Tag: Osama Bin-Laden

WHILE OBAMA POLITICIZES BIN LADEN’S DEATH, AL QAEDA SPREADS & PAKISTAN IS UNREPENTANT

THE PATH TO BIN LADEN’S DEATH DIDN’T START WITH OBAMA
Jose A. Rodriguez Jr.

Washington Post, April 30, 2012

As we mark the [one-year] anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, President Obama deserves credit for making the right choice on taking out Public Enemy No. 1. But his administration never would have had the opportunity to do the right thing had it not been for some extraordinary work during the George W. Bush administration. Much of that work has been denigrated by Obama as unproductive and contrary to American principles. He is wrong on both counts.

Shortly after bin Laden met his maker last spring, courtesy of U.S. Special Forces and intelligence, the administration proudly announced that when Obama took office, getting bin Laden was made a top priority. Many of us who served in senior counterterrorism positions in the Bush administration were left muttering: “Gee, why didn’t we think of that?”

The truth is that getting bin Laden was the top counterterrorism objective for U.S. intelligence since well before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This administration built on work painstakingly pursued for many years before Obama was elected—and without this work, Obama administration officials never would have been in a position to authorize the strike on Abbottabad, Pakistan, that resulted in bin Laden’s overdue death.

In 2004, an al-Qaeda terrorist was captured trying to communicate with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terror organization’s operations in Iraq. That captured terrorist was taken to a secret CIA prison—or “black site”—where, initially, he was uncooperative. After being subjected to some “enhanced interrogation techniques”—techniques authorized by officials at the most senior levels of the U.S. government and that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel confirmed were consistent with U.S. law—the detainee became compliant.…

Once this terrorist decided that non-cooperation was a non-starter, he told us many things—including that bin Laden had given up communicating via telephone, radio or Internet, and depended solely on a single courier who went by “Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.” At the time, I was chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. The fact that bin Laden was relying on a lone courier was a revelation that told me bin Laden had given up day-to-day control of his organization. You can’t run an operation as large, complex and ambitious as al-Qaeda by communicating only every few months. It also told me that capturing him would be even harder than we had thought.

Armed with the pseudonym of bin Laden’s courier, we pressed on. We asked other detainees in our custody if they had ever heard of “al-Kuwaiti.” Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of 9/11, reacted in horror when he heard the name. He backed into his cell and vigorously denied ever hearing of the man. We later intercepted communications KSM sent to fellow detainees at the black site, in which he instructed them: “Tell them nothing about the courier!…”

A couple of years later, after I became head of the National Clandestine Service, the CIA was able to discover the true name of the courier. Armed with that information, the agency worked relentlessly to locate that man. Finding him eventually led to tracking down and killing bin Laden.

With some trying to turn bin Laden’s death into a campaign talking point for Obama’s reelection, it is useful to remember that the trail to bin Laden started in a CIA black site—all of which Obama ordered closed, forever, on the second full day of his administration—and stemmed from information obtained from hardened terrorists who agreed to tell us some (but not all) of what they knew after undergoing harsh but legal interrogation methods. Obama banned those methods on Jan. 22, 2009.…

No single tactic, technique or approach led to the successful operation against bin Laden. But those who suggest it was all a result of a fresh approach taken after Jan. 20, 2009, are mistaken.

(Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. is a 31-year veteran of the CIA and the author
of
Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.)

BARACK OBAMA’S POLITICISATION
OF THE BIN LADEN RAID LOOKS DESPERATE
Nile Gardiner

Telegraph, April 30, 2012

The magnificent operation by US Navy Seals to terminate Osama bin Laden in Pakistan a year ago this week united a divided nation, and brought with it a sense of closure for millions of Americans nearly a decade on from the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, DC. Thousands gathered in front of the White House as well as in Times Square to celebrate the news of bin Laden’s demise in the early hours of May 2, 2011. It was one of the most memorable events of the early 21st Century.

As I wrote in a piece just after bin Laden’s death: “The architect of 9/11, the murderer of thousands of innocents, and one of the most barbaric figures on the face of the earth has finally been taken out. This is a great day for the United States and for the free world, and a message to Islamist terrorists that the enemies of freedom will be hunted down. It is also a powerful reminder of the determination of the West to strike back against those who seek to threaten it.”

The killing of bin Laden owed everything to the extraordinary bravery, skill and professionalism of Navy Seal Team Six. Their heroism and courage is now legendary. It is these warriors who deserve the credit for eliminating the world’s most wanted terrorist. Their successful raid on the bin Laden compound was also the culmination of years of painstaking intelligence work by CIA analysts and operatives serving under both the Obama and Bush administrations, often at significant risk to their own lives.

The first anniversary of bin Laden’s death should be a moment for partisan politics to be put to one side, and for America’s leaders to thank both the Armed Forces and the Intelligence Services for their sacrifice and dedication in the war against al-Qaeda. It should also be a time to remind the American people of the scale of the task that remains, and why the long war must continue until the remaining followers of bin Laden are emphatically defeated. For the war goes on, from the Afghan-Pakistan border to Yemen and Somalia. Closer to home, in Britain and across Western Europe, al-Qaeda continues to plot terrorist attacks against America’s allies, and against the United States itself. This is not a time for complacency, for the threat posed by Islamist terrorism remains a very real one.

It is therefore disturbing to see the Obama presidency seeking to make political capital out of the anniversary of the bin Laden raid. Already, highly charged attack ads are being aired by the Obama campaign, shamelessly using it as a political vehicle in the race for the White House in 2012 [in one ad, Obama claims that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would not have ordered the bin Laden raid—Ed.]. Vice President Joe Biden is milking the bin Laden anniversary for all it is worth, trotting out the campaign slogan, “thanks to President Obama, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive”, at a recent speech at New York University. And to cap it all, the White House has granted NBC News unprecedented access to the Situation Room and an array of senior government officials for a bin Laden special to be aired this week.

I doubt the American people will buy all the spin, however. They will remember that it was a team of US Special Forces who laid their lives on the line to take out bin Laden, and not a group of politicians and bureaucrats sitting in the White House. Biden’s crass boasts and the tasteless Obama campaign videos look like acts of cynical desperation at a time when 60 percent of voters believe the country is moving down the wrong track…and a mere 33 percent of Americans hold a favourable view of the federal government—the lowest in 15 years.

The Obama administration’s gambit will probably backfire. The electorate is highly disillusioned with Washington in general, and is far smarter than the White House thinks it is. The downfall of Osama bin Laden was ultimately the end result of the American people’s determination to stand up to terrorism and see justice meted out to a brutal enemy of the United States. It was bigger than any one president, no matter how much Mr Obama brazenly tries to take the credit.

OSAMA BIN LADEN RAID:
ONE YEAR LATER, NO ANSWERS FROM PAKISTAN
Zarar Khan & Chris Brummitt

Associated Press, May 1, 2012

One year since U.S. commandos flew into the Pakistani army town of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, Islamabad has failed to answer tough questions over whether its security forces were protecting the world’s most wanted terrorist. Partly as a result, fallout from the raid still poisons relations between Washington and Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment, support for Islamist extremism and anger at the violation of sovereignty in the operation can be summed up by a Twitter hashtag doing the rounds: 02MayBlackDay.

The Pakistani government initially welcomed the raid that killed bin Laden in his three-story compound, but within hours the mood changed as it became clear that Pakistan’s army was cut out of the operation. Any discussions over how bin Laden managed to stay undetected in Pakistan were drowned out in anger at what the army portrayed as a treacherous act by a supposed ally.

That bin Laden was living with his family near Pakistan’s version of West Point—not in a cave in the mountains as many had guessed—raised eyebrows in the West. The Pakistani army was already accused of playing both sides in the campaign against militancy, providing some support against al-Qaida but keeping the Afghan Taliban as strategic allies.

A week after the raid, President Barack Obama said bin Laden had a “support network” in Pakistan and the country must investigate how he evaded capture. Pakistan responded by announcing the formation of a committee to investigate bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan as well as the circumstances surrounding the U.S. raid.

Soon after it began its work, the head of the committee said he was sure that security forces were not hiding bin Laden.… Last week, committee spokesman retired Col. Mohammad Irfan Naziri said its findings were being written up but they might not be released.…

The public line of the Obama administration is that no evidence has emerged to suggest bin Laden had high-level help inside Pakistan. Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency said bin Laden’s long and comfortable existence in the country was an “intelligence failure.” But suspicions have increased following recent disclosures by one of bin Laden’s wives in a police interrogation report that the al-Qaida leader lived in five houses while on the run and fathered four children, two of whom were born in Pakistani government hospitals.…

Since the raid, Pakistan has tried to close one of the most notorious chapters in its history. The three-story compound in Abbottabad that housed bin Laden for six years was razed by bulldozers in a surprise, nighttime operation. Just last week, his three wives and 11 daughters, children and grandchildren were deported to Saudi Arabia; their side of the story is unlikely to be told anytime soon.…

After the raid, [Pakistan’s] generals retaliated by kicking out U.S. special forces trainers operating close to the Afghan border, cutting intelligence cooperation with the CIA and restricting the travel of foreign diplomats and aid workers. Authorities arrested a Pakistani doctor who assisted America in tracking down bin Laden. The doctor remains in detention, facing possible treason charges. The country has made not made public the arrests of anyone connected to bin Laden’s time on the run.…

Even before the raid, anti-American sentiment was so rampant in Pakistan that anyone who opposed Washington was lauded by many sections of society.… Despite reservations about Pakistan’s commitment to U.S. goals in Afghanistan and doubts over how bin Laden managed to evade capture for so long, the Obama administration feels it has little choice but to ally itself with the country. Pakistan has nuclear weapons.…

AL QAEDA IS FAR FROM DEFEATED
Seth G. Jones

Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2012

A year after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, most policy makers and pundits believe al Qaeda is near collapse. “Another nail in the coffin,” one senior U.S. official told me after the death of an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan last month from a U.S. drone strike. In testimony before the Senate in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the core al Qaeda is likely becoming of “symbolic importance.”

This conclusion is presumptuous. As the Obama administration looks eastward—a strategy that incorporates China’s rise—underestimating al Qaeda would be a dangerous mistake. With a handful of regimes teetering from the Arab Spring, al Qaeda is pushing into the vacuum and riding a resurgent wave as its affiliates engage in a violent campaign of attacks across the Middle East and North Africa.

Take a look around the Arab world. In Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has increased control in such provinces as Shabwah and Abyan, as the central government in Sana faces a leadership crisis and multiple insurgencies. From this sanctuary, al Qaeda continues to plot attacks against the U.S. homeland, according to U.S. government assessments, ranging from plans for bombs hidden in cameras and printer cartridges to ones surgically implanted in humans and animals.

Across the Gulf of Aden in Somalia, militants of the al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab bombarded the city of Baidoa in April, trying to expand their foothold in southern portions of the country. With a growing number of American citizens from cities like Minneapolis and Phoenix traveling to—and from—Somalia to fight alongside al Shabaab, there is an increasing likelihood that radicalized operatives could perpetrate an attack in the United States.…

Another trend pointing to al Qaeda’s resurgence is the size of its global network. Since Sept. 11, 2001, it has expanded the number of affiliated groups. Along with Somalia’s al Shabaab, they now include al Qaeda in Iraq—which is increasing its foothold in Baghdad, Diyala and Saladin provinces. Also active are al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and, in North Africa, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The leaders of these affiliates have sworn bayat, or loyalty, to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and provided him with funding, global influence, and a cadre of trained fighters. None of these organizations existed a decade ago.

Al Qaeda has also established relationships with a growing number of allied groups such as the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. While these are not formal members of al Qaeda, a loose arrangement allows them to cooperate with al Qaeda for specific operations or training when their interests converge. And several of them…have been actively recruiting in the U.S.

As for al Qaeda’s own leadership in Pakistan, it is not dead despite claims from some U.S. officials. Ayman al-Zawahiri took over as leader of al Qaeda after bin Laden’s death, and Abu Yahya al-Libi, the head of al Qaeda’s religious committee, became his deputy. They are flanked by a new cast of operatives such as Hamza al-Ghamdi (a top facilitator for Zawahiri), Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi (media committee), and Abu Zayd al-Kuwaiti al-Husaynan (religious committee).…

Despite all this evidence that al Qaeda is regrouping, the Obama administration is turning its attention toward the Far East. It has pulled U.S. military forces out of Iraq and plans to have them out of Afghanistan in 2014.… Addressing U.S. interests in the Far East is important, but not if it means losing focus on America’s most pressing danger zone: the arc running from North Africa to the Middle East and South Asia that is the heart of al Qaeda’s territory.…

Al Qaeda is far from dead. Acting as if it were will not make it so.

OBAMA GETS OSAMA.

 

 

 

THE MUSLIM WORLD AFTER BIN LADEN
Editorial
Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2011

 

The killing of Osama bin Laden comes at a propitious moment in the history of the Middle East. The “Arab Spring” [threatens to] remake the region in [new] ways.… The best hope is that the Mideast will use this moment to take the region past the ideology of Islamist terror, but this can only happen if its new leaders take it there. On that score, the jury is out.

Certainly the wave of popular upheavals had already signalled al Qaeda’s waning appeal among Muslim masses. Starting in Tunisia and spreading to Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, demonstrators have been energized by opposition to corruption and repression and a keen desire for jobs.… As such, these movements contradict the aims of bin Laden and al Qaeda, whose goals are harsh and immovable…Islamic societies.…

Yet al Qaeda’s decline doesn’t mean Muslim countries will embrace a recognizable form of liberal democracy or resist the pull of politicized Islam. Egypt offers an unsettling preview of what could emerge.

Less than three months after the fall of the Mubarak regime, the caretaker government in Cairo has surprised with its radical shifts in foreign policy. Egypt has extended its hand to Iran and to the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Its relations with the U.S. and Israel have cooled markedly.

Last week, the Egyptians brokered a surprising deal on a unity government between Tehran-backed Hamas in the Gaza strip and its rivals in Fatah, which rules over the West Bank. Cairo didn’t bother to inform either the U.S. or Israel about the talks. The foreign ministry abruptly announced plans to reopen the Egyptian border crossing into Gaza, an easy supply point for arms for Hamas. Cairo also plans to establish diplomatic relations with Iran. Indeed, an Iranian destroyer recently was allowed to pass through the Suez Canal for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.…

A budding Arab democracy that wants the world to take it seriously should have little time for Hamas, much less the world’s leading terror sponsor in Tehran. Hamas showed its true, if predictable, colors yesterday in its leader Ismail Haniyeh’s response to bin Laden’s killing: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior.” The Muslim Brotherhood, the best organized political group in Egypt, also condemned the bin Laden killing.…

The U.S. most likely will face some tough choices [in Egypt]. If Cairo’s desire for a more “independent” foreign policy translates into warmer ties with terrorists, America’s own long-standing support for the Egyptian military may eventually need to be reconsidered. We trust that the U.S. has sent this blunt message to the ruling military council and to Egypt’s politicians.

The death of bin Laden disrupts but doesn’t bring the death of bin Ladenism.… While bin Laden’s death at least raises the possibility of the most extremist forms of Islam fading in the region, the early signs out of bellwether Egypt show how much close attention an interested world must still pay to these volatile nations.

 

BIN LADEN IS DEAD AND HIS CAUSE GOES MARCHING ON
Barry Rubin
Pajamas Media, May 2, 2011

 

Osama bin Laden is dead. But revolutionary Islamism is very much alive and stronger than ever. Thinking that bin Laden is the main problem and his death is the solution is very dangerous indeed and might well intensify the policies that have been leading toward the victory of his cause, though not his specific movement.

It is easy to forget that when bin Laden came on the scene revolutionary Islamism was in retreat. True, Iran was ruled by a revolutionary Islamist regime but that government had failed to extend the revolution overseas very much despite its best efforts. Another such regime, the Taliban, came to power in remote Afghanistan.

But by the end of the 1990s, revolutionary Islamism wasn’t doing so well. The reason was that its strategy was to overthrow Arab governments from within. There had been civil wars in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and to a lesser extent in other places. The existing dictatorships, however, had repressed them.

So bin Laden came along with a different approach. If direct attacks on non-Islamist governments in Muslim-majority countries didn’t work, he proposed an international movement that would raise revolutionary enthusiasm by attacking the West.… The West represented democracy and modernity, a licentious freedom and secularism that bin Laden and his comrades detested. They also hated Western policies, especially the support of Middle Eastern regimes to which these Islamists attributed their own inability to win.…

So bin Laden formed al-Qaida and took the road to September 11. It is important to understand that al-Qaida failed as a movement but succeeded in the broadest sense as an idea. Since al-Qaida was relatively small and eschewed political action and base building for the sole tactic of terrorism it was relatively easy to repress, though not to eliminate entirely.

The U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan drove it from its home base and killed or captured many of its leaders. Al-Qaida scattered but that was not such a great disadvantage given its strategy. From Morocco to Somalia, from Indonesia to Western Europe it continued to stage…bloody attacks. Yet that was the most it could do. In revolutionary terms, al-Qaida was equivalent to the terrorist’s of late nineteenth century Europe, the assassins and bomb throwers of anarchism and Russian social revolutionary tradition.

Ah, but who, then, is the Lenin of our day? Just as the anarchist bomb-throwers were a sideshow—however horrific, bloody, and needing to be repressed—the same is true of today. Al-Qaida stages individual acts of terrorism. Hamas, Hezbollah, the AKP in Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhoods seize state power. And they do so with the help of Iran and Syria.

That’s power that…far exceed[s] blowing up of a café or embassy. To take control over the lives of millions of people, to hold assets amounting to billions of dollars, to rule over whole territories and launch full-scale wars, that is [real] power. That is a threat to Western interests, to world stability.…

Since September 11, 2001 we could [explicitly] list the terrorist attacks [undertaken] by al-Qaida, [as well as] the [resulting] casualties. Or we can list the following not by al-Qaida:

–An Islamist regime rules Turkey and has seized control of most institutions and is gradually crushing democracy. This regime has aligned itself with Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria.

–An Islamist regime rules the Gaza Strip and has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again. Its patrons are Iran, Syria, and now Egypt. This government now exercises veto power over any Israel-Palestinian peace which means there won’t be an Israel-Palestinian peace.

–An Islamist-oriented regime rules Lebanon, backed by Iran and Syria. It has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again.

–The Iranian regime has weathered a major internal upheaval and is heading full-speed ahead toward nuclear weapons.

–With Western help the regime in Egypt—one of the main bulwarks against revolutionary Islamism has fallen—and whether or not Islamists there take over they will be a lot stronger, able to act freely, and direct a movement of millions seeking to Islamize and eventually make Islamist the largest Arab country of all.

–Revolutionary Islamism is also a serious threat…in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan while in other parts of the world it has spread to places like Chechnya, the northern Caucasus, the Balkans, Nigeria, Somalia, southern Thailand and the southern Philippines, and Indonesia. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan seems far from impossible as does a revolutionary Islamist upheaval in Pakistan.

–Serious Islamist movements have gained political hegemony over growing Muslim communities all over the West. While many Muslims are indifferent to the movement and a few courageous dissidents combat it, Western governments and elites often blindly favor the Islamists. In fact, the degree that Western governments, elites, and societies are blind to the actual threat defies belief. The far left—which is a lot nearer than it used to be—often makes common cause with revolutionary Islamism.

Many of these other movements are “smarter” than bin Laden, which is to say they know how to be more tactically flexible. They can smile, and smile and be a villain. They understand far better how to be patient, conceal their plans, use elections, sponsor social services to win supporters, run youth camps to train suicide bombers, take Western aid and assistance, hang out with Western journalists to prove they’re cool guys, produce satellite television networks, and play Western democracies for all they are worth. Oh, and they can still throw bombs with the best of them.

Or, to put it in Iranian terms, bin Laden was the “little Satan” and the “big Satan,” the real revolutionary Islamist movement, couldn’t care less about his death. Indeed, his death serves a useful purpose. If the West thinks the “war on terror” is over and it’s time to celebrate, all the better. Countries can go on trading with Iran, engaging Syria and Hezbollah, and acting as if there’s no big threat in Egypt. All the better to eat you up.

So bin Laden is dead and September 11 is, in a sense, avenged. But his cause goes marching on. It is marching forward. And as the West cheers at the good news of bin Laden’s death it may go back to sleep thereafter, snoring as the bin Laden’s of the world advance.

(Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center,
and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Mr. Rubin will be a featured speaker at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s
upcoming Gala, scheduled for June 15, 2011.)

 

TARGETED KILLING VINDICATED
Alan Dershowitz
Huffington Post, May 2, 2011

 

The decision to target and kill Osama Bin Laden is being applauded by all decent people. Approval to capture or kill this mass-murdering terrorist leader was given by Presidents Obama and Bush. It was the right decision, both morally and legally.

Although Bin Laden wore no military uniform and held no official military rank, he was an appropriate military target. As the titular and spiritual head of Al Qaeda, he was the functional equivalent of a head of state or commander in chief of a terrorist army.… Yet there are those who claim that all targeted killings are immoral and illegal. These critics characterize such actions as “extrajudicial executions” and demand that terrorist leaders and functionaries be treated as common criminals who must be arrested and brought to trial.

The operation that resulted in Bin Laden’s death was a military action calculated to kill rather than to “arrest” him.… Indeed, a U.S. national security official has confirmed to Reuters that “this was a kill operation” and there was no desire to capture Bin Laden alive.… Nonetheless, our government felt it necessary to announce that Bin Laden was shot after he allegedly resisted thus suggesting he was not killed in cold blood. But it is clear that he would have been killed whether or not he resisted…and it is unlikely he was ever given the opportunity to surrender.…

Accordingly, those who have opposed the very concept of targeted killings should be railing against the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Among others, these critics include officials in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, the EU, Jordan, and the United Nations. Former British Foreign Secretary once said, “The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive.” The French foreign ministry has declared “that extrajudicial executions contravene international law and are unacceptable.” The Italian Foreign Minister has said, “Italy, like the whole of the European Union, has always condemned the practice of targeted assassinations.” The Russians have asserted that “Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and ‘targeted killings.’“ Javier Solana has noted that the “European Union has consistently condemned extrajudicial killings.” The Jordanians have said, “Jordan has always denounced this policy of assassination and its position on this has always been clear.” And Kofi Annan has declared “that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law.”

Yet none of these nations, groups or individuals have criticized the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden by the U.S. The reason is obvious. All the condemnations against targeted killing was directed at one country. Guess which one? Israel, of course.

Israel developed the concept of targeted killings and used it effectively against the “Osama Bin Laden’s” of Hamas, who directed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, killing and wounding more Israelis, as a percentage of its population, than the number killed by Bin Laden. It was when Israel managed to kill the head of Hamas, that the international community, with the striking exception of the United States, decided that targeted killing was illegal and immoral.

But now that it has been used against an enemy of Britain, France, Italy and other European nations, the tune has changed. Suddenly targeted killing is not only legal and moral, it is praiseworthy.… Well the truth is that when used properly, targeted killing has always been deserving of approval—even when employed by Israel, a nation against which a double standard always seems to be applied.

Indeed, in Israel, the use of targeted killings has been closely regulated by its Supreme Court and permitted only against terrorists who are actively engaged in ongoing acts of terrorism. In the United States, on the other hand, the decisions to use this tactic is made by the President alone, without any form of judicial review. So let the world stop applying a double standard to Israel and let it start judging the merits and demerits of military tactics such as targeted killing. On balance, targeted killing, when used prudently against proper military targets, can be an effective, lawful, and moral tool in the war against terrorism.

 

THWARTING BIN LADEN AMID MEMORIES OF SHOAH
Dovid Efune
Jerusalem Post, May 3, 2011

 

On Sunday evening in the presence of survivors, I attended a stirring Holocaust memorial service at a prestigious New York synagogue that included video footage of Nazi crimes, testimonies, prayers and the recital of harrowing poetic works.

Following the service I approached one of the survivors, whom I have known for quite some time, and remarked on the moving nature of the ceremony. “This is nothing,” he responded with torment in his eyes. “One moment in the camps could not be captured by a thousand such events.”

Shortly afterward, President Barack Obama announced that American troops in Pakistan had killed Osama bin Laden in a covert operation earlier in the day. While I listened to the TV pundits updating viewers on the emerging details, and watched images of jubilant and triumphant crowds gathering in Washington and New York, I couldn’t help but think of the event within the wider context of world peace and the eternal Jewish promise, “Never Again.”

Of course, the obliteration of evil and its perpetrators is a profoundly Jewish concept, as it is also an American one. This is yet another ideal that intimately binds the fabric of American society with the Judaic moral code and its keepers. The Holocaust prayers and literature are riddled with calls to avenge the blood of the slain innocents and extend the arm of justice where it is due.… Yet while justice and vengeance may have their place, it is the eradication of evil as the path to securing our safety and our future that serves as the greatest Jewish motivation for hunting down the Osamas of this world and systematically destroying them.

What is therefore a matter of great concern is that it appears Israel is by no means afforded the same enthusiastic moral support in its effort to hunt down its own bin Ladenesque enemies. Of course Osama bin Laden was as much an enemy of Israel as he was of all the free world. However, the aggression of Israel’s local enemies, with similar maniacal dispositions, necessitates that Israel act firmly, decisively and swiftly to protect its citizens and secure its future.

Yet it was only last week that international leaders, including the secretary-general of the United Nations, accepted a new amalgamation of the Palestinian leadership, which placed a local al-Qaida-style incarnation, Hamas, in a position of quasi-diplomatic acceptance. The hands of Hamas’s leaders are drenched with innocent blood; the terrorists they have dispatched have sought to rival bin Laden in the killing of innocents. Yet they enjoy if not international impunity, then at least a certain tolerance.

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s regime in Iran, meanwhile, has murdered many, and is developing the tools to cause unthinkable devastation. Yet much of the world continues to look on in placid apathy and indifference.…

Bin Laden embodied the face of evil, but he was by no means alone; his ideology survives him. Even as the jubilant crowds gathered to hail his demise, there was talk of heightened security alerts. Dozens of fanatical groups have made their wretched mark on countries, communities and families since September 2001 and show little promise of ceasing. The leader is dead, but his perverse legacy lives on.

The juxtaposition of Holocaust Memorial Day and the killing of Osama bin Laden should be seen as no coincidence. The lesson is clear; the free world must be consistent in supporting the eradication of such evil, in all its forms, wherever it is found. The efforts of the West must be uniform and relentless. Justice and vengeance will not suffice, only continuous striving to eradicate this depraved inhumanity. Never again.

(Dovid Efune is the director of the Algemeiner Journal—www.algemeiner.com.)