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Thread: Help, please. Looking for a thread explaining why the OBL raid was lawful ....

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    Help, please. Looking for a thread explaining why the OBL raid was lawful ....

    .... I am confident that the law of war allows this, but want to be able to succinctly demonstrate it to others.

    I am sorry if this is not the place to ask this question. I am not here often, and obviously I am not a military professional, but I would like to correct some of my friends who believe the raid and killing were unlawful under international law.

    Thanks for your patience.

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Help, please. Looking for a thread explaining why the OBL raid was lawful ....

    Heres an easier question...explain in your own views why this was not lawfull.

    That is without the "Soverignty" issues many seem to think override our right to kill a terrorist and his kind that have killed thousands of civilians in several different countries including our own.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Even easier one. If it's against the law, why Pakistan doesn't file a complaint in IJC?
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    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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    Is there a thread discussing the legality of the OBL raid?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    .... I am confident that the law of war allows this, but want to be able to succinctly demonstrate it to others.

    I am sorry if this is not the place to ask this question. I am not here often, and obviously I am not a military professional, but I would like to correct some of my friends who believe the raid and killing were unlawful under international law.

    Thanks for your patience.
    Under the UN Charter every nation retians the right of self defense.

    Article 51
    Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

    There is no requirement that a nation defending itself do so only inside its own borders. A threat is a threat be it in international areas, domestic territory, enemy territory or even allied territory.

    This understanding that a threat may be confronted where it is found predates the UN. Look at allied bombing of France, Holland, Norway and the invasion of Iceland and Iran. France, Holland and Norway were allies, Iceland and Iran were nuetrals and yet all were attacked in order to prevent further German agression.

    The right of a nation to defend itself is the highest right, nothing trumps it and nothing can restrict or limit it. If a nation cannot defend itself, then none of the other rights of nations are rights at all.

    The raid itself also followed the LOAC to the T. There was discrimination, civilian areas were not targeted for destruction, the level of force was well below the what would have been legal.*

    * Discrimination requires that the amount of force used be consumerate with the military goal. Destroying a village to kill a low level insurgent would be illegal. In the case of OBL, he was the head of an international terrorist-criminal enterprise who had caused the deaths of perhaps as many as 100,000 people the threshold for discrimination was very high.

    OBL used jets as a WMD on population centers, he sought to aquire radiological, chemical and biological WMDs, he recognized no inernational authority and did not recognize the right of self determination for non-muslims, he planned, funded and advocated for terrorism, he sought to and did spark religious civil wars, he attempted to or did assassinate or subvert governments, h attacked the press, minorities, women, children and aid workers, he attacked the UN, schools, hospitals, world heritage sites, religious monuments....

    A B61 dropped on the city causing it to vanish in a nuclear eyeblink would have been legal given the nature of the target.

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    zraver,

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful response to my question. I am sure you are right. I love the example of our bombing France during WWII.

    Is there a "The Law of Armed Conflict for Dumbies?" I won't be sitting in a room deciding whether a site is a permissible target, so I certainly don't need to be an expert. Nonetheless, I would love to have a working knowledge of the subject.

    Anthony

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    File a suit if you think it's illegal.

    Good luck trying to sue this government.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    I have no interest in suing the Government over this. If I could afford to do so, I'd like to send in an extra $1000 in my taxes this year, just to thank them. I would just like to have a working knowledge of this subject, which is probably going to be in the fore until after I am dead.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Basically we're the big boy on the block and we follow the rules we want to follow. It was convenient for us to kill OBL so we did. You can argue that we have violated Pakistan's "sovereignty" but then we would say we are in a state of war against AQ so "sovereignty" be damned.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Gunnut,
    Intuitively, I know you are correct, but isn't there a source which provides a more complete, and authoritative, compendium of the law of war? How does the army teach officers the law of war. I wouldn't be surprised if all they gave the grunts was your answer above. But they must provide more advanced training to many. I am aware that there are many treaties which govern armed conflict, but I understand there are also customary rules of law which are law simply because they are followed. Any idea where a civilian can find a reliable discussion of these matters?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    Gunnut,
    Intuitively, I know you are correct, but isn't there a source which provides a more complete, and authoritative, compendium of the law of war? How does the army teach officers the law of war. I wouldn't be surprised if all they gave the grunts was your answer above. But they must provide more advanced training to many. I am aware that there are many treaties which govern armed conflict, but I understand there are also customary rules of law which are law simply because they are followed. Any idea where a civilian can find a reliable discussion of these matters?
    International law as regards conflict is effectively anarchic in nature. The only areas that touch upon what you want is the UN charter and the Geneva conventions. Both are subject to whether the involved nations are signatory or signatory with exceptions. I don't think either relate to the killing of OBL within Pakistans territory.
    As Gunnut said, the US is the big dog and their are no treaties it's signed that would prevent it doing what it did. The right to self defence for any nation is paramount and under the UN charter is at best vague, deliberately so.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    zraver,

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful response to my question. I am sure you are right. I love the example of our bombing France during WWII.

    Is there a "The Law of Armed Conflict for Dumbies?" I won't be sitting in a room deciding whether a site is a permissible target, so I certainly don't need to be an expert. Nonetheless, I would love to have a working knowledge of the subject.

    Anthony
    No there is not, you have to read the treaties and even the almost treaties.Some treaties bind everyone signatory or not once a certain number of countries sign on (ie the UN charter) or becuase of other conditions (ie the Mountaux Conventions governing the Dardanelles). Some only bind those who signed (ie the Non-proliferation treaty). Some almost treaties are given consideration as well (ie the laws of naval warfare).

    What almost all have in common is the rule of proportionality and discrimination. I am not aware of any international law that prevents one ally from operating in the territory of another. And as I said earlier there is no law preventing a nation from defending itself by what ever means comply with the UN Charter, proportionality and discrimination. This was codified as regards WOT via UNSCR 1456 which built upon 1368 which BTW gave the US explicit permission to act where and how it wanted within the restraints of the UN Charter and LOAC.

    Some excerpts from 1368

    in the preamble- Determined to combat by all means threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,

    from the resolution itself

    5. Expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations;

    The US statement following its adoption by unanimous acclaim

    JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) thanked the members for their kind words and support and for their resolve and condolences to Americans on that dark day. He had also appreciated similar expressions from around the world. His own thoughts and prayers were with the many who had died or were injured and the many brave fire and police personnel, who continued to work feverishly in response to the attacks. Last night, President Bush had eloquently addressed the nation and the world on yesterday's outrage. It had been an assault not just on the United States, but on all who supported peace and democracy and the values for which the United Nations stood.

    His country had suffered a cowardly and evil attack, but would not be shaken in its resolve. "We will grieve and we will heal", he said. The United States looked to all those who stood for peace and justice to stand with it to win the war against terrorism. Indeed, no distinction would be made between those who committed those acts and those who harboured the criminals. The horrific images burned into global memory would serve as a constant reminder to all to stamp out that scourge

    zraver- luckily for Pakistan we did discriminate. Like I pointed out earlier a nuclear responce would have been legal as the value of the target and Pakistan's possesion of nuclear arms removed all protections under the LOAC.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonydg View Post
    I am sorry if this is not the place to ask this question. I am not here often, and obviously I am not a military professional, but I would like to correct some of my friends who believe the raid and killing were unlawful under international law.
    Ask them to quote stature and paragraph. Everytime I read this, they're talking out of their butts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Ask them to quote stature and paragraph. Everytime I read this, they're talking out of their butts.
    Bingo, per the UN Charter the territory of a state is inviolate to conquest not military action, treaty or pleblicite. North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other nations have been attacked under UN auspices. In the case of North Korea the Un even voted to wiped the country out of existence and award its lands and people to South Korea. Whille this seems to stand in opposition to the state right of territorial integrity, it merely re-affirmed the fact that those who launch wars of agression have no protections.

    The list of UNSC resolutions either authorizing military force, punishing countries, or compelling pleblicites is rather extensive. The list of treaties constraining what a country may do within its own borders is likewise impressively long.

    Nor is the US the only nation to subscribe to the idea that it has the right to act where ever it finds a threat with or without UN support.

    Russia demonstrated its commitment to this idea when she invaded Georgia. Some of the things she did post invasion were illegal, but not invading after her nationals were attacked.

    Israel hunted down the Munich terrorists where ever she could find them, along with Eichman, and those helping the Arabs gain a weapons technology advantage. She also attacked Osirak.

    France and Belgium have been active in Africa.

    South Africa invaded Angola

    The UK had to teach Argentina a lesson.

    The list of examples of nations acting to protect themselves is extensive. America is hardly a cowboy, its pretty run of the mill stuff.

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    I'm pretty sure there's 'law' that allows one country to take action against another country if that country harboring violence against the 1st country. That's what I read somewhere long time ago. I might be wrong though.

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