Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama Will Kill Osama

During last night's debate, US presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, told America and the world that he will kill Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden, leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and self-proclaimed perpetrator behind 9/11, among other attacks on the U.S., is thought to be hiding in Pakistan's mountainous range. Republican Candidate, Senator John McCain, likely holds the same position.

Based on Obama's statement, it would appear that he supports capital punishment. As American president, he will seek to kill Bin Laden. There was no discussion around detainment and questioning so much as there were directives made to capture and kill. Although the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly stipulates that "everyone has the right to life”, 24 countries are known to have exercised the death penaly in 2007, with a majority of executions taking place in (in descending order) China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the US, and Iraq. Amnesty International, the leading interest against capital punishment, contends that "the death penalty violates the right to life. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It has no place in a modern criminal justice system." However, a Declaration, unlike a treaty, is not legally binding. As such, the European Parliament signed the first international treaty banning capital punishment without any exceptions because they consider "capital punishment an inhuman, medieval form of punishment and unworthy of modern societies."

Many might passionately contend that Bin Laden amounts to a rare and grave exception. But then, how many lives and precisely how many attacks amount to an exception? At what point is the principle up for compromise?

This posting does not serve to suggest that capital punishment is necessarily right or wrong, or good or bad. Rather, it questions whether Obama's explicit position to kill translates into an acceptance for capital punishment.

*image courtesy of


Anonymous said...

there's no secret that obama is ok with the death penalty:

Anonymous said...

I understand the whole principle aspect of your argument. But, I think there definitely IS a line that can be drawn. There IS a death count that can "amount to an exception".

Besides, assuming Osama got caught and was then housed in some high-security prison cell, why should taxpayers have to pay for Osama's room & board behind bars?

Further, it's not as though there is any doubt that Osama is not responsible for the crimes that he himself admits to have done. There's little chance, then, that the 'wrong guy' will be executed on death row.