Saturday, May 14, 2011

For Stevens, Taking Out Bin Laden OK; Yamamoto, Not So Much

Here's a story from CNN about retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, quoted by two observers as saying that the killing of Bin Laden was legal and justified--and that he was "proud" of the SEALS.  At the bottom of the story was a reminder to a fact stored deep in my mental hard drive--that Stevens was a WWII Navy Veteran--specifically, he was part of the team that cracked the code that identified the time and place of Admiral Yamamoto's fateful final flight, which was located and shot down as a result.

My memory was that that moment had caused the young(er) Stevens some significant angst, and a bit of research turns up that I was right. 

What I don't understand--and it is probably because I am not possessed of a first class legal mind like the great JP Stevens--is why the distinction?  Why would the targeted assassination of Yamamoto in a military aircraft, in a war zone, during the Second World War--cause Stevens angst, but the targeted assassination of an unarmed Bin Laden--in a house replete with women and children in a city smack dab in the middle of an "ally" in the war on terror--seems to be something he applauds.

Perhaps he's just getting wiser as he gets older.  Would have been nice to have this wisdom while he sat on the bench. 


Mudge said...

Could it simply be that through the lenses of a liberal, brilliant legal mind or not, the fact that Obama was the Commander in Chief who ordered the killing automatically endows it with legitimacy?

Seems to be consistent with their view on just about everything else he's done.

"The Hammer" said...

Brilliant legal mind maybe. Subverter of the law and judicial activist, absolutely.

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