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Opinion: the Death of Osama Bin Laden, the Ethics of Assassination, and Next Media Animation

May 3rd, 2011 48 comments

As you all know, Osama Bin Laden was killed by special U.S. op forces a couple of days ago in Abbottabad, Pakistan. According to Obama’s remarks in the immediate aftermath of Bin Laden’s death, Osama Bin Laden died in a firefight when he resisted capture.

Personally, I am ambivalent about the killing, especially the circumstances of Bin Laden’s death. The Whitehouse at first suggested Bin Laden put up resistance, but is already retracting that narrative.

I am especially skeptical of the U.S. sense of righteousness. To the extent it is wrong to assassinate a leader, I think the assassination of Osama is not justified. Some may point a finger: but Bin Laden is a terrorist. My response: to the extent Bin Laden is a terrorist, one might label the U.S. to be a terrorist, too. Al Qaeda may have a casual disregard for American life (about 3,000 died in New York), but so do the U.S. have a disregard for Muslim life (110,000 civilian deaths in Iraq9,000 civilian death in Afghanistan).

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