The Killing of Bin Laden by Grace Lee Boggs


This week’s LFC 

 The Killing  of Bin Laden

By Grace Lee Boggs

Michigan Citizen, May 15-21, 2011

  Last week’s extrajudiciaI killing of Bin Laden by Navy Seal commandos at a compound in Pakistan challenges us to revisit and repudiate the way that since 911 our country, under both Republican and Democratic administrations,  has been practicing vigilante justice. 

 Taking the law into our own  hands, we have mired ourselves in unwinnable Mideast wars, destroyed  the lives of thousands of Americans and countless Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis,  spied  on U.S, citizens, denied habeas corpus and trials to Guantanomo detainees, tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and are now planning  the assassination of Muslim cleric and U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.  

 Ten years ago, in a September 2001 issue of the Michigan Citizen, the late Bernard Brock (1932-2006)  warned us of the very slippery slope  we would be on if we viewed 911 as an act of war rather than as a crime.

 A Professor  Emeritus of Communications at Wayne State University, Brock was a public intellectual who recognized that how we frame reality makes a huge political difference.

 Because we did not heed Brock’s warning., over the last ten years we have bankrupted ourselves not only financially and politically but morally. As Martin Luther King put it in his  1967  “Break the silence “  speech, we  have been approaching spiritual death.

 It is no accident that Al Qaeda suspects are killed extrajudicially,  instead of being captured and tried. Given their day in court, they might reveal  things about U.S, foreign policy (e.g. our  support of  Mideast dictators and of Israel’s occupation of Palestine), that force us to look in the mirror. 

 Celebrants of  the assassination  of Bin Laden’s killing justify their joy  by citing the 3000+  lives lost in the 911 bombing.

 But the  Nazi leaders  who were responsible for millions of deaths before and during  World  War II were given  their day in a Nuremberg court  because civilized societies are ruled by law.

 To re-civilize our country and to transform it into one that we  can once again  be proud to call our own,  we need a widespread, indepth discussion of the Bin Laden killing.  

 To start this discussion I recommend reading both  Brock’s 2001 article and linquist Noam Chomsky’s recent  description of the Bin Laden   killing as  “ a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition – except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial.” (Common Dreams, May 7, 2011)

 We  have a lot of work before us. This country is our home. We must love it enough to change it.