Ann Althouse is imagining things again

She writes of Chomsky’s latest rant: “This is the kind of thing that Barack Obama might have said before he became President. (Or do we only imagine that he used to say things like that?)”

Don’t you love multiple-choice tests?

Commenting on Noam Chomsky’s latest rant (denying that Osama planned the 9-11 attack), Althouse writes:

This is the kind of thing that Barack Obama might have said before he became President. (Or do we only imagine that he used to say things like that?)

I love multiple-choice tests, don’t you?  The answer is (B); Althouse is only imagining that Barack Obama – who promised before his election to complete the mission that the Bush Administration had bungled – ever had any doubt that Osama bin Laden ordered the 9/11 attacks, or about what needed to be done in response.

There’s a medical term for such a hyperactive imagination, and some medications to help control it. But I doubt they’d work in this case; Althouse’s delusions have a social origin rather than organic one. As she aptly says, it’s “we” – she and her ideological cohort – that are imagining things.

So before resorting to haldoperidol – which has some nasty side-effects – perhaps Prof. Althouse should just stop getting her news and views from wingnut blogs and the Murdoch/Breitbart media.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

58 thoughts on “Ann Althouse is imagining things again”

  1. But you see, Barack Obama was against the Iraq war and was more liberal before he was president. So that means he was a far left radical. And when he became president and saw what he was dealing with, he realized that the conservatives were right about everything all along. Or, to be precise, that is what it means to ultraconservatives (that is to say, conservatives).

  2. My favorite new t-shirt-

    Front Side: Obama killed Osama…

    Back Side: And 10 teenage Somali pirates, 3 Gaddafi grand kids, 2 Osama wives, the U.S. economy and got a peace prize for doing it.

    I’m still waiting for the public Obama reversal on waterboarding.

  3. Stephen, if you think Chomsky and I are somehow ideological fellows, I’d prescribe a dose of the same medicine I suggested for Althouse. Or would you he happy to have the late Osama bin Laden described as “Prof. Bainbridge’s fellow cultural conservative”?

    Bux, you’re going to wait a long time. As I understand the history, waterboarding stopped when Gates replaced Rumsfeld. As to who (nearly) killed the U.S. economy, take a look at who was President when it went through its near-death experience. Or scan one of Steve Benen’s job-gain-and-loss charts.

  4. Professor Bainbridge:

    I am not sure what you are a professor of, but, for your information, the word “rant” is a term of disapprobation in the English language. The capacity of the blogosphere to function as a forum for well-informed discourse depends on the ability of supposedly educated people to read. Prof. Kleiman’s use of the term indicates his disapproval of Prof. Chomsky and a disavowal of comradeship with him. It is therefore idle to ask of him what he would prescribe for a fellow with whom he denies any feeling of fellowship. Please note.

  5. Mark: Fine. So what would you prescribe for your non-fellow traveller Chomsky, who sdaid “Uncontroversially, [Bush’s] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.” Aspirin?

    Ed: Calling what Chomsky said a “rant” is pretty mild compared to prescribing psychoactive drugs. Please note.

  6. Does Prof. Chomsky really deny “that Osama planned the 9-11 attack”? All I read him to say in the linked article is that the U.S. has offered no “serious” evidence that Osama planned the 9-11 attack. That’s a rather different assertion.

    And he makes that assertion in the course of arguing that bin Laden should have been captured and brought to trial. That doesn’t seem to comport with an a-priori assertion of innocence.

  7. For the record, let’s everyone substantiate our claims, as Chomsky has done. He doesn’t deny that bin Laden didn’t plan the operation, only that it hasn’t been proven- and since his assassination has rendered a trial pointless, it will never be argued in court. Maybe this is a foolish assertion but I can’t recall any conclusive evidence that proves the case (this is because it never before occurred to me to doubt it). So help me out, everyone: Prove bin Laden guilty and Chomsky ridiculous.

  8. Steve, if the best you can do to defend Althouse is to say that she’s no loopier than Chomsky, I think you’ve conceded my point. Of course she doesn’t really need meds: she needs a dose of reality, and intellectual honesty, and controversial decency. Her assertion that, before he became President, Obama sounded like Chomsky is, if not a genuine delusion, a flat-out, vicious lie.

    Dan, the operation was carried out by al-Qaeda. Bin Laden ran al-Qaeda. Case closed. And eb, Chomsky dismisses bin Laden’s assertion of responsibility as boasting. “There is much talk of bin Laden’s ‘confession,’ but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.” Chomsky is what Orwell called a “negative nationalist”: his entire political universe is defined by hating the United States Government. Just like a Tea Partier, except that (as you’d expect from someone with a Ph.D., an Institute Professorship at MIT, and a stratospheric IQ) Chomsky, unlike a Tea Partier, understands that the military is part of the government. But it’s possible to be utterly brilliant and utterly irrational.

  9. @mark–in my opinion noam chomsky is a great patriot who expects our country to uphold our professed values and commitments. his specialty is in putting the terms of debate into the clearest, and thereby harshest, terms. i don’t always agree with him but i would never label him as irrational.

  10. She’s an admitted admirer/listener of Rush Limbaugh. She can pretend to be in on Rushbo’s arch passive-aggressivity all she wants. But his power is in his brilliance at framing his own paranoid delusions and directing talking points out to his fans (dittoheads) to then parrot, believing this “wisdom” something they knew all along.

  11. Chomsky comparing a crime boss in hiding with a former elected…er, legitimate…er, recognized, yeah that’s it, recognized president of a nation is silly.
    Bin Laden was the leader of al-Qaeda only because he funded it and claimed his leadership to be so. As to justification for his being shot, al-Qaeda’s signiture tactic being suicide bombing makes instant killing of terrorists SOP. A shot to the head is the method used to stop the detonation of a possible bomb and to prevent accidentally detonating a bomb hiden under clothing.
    As to GWB’s alleged crimes, that miscreant is hiding in plain sight but the USA will never allow him to be extradicted but at least there is a legal entity for some other legal entity to argue with.
    I guess living confined to the borders of the USA is not near so restrictive as living in a compound in Pakistan But at least Little George has to think about his possiblity of facing charges one day.

  12. Dan: “Prove bin Laden guilty and Chomsky ridiculous.”

    Eh, that would be a waste time. Noam Chomsky is trolling. Mind you, it’s carefully crafted flamebait, but it’s just there to goad people into visceral responses.

    See also:

  13. Chomsky is, uncontroversially, a great linguist. What the has to say in his own field is much more interesting than the rest, even if similarly OTT:
    “Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.” ”

    Hum. I see the weapon names as honouring defeated but worthy enemies; soldiers value their guns, so there’s no good analogy with the objects of Nazi contempt and hatred. The usage is however fairly new, and Chomsky may be right in linking it to a more imperial mindset. The main battle tank of the US Army in WWII was the Sherman; another was the Grant – SFIK no weapons were named after Lee or Stonewall Jackson, let alone Bedford Forrest. Take that, Johnny Reb.

    Chosmsky is on stronger ground with “Geronimo”, which does grant bin Laden respect by association (not glorification unless you are an Apache). Cf. Richard Crouchback. If the Special Forces command had a wider frame of reference, they could have called the bin Laden strike Operation Alamut.

  14. Bainbridge, and Althouse as well, use a classic trick they learned from the esteemed Sean Hannity. Take a quote from some left-wing nutbag academic, like Noam Chomsky or Ward Churchill, and try to make regular Democrats and liberals denounce it.

    In the real world, Professor, at least 98% of Democrats don’t have a clue who Noam Chomsky is. However, 100% of Republicans know who the equally loony Rush Limbaugh is and they love him. They hang on his every despicable word. He’s a major player in the Republican Party.

  15. I also like to take every opportunity to point out that Ann Althouse is a well paid, tenured public employee who enjoys the Cadillac pension and health care plans that go along with that status. Of course, she is simultaneoulsy an advocate of “small government” conservatism and is anti-union when it comes to other public employees. Seems she live by the libertian creed: “I got mine. Screw everybody else.”

    Bainbridge, I don’t know.

  16. I have to agree with Professor Bainbridge: just because Bush launched a war of aggression against a country that was no threat to us, he should not be considered worse than Osama. After all, Osama gave the orders that caused the death of 3000 people. Bush gave the orders that caused the death of >100,000 foreigners. If we calculate that that one American is worth 1000 foreigners, there’s no comparison. Also to be noted: “shock and awe” was only meant to terrify, not terrorize, Iraqis; plus it sounded cool. Chomsky is crazy not to take that into account, while Althouse is sane to think that Obama would agree with Chomsky because he promised and then delivered on exactly that which Chomsky is complaining about.

  17. James– Chomsky’s genius had everything to do with the underlying structures of language and very little to do with its emotional content. I’m almost certain that you are correct about the tendency towards respect in these names, and possibly regret (hence the dearth of Confederate names).

  18. Her assertion that, before he became President, Obama sounded like Chomsky is, if not a genuine delusion, a flat-out, vicious lie.

    I feel like playing concern troll this morning. In an update to the post Mark quotes, Althouse observes that some bloggers have taken unfavorable notice of what she said and refers them to another post she made on May 4, in which she quotes Obama at the Town Hall debate in October 2008:

    “What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should. Now, that I think has to be our policy, because they are threatening to kill more Americans.”

    She comments that hearing him say this was the “crucial tipping point” that made her subsequent vote for Obama “almost inevitable.”

    I’m not terribly familiar with Althouse, but her follow-up leads me to wonder whether she might *not* have been suggesting that Obama “ever had any doubt that Osama bin Laden ordered the 9/11 attacks,” but was instead commenting on Obama’s seeming about-face after his election concerning respect for certain constitutional principles, as exemplified by his ordering Osama’s assassination rather than attempting to capture him and give him a fair trial, as Chomsky was clearly advocating.

    And I agree, after reading Chomsky’s post, that he was not suggesting Obama was in any doubt about Osama’s guilt either.

    I’m no fan of either Chomsky or Althouse, but I’m a big fan of criticizing what people we don’t like actually say rather than what we imagine they’ve said. In that vein, I’d point out that Obama’s own words in October 2008 that Althouse so admired were “take [Osama] out,” not “capture him and put him on trial.” So on that point, he has clearly been consistent.

  19. “The main battle tank of the US Army in WWII was the Sherman; another was the Grant – SFIK no weapons were named after Lee or Stonewall Jackson, let alone Bedford Forrest. Take that, Johnny Reb.”

    The British did call the M3 the “Lee” and the M36 TD the “Jackson,” however.

    Otherwise, there is the USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634)

  20. It’s not particularly relevant to the discussion, but the point about naming shows much more semantic / psychological intuition than I’m used to hearing from Chomsky.

    In this context it may be mildly interesting that the word that figures most prominently in his meta-theory of syntax is “constraint”; that important words describing syntactic relations in generative linguistics include “command” and “dominate”; and that one of his later theories was called “government and binding”.

    I had to wrestle with the relationship between the genocide of the Native Americans and the Holocaust in thinking about how to talk to my kids about what happened when Europeans came here. Suffice it to say that between the memory hole (or even worse the view that the white man’s civilizing mission called for mass murder) and the view that they are exactly the same lies an important set of moral distinctions which have always entirely escaped Chomsky and other doctrinaire haters of the West (who still find it a cozy place to speak their minds in the secure knowledge that it isn’t going to cost them their freedom or even their lives).

  21. Far more troubling than Noam Chomsky’s concerns, to be honest, are the recent news that the United States may have hired terrorists themselves to take out bin Laden. And not just any terrorists, but interstellar ones! (They call themselves a “resistance movement”, but we all know what that means.) Evidence was made public only recently:

    The thought that Cardassians may be allied with Al Qaeda and what that means for the future of our national security is deeply troubling, and we need to ask the president now what he plans to do about that eventuality.

    I fear that instead we may soon see that downplayed as a mistake made by the TV station rather than committing ourselves to prepare for such a threat.

  22. Can Professor Bainbridge really not tell the difference between your average center-left Democrat and Noam Chomsky? I’ve seen nothing but derision aimed towards that piece from non-leftist liberals, but somehow Bainbridge sees no ideological daylight there.

    Of all the things I find baffling about modern conservatism, the inability to discern between leftism and mainstream liberalism might be the most puzzling. Perhaps it’s a byproduct of the attempts to paint President Obama as the vanguard of the radical left.

  23. Aidan–

    Of all the things I find baffling about modern conservatism, the inability to discern between leftism and mainstream liberalism might be the most puzzling.

    That ain’t a patch on their inability to tell socialists from Muslims from gay rights activists. The only principle of modern conservatism is “we are surrounded by enemies, and they are all in it together.”

  24. Is it really fair to say Bush bungled the job of killing Bin Laden? Does a president really have much impact on the course of something like that? It seems like the killing would have to be the result of sustained effort on the part of intelligence professionals who at some point caught a lucky break. Was Obama really directing the acquisition of human intelligence resources when the lucky break first materialized? Did Obama do a much better job of micromanaging the work of a small group of CIA/NSA agents than Bush did? I voted for Obama and against Bush, and I think it is absurd to suggest that this happened now rather than during Bush’s term because of differences in relative presidential competence. A very wise person once said I would rather be lucky than good, we should keep it in mind when we want to engage in some self-serving attribution.

  25. Most mainstream liberals found themselves in relative agreement with libertarians and paleoconservatives over the Bush administration’s foreign policy. Does this mean that Mark Kleiman has to apologize for the latest pieces by his ideological fellow travelers Nick Gillespie and Pat Buchanan?

    In fact, Bainbridge himself as an opponent of military action in both Iraq and Libya. As a result of my fundamental inability to compare and contrast and my lack of critical thinking skills, I now believe that Bainbridge is ideologically identical to Noam Chomsky and should be forced to apologize on behalf of his fellow leftist.

  26. Hmmm, I have read (I’m not going to look for the source) that Bush pulled people working to find bin Laden in order to use them for the war he started in Iraq, and announced that finding bin Laden was not important. If that’s the case, then, yes, Bush had an impact on the failure to find bin Laden.

  27. Kleiman’s construction leaves the impression that the “this” in the sentence he quotes from Althouse refers to “denying that Osama planned the 9/11 attack.” That is, he leaves the impression that Althouse said that denying that Osama planned the 9/11 attack is the kind of thing Obama might have said before he became President.

    That’s not a fair reading.

  28. Hmmm: it’s documented fact (see for instance this report from 2010. found quickly from a superficial Google) that Bush broadened the GWOT to include Saddam Hussein who had nothing to do with 9/11 and negligible connection to Al-Qaeda. In 2006 the CIA even closed down its unit looking for bin Laden. Obama refocussed the mission on taking office. He also, by recent press reports, personally took the decision to send in a SEAL team rather than bombing the compound from the air. So on both counts he definitely deserves the credit he’s getting.

  29. Hmmm– you really underestimate the malfeasance of the Bush Administration. They employed a faulty method of extracting information, diverted resources to Iraq, disbanded the bin Laden group at the CIA, didn’t go hard at Tora Bora, etc., etc. For them to have lucked into catching Osama would have been a million-in-one shot. Obama, by diverting resources back to the project and being willing to go into Pakistan secretly, lowered those odds to pretty damn good.

  30. I mean, what James said. This is why I shouldn’t interrupt commenting to go make coffee.

  31. “That’s not a fair reading.”

    Prof. Kleinman says Chompsky “hates the United States Government” and is “irrational”. Not a good starting premise for a “fair reading”.

    But I agree whole-heartedly with Prof. Kleinman underlying assumption. Obama was a cold-blooded killer from the start, willing to mangle and destroy human beings anywhere, anytime to advance a political agenda. Just the kind of man an imperial superpower needs at the helm of state.

  32. Scott deB: Looking up the WWII tank names, it seems that these are essentially British in origin. The M3 was commissioned before Pearl Harbour by the British purchasing office in Washington. The first version wss named “Lee”, the second “Grant”, by somebody in the War Office with an interest in military history. When the far superior M4, produced to a Pentagon specification, came along and replaced the Grant, the Brits promptly named it the “Sherman”, continuing the Civil War series. This name was then adopted by American troops. I have therefore to retract my suggestion that the naming has anything to do with Yankee attitudes to the old Confederacy.

  33. So Mark. If a couple of Cuban helicopters full of their soldiers had flown into Florida and taken out Orlando Bosch with extreme violence, you would have been OK with that? No ranting, please. I’m just trying to determine where the finely wrought moral calculus crosses the line here. Really.

  34. What’s Bainbridge’s problem today? I would have thought he’s not dumb enough to try to defend Althouse’s … brand … of political trolling.

    And to then double down on the stupidity of linking Obama to Chomsky by whining about Chomsky? If that’s quality argumentation for him, his class roster must be a listing of attorneys to avoid.

  35. The “Boston Marathon” metaphor strikes me as particularly weaselly since Chomsky has not in fact won the Boston Marathon. Setting up bin Laden’s (accurate) claims of terrorism with a parallel (false) claim about Chomsky’s athletic accomplishments only serves to bolster his rhetorical flirtation with Truther-ism. A better analogy would be had Chomsky said:
    “There is much talk of bin Laden’s ‘confession,’ but that is rather like my confession that I wrote Syntactic Structures. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.”

    Of course no sane person doubts Chomsky’s claim to have written Syntactic Structures, just as no sane person doubts bin Laden’s claims to be a terrorist and this is precisely why Chomsky chose a bad metaphor. The appropriate metaphor wouldn’t have been as satisfying to Chomsky because it effectively concedes the empirical point that bin Laden was guilty and changes the subject to a completely procedural point about extra-judicial executions. However most people don’t care about the procedural step of a court when we are absolutely certain that someone has committed a crime against humanity. Just as I am happy to give Chomsky credit for his indisputable achievements as a linguist without establishing these accomplishments in a court of law, so am I happy that our military (with the approval of President Obama and the rest of our civilian leadership) shot bin Laden on sight as hostis humanis generis.

  36. @K: That’s not a fair reading.

    It sure isn’t, of Althouse or Chomsky. I called attention to the same thing (at considerably greater length) above at 7:46 am.

    Boy, if I had written the post Mark wrote and someone had pointed this out to me, I’d immediately make a correction and an abject apology.

  37. Swift and K– so Althouse was arguing that the pre-election Obama, who said “if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should,” was someone who agreed with Chomsky? That is, someone who disagrees with Chomsky therefore agrees with him. So either she is directly contradicting herself, or she is talking about something else, and Mark’s reading has more validity than yours. But if she is directly contradicting herself, how is anyone to draw a proper conclusion about what she means?

    Such is the tangled web we weave when we try to understand “the Mind of Althouse” (her caps). Personally, I gave up when she claimed Jose Padilla could be blinking out what he learned in solitary to al Qaeda via the US media.

  38. Jamie says:
    May 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

    “What’s Bainbridge’s problem today? I would have thought he’s not dumb enough to try to defend Althouse’s … brand … of political trolling. ”

    I haven’t read him for a while; back then I felt that he was slipping from right-wing but reality-based to nutcase. I guess in the end he’s a law-and-economics corporate law professor, and so slipping into hardcore right-wingnutism was just a matter of time.

  39. The Chomsky piece is clearly not claiming bin Laden is innocent of the September 11th attacks, except in the sense that every criminal suspect is presumed innocent until found guilty after due process of law. He emphasizes that strongly enough that one has to try pretty hard to read it some other way.

    The Boston Marathon analogy is apt. One does not automatically credit the claims of a criminal to have committed some spectacular crime, unless the “confession” includes some detail known only to the perpetrator, or some independent corroboration exists. Like Gabriel, I don’t doubt that bin Laden was guilty, because I have the luxury of an opinion based on rumors. If I were on a jury, I’d have to discard that opinion and demand that the state prove its case. Doing so wouldn’t be less than sane, it would be my duty as a juror.

    Of course Chomsky’s point is that the trial will never happen now. Gabriel dismisses proper trial as “a completely procedural point,” but procedure is the entire point. There is no “bin Laden exception.” Either we live in a nation of laws, or the government can throw you in prison (or just summarily execute you) without trial, at will. If you don’t want President Trump to have the power to execute his enemies, then you have to stand up for the right of obviously-guilty people to a fair trial.

  40. Don, “criminal” and “enemy” are different categories. Osama bin Laden, up to the moment of his unlamented death, was waging war on the United States, and his headquarters was a legitimate military target. That’s why I dislike the metaphor “brought to justice.”

  41. @calling all toasters–so Althouse was arguing that the pre-election Obama, who said “if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should,” was someone who agreed with Chomsky?

    Did you read my comment at 7:46 am? It looks to me as if she was referring to the kinds of things Obama said before the election about the importance of the rule of law (national and international) and constitutional principles, which is what Chomsky is preaching. And yes, those things appear to be contradicted by Obama’s 2008 phrase “take him out” (if we understand it to mean “kill him” rather than take him out of circulation by imprisoning him), as I pointed out.

    So it’s fine with me if we criticize Althouse for overlooking that apparent contradiction. But as far as I can tell, Chomsky did not deny that OBL was responsible for 9/11, as others here have noted; and since Althouse is obviously aware that Obama assumed before the election that OBL was responsible for 9/11, it simply makes no sense to claim she’s accusing Obama of having denied it.

  42. BobbyP, I think the Israelis were morally justified in killing the perpetrators of the Munich massacre, and I think Bosch is just as appropriate a target of revenge as the Munich killers. Any action by the current Cuban tyranny is illegitimate, and of course the action you imagine would be an act of war against the United States. If carried out by a democratic successor regime to Castro, after trying and failing to get Bosch extradited, it would be a diplomatic error but not, in my view, a crime.

    However, as I said to Don, I think the action against bin Laden is best thought of as warfare rather than justice. As warfare, it wasn’t even close to the line. The SEALs landed on a military target, took incoming fire, and killed some of the people at the target. If bin Laden had put his hands up and shouted “I surrender!” and they’d killed him anyway, that would have been a war crime. But there’s no obligation to ask for surrender in the middle of a battle, or to plan an operation that gives the target the option of surrendering.

  43. P.S.: I just made the extraordinary sacrifice of skimming the 100-some comments to Althouse’s post. Not one of her commenters interpreted her post as Mark did; they all (both those who agreed and those who disagreed) assumed she meant Obama made Chomskyan noises about the rule of law etc. before the election but as president is, as she put it, “not available to say things like that.”

    I’m going to go take a bath now…

  44. Mark, we can agree that “brought to justice” is a bad way to describe what was done to bin Laden.

    But I think we can also agree that the distinction between a criminal and an enemy is not neutral. It was to the political advantage of Bush et al. to turn September 11th into a war, so they did it, and the war provided cover for their preexisting agenda. It still does. I now live in a country where the head of state asserts the right to imprison me indefinitely or kill me, without trial, without any due process, and to keep his reasons permanently secret. And people who should know better are standing up and applauding.

    You must think that you will never be a criminal defendant. I’m not so optimistic.

  45. Swift Loris– you may have a point, then. They may not have any respect for truth or decency, but they always know exactly what the dog-whistle means.

    A little Scotch goes nicely with a bath, BTW.

  46. “As to justification for his being shot, al-Qaeda’s signature tactic being suicide bombing makes instant killing of terrorists SOP. A shot to the head is the method used to stop the detonation of a possible bomb and to prevent accidentally detonating a bomb hidden under clothing.”

    Cam someone, anyone, please put a stop to this ridiculous line of thinking? No matter what one supposes about the legality of shooting bin Laden, the idea that in his home of 6 years, surrounded by women and children, and in the middle of the night, he would be wearing a suicide vest is, at best, charitable to him. It again presupposes the enemies in this “war” are super-villains, instead of bumbling gangsters and cowards. Bin Laden is no more likely to be wearing a vest at midnight on Monday, than you are to carry your shootin’ iron into the bathroom when you go to take a constitutional.

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