LaborTalk for May 17, 2011

Why Did They Decide to Kill Bin Laden
When They Could Capture Him Alive?

By Harry Kelber

I find it hard to connect a Bin Laden, sitting on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, watching television images of himself, with Bin Laden, the master-mind, who planned the 9/11 plane attacks in New York City and Washington.

It strains credulity to believe that the Bin Laden, who, for five years lived in a large compound with three wives and numerous children, who was involved in domestic matters, had heath problems and was older than fifty years, is the same Bin Laden, who was the unchallenged leader of Al- Qaeda, a worldwide movement with militant disciples in Asia, Africa and Europe.

So many questions have arisen about his death, which was clearly a planned assassination. The original story released by the White House was that he was shot during a firefight between his guards and the invading troops. Then the White House said Bin Laden had firearms and was resisting arrest, It turns out that he was unarmed and had been captured before he was summarily executed.

What did Bin Laden say when he saw his armed attackers? How did he look? Did he make any move to escape? So far, these and numerous other questions remain unanswered. The lips of the Navy Seals who took part in the attack are still sealed.

There are still some basic questions that the Obama administration has failed to provide convincing answers, Did the President have the legal authority to order the killing of an unarmed suspect, who was not resisting arrest? Why did the President insist that Bin Laden be killed, not captured alive?

No matter how monstrous the charges against Bin Laden, did he not deserve the right of due process under the American justice system? We gave Nazi officials, responsible for the murder of millions of people, the right to defend themselves in the court trials at Nurenberg. Why not Bin Laden?

A Captured Bin Laden Was Worth More Alive Than Dead

If Bin Laden had been brought back alive to the United States and had stood trial, we would have learned how he survived a man-hunt for 10 years by intelligence teams around the globe, armed with the latest spy-catching technology.

More important, we would learn a great deal about our arch-Enemy, Al-Qaeda, its ideology, its operations and its world objectives, from the lips of the master-mind who is accused of directing it.

The Obama administration, now that it has tasted its victory of forever silencing Bin Laden, wants all questioning to cease. It set an example by refusing to show an image of Bin Laden after he was killed, on the grounds that it would inflame public opinion, particularly Muslims.

Still, questions about President Obama's decisions will continue to haunt him. Has he set a precedent that Muslims suspected of being terrorists, can be shot and killed, without the right to defend themselves under the U.S. system of justice?

* * * * *

Referring implicitly to Bin Laden's capture, President Barack Obama, in a recent fund-raising speech, said that "America can do whatever we set our mind to." If that is so, Mr. President, why are there nearly six million Americans who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more? Why are more than 45 million people without health insurance?

Do you plan to do anything about this?--Harry Kelber

LaborTalk will be posted here on May 20, 2011 and on our two web sites and on

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