* Yes, there are Americans are who most critical of this, but not the mainstream. Michael Moore proved himself out of the mainstream and out of touch by claiming that this is where the US lost its soul. If the US had a soul to lose, it would have been lost after Dresden, after My Lai, after Iran-Contra, after the invasion of Iraq or the revelations of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, etc. Moore is in desperate need of some perspective sauce.
My reactions to particular takes on this:
Der Spiegel, under the headline “Justice, American Style,” reports an expert’s view that it’s “questionable whether the USA can still claim to be engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaida.”
- The intel collected thus far suggests very much otherwise. AQ never declared a cease-fire or surrendered. Instead, it was still planning further attacks with Osama involved, at least at the conceptual level.
But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor’s statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek, the daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported Friday.
“I am a law-abiding citizen and as a judge, sworn to justice and law,” the 54-year-old told the paper, adding that Merkel’s words were “tacky and undignified.”
In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the “rewarding and approving” of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a “homicide,” Uthmann claimed.
- Huh. Merkel can be tacky, no doubt. But going so far as to prosecute her for saying she is glad Bin Laden is dead? Oh my. How would this guy feel about Valkyrie? The effort by German officers to kill Hitler? Were they homicidal maniacs? Yes, comparing Bin Laden to Hitler is a bit much, but they both committed mass murder and neither one declared any intent to cease and desist before they died.
On the other hand, this is actually somewhat consistent. After all, the Germans opposed the effort to take down Qaddafi (ok, Merkel did, the parties disagreed). So, the basic approach is to let Muslim leaders kill Muslims, but that it is wrong for Americans to kill Bin Laden.
I have not read the European press. The piece linked above focuses solely on the Germans. What are the Dutch, the Danes, the Poles, the Italians, the French, the Brits, the Spaniards, and all saying about this? Will public opinion vary by which countries got hit by AQ terrorism? After all, with regard to AQ, Germany has only hosted terrorists and have prevented all (or nearly all) attacks. I doubt the Brits or the Spaniards feel quite the same way.
All I can say is that it is easy to be smug when one's hands are not near the wheel. But when one has choices, very difficult ones, then you must make the best call possible. Afghanistan and Pakistan always, always present us with a set of bad alternatives and the hard part is figuring out which is least bad. The Obama administration faced a very difficult set of choices. Better lucky than good, although on that night, the troops (and dog) were both.