One year ago, images of commemorating crowds were broadcasted all over the world. For a sequestered individual indifferent to the occurrences of the world, comprehending these images may have been difficult, and perhaps more so to grasp that they were celebrations of one person's death. Seldom do massive crowds of people, carrying flags, army caps and beer celebrate deaths, a fact with which we have become especially familiarized subsequent to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In some regards, it represents a more inhumane, uncivilized and hidden side of ourselves. I was celebrating too, and even bought myself a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label for dinner.
On May 1, 2011, as President Obama proudly announced the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, few reflected on how brutalized our Western judiciary system had become. The United States had conducted an operation in violation of international law (i.e., foreign operations without governmental consent) and had killed a terrorist wanted not only by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, but also by the family and friends of his victims seeking answers and closure. Although initially appearing as if elimination was the only option available, later reports disclosed significant opportunities of capturing bin Laden alive, and bringing him before justice. At a time when it would have been most powerful, the Obama administration ignored the tremendous importance of habeas corpus for political gain.
One need not have the slightest agreement or ideological intersection with Osama Bin Laden to defend his right to a trial, and more importantly his victims right to justice and subsequent answers. Today, these answers are forever lost and we may potentially fall into the trap of thinking that the hatred towards the free world, which millions of people shared with Bin Laden, came out of the blue. In addition to this, the Obama administration has demonstrated that it stands above the law and the principle of habeas corpus. Thinking of this the words of one of Obama's 2008-campaign speech echoes in my head: "We will work effortlessly to restore habeas corpus, and the principles of justice and righteousness."
The recent events in Norway illustrate the proper way in which terrorists ought to be dealt with. Regardless of the horrific crimes committed, the Norwegian government relentlessly protected Anders Behring Breivik's right to a fair trial, and even had one member of the jury replaced for having written that Breivik ought to be sentenced to death on the day of the attacks. The Norwegian case illustrates the way in which a fair and legal trial is in the interest of the greater public at large. Not only because it provides relatives with answers and closure, but also because it allows terrorists to exhibit their horrendous ideas, which most soft-persuaded youngsters come to realize are disgusting.
Today as I had my last drink from the bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which I bought to celebrate bin Laden's death, I come to realize how the momentary sense of relief on the day of his death led me to forget all about principles of justice and righteousness. Today, all of us applauding his death on that beautiful day ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Osama bin Laden should have been brought before court. His victims deserved it. While not having realized this until today, I am ashamed of myself, and you, but perhaps we can do what is right the next time.
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