In 1946, the year following the close of World War II, War Crimes Trials was held in Nuremberg, Germany. The location was symbolic because Nuremberg had been the hometown of the Nazi Movement.
Twenty-four of the most important Nazis were tried; twelve were sentenced to death by hanging, two committed suicide before execution.
The defendants in this trial were complicit in the cold blooded murder of approximately twenty-one million-not to mention twenty-six million who died in Russia as a result of the Nazi invasion. In addition, one hundred eighty to two hundred thousand American military perished in Europe.
The Russian attitude about these defendants was simple and straightforward, "Stand them up in front of a wall and shoot them."
Stalin had a much longer list than twenty-two defendants and advocated a flood of revenge.
The allies, especially the United States and Great Britain, argued that this kind of revenge is, "Not who we are."
All in all, the trial was a good thing because it was a tremendous educational process writ large on a great canvas.
"Vengeance is mine," sayeth the Lord according to the Bible. This means that the act of vengeance to include killings and executions should be at the end of a process of judgment.
Unfortunately, in the case of Osama bin Laden, the attitudes of the Greatest Generation were not respected.
And so the question arises, "Was Osama bin Laden summarily executed? Or was he shot accidentally?"
In my opinion and the opinion of most Americans, "he certainly deserved this" and I have no doubt that in the context of a trial-a public trial-he would have received the death sentence.
Such a trial would have the benefit of laying out before the world the evil of Al Qaeda. Such a trial would have peeled the mystique of bin Laden away. Such a trial would have shown Al Qaeda to be banal and ridiculous. Such a trial would go a long way toward wiping out the bacteria of terrorism. And in the sense of real politic, Such a trial would greatly benefit President Obama's re-election campaign if it were under way in 2012.
But, of course, all this shall remain pure speculation because Osama bin Laden ended up on the wrong end of a bullet in what now seems to have been a murky operation. I use the word "murky" because the White House was so anxious to get the news out that the story they told was a contradictory mess.
First of all, Osama was killed after a forty minute firefight while holding his wife in front of him as a shield. In actual fact, there was no forty minute firefight. Osama's Courier was killed, as were others caught in the crossfire-one of them being a woman and one of them bin Laden's son.
Bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot in the face above the left eye and in the chest. There are various versions of how this came about; one of them being that he was reaching for a weapon-which is not credible; if anyone in his position heard shots fired, he would have his weapon in his hands already.
The second version has him resisting capture. If I were a member of the seventy-nine member Navy Seal Team, I would be embarrassed to say that a middle-aged man could not be readily subdued. It seems clear to me that if an order had been given to bring Osama back alive, he would certainly have been brought back alive. So the question arises, "Was the order to shoot to kill?" It seems apparent that it was.
It is my belief, notwithstanding all the emotional energy around this at the present time, the matter of shooting on sight was not well thought out.
The Obama Administration has a record of "not thinking things through" starting with the Health Care debacle-a matter that cost Obama the House of Representatives. His first order of business should have been JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, not a dubious Health Care Law. But, no matter, President Obama will not concede this point. For one thing, he is too busy chasing the spotlight.
I never thought I would commend President Bush for anything, but I respect his decision not to join President Obama in a ceremony at Ground Zero.
Credit for all this must be shared with the Navy Seals, Leon Panetta and the Bush Administration which identified bin Laden's Courier four years ago.
On 60 Minutes last night, President Obama said that anyone who thought that bin Laden didn't get what he deserved "should have his head examined."
But Dr. Rowan Williams, the Most Honorable Archbishop of Canterbury, has gone on record saying that there is nothing heroic about shooting an un-armed man no matter who he is.
Osama bin Laden was an evil man and I have personal feelings about this as I was the Cantor at a Memorial Service for victims of 9/11.
9/11 may have been the cause of a fatal heart attack that killed my stepfather. The whole thing scared the hell out of me; my stepfather was already hospitalized on 9/11 and I woke up that morning to the news of the towers before setting out to drive to Charleston and his bedside. I knew that between Cape Cod and Charleston were several bridges, several tunnels and several other prime locations for sabotage. But I was not stopped in my journey by any of these; I was stopped by a drunk driver who crashed into my car and put me in the hospital. I learned later in the day, that my stepfather, upon watching the news, jumped out of his hospital bed pulling his IV tubes behind him and shouting, "They're coming after us, they're coming after us." He was a veteran of World War II who saw duty in the Philippines and became so upset by what he saw that he collapsed and was dead days later.
But the point of this blog is to point out that the Nazi's at Nuremberg committed crimes thousands of times greater than did Osama bin Laden. Even though his crimes were hideous and evil in the extreme, it seems to me that what was wise in 1946 has been thrown on the scrap heap of the news cycle and expediency.
President Obama said that pictures of bin Laden's corpse would not be shown because "This is not who we are." The question arises, "Just who are we?"
All this is so typical of an Administration that has plodded along Without Wisdom.
Be sure to watch David Rojay on The Dave Rojay Show each Saturday night at 9:30 on Channel 17. Read A RED STATE HERO and THE LONG BRIDGE RUNNER by David Rojay on capecodtoday.com and finally check out David Rojay on YOUTUBE. For more information, Google "David Rojay".