I can understand the perverse delight my friends on the right are getting from noting that after all the caterwauling by the left about the "torture" of Al Qaeda detainees by the Bush administration, it's on the left's watch that an unarmed, dirty, sickly, prematurely aged old man, living in a run-down dump in a run-down country gets whacked on orders of the President. Not just any President, mind you, but The One, The One Who Would Heal the Planet, Sooth All Troubles, the Post-American President, the Citizen of the World, The Nobel Peace Prize Winner, the, uh, well, you get it. I know it's fun to speculate about maybe bringing Obama and Panetta to trial after 2012 for ordering an assassination. Yes, yes, pay back, and all that. Obama and company are a bunch of hypocrites; we all know that.
We all have been tempted, and on occasion have given in to that temptation, but using the Osama killing to make the above point about Obama, Holder, and the rest is not a good strategy. If one thing marks conservatives from the loony libs it's our genuine concern for the country, its institutions, and its standing in a very dangerous world. We conservatives must, therefore, stand with the President on this issue. We cannot treat him as the left would have treated Bush, and, in fact, did treat Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, etc., all through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Likewise the debate about whether he was or was not still in control of AQ is irrelevant. It is as irrelevant as debating whether a delusional Hitler in his last few days in the the bunker was or was not in control of anything. Doesn't matter. They both were legitimate targets for what they had done if nothing else.
The bottom line is that Osama was a legitimate target for both capture and killing. This is a new world in which the old concept of war as a declared conflict between states no longer necessarily holds. Osama and his well-funded international organization had declared war on the United States; he repeatedly had acted on that declaration even before the 9/11 attack on the US mainland. He was a legitimate target whether or not he was armed at the time, and whether or not he put up any resistance. He was as legitimate a target as was Heydrich, whom the British trained and delivered a Czech assassination team to kill; as legitimate as Yamamoto whom the U.S. successfully targeted in a brilliantly executed early example of coordination between military and intel; and as legitimate as Rommel, strafed by the RAF and almost killed in the days after D-Day. Heydrich did not fight back; he had no option to surrender--he died, as he deserved, a slow agonizing death from his injuries. Yamamoto was in a transport plane when he got jumped by P-38s; he could not fight back; he could not surrender. Rommel was in his staff car when he got strafed and wounded by a Spitfire; he did not fight back; he did not have an option to surrender.
On killing Osama, I am with Obama . . . if that isn't a rallying cry, I don't know what is . . .