Osama, To Kill or To Capture?
Of course it’s a little late for the question, but not to late to look at the the likely responses to both. We are kind of starting to see the result of killing him so I’ll start there. It’s important to know that Osama represents a bit of different case than your average criminal. He is more akin to a head of state in some ways.
To Kill: We are starting to see some protests and we’ll likely see violence related to his killing. How much? impossible to say. He will certainly be seen as a martyr, so in some ways his death is less of a threat of violence. Some Muslims sympathetic to his cause will see his death as an honor, so we may have avoided some issues by killing him.
In killing him the issue is somewhat closed. Governments and/or people may protest, but there is little change that can be affected here. He is dead and we can’t undo that, no amount of protesting or violence can change it. The man was also as close to dead as he could have been by being in hiding.
To Capture: We likely would have seen wider spread protests. Where would we have taken him? Would he have been able to even get a fair trial? If he had been captured there would have been significant risks of violence and attacks at any trial and always the possibility that he might be freed by some action.
In confinement his cause would have still been open, his trial, the place of imprisonment, the date of his execution (if imposed by the court), the court officers involved in the prosecution, the judge(s), would all be targets for terror.
Conclusion? My view here is that the whole world was served better by his death than by his life. It satisfied, I think, not only some peoples need for vengeance but was more just on the whole than his confinement and trial would likely have been had he been captured. I might add more to this later, but it is too nice of a day to spend inside any longer, particularly talking about this piece of unworthy fish food.