LETTER: How Do I Feel About Osama bin Laden's Death?


EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter was submitted by a Cannon County resident. The writer requested anonymity based on the nature of their employment.

I’m torn with the news of the killing of Osama bin Laden. First I am extremely glad that the world is rid of another ruthless despotic dictator in the mold of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein. However, there are several things that leave me perplexed.

First, President Obama started early in his term that he would not authorize “enhanced interrogation” and implied condemnation of the former administration for doing so to the point that many in the CIA were afraid they would be prosecuted for their previous acts.

However, the initial tip off that started a chain of events in finding Osama bin Laden was from enhanced interrogation used on a detainee that gave the name of the courier that lead the CIA and others down the trail that lead to Abbotabad.

This doesn’t make legal sense. In any court, evidence in a case obtained illegally and that can not be obtained elsewhere will result in a mistrial. Therefore according to the President, the original admission was obtained illegally and that piece of evidence should not be used. This sounds a little arbitrary to me.

Secondly, the president on the campaign trail stated that he was going to try all the 9/11 terrorists in civilian court and give them all the rights as a US citizen. Even on the battle field our soldiers have to read Miranda rights to detained prisoners.

I don’t think bin Laden had these rights read to him.

Thirdly, Presidents Ford and Reagan both had Executive Orders outlawing assassination (12036 and 12333). "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination."

After 9/11, President Bush ordered “targeted killings” of suspected terrorists. When President Obama came into office, he closed the CIA prisons over seas and pledged to close Gitmo. Since we had no place to detain more prisoners, he increased the number of targeted killings.

So, in the presidents thinking, it is better to indiscriminately kill someone from the air, than to capture them and hold them. I always thought that killing someone would make their family and friends hardened in their hatred towards us, where as holding them they would receive Geneva Conventions rights – not US citizen rights – but a simple human rights called life.

This policy of targeted killing is not limited to non-citizens. In 2010 Obama ordered the killing of an American citizen living outside the US.

Who will it be next?

I really have a problem with the president “ordering” a person, any person, to be assassinated. I quess assassination is only “legal” when the president orders it.

Lastly, the president seems to have no clear constant policy. Soldiers who violate any of a captive persons rights are subject to court martial, but the president can order unmanned drones to fly over a neutral county and blow up anyone below, whether terrorists, Taliban, or women and children.

This inconsistent policy is blatantly obvious with the questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder’s question by Senator Lindsey Graham. Holder is questioned on the use of Miranda rights and the civilian courts to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Graham asks Holder if he would read bin Laden Miranda rights. Holder is extremely inconsistent, rambling, and at times incoherent.

I realize that I may be in the minority, but I personally did not agree with President Bush’s Targeted Killings policy. However, it was clearly defined and I understood it! This policy of President Obama makes him the sole determiner of who should be taken out and who shouldn’t. Prior Executives Orders are of no count, the Constitutional Rights of citizens are of no count, and the alternative to use prisons is of no count to President Obama.

God help us all!

Cannon County Resident