Saturday, 1 October 2011

The cops of the world are now the vigilantes of the world

James Stewart has morphed into Clint Eastwood, Destry into Dirty Harry.

When the news came through that Osama bin Laden had been tracked down and assassinated, I admit to having felt relief (though no triumphalism), while regretting that, because of the reported fire-fight, it had not been possible to capture him alive. That mood shaded into disgust as the truth was gradually revealed, that Osama had been shot in his bed. Since that incident, more ostensible terrorists have been killed, more often than not by armed drones, as in the recent assassination of Anwar al-Awlaqi.

The United States, even though she has long claimed extra-territorial rights and stood aloof from most international tribunals, used to abide by the rule of law as she saw it. Punishment came after conviction, not before. Now that even a relatively liberal president can order a remotely-controlled (with all the dangers of "collateral damage" which this implies) missile attack in a nation with which the US is not at war on a man who has not even been brought before a court, we should all be worried.

No comments: