May 2, 2011

ILYA SOMIN: “From an international law perspective, it’s worth noting that the operation against Bin Laden is an example of targeted killing. Although we don’t yet know very many details, it’s pretty obvious that the US targeted Bin Laden deliberately, something the President more or less admitted in his speech, where he said that we have been tracking Bin Laden for many months (presumably for the purpose of targeting him as an individual). In the past, such targeted killings have drawn criticism from human rights organizations and others who claim that they violate international law. . . . It’s unlikely that there will be much criticism of the operation against Bin Laden.”

UPDATE: So I guess targeted killings are okay now, right? Well, if international law is really law, there can’t be an exception just for Osama Bin Laden.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mission was to kill Bin Laden, not capture. “The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.”