In an interview that aired Sunday night on CBS's 60 Minutes, President Obama defended the mission to kill (rather than capture) Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, he said that anyone who disagreed with the bin Laden assassination "needs to have their head examined."
Um, that would be me.
Don't get me wrong! When I heard the news that bin Laden was dead, I was ecstatic. The news appealed to a primal, emotional side of me. We got the bad guy! Revenge is sweet!
Then the human rights advocate in me got to thinking, especially when I heard Obama say that "justice" was done.
No, Mr. President. The bin Laden assassination was violent revenge. True justice would have involved capturing bin Laden, giving him a fair trial in accordance with international laws and standards, and then punishing him accordingly.
Yes, it would have created a media circus. But justice isn't always easy. That's why the Bush administration had to tapdance around it so much.
So perhaps what we really need to examine here is not my head. Perhaps what we really need to examine here is the law -- you know, that stuff you learned at Harvard and taught at the University of Chicago.
That said, I will defer to an expert.
Here is a very good piece by Chip Pitts, law professor and former board chairman of Amnesty International USA: KILLING BIN LADEN: UNQUESTIONABLY CORRECT?
Apparently Chip needs to have his head examined too.