Omar bin Laden, one of Osama's sons, is asking why the U.S. is not sanctioned for killing his father instead of capturing him and having him tried - perhaps a good question, one deserving of an answer.
Where at first Osama bin Laden denied planning and conducting the terrorist operations of Sept. 11, 2001, then in 2006 publicly took responsibility for them and many others, there can be no question of his guilt. But doesn't he deserve a trial anyway?
Certainly, when a war comes to an end, the victorious side often takes time to incarcerate, investigate and try captors of the losing side, typically for acts which seem to be in violation of the rules of war. Yes, war has rules. And occasionally the more gallant of victors also examines the conduct of its own agents who may have engaged in acts in violation of these rules. All prisoners of war are examined before being released to see if they may have been involved in war crimes.
And one of the rules of war is that persons being captured normally should have the opportunity to surrender and be taken captive, not shot summarily. Another rule cautions both sides to avoid so called collateral civilian damage, unnecessary actions taken against non-combatant civilian populations.
Sept. 11 was as clear cut a violation of the latter rule of war as they come. The admission of culpability for 9/11 given in 2006 was unequivocal. Al-Qaida is still vowing retribution for bin Laden's death on 5/1/11, so it appears that the war on terrorism is not yet over. The 5/1 mission - taken behind an ambiguous enemy line, at night, and starting from the other end of the Kybur Pass - involved extreme risks. Short of bin Laden throwing his hands up in the air and pleading to not be shot, it is understandable that the team engaged in this operation would shoot first and then gather up information later. There being nothing to gain by taking bin Laden as a prisoner, there being no question that he knowingly and intentionally disregarded a most sacrosanct rule of war (and rule of Islam, too) against targeting non-combatants, and there being no question as to his ultimate fate - death by firing squad - there may be cause to complain but no cause to seek any retributive justice. Justice was done on 5/1/11. Truly Allah ak bar. God is Great. But man is not!
Dale Whiting, Chandler