September 15, 2001


The statement from the reclusive Taliban leader is the first he has made since Tuesday's devastating attack. He rarely gives interviews, has never to have been filmed or photographed and reputedly has met only two non-Muslims in his life.

Wow, this guy has less foreign policy experience than Bush!
posted by rushmc at 10:49 PM on September 15, 2001


Actually since the Taliban has already offered to hand him over if they can be provided with proof of his involvement, perhaps we could start by opening up the evidence that he was behind the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassy bombings, and the whole matter with the USS Cole. Then give the Taliban an ultimatum to stand and deliver.

NOT! Does anyone actually think that the Taliban has any control whatsoever over Bin Laden? I can get better odds on the Pope being Jewish, IMHO. He is much more likely to be shacking up with hard-liners in Iran, or somewhere in the mountains of Yemen by now.
posted by clevershark at 10:55 PM on September 15, 2001


"Training of pilots is the work of a running government and only such (a) government has the capacity to do so,'' he said.

Since the evidence points to these killers training down in Florida, is he implying that the U.S. was responsible for it's own destruction?
posted by fresh-n-minty at 11:00 PM on September 15, 2001


Ideally you would like to take down his terrorist network, one man isn't that much of a big deal when another can just take his place. Imagine a Bush assisination, the nation certainly will not crumble.

This was asked with Sadaam Hussien and its really the same situation. Kill Sadaam and his brother takes office. Support and arm the resistance and something could come out of that, but Bush I decided securing Kuwait's oil interests was more than enough and left the Iraqi's to deal with Sadaam themselves. Since then US and British forces have been patroling the no fly zone with Sadaam taking pot shots that have landed at least 2 planes.
posted by skallas at 11:01 PM on September 15, 2001


Imagine a Bush assisination, the nation certainly will not crumble.

You can't write that on the internet can you?

I'm imagining a time in the very near future, where police knock on your door even because of such benign language.
posted by crasspastor at 11:05 PM on September 15, 2001


Yeah. 'Take him out' is a euphemism for kill his ass.
posted by catatonic at 11:05 PM on September 15, 2001


jjg - Bin Laden is not a 'percieved threat.' He IS a threat. He has killed Americans worldwide, without remorse. He wouldn't be the FBI's number 1 most wanted if he wasn't.

My question was: do you think the government should have the right to assassinate someone who has admitted to the fact that he is responsible for the murder of Americans?

I know I do.
posted by catatonic at 11:11 PM on September 15, 2001


A larger question is how is the United States going to react to figures like Bin Laden in the future. Beyond his involvement with any individual terrorist action, he's on record as telling his followers kill Americans.

If he were the leader of a country, this would probably be enough to justify a declaration of war. Will we become preemptive about 'going after' people/organizations like this? Should we?
posted by alan at 11:15 PM on September 15, 2001


world leaders can not assassinate one another. it's like honor among thieves. once any one of them does it, then everyone is in danger of being killed by the other.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:15 PM on September 15, 2001


You can't write that on the internet can you?


Of course I can. Calling the white house and making a threat is completely different than proposing a scenario.

Why specifically the internet? I do believe the first amendment applies to cyberspace.
posted by skallas at 11:15 PM on September 15, 2001


Joint resolution authorizing the use of force against terrorists, adopted by congress:

[...] That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons [...] Emphasis Mine

Commentators I saw suggested that this specifically condoned assassination. I don't know that I'm comfortable with the idea of state sponsored assassinations, but on the premise that might makes right, which seems to be the case with the US on the world stage, then yes, we do have the right to do this.
posted by willnot at 12:01 AM on September 16, 2001


skallas: support and arm the resistance and something could come out of that

yeah, bin laden and the taliban. oh wait, that was when we went down that road that in afghanistan....
posted by jimw at 12:05 AM on September 16, 2001


jimw, I was talking about Iraq. There already was a kurd uprising that the US could have monopolized. Granted, giving support to anyone is a slippery slope but ideally you would want to help to establish a democratic non-oppressive government in a country you attack instead of just protecting the juicy and delicious oil reserves.
posted by skallas at 12:36 AM on September 16, 2001


According to the principles of international law and human rights, which the US (in theory, any way) supports - the legal course of action is arrest followed by trial. Assassinations, as such, are not permitted. Nonetheless, there is an exception for self-defense or the defense of others from an immediate threat. This exception has been used fairly liberally in "stopping" (assassinating) international terrorists overseas, by both the US and the Mosad. Believe it or not, I think he should be arrested and tried, if possible. everyone deserves a trial before death, even a terrorist. Not only is it the civilized thing to do - but a trial also provides historical documentation that can serve to educate future generations. Witness the Nazi trials, the Former Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, etc. Suspects before these courts were charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes as terrible as Bin Laden and his followers are alleged to have committed - with far more innocent victims. It's easy to call for instant assassination when the victims are Americans - but a trial is the correct thing to do if possible. Too bad more people aren't motivated to act when such violations of human rights happen in other places.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:55 AM on September 16, 2001


Imagine a Bush assisination
This presumably would involve making Bush a Franciscan Monk? Ha! I crack me up! :)

Seriously, though: Am I the only one who remembers this thread from January, when it came out that Bob Barr proposed a bill repealing various executive orders and laws that prevent assassination as a legitimate act by federal employees? Well, as I began writing this post I sure remembered it, and have just done some double-checking: Thomas has the original bill and its current status: as of 9/12/2001 that bill had TEN co-sponsors jump on!

What the fawk?! I'm almost thinkin' that's front-page worthy, although it's sort of a double-post...
posted by hincandenza at 1:01 AM on September 16, 2001



I don't know much about politics, but hasn't the US tried to asassinate (sp?) Fidel Castro over 10 times?
posted by imaswinger at 1:25 AM on September 16, 2001


Sure. After all, we've had so much progress on the Castro front.

First of all, we as a nation just plain don't know how to DO this "war" thing anymore. This whole fiasco just proves it. We've got people talking about a stupid ground war when the whole concept has pretty much been rendered obsolete by recent events.

Second of all, we're talking about shooting first and asking questions later. Yeah, that ought to garner a lot of respect; let's declare war on someone we don't have any evidence on, but that we decree to be a prime suspect and major ass'le.

And third, how do you safeguard against "future aggression" by kicking the shit out of someone who appears to have a really loyal following? ... on second thought, don't tell me. If you can come up with something that will actually work, it's got to be a project with a pretty high level of security.
posted by iamrobotandproud at 1:33 AM on September 16, 2001


imaswinger: I think that's a pretty well documented fact - though not an official one. It would still violate international law.
posted by sixdifferentways at 1:47 AM on September 16, 2001


Not only is it the civilized thing to do - but a trial also provides historical documentation that can serve to educate future generations. Witness the Nazi trials

I can't agree more. The Nazi trials are readily available for anyone to watch or read about. You get to look straight into the face of "evil" only find ordinary military people caught up in their own rhetoric and hatred.

I can't condone the death penalty though. Look at Charles Manson, if he was killed by the state the myth and hero worship surrounding him would be 100x what it is now. Instead, he's alive and anyone can get a hold of his various ramblings and find that there's no counter-culture genius there. There's just a sick and deranged individual. Impotent in his cell and with nothing of interest to say; he's the picture of a truly defeated criminal.
posted by skallas at 3:26 AM on September 16, 2001


ideally you would want to help to establish a democratic non-oppressive government in a country

The U.S. has traditionally favored brutal dictatorships, but hey, maybe it's time for something new!
posted by rushmc at 9:01 AM on September 16, 2001


If Osama is innocent then he has nothing to worry about, right?! :-)
posted by dgeiser13 at 9:35 AM on September 16, 2001


There already was a kurd uprising that the US could have monopolized.

That's the sort of behaviour that creates enemies like Osama Bin Laden.

Say two little kids are having a fistfight in the schoolyard and a really big kid comes over and decides its time to end the fight. So he picks, for whatever reason, which kid is going to win and helps that kid kick the other little kid's a**. Yeah it's fine for the big kid, cause he didn't get hurt and the fight that he didn't want to see is over. But imagine how the little kid that lost feels. He's really really mad and doesn't think that the big kid had any buisness sticking his big nose in it. That little kid thinks that the big kid is a bully and wants to get back at the big bully.

If you wanna pick the winner, fine. But realise that you're going to create enemies when you do that. You're going to come across as a big bully. Nobody likes to be ganged up on.

Osama Bin Laden's original beef with the US was precicely that sort of behaviour. He resents (I don't think the word resent is nearly strong enough) American presence in Saudi Arabia. The oil-hungry west likes the current set up because American guns protect the flow of oil. But as Bin Laden sees it, the current set up is not in the best interests of the Saudi people. The country that produces more oil than any other country in the world has gone $160 billion in debt. The fact that someone like Osama (heir to a fortune of $300 million and from a family that benefits from the current establishment: their construction company gets all Government and Royal contracts) is protesting the establishment is "an indication of how bad things really are".

You've got to realise the consequences of your actions.

**Information about Bin Laden from a CBC Newsworld special on him aired September 15/01
posted by raedyn at 12:24 PM on September 16, 2001


Say two little kids are having a fistfight in the schoolyard and a really big kid comes over and decides its time to end the fight. So he picks, for whatever reason, which kid is going to win and helps that kid kick the other little kid's a**. Yeah it's fine for the big kid, cause he didn't get hurt and the fight that he didn't want to see is over. But imagine how the little kid that lost feels. He's really really mad and doesn't think that the big kid had any buisness sticking his big nose in it.

I actually tried this in the second grade. Coming upon two kids I didn't know on the playground, one apparently beating up the other, I immediately jumped in and pulled him off. Whereupon they BOTH turned on me and started pounding away.

I was startled, to say the least, and my future instincts to play "superhero" defending good from evil were sharply curbed.
posted by rushmc at 4:40 PM on September 16, 2001


We've got people talking about a stupid ground war when the whole concept has pretty much been rendered obsolete by recent events.

Can you elucidate how you think recent events have rendered the idea of a ground war obsolete? Also could you define what you mean by a ground war?

Second of all, we're talking about shooting first and asking questions later.

Just so we're all clear, who's "we"??
posted by fooljay at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2001


The little kid/big bully metaphor is cute, but in this case, it goes something more like this.

Say a little kid is having a fistfight with a really big kid, and the little kid is going to get his ass kicked. Another big kid comes over and decides it should help the little kid and teach him how to fight. Because of this, the little kid wins and the losing big kid leaves the playground, never to return. Yeah it's fine for the little kid, cause he becomes a folk hero to other little kids on the playground. Down the road, now that the little kid knows how to fight, he gets really really mad and doesn't think that the big kid who helped him out should stick his big nose in playground affairs anymore. So he calls on all the other little kids who worship him to get back at the big bully, and all the while the little kid is safely hiding under the jungle gym.

Isn't it interesting that bin Laden didn't have a problem with Americans desecrating Middle Eastern soil with their presence back when the Russians were going to steamroll through their country and he needed our help?
posted by David Dark at 12:36 AM on September 17, 2001


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