Skip to content

German Moralizers Criticize United States on Killing of Bin Laden

1. Many German politicians, media and church representatives criticize Chancellor Merkel for expressing her joy about the killing of Osama bin Laden, because it is not appropriate to have such a feeling when a human being gets killed. She was only "allowed" to express her relief. => Okay, fine with me.

2. The same folks also criticize those Americans who celebrated bin Laden's death. => Okay, fair enough. I do, however, consider the reactions understandable since he headed a terrorist group that killed thousands of Americans and was determined to kill more. Moreover, no government official celebrated. No "mission accomplished" parties. So, please let's not make a big deal out of it.

3. The same folks and several German law professors (in German) and talk show pundits question the legality of killing bin Laden. This issue seems to be dominating the debate in the German media currently. => Now I am getting annoyed. This is so typical. Aren't there bigger problems? Should not we question our policy on Pakistan? How supportive is the Pakistani military and intelligence of terror networks? As Leon T. Hadar writes in the Huffington Post: "Pakistan is a failed state with nuclear military power, whose elites and public are hostile to the U.S. and sympathetic to its enemies. (...) Pakistan is not a strategic ally but an irresponsible client state."

Law professors could also make sound proposals for ethical and efficient changes to international law to meet the realities of of the 21st century, like terrorism and assymetric warfare, failing states etc. That would be more important and more constructive than making a fuss about the killing of Bin Laden.

4. And this Süddeutsche article discusses whether bin Laden was buried correctly. => Give me a break and rethink your priorities.

Spiegel International provides an English language summary of some commentaries from German newspapers. More evidence for the above claims in this Tagesthemen commentary, which Davids Medienkritik would rip apart, if they'd still be active. Criticism of the German coverage can be found in Die Welt by Clemens Wergin and Alan Posner (all links in German)

Endnote: Last week Congressman Dana Rohrabacher responded to a four year old article on this blog. He provided some context to the quote "Well, I hope it's your families, I hope it's your families that suffer the consequences [of a terrorist attack]."


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Omar on :

2. What would you think if Jimmy Carter got murdered and the Iranians broke out in cheers, if Ariel Sharon or Avigdor Liebermann got murdered and the Palestinians (and Libanese) got to the streets, if George W. Bush was murdered and the Iraqis (alternatively the whole world) laughed and danced to it? Would you still say, it is understandable? All those people have sufferings, too. They detest people who kill(ed) them, too. And they would - of course - cheer to any other Bin Laden who killed some of their killers, too. 3. Actually, here i do agree. Questioning the legality of the Bin Laden execution is hypocritical, but actually the reason is because killing more than a million human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the "war on terror" should result in the real legal and moral question mark! Bin Laden is one tiny person who also might be "deserving" it in a sea full of innocent people (i would add, that innocence and justice have no place on a battle field, but let's say, civilians). Still, i would say, if that execution quenches the thirst of whomever is cheering right now and the killing in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya etc.. would end, then it might be worth it either way (as in: no matter what the legality might be). Maybe we could start a new page, where interventionist policies are detested and killing of humans - whoever they might be and whatever language they might speak - isn't practiced on a daily basis. But i doubt that will be the case. There will always be a "reason" to kill and invade people and - for now - the US will still have the largest share of invasions. And unfortunately many US citizens will still support more and more injustice in the world. 4. Again, i would agree. Who cares if Osama was buried islamically, if at the same time masses of people were killed on the streets and their corpses lie until they rot and dissolve into the sand? Why not ask questions about the hundreds of thousends of nameless people not buried in any possible way - be it islamically or otherwise? And that is my problem with the whole Osama thing: We're pretending now, as if these wars can now be justified, because "we got him". It speaks for itself, that for the search query "Afghanistan casualties" google returns mostly sites listing the 'coalition/US casualties' sometimes with names and pictures or some story about their lifes. Seldom do you find the name or story of an Afghan or Iraqi killed by US/British forces.

Martin on :

More Arabs cheered on 9/11 than Americans cheered on sunday. You need to look at intentions: The US military is devoting a lot of effort to avoid civilian casualties, whereas Al Qaeda's intention is to maximize civilian casualties.

Omar on :

@Martin: You have any numbers? And footage beyond the few Palestinians not knowing what they were cheering about? I contrast to what is happening in the US right now, major Arab media, organisations and public life did not cheer to the death of humans whereas in the US even a reflective program like the daily show was celebrating! About the intentions: it's hard to believe that the US is avoiding loss of life, when in fact they are invading other countries. Besides, it's the attitude that's the problem. Thinking that the own loss is not only much more relevant than the loss of others, but also to think that anything is justified to revenge this loss. Invading a whole country (actually two) and killing this many people because a guy murdered some of yours. If every country did the same, there would be no peace at all: The US is harboring the old administration and soldiers who are - to different degrees - responsible for torture, rights violations and death of many people in Iraq and Afghanistan (and beyond). Why shouldn't they invade the US and try to get those responsible? And if some dude gets killed in the middle, then they might count him as an accident. Maybe pay his family 500$ if news broke out..

David on :

Questions for Omar: Do you support the US and NATO's intervention in Libya? Do you agree that a massacre of the citizens of Benghazi was averted?

Omar on :

David, i do not support the intervention. I'm not sure, any massacre was averted, but i am sure, that the same thing could've been said about Israel's massacre in Gaza (as in, where was the intervention then?) or other countries. On my blog you can read a recent German piece i wrote..

Zyme on :

As usual, it is a matter of perspective: Of course it would be understandable should Arabians cheer at the death of G W Bush or Donal Rumsfeld. Just as we cheer on Bin Ladens end. I am not entirely sure whether people in Europe would be really sad upon a fatal end for leading Israeli figures though ;-) So? It is very human to have these feelings. Nothing to be concerned about, I would say.

Marie Claude on :

but is OBL really dead? no pic was released !

John in Michigan, US on :

The HUMINT collection, the manhunt, and the raid itself are the most impressive part of all this. Credit to Obama for staying the course, even to the point of embracing 99% of Bush's policies. On the other hand...I feel they could have handled the post-raid situation much better than they did. Having months to prepare for a raid like this is a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity. For example, note the contradictory, muddled messaging: on the one hand, bin Laden and friends do not represent Islam; on the other hand, bin Laden is given Islamic rites before being given the [url=]deep six[/url]. So is he a Muslim, or not? Burial at sea doesn't bother me, but then, I am not a Muslim. Supposedly, even if a Muslim dies at sea (which was not the case here), the body is to be buried on land if humanly possible (which it was). If the Obama administration decided it was important to follow Muslim burial practices, they should have buried him in an unmarked grave at an undisclosed location. Surely that shouldn't be hard, given that they had months to prepare. Another example is the ID / photo / DNA question. They should have anticipated that DNA evidence or photos wouldn't be persuasive to fanatics who are convinced that Hollywood can fake anything. This is a perfect opportunity to take the conspiracy mentality head-on and deconstruct it. Again, there were months to plan this. --- It bothers me (but it doesn't surprise me) that no important Muslim voice (so far) has spoken out to question why bin Laden was even given Muslim funeral rites in the first place. Doesn't this create an association between bin Laden and Islam? Hasn't that been the problem all along: mainstream Islam may not exactly embrace bin Laden, but neither do they kick him out of the Brotherhood. I agree with Jorg's fine points about the German reaction.

Pat Patterson on :

Arafat wouldn't have ordered the armed factions into the streets unless he realized that the demonstrations, covered by CNN, the BBC and Reuters, were an embarassment to his political goals. And there were large demonstrations in Ramallah, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem when Sharon had his most debilitating stroke to the point the some imams held services outdoors due to the crush of the crowds cheering and praying for his death. Truman as an afterthought in 1945 simply remarked that he was relieved that Mussolini and Hitler were dead but that he certainly understood if the people of the world celebrated those passings.

Marie Claude on :

anyway it was a bit long to get OBL, when one could have killed in Tora Bora, this is what are saying the Afghani ! Le rôle des forces spéciales françaises dans la traque de Ben Laden in 2003 the french special forces had OBL on their guns sight, and american authorities delayed the “go” for firing at him, I wonder why !

Pat Patterson on :

That story has been denied by the French authorities since it first came to light in 2006. And beyond the initial claim no one has provided any corraborating evidence except for the two anonymous soldiers. And under the ROE of that time there was no requirement other than to fire on the suspected target period. No one had to call the ISAF for permission.

Marie Claude on :

you should know that our Military authorities always deny individuals witnesses !

Marie Claude on :

Besides hunting OBL wasn't Bush's priority

Pat Patterson on :

Then why was the SEAL team that shot him set up under Bush's watch with the express authorzation to hunt Bin Laden down? Plus the intelligence group that was tasked to provide the information.

Marie Claude on :


Pat Patterson on :

Did you actually bother to listen to the entire video or read the title. MSNBC was criticized for editing his comments to make it appear Bush had ceased caring about the whereabouts of Bin Laden. MSNBC Airs Highly-Edited 2002 Video of Bush Saying 'I'm Not That Concerned About Bin Laden'

Pat Patterson on :

Contains actual transcript to the full comment GWB and not the edited version.

David on :

Still breaking a lance for your "torturer-in-chief"?

Pat Patterson on :

Still sitting in a cave wondering what the shadows mean? Can you refute what the actual interview said or are you wedded to lying about anybody that you don't agree with? BTW, are you talking about Bush or Obama?

Marie Claude on :

hey, you're becoming clever

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options