Osama Bin Laden and The Ends Justify the Means vs. the Rule of Law
by, 05-13-2011 at 11:25 AM (2072 Views)
With the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, an unusual majority consensus has arisen, and it is not pretty. The majority of Americans have, at least temporarily, subscribed to the philosophy that "the ends justify the means". The death of Osama Bin Laden (the "ends") was so important that it should be accomplished at any price. The Constitutional limits on executive power can be ignored, due process can be ignored, international treaties can be ignored, and acts of war can be ignored. In other words, all rule of law, and with it, all morality, should be tossed out the window in the pursuit of the death of Bin Laden.
A famous quote from the Christian book of Romans 12:19 comes to mind "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord." But in the case of Bin Laden, it appears that vengeance was due even if it was at the cost of secular and religious law.
Does this mean that Osama Bin Laden should not have been brought to Justice? Absolutely not. It is imperative in a civilized world that justice be served through a due process. In the aftermath of 9/11, US Congressman Ron Paul proposed a Constitutional solution to capturing Bin Laden: the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. This would authorize the capture of Bin Laden, across any international borders. Appropriately, the authorization would consist of passing the Letter of Marque through the Congress, and then the President would sign it. Just the same as any other law, or even more appropriately, the same as a Declaration of War.
In the aftermath of the death of Bin Laden, Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has suggested that while the death of Bin Laden served a form of Justice, there were other options that would have both served Justice and utilized the rule of law. That suggestion has resulted in some criticism, as unfortunately, we are now in the age of "the ends justify the means". Consistently following the law, and modifying the law when necessary appears to be an old-fashioned concept; the concept that separates civilization from barbarism. In regard to this, Ron Paul is notoriously consistent, and a staunch advocate of the rule of law, which is not always a popular stance. But popularity is not everything.
Once the rule of law is abandoned, the only law left is the law of the jungle, where Consequentialism and Egosim are the only rules, and that is the equivalent of no law at all.