See, kids? I told you marijuana was bad for you!

There’s no audio, so you can’t hear him singing along to “Sugar Magnolia” and barking at his wives for more potato chips:

At the risk of starting a global conspiracy theory here and now, this video looks like it could have been made at a homeless shelter in Oakland. OK, maybe none of the neighbors really did know they were living next to the world’s most wanted mass murderer, but anyone who got a look at this dude ought to have rushed back home to check his local online sex offender registry.

It’s difficult to understand how anyone not educated in a Pakistani madrassah can remain dour and joyless on hearing that someone so unreservedly evil has become shark excrement, but leave it to Europe’s usual suspects to find a reason. Some are saying that President Obama may have “lost his luster” for unilaterally (gasp!) killing a man who murdered 3,000 American civilians, nearly all of them on American soil, without even asking the permission of the government that was willfully harboring him. One columnist at the Guardian even looked down his nose at the “spontaneous outpourings of raucous jubilation” in America. C’mon, guys, this is supposed to be a happy occasion! Turn those frowns upside down!

See? I told you that Europe would learn to hate us all over again!

It’s difficult to accept these arguments as motivated exclusively by an objective pursuit of the law’s pristine meaning, and the more closely you review the actual legal authorities, the more baseless the arguments start to sound. Leave aside if you will (even if I would not) the absolute justice of dealing death to a fugitive mass murderer. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the U.N. Security Council — yes, I know — specifically invoked Chapter VII and reaffirmed America’s “inherent right of individual or collective self-defence as recognized by the Charter of the United Nations,” and its “need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.” As U.N. resolutions go, that’s about as much clarity as you can expect. International customary law and the majority of scholars have long interpreted the right of self-defense, as articulated in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, as authorizing force by a state against those planning armed attacks against that state, and especially against its civilian population.

Someone should also call the attention of Obama’s critics — and the Pakistani government — to the parts of this resolution that required states to “[d]eny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts,” “[p]revent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes,” and “[e]nsure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice.” So much for multilateralism. I would be tempting to hail the Pakistanis before the U.N. Security Council, except that (a) it’s the U.N. Security Council, after all, and (b) we need the use of the port in Karachi and the road to Qandahar more that we need the smug self-satisfaction that substitutes for sound statecraft in the Soft Reich. (That’s also why calls to cut off all aid to Pakistan will probably go nowhere, at least until the Iranian government is finally overthrown.)

Maybe now more Europeans might agree with me that awarding President Obama that Nobel Peace Prize was premature after all. My take is that our young President might just have earned it, even if by doing so he also forfeited most of those all-important electoral votes in the Netherlands. But least they’ll still have Jimmy Carter for a few more months.

11 comments

  1. There’s also that bit about Bin Laden being unarmed when shot, and I admit that he had no Boeing 767 within easy reach, but . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  2. Glans says:

    A Berkely law profosser says killing bin Laden was a mistake.

  3. Mike says:

    “See? I told you that Europe would learn to hate us all over again!”

    God Joshua, can you stop labelling all Europeans like you do with Americans, Koreans/Asians, South Americans, Latin Americans, Africans etc etc? And using a single source of data as well? Something that barely speaks of all of europe, just as much as FOX news does for you…next I suppose you’ll be using KCNA?
    It insults your intelligence. Your far better than that…

    Informative site that goes a long way to reveal the evil of N.Korea’s leadership, and the charites people can help. Please dont sully it and deter your readership….you do it time and again, lets the site down.
    Vent your frustation to the worthy cause this site stands for and the work you do.

    From someone whos sister was in one of the Londone tube stations in 7/7, I am rather annoyed about that, you of all people.

    Not haveing a rant nor want an argument; thats my, “another european”, opinion when I read that, I hope your next post is far more interesting and relevant.

  4. chris says:

    Pithy and readable though such comments might be, I have to agree with Mike on the unnecessarily broad definition of ‘European’ opinion. But I’ve said it before.

    However, you got one thing right enough, as did the Guardian; many Europeans (and non-Europeans for all I know) really did look at the scenes of “racous jubilation” and feel massive disquiet. It was hard not to feel that way when what we were seeing was people celebrating the death of someone in the same way they might celebrate winning the World Cup or, God forbid, commemorate a royal wedding (yeah, I know, it beats me too).

    But that is absolutely not the same as wishing bin Laden were still with us, or suggesting that he deserves to live. Simply, it is just that niggling feeling that death is not something to be applauded, no matter whose death it is.

    Every man’s death diminishes me, to put it in words I would never have thought of for myself.

  5. kushibo says:

    Although I can understand everyone’s celebratory glee, I know a lot of people here — Americans and non-Americans both — who were put off by the party atmosphere celebrating the death of someone.

    But to some degree, the celebration was excitement over the death of a murderous enemy and the hope that this may be the beginning of the end of al Qaeda.

    In that sense, isn’t it a bit like V-E Day, when in the same places people were sort of celebrating not just the beginning of the end of the war but also the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini just days before?

    I’m on the fence on this. While I was not about to run out on the streets of Waikiki and shout, “USA! USA!” (and I don’t think many actually did do that), I understand and won’t begrudge why people in New York and Washington might feel entitled.

    Had Obama merely announced the capture of Osama bin Laden, I think we also would have seen massive celebrations.

  6. james says:

    I am an Asian-American, South Korean by birth, father, husband, sibling, free market capitalist, churchgoing, taxpaying, socially moderate, fiscally staunch conservative in respect to taxes, mba from a non online university holding, south park loving, surfing, gen x, hairline receding, ex debauchery partaking, stock market following, led Zeppelin bootleg trading, mahjong playing, meat eating, premium unleaded using, mortgage owing, undergrad partial athletic scholarship receiving, underachieving, ex cigarette smoking, facebook hating, steve jobs apple products Kool aid drinking, 4th grade spelling bee champ.

    any other prejudgements?

    I will state that if KJI gets shot or has some sort of painful death, I will celebrate!!

  7. chris says:

    Don’t go wasting your energy, mate, his death will be just the start.

  8. Sam says:

    The US gives $2 to $3 billion a year aid to Pakistan, who harbored OBL. Yet, Trump is concerned only with US military aid to Korea. Meanwhile, the Pakistanis are laughing all the way to the bank.

  9. hoju_saram says:

    See? I told you that Europe would learn to hate us all over again!

    You were wrong then and you’re wrong now.

  10. Theresa says:

    Hey, we don’t get that channel in Oakland! Unless you think it’s Al-Jazeera, but then you would have to have cable, and it doesn’t look like he does…

    I have the bunny ears on my tv set. None of my channels look like that!

    I do get three Korean channels though…

  11. Joe says:

    Just imagine Osama singing “pass teh dutchie by the left hand side!”

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