North of Hollywood

Peter Winkler

Peter Winkler
North Hollywood, California,
December 14
Peter Winkler is the author of Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel (Barricade Books, 2011). Filmmaker Philippe Mora writes, "I knew Dennis Hopper in his wild days and his sober days, and this book captures the man in his many incarnations. Winkler's deeply researched biography of Hopper is the definitive book on this live wire who lived on the high wire." Winkler has written for a variety of publications, including Filmfax, The Huffington Post, and Playboy. Winkler graduated with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles.


MAY 5, 2011 7:08AM

Killing Bin Laden, We Also Kill Our Founding Legal Principle

Rate: 1 Flag

The almost unanimous approval and even jubilation occasioned by the summary execution of Osama Bin Laden sickens me.

Even the leaders of Nazi Germany, who were ultimately deemed responsible for the deaths of millions, were arrested, not presumed guilty and shot on sight. They were tried with due process being scrupulously observed. We did it precisely because unlike the Nazis, our constitution prevents the establishment of a police state whose leaders can arbitrarily kill someone they have declared an enemy of the state. Another reason this was done was to make sure the vanquished German populace had no justification to claim that their former leaders were victims of a victors' kangaroo court.

When George W. Bush was having supposed terrorists imprisoned and tortured in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, liberals howled about the flagrant violations of the presumption of innocence, the right of habeus corpus, and the Geneva Convention.

With what appears to be very few exceptions that I can see, these same liberals are delighted that Obama sent his button men in to hit Osama Bin Laden, in one fell swoop violating the three supposedly imperishable principles they held so dear when Bush molested them.

They are only bothered by the right's attempt to rob Obama of credit for a deed well and truly done and assign it to George W. Bush. Apparently that's your only cause for complaint, eh?

Since Bin Laden's murder is a cause for joy for so many, I make a modest proposal.

From now on, police should shoot all criminal suspects on sight, even when they're not resisting arrest. We know they're all guilty anyway, otherwise the cops wouldn't be after them.

In war, we will shoot enemy soldiers, even when they attempt to surrender.

Let's quit pussyfooting around and be consistent.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
You have echoed my own feelings on this one. Taking someone out, is not how a civilized nation behaves. That is how a terrorist or the mafia behaves!
This ruins all credibility for the USA. Would we go into England, or Germany for example to go after a fugitive? What if the British equivalent of the SEALS attacked a mansion on Long Island, because it was housing an IRA terrorist? Do you think Americans would permit something like that? I sincerely doubt it! R
Would it have sickened you if Bush had ordered it? You seem upset that liberals objected to torture when Bush was president. Did the torture upset you, too? Do you include yourself in the call for consistency? Just curious, as your rant is so partisan.
You say:
"From now on, police should shoot all criminal suspects on sight, even when they're not resisting arrest."
Bin Laden was not a criminal suspect, he was an enemy combatant.

You say:
"In war, we will shoot enemy soldiers, even when they attempt to surrender."

According to AP today:
"Officials who were briefed on the operation told The Associated Press that the Navy SEALs who stormed bin Laden's compound shot and killed him after they saw him appear to lunge for a weapon."
I saw this piece go by on the feed and spent a good half-hour looking for it again....only to be disappointed.

You started off well, announcing that the Obama take-down of bin Laden violated three foundational principles of American democracy...but you failed to enumerate the principles of which you speak.

So what, specifically, are those principles.

For me, I can enumerate the following:

The right not incriminate yourself. The right to be tried in a fair and impartial court. The right to face your accusers. The right to offer evidence.....gee the list goes on.

This was a pragmatic action taken by a pragmatic man. Once he knew where OBL he had to act. Inevitable.
Kenny: British SAS units have tracked down Irish terrorists in the US. It just didn't get that much publicity.

Leeds: A man shot in the chest with a combat weapon isn't reaching for weapon any more. He's doubled over in pain. A man shot in the head isn't lunging for a weapon because he's already dead. SOP for this kind of assault is to fire two rounds - called the double tap. Considering the speed with which those rounds are fired, they usually end up right next to each other. One in the chest and one in the head is an assassination, pure and simple.
I know exactly what a double tap is.
You have no proof this was an assassination and not mortal wounds inflicted during a combat operation. That is pure conjecture on your part.
Until shown evidence to the contrary, I will believe the testimony of the US military personnel present as related via those who have been briefed directly.
Dear Mr. Paust:

Of course I would be sickened if George Bush ordered a summary execution. You misread me. I am deeply troubled by the murder of a criminal suspect. My secondary point was that most people who call themselves liberals are congratulating President Obama for the act. They are bothered by the right's attempt to give credit for Bin Laden's liquidation to Bush, not by the act itself. I write simply and clearly. I can't understand why you didn't understand me the first time around, but that's your problem.


There have been several conflicting reports of the events. First the White House said Bin Laden used his wife as a human shield. Then they said he didn't. They also said he was unarmed.

There is a photo of Obama and his cabinet reacting to what evidently was a video feed of the attack on Bin Laden. Presumably there is video of the raid, perhaps even of Bin Laden being killed. If so, it should be publicly shown, along with photos of his corpse, to allay any uncertainties.
Usama was shot resisting arrest.

In asymmetrical warfare, the battlefield is the globe, no?

I suppose we could have handled it in an entirely legal manner. Like asked the Pakistanis to issue an arrest warrant, have them handle the arrest and then extradite him to the US for trial.

But the Pakistanis had a decade to handle the matter, and decided to let him live in a mansion surrounded with women.

The question regarding the exact legality of shooting him, even if it was the middle of the night, he had sworn to kill as many Americans as possible, might have been wearing an explosive vest, had firearms within reach, etc. All this is putting too fine a point on it.

He got us. We got him. We won. Its over.

The last major sneak attack on the US ended up with the perp nuked.

He was wanted dead or alive and we got him dead.