Most lawmakers want bin Laden dead.
November 16, 2001 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Most lawmakers want bin Laden dead. Is that a good idea, or should he have a public trial if captured? Also, Pakistan dismisses the idea that bin Laden has crossed over and hiding there somewhere. Given the strong support he and the Taliban have in Pakistan, would they turn him over if he is there?
posted by Rastafari (20 comments total)
Kill him. As quickly as possible. Can you imagine how long he could drag it out, how much propaganda he could generate, how he would galvanize his followers if he were alive, in prision, and awaiting a trial. Kill him!
I think Pakistan would search for him but it's questionable if they would give him to us or give him their own "trial."

The question you think we will ever find him?
posted by aacheson at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2001

I think the whole Tribunal thing is a really, really bad idea, and the best thing that can happen is for no Tribunal to ever happen at all. So then the choices become a full-blown public trial or his head on a stick. Personally, I have no problem with the latter...
posted by spilon at 9:19 AM on November 16, 2001

Pakistan has to say he's not there in fear of possible US bombing. Bush made it very clear that uncooperative nations would feel the wrath of the American military if they harbor terrorists.

It makes a lot of sense for the Taleban to move into Pakistan though, given the delicate balance with India and China. We won't attack Pakistan, and Bin Laden knows it. His ideal scenario would be for the US to waste time searching for him in the cave network in Afghanistan, while he continues to prepare attacks on American interests.

He will surface at some point, the US will make sure of that, but odds are he'll never set foot in a courtroom.
posted by Benway at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2001

> The question you think we will ever find him?

Well. I hope they find a body. Otherwise there will be decades of "Osama is alive and well and living in _____" rumors to encourage the true believers, as there were for Hitler and Elvis. (Of course they did have Elvis's body, and it didn't stop the rumors...)
posted by jfuller at 9:25 AM on November 16, 2001

What makes you think that there is even the slightest chance that bin Laden will be captured alive? Even if he was amenable to being captured, which seems rather unlikely, doesn't "shot while trying to escape" seem like a rather more likely outcome?
posted by jaek at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2001

It would be convenient for warlording if Osama is not captured. Imagine if he just moved from country to country, and the US military followed behind leaving a trail of destruction-followed-by-restructuring. How convenient. I'm not saying this is what will happen, and I'm not saying that the US has warmongering intentions. I'm just saying "what if."
posted by yesster at 9:47 AM on November 16, 2001

In a way, bin Laden is potentially more valuable alive than dead, moving from host nation to host nation like a big red "X" marking the spot of the latest installment of the War Against Adjectives. I'm just waiting for him to pop up in Iraq.
posted by holgate at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2001

I think there are quite a few families of victims of the attacks that would prefer to be witnesses in a war crimes trial, not so much for the sense of justice, there won't be much of that, but for the sense of closure. Think back to the trial of Adolf Eichmann, and the healing power that it had for Israel.
posted by machaus at 10:02 AM on November 16, 2001

"The ministry of information released today that osama bin-Goldstein may be hiding in Oceania...Freedom is slavery... there will be an optional peace rally near ministry of information headquarters, non-attendees will be shot..."
posted by phalkin at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2001

After the way Ted Kaczynski was denied a trial, I don't think bin Laden has much chance of seeing a courtroom. I personally think an open trial, preferably in downtown Manhattan with Giuliani as lead prosecutor, would be the best and most honorable way to end it, but the people are screaming for blood, and the politicians falling over themselves to give it to them.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:55 AM on November 16, 2001

Kaczynski wasn't denied a trial -- he was denied the chance to commit court-assisted suicide, by mounting an incompetent defense against death penalty counts.

Bin Laden will not be brought to trial in Manhattan -- no one would wish to make Manhattan the target of attacks to disrupt the trial, and Ashcroft and Bush will never allow him to tried in any jurisdiction with such a high bleeding-heart margin that he might escape the death penalty, as did the Al Quaeda conspirators who were convicted in Manhattan earlier this year of the African embassy bombings.

In the unlikely event that Bin Laden is tried in a U.S. criminal court, as opposed to an overseas military trial or a Pol Pot-style kangaroo court by his own former comrades, he will likely be tried in northern Virginia, in a purpose-built trial facility in a (most likely) secret location, with closed-circuit cameras enabling observers.

It is a legitimate venue (because of the Pentagon attacks), it is where all of the military and intelligence people who would be required to testify and otherwise assist in the prosecution are based, and Virginia jurors are willing to impose the death penalty in the proper case.
posted by MattD at 11:13 AM on November 16, 2001

Kaczynski wasn't denied a trial -- he was denied the chance to commit court-assisted suicide, by mounting an incompetent defense against death penalty counts.

different subject, but:
The Justice Dept. wanted to deny Kaczynski the platform a trial would have given him, and communicated this to Judge Burrell. Kaczynski was denied both the right to council of his choosing, which had been offered pro bono, and the right to represent himself. His lawyer maintained that he had a "diminished capacity" to represent himself but no went on record to declae him insane. Kaczynski was willing to face the consequences of his actions, that is not suicide.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2001

Ty Webb, you from Idaho?
posted by aacheson at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2001

If im not wrong, in a military tribunal, the tribunal wont care a lick about "motivation"(hence no diatribe of the political kind) Yemen would be easier for binladen to hide in. He needs family around him. Yemen is the tip of the Xenophobe realm. Knowing an Israeli of Yemeni descent, they make the taliban look like moderates.(from what i understand, the Judaic Yemeni are considered to very holy people) Plus you have the Soviet element historically.
posted by clavdivs at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2001

"they" being islamic Yemeni, very serious people.
posted by clavdivs at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2001

Not to get too off-topic on the Ted K. front, but I think it is fair to say that the only proper role of a defense in trial under the common law system is to show by evidence and rebuttal of evidence that reasonable doubt exists as to the guilt of the person on trial of the crimes of which accused.

A judge can and should disallow a defense strategy which both (a) has a different goal in mind, e.g., being a political soapbox, and (b) which would tend to reinforce in the eyes of the jury the prosecution's evidence, rather than rebut it or adduce contrary evidence.
posted by MattD at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2001

bin Laden should be executed by being dropped from twice the height of a World Trade Center tower (plus antenna). Noam Chomsky should be forced to watch.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2001

Actually Parisparamus i envision something more like the closing scenes of A Clockwork Orange, where bin Laden would be strapped in a chair with his eyelids propped open, and forced to watch MTV 24 hours a day, while women in business suits administer the eye drops
posted by quercus at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2001

Quercus: that first.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:19 PM on November 16, 2001

Everyone deserves a fair trail in a civilised society. If these were 'attacks on civilisation' as the US propoganda machine reckons, then Osama must have a fair trial and all the evidence and proceedings must be presented in public.
posted by fritx at 10:56 AM on November 17, 2001

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