It’s always a good mental exercise to imagine what the international reaction would be to any belligerent action by another country (democracy or not). Daniel Friedmann, former Minister of Justice under Ehud Olmert, has a piece in Yediot Aharonot that does just that in the case of OBL. When Friedmann wrote this, he apparently did not know that at the time of his untimely demise, OBL was unarmed. That would make him, by the definition of B’tselem and other “Human Rights” NGOs, an innocent civilian.
The following is provided and translated by Steven Plaut.
Suppose, just Suppose that it had been Israel that Carried Out the Assassination (or, American Chutzpah)
By Daniel Friedmann
We are lucky that bin Laden was taken out by the American military. I tremble at the thought of what would have happened had he been killed by Israeli forces. Would there not have arisen a deafening outcry against cold-blooded murder without a trial? Would there not have been calls to investigate whether bin Laden could have been captured unharmed, to be put on fair trial, where he could defend himself judicially?
Would not the soldier who had shot him be indicted, because perhaps he could have merely wounded bin Laden by shooting at his legs, thus avoiding an unnecessary loss of human life? And what about those other “collateral” deaths in the compound? Was it really necessary to kill THOSE people without even putting them on trial?
Let us bear in mind that the operation was carried out in the territory of a friendly foreign country allied to the US – Pakistan. Since when can a country just go in and kill suspects in another country that has its own police and courts?
One must keep in mind that at this stage bin Laden was merely a suspect – since he was never convicted of any crime by any court, including for the destruction of the WTC towers in the US. Under the circumstances, should not the US forces have warned him and demanded his surrender before opening fire, and – if such a warning was given to bin Laden – was it a sufficient warning?
To all these “questions” others would then be added. Under such sensitive circumstances, is it really appropriate for the US military itself to examine its own behavior and performance? Would it not be better to have some outside commission of investigation, one that will enjoy public trust?
Indeed, a local commission of investigation would be insufficient and surely many would demand an international investigation, one in which the international community could place its faith! Like one by the UN or its commission on human rights.
There are other issues. How did the Americans decide to toss bin Laden’s carcass into the sea without first consulting bin Laden’s own family members and violating his human right to a dignified burial.
And why did the American government do all this without even soliciting a single learned scholarly legal opinion from an international expert on human rights?
And I almost forgot. In such an important matter it is unthinkable that action should have been carried out without first petitioning the Supreme Court, which in Israel at least routinely interferes whenever the military wants to assassinate terrorist leaders. Hence the Supreme Court should contemplate who should now be indicted for the abuses in the operation, after the commission of investigation completes its work.
And even that is not the end of the story. The names of the soldiers and officers involved in the operation must be made public at court order, because of their involvement in the killings. The individuals involved might someday seek public office. Even more important is the fact that one day it may be desirable to conduct a thorough legal evaluation of these people, given the fact that their behavior produced human deaths.
It’s always useful to consider the differential between the way Israel gets treated by the “Human Rights” community and the MSNM and the way other countries are. Note that the latest news, which the author of this article did not know at the time of composition, is that Bin Laden was unarmed at the time he was gunned down. By the definitions used by B’tselem and Palestinian “Human Rights” organizations, that makes him an innocent civilian.
Now take this exercise one step further: Imagine the outrage of Americans if any major American institution (e.g., the Supreme Court, or some group in Congress) called for these kinds of investigations, or some newspaper that took this position. Imagine the cry of outrage at such crazy self-inflicted inhibitions. The Nation is not a fringe journal by accident. In Israel, this is all mainstream discourse directed against the country itself.
Nothing illustrates better the principle that, when it comes to the Human Rights Complex, Israel is the whitest of the whites.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
UPDATE: German TV has a member of the Green Party and a theologian expressing precisely the “human rights” sentiments mentioned above. It’s not Christian and it’s not civilized…