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nikipedia's avatar

Does the legality of Osama bin Laden's death concern you? Do you think it was an illegal act?

Asked by nikipedia (27531points) May 10th, 2011

The international community has raised the question of whether or not bin Laden’s assassination was legal under international law. The details that have emerged suggest he was unarmed, so he could have been taken into custody rather than executed without a trial, and we did not have permission to enter Pakistan nor did we have a standing declaration of war against their country.

This has not been discussed much in the American news, so I was wondering: does the legality of this action concern you? And do you think it was legal, according to international law?

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53 Answers

The_Idler's avatar

In the end, the question is irrelevant, because the actor was the US Government, and they are above international law.

For that matter, it’s important to note that Osama bin Laden didn’t exactly respect international law either.

AmWiser's avatar

I think bin Laden is yesterday’s news but the media will keep up any madness that it can, and I could care less. I would assume the U.S. took into consideration international laws and is ready for any fight the international community wants to wage regarding legality.

bob_'s avatar

In this particular case what concerns me is the apparent inability of the government to say what happened and stick to its story.

john65pennington's avatar

I wonder what the 911 victims family members think about his capture?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “dead man walking?” Bin Laden was not only wanted by our country, he was wanted by many countries for his criminal acts.

Do you really think that Pakistan would have co-operated with the U.S. in his capture?

Remember, this is another country with their own rules and regulations that are entirely different from those we are use to in the United States. Its dog eat dog in some of these countries and Pakistan probably qualifies as one.

ucme's avatar

Was it an illegal act? Probably. Does that concern me? Not unduly no. I mean, the putrid cowardly maniac is no more & ultimately, to my mind, that’s a result.

YoBob's avatar

It was not an assassination, it was a military action against the leader of a group that actively declared war on the US in 1997. That declaration, BTW, included the statement at innocent U.S. civilians and their allies were to be considered valid targets. Unfortunately, that declaration of war was not taken seriously until some years later (after a few various suicide attacks) when a major operation was carried out directly on American soil.

JLeslie's avatar

Does not concern me at all. There are several people on the FBI top hit list that are ok to kill, and I am fine with it.

America has stated many time that justice was done. I don’t think of it as justice. I think of it as stopping someone who would go on to murder more people, and who takes the souls and lives of young people who join his organization through coercion and fear.

flutherother's avatar

I’m not very happy about the legal aspects of it. I think it had to be done and it was done efficiently and with panache but if we start thinking we can do whatever we like then others will think the same and we will quickly end up back in the Wild West with the rule of the gun.

marinelife's avatar

It does concern me. As does the President saying that anyone who questions it needs their head examined.

I would have preferred that we captured and tried him. It shows our differences with terrorists.

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YoBob's avatar

One other thing about legality and the international community. It is important to note that a significant percentage of that international community consider themselves adversaries of the U.S. Of course they are going to do anything they can to make America look like the bad guys and questioning the legality of this action, or for that matter labeling it an assassination rather than a military operation goes a long way towards generating bad press (one of the primary tools on the battlefield of public opinion).

tedd's avatar

I do not care about the legality of it, I do not care if it was an assassination.

He was arguably the most evil man alive, and if anything he deserved to have his body dragged through the streets of new york with authorities handing out large stones to the locals.

Frankly anyone who has the gaul to stand up and say “it may not have been legal, we protest”..... loses a significant chunk of respect and credibility with me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No, it doesn’t concern me. The man took on the responsibility of becoming a worldwide threat and wanted dead/alive bounty when he decided to become a terrorist with the lives of innocents and children as no consequence to his actions.

For me, when a person crosses the line between their enemies in war and civilians then I feel little mercy. Would I prefer he’d have been captured and then executed on live broadcast as proof for the world to see and no doubt left, as quickly and painlessly as possible? Sure.

YoBob's avatar

@marinelife – All capturing and bringing him to trial would accomplish would be to create a prolonged media circus which, in turn, would give opportunity to manipulate the press, something which terrorists/jihadists are quite adept at doing.

That being said (and here’s the point where I have to put on my tin foil hat), I have just enough wacko conspiracy theorist in me not to totally discount the possibility that he was captured alive, was not buried at sea, and is currently enjoying the “hospitality” of some of our most skilled psychologists.

War is ugly folks. I believe it important to re-iterate that we were not the ones who declared it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m more worried about the retaliation it may cause than whether it was legal or not. I won’t lie, I think the guy deserved to die and I am glad that time and money wasn’t wasted on a trial but I certainly don’t think this is the end.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

It could be considered illegal, I suppose, but it doesn’t bother me. The man was pure evil. I have no problem with government taking the lives of evil people, even if it IS done illegally. It would be illegal as hell for me to kill an evil person for molesting my kids, but I’d do it anyway.

Their method of taking him down may have been illegal, but it was the approriate action, regardless.

meiosis's avatar

I’m with @YoBob in thinking that any competent operation would surely have had as their main priority the task of capturing him alive, in order for him to be tortured as is the USA’s way in these matters. However, we’ll never know what happened to him, but we can be sure that the US government doesn’t give a flying fuck as to the legality or otherwise of the operation.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think there’s a difference between Bin Laden declaring war on America and the U.S. Government declaring war on terrorism. Just saying.

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: in what respect? Can you elaborate?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I don’t think the two are comparable in terms of ability, finances, military capacity or what it means for the world. Plenty of people (Bin Laden just happened to be able to pull off 9/11 through luck, years and connections) have declared war on the U.S. but when the U.S. declares war on something as vague as terrorism and then has carte blanche to do whatever they feel like in however many countries they deem as ‘dangerous to the freedoms of the American people’, the force is not the same, the effect is exponential and uncomparable to the lives lost from 9/11.

King_Pariah's avatar

It’s war. War is ugly. War doesn’t always get the job done. But when it does, can we just shut up and move on? Yes, perhaps it was “illegal” for us to do that, but I hardly see anyone complaining over the fact that Osama had been there for over 5 years and obviously someone within the Pakistani government had to know about especially considering it’s awkward location and the fact it was well within running distance of the Pakistani’s Military Academy. Why aren’t there as many people complaining about corruption in worldwide government? Or is it simply because world superpowers need to “set an example for the rest of the world” (which I honestly think is NOT our responsibility)?

glenjamin's avatar

Being I have zero sympathy for the man, and have no regard for him whatsoever as a human being, I care not of the legality of his kill. I can only hope he is being secretly tortured as we speak, and if so, hopefully word will get out years from now so we all know he got what he deserved.

nikipedia's avatar

Interesting responses. Let me add a somewhat inflammatory follow-up question:

George W. Bush et al. have been responsible for thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is actively engaged in military conflict with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Suppose George Bush was in a mansion in Canada, and Muslim extremist forces from one of the above groups helicoptered in, killed him, and dumped his body at sea.

Would you consider that an illegal action? Would you be more concerned about legality in that instance?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I wouldn’t be any more concerned about the legality of this action. I suppose I’m less concerned about singular deaths and legalities surrounding them because as someone mentioned above, the U.S. doesn’t even adhere to any international laws.

bob_'s avatar

@nikipedia Yes. We need to get serious about water pollution ~

Seriously, though, I think the response would be basically the same: one side celebrates the death of an enemy while the other pledges revenge, with only a very few people actually caring about the law, much less international law.

nikipedia's avatar

@bob_, I don’t think “very few” people care about the law. I think it’s just that very few Americans care. The international community seems very concerned about this.

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia Interesting question. I think the overuse of the word war in English by Americans has impact. Instead of Bin Laden being a terrorist, criminal, and continued threat, he and his people are raised to the level of falling under the rules of war, I think they shouldn’t be. Do you care if a serial killer winds up dead in a police shoot out to capture him? Bin Laden did attack us, he was glad he did, proud of the execution of his many plans over many years to kill people, and so it seems stopping him was in order. If there are some Iraqi’s who feel Bush should die for the many deaths that happened under his orders, I guess I can emphasize with that feeling; the Iraqi’s never had attacked us. But, I don’t think Bush wanted to kill Iraqi’s, he wanted to do something else, not sure exactly what. I think there is no question Bin Laden wanted, intended, to kill Americans.

bob_'s avatar

@nikipedia Yes, I meant very few people on either side.

YoBob's avatar

@meiosis, actually I rather disagree, not only do I believe that the U.S. does give a flying fuck about the legality of such matters, the U.S. has traditionally been so concerned with such matters as to allow our own rules of engagement to be used as a weapon against us.

If an overly aggressive chihuahua is actively attacking you (or your children), you are perfectly justified in killing it while defending yoruself regardless of what a big bad bully the press will make you out to be (HEADLINE NEWS: Man beats beloved dog to death in front of 10 year old owner. Girl’s parents fear she might be traumatized for life.), and regardless of legal hair splitting (NEWS ADDENDUM: Vicious dog killer may have trespassed on a neighbors property during violent bludgeoning),

Blondesjon's avatar

It has yet to impact my life in any meaningful way, so I’ll go with no. For the record I will say that I believe he got no less than he deserved.

I do find it very humorous that so many people are ok with murder as long as the life was extinguished legally.

The_Idler's avatar

@YoBob What if you continuously baited and used the chihuahua for 10 years and then destroyed its dreams and abandoned it like a piece of trash?

Would you then be perfectly justified in killing it after it bites you back?

Or would you merely be somewhat justified, even though it was your own fault you got bitten in the first place?

cockswain's avatar

I’m ignorant on what constitutes “international law.” Who makes it? Who respects its authority? I don’t think killing bin Laden was immoral at all, but it seems to me that legality depends on the strength of the law-making body to enact and enforce its own laws. It could be declared legal or illegal but be relatively arbitrary.

YoBob's avatar

@The_Idler So, are you saying that Al Qaeda was justified in:

—Dec. 29, 1992
In the first al-Qaida attack against U.S. forces, operatives bomb a hotel where U.S. troops—on their way to a humanitarian mission in Somalia—had been staying. Two Austrian tourists are killed. Almost simultaneously, another group of al-Qaida operatives are caught at Aden airport, Yemen, as they prepare to launch rockets at U.S. military planes. U.S. troops quickly leave Aden.

—Feb. 26, 1993
The first World Trade Center attack and the first terrorist attack on America. A bomb built in nearby Jersey City is driven into an underground garage at the trade center and detonated, killing six and wounding 1,500. Yousef, nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, masterminds the attack, working with nearly a dozen local Muslims. While U.S. officials disagree on whether Osama bin Laden instituted the attack and Yousef denies he has met bin Laden, the CIA later learns that Yousef stayed in a bin Laden-owned guest house in Pakistan both before and after the attacks.

—April – June 23, 1993
Militants plan a series of near simultaneous bombings in New York. Among the targets were prominent New York monuments: The Lincoln and Holland tunnels linking New York to New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations, the last to be planted with the help of diplomats from the Sudanese mission, the Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza, and finally, one in the Diamond District along 47th Street, populated by mostly Jewish diamond dealers. On June 23, as terrorists mix chemicals for the bombs, FBI agents raid their warehouse and arrest twelve.

—May – July 28, 1993
After two months of planning, Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, travels to Karachi, the hometown of Benazir Bhutto, then former prime minister of Pakistan, who is seeking to regain her old job. He and two others are in the process of planting a remote control bomb on the road when the ageing Soviet detonator he obtained in Afghanistan explodes in his face, ending the plot. Financing for the bombing comes from radical Islamic groups in Pakistan, according to Bhutto.

—June 1993
Al-Qaida reportedly attempts to assassinate then Jordanian Crown Prince Abdullah. He succeeded his father as king of Jordan in February, 1999.

—Oct. 3–4, 1993
In a battle for the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, a unit of U.S. special operations forces gets pinned down after two U.S. helicopters are shot out of the sky. Eighteen Americans die, killed by Somalis reportedly trained by al-Qaida. “It is true that my colleagues fought with [Somali warlord] Farah Adid’s forces in Somalia,” bin Laden subsequently claims. The al-Qaida leader also insists, with a characteristic exaggeration, that 100 Americans died in the attack, not 18. The attack leads to the U.S. withdrawal from Somalia, a move hailed by bin Laden as a great victory for the Islamic world.

—March 11, 1994
Led by Ramzi Yousef, a group of Islamic militants hijack a delivery truck in downtown Bangkok, strangle the driver and load a one-ton bomb on board. Their target: the Israeli embassy. But the truck has an accident and the hijacker abandons it, leading to the discovery of the bomb and driver’s body. Several of the plotters are arrested, but Yousef escapes again.

—June 1994
Imad Mugniyeh, the military chief of Hezbollah during its 1980’s attacks on U.S. personnel, meets secretly with Bin Laden in Khartoum. Mughniyeh, at that point the most wanted terrorist in the world for his role in the Beirut embassy and Marine Barracks bombing, advises Bin Laden on planning. Ali Mohamed, the al-Qaida security director at the time, later tells U.S. officials that Mughniyeh told bin Laden how the Marine bombing in Beirut led to the U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon and how such a campaign could eventually lead to a similar route of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and the whole Islamic world.

—June 20, 1994
Ramzi Yousef, working with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, blows up the Shrine of Reza, the great grandson of Mohammed and a Shiite saint, in Mashad, Iran. The explosion took out the entire wall of the mausoleum, killing 26 pilgrims, mostly women. At the time, Yousef was motivated as much by hatred of Shiite Muslims as by hatred of America. Also involved in the plot were his father and brother.

—Nov. 12–14, 1994
Extremists working for bin Laden conduct extensive surveillance of President Bill Clinton and his party during a state visit to Manila in anticipation of mounting an assassination attempt when Clinton returns to the Philippine capital in November 1996 for an already scheduled APEC summit. Bin Laden orders al-Qaida to use still and video cameras to follow Clinton and Secret Service personnel. The Secret Service later learns from an al-Qaida defector that the surveillance was extensive, and the tapes along with maps and notes were sent to bin Laden, who was then living in Sudan. The Secret Service was unaware of the surveillance although there was some concern at the time that the president was exposed during the trip. “We did not know there was a plot to assassinate the president,” said a high-ranking Secret Service official. “We only found out later.”

—Dec. 8, 1994 – Jan. 5, 1995
Ramzi Yousef rents an apartment in the Dona Josefa apartment complex on Quirino Boulevard, in Manila, Philippines, believing that Pope John Paul II will take that route on his way to a huge outdoor mass planned for Jan. 15. The apartment is only 500 feet from the Manila home of the Vatican ambassador to the Philippines where the Pope will stay during his 5-day visit to the country. In addition, he rents a beach house to train his compatriots for the attack and purchases two Bibles, a crucifix, a large poster of the Pope, several priests’ garments — accurate down to the tunic buttons and confessional manuals. The plan, investigators said, was to place a bomb under a manhole cover along Quirino Boulevard. The attack is thwarted when bomb-making materials catch fire in the sink of the apartment kitchen. As it turns out, the pope travels to the Mass by helicopter.

—Dec. 10, 1994
As part of the planning for the Day of Hate [see below] Yousef plants a crude bomb on board a Philippines Airlines plane from Cebu City, the Philippines, to Tokyo. When the bomb detonates, it kills one passenger, a Japanese businessman, and forces the plane, a 747, to land in Okinawa. Yousef calibrates the damage and increases the size of the bomb so it can take down an entire jumbo jet.

—Jan. 21–22, 1995
In what would have been an attack with a higher death toll than the Sept. 11 attacks, bombs placed on board 11 jumbo jets are to be detonated by timing devices as the planes fly over the Pacific, killing an estimated 4,000 people. Most of the jets are to be American carriers and most of the dead would have been Americans. The bombs would have been timed to go off over a number of hours to heighten the terror. The plan, called the Day of Hate, was conceived by Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and his uncle, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Only a fire in Yousef’s Manila apartment on Jan. 6 thwarts it. Mohammed later modifies the plan and takes it to Osama bin Laden. That modified plan becomes the blueprint for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

—June 26, 1995
Less than an hour after Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak arrives in Addis Ababa to attend the Organization of African Unity summit, several members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a group working with al-Qaida, attack his motorcade. Ethiopian forces kill five of the attackers and capture three others. Ethiopia and Egypt charge the government of Sudan, where bin Laden is living, with complicity in the attack and harboring suspects. Privately, Egyptian officials tell U.S. intelligence they believe Bin Laden is behind the attack. Later, Egyptian officials learn that the terrorists had conducted surveillance of the last trip Mubarak had made to Ethiopia, just as they had with President Clinton.

—Nov. 13, 1995
A truck bomb explodes outside the Saudi National Guard Communications Center in central Riyadh, killing five American servicemen and two Indian police. Four Saudi men, all self-described disciples of bin Laden, are quickly executed before the FBI can determine their ties to al-Qaida.

—June 25, 1996
In an attack whose authorship is still debated by intelligence and law enforcement officials, a truck bomb is detonated at the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American servicemen and wounding 400. Although an indictment in early 2001 pins blame on Shiite Muslims backed by Iran, many U.S. officials still believe bin Laden is responsible. Bin Laden himself states in a 1997 interview, “Only Americans were killed in the explosions. No Saudi suffered any injury. When I got the news about these blasts, I was very happy.”

—Aug. 8, 1998
Al-Qaida sends suicide bombers into the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Truck bombs kill more than 240 people, including 12 Americans at the Nairobi embassy. The attack results in the quick arrest of several of the bombers, but not the mastermind, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. Also known as “Harun,” Mohammed is involved in later al-Qaida attacks.

—Jan. 1–3, 2000
U.S. and Jordanian authorities thwart attacks planned to coincide with the Millennium celebrations. In mid-December, Jordanian authorities arrest more than 20 al-Qaida operatives who are planning to bomb three locations where American tourists gather: Mt. Nebo, where Moses first saw the Promised Land; the Ramada Hotel in Amman, a stopover for tour groups; and the spot on the Jordan River where tradition holds John the Baptist baptized Christ. Later in the month, U.S. authorities seize Ahmed Ressam at a border crossing in Port Angeles, WA. He is carrying bomb-making equipment and later discusses his plan to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve.

—Jan. 13, 2000
The cross Africa Dakar-to-Cairo auto race is diverted after the U.S. intelligence community receives word of a planned ambush in the African nation of Niger. Word of the planned ambush was passed to race organizers over the weekend shortly after it was received, leading to a suspension of the race and a massive airlift on Thursday. Cargo planes were flying some 1,365 crew members and 336 vehicles as well as tons of equipment from Niamey, capital of Niger, to Sabha in southern Libya.

—Oct. 12, 2000
A bomb on board a small Zodiac-like boat detonates near the USS Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding scores more. The bombing also kills two al-Qaida operatives in the boat. The United States later learns the Cole was the second destroyer targeted by al-Qaida. The attack was originally planned for Jan. 3, 2000, when the USS The Sullivans was in the same port.

—Sept. 9, 2001
Two Moroccan men, posing as television journalists, kill themselves and Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance, at the alliance headquarters in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan. The killing of Massoud may have been the first part of the Sept. 11 attacks.

—Sept. 11, 2001
Three hijacked planes are flown into major U.S. landmarks, destroying New York’s World Trade Center towers and plowing into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashes in rural Pennsylvania, its target believed to have been the U.S. Capitol. At least 3,044 people are killed. The death toll is nearly 10 times greater than any other terrorist attack in history and makes bin Laden, for the first time, a household name in the United States and the west.

—Dec. 22, 2001
Passengers and crew of an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami subdue Richard Reid after he attempts to light a bomb hidden inside his shoe. Some in U.S. intelligence community believe the bombing was last vestige of a larger plan that included the attacks on New York and Washington as well as bombings of other airliners over the oceans.

—Jan. 31, 2002
Pakistani militants behead Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi after holding him for several days. U.S. officials report there is evidence Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Al-Qaida’s operations chief, may have played a role in his kidnapping and murder. Pearl is shown on a tape being beheaded.

—March 17, 2002
Islamic militants attack the Protestant International Church in Islamabad, killing five. Among those killed were Americans Barbara Green and her daughter Kristen Wormsley. Pakistani officials blame al-Qaida.

—March 20, 2002
Nine people are killed and 30 wounded in a car bomb explosion near the U.S. Embassy in Lima. Peru.

—April 11, 2002
A suicide bomber explodes a truck near the El Ghriba synagogue on the southern Tunisian island of Djerba, killing 14 Germans, five Tunisians and a Frenchman. Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Saad bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s third youngest son, are believed behind the attack.

—May 8, 2002
A suspected suicide bomber in a car kills himself near a bus carrying 11 French navy experts and three Pakistanis outside the Sheraton Hotel in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

—May 2002
Moroccan police arrest three Saudi nationals who were allegedly planning attacks against U.S. and British warships in the Strait of Gibraltar. The men are arrested in May and claim to belong to the al-Qaida network. Moroccan officials say the suspects planned to sail a dinghy loaded with explosives from Morocco into the strait to attack the vessels.

—June 14, 2002
Another suicide car bomber detonates a bomb outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi, killing at least 11 people and wounding 45. No Americans is killed. The bomb is in the trunk of a moving car. The car’s passengers, Pakistani nursing students, are unaware of the bomb.

—Sept. 5, 2002
Afghan President Hamid Karzai survives an assassination attempt when shots are fired into the presidential limousine. Karzai was on his way to a wedding celebration in Kandahar. He is not hurt but one of this U.S. bodyguards and the governor of Kandahar are wounded. The attack comes just after a car bomb exploded near two government offices in Kabul, killing
22 people.

—Oct. 5, 2002
A small boat sidles up to the SS Limburg, a French tanker off al-Mukalla, Yemen, and detonates a bomb. One crew member drowns and 24 are rescued.

—Oct. 8, 2002
Two U.S. Marines are killed in Kuwait in the early stages of the U.S. military buildup in preparation for the invasion of Iraq. The Marines were attacked on Faylaka Island, about 12 miles north of Kuwait City.

—Oct. 12, 2002
Bombs explode in Kuta Beach nightclub district of Bali in Indonesia, killing 202 people and wounding hundreds. Five Americans are among the dead. A third bomb explodes near the U.S. Consulate in Sanur near Kuta, without causing casualties. Bombers later admit they expected many more American casualties. The bombing highlights the reach of al-Qaida.

—Oct. 28, 2002
A group of al-Qaida operatives kills U.S. AID worker Laurence Foley, 62, outside his home as he prepared to leave for work. Foley’s attackers are arrested by Jordanian officials in December.

—Nov. 28, 2002
At least 15 people are killed in car bomb attack on hotel frequented by Israeli tourists in Kenyan port of Mombasa. On the same day, two missiles are fired at but miss an Israeli airliner taking off from the city. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings, is sought by Kenyan officials in the attacks.

—May 12, 2003
Suicide bombers in vehicles shoot their way into housing compounds for expatriates in Saudi capital of Riyadh so they can set off bombs. Some 35 people, including nine Americans, are killed. The attacks are a watershed for the Saudi government, which for years had thought al-Qaida would not attack the kingdom. As a result of the attacks, cooperation between the U.S. and Saudi governments grows rapidly.

—May 16, 2003
Suicide bombers using cars or explosive belts set off at least five blasts in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 44 people, including 12 bombers, and wounding about 60. The deaths of 17 bombers in Saudi and 12 in Morocco suggest that al-Qaida is having no trouble recruiting suicide bombers.

—June 7, 2003
A suicide car bomber blows up a bus full of German peacekeepers, killing four and wounding 31 east of Kabul. An Afghan civilian and the bomber are also killed.

—Aug. 5, 2003
A huge truck bomb kills 16 people and wounds 150 as it rips through Marriott Hotel in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. One foreigner, a Dutch businessman, is among the dead.

—Nov. 8, 2003
In an attack reminiscent of al-Qaida’s May attack, suicide bombers backed by gunmen enter a residential compound in Riyadh detonate two car bombs, killing 17, among them 5 children, and wounding 122. The attack uses vehicles disguised to look like police cars. U.S. and Saudi intelligence services had warned of a possible attack in the days before, even thwarting an attack in Mecca.

—Nov. 15, 2003
At least 29 people are killed and scores were injured in near simultaneous explosions at two Istanbul synagogues, the first al-Qaida attack against Muslim Turkey, a NATO member and military ally of Israel. One blast occurs outside the Neve Shalom synagogue in the historic Beyoglu district in the heart of Istanbul. Another goes off close to another synagogue in the nearby neighborhood of Sisli. An small Turkish militant group aligned with Al-Qaida takes responsibility for the attack.

—Nov. 20, 2003
The Istanbul headquarters of London-based bank HSBC and the British consulate in the Turkish city are targeted in similar attacks, with a total of 32 people killed in the twin blasts. The blasts replicate the twin attacks five days earlier against Istanbul synagogues in that both used “drive by bombings,” in which bomb-laden trucks are detonated by suicide bombers as the vehicle moves past the target.

—Dec. 4, 2003
Maj. Gen. Abdelaziz al-Huweirini, the No. 3 official in Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry and the kingdom’s top counterterrorism official, is moderately wounded in an attack. Huweirini has worked closely with American officials. It is one of at least three such attacks or assassination attempts on Saudi intelligence service officials in December. No one has been killed in the attacks, which are in retaliation for the stepup in Saudi operations against al-Qaida.

—Dec. 14, 2003
Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff barely escapes death as his presidential motorcade travels over a bridge in Rawalpindi. The president is saved because of a jamming device on his car which scrambles signals on frequencies used to detonate remotely controlled bombs. The bomb detonates 30 seconds after the motorcade passes by. It is estimated to have weighed 1,000 pounds. The sophistication of the attack seems to indicate an “inside job.” Pakistani officials publicly blame al-Qaida for the attack, noting that 10 weeks earlier, Ayman Zawahiri called for Muslims to “topple” Musharraf’s regime.

—Dec. 25, 2003
Two pick-up trucks packed with explosives ram into Pakistani President Musharraf’s cavalcade from opposite sides of the road while he returns from Islamabad to his official residence at Army House in Rawalpindi. Musharraf was not hurt, but three vehicles at the tail end of the convoy are destroyed. Several policemen on security duty are killed and more than fifty others wounded.

—Feb. 6, 2004
A suicide bomber detonates a bulk explosive at the deepest point in the Moscow Metro, killing 40 people. The attack is believed to be the work of a Saudi militant Abu Walid, whose financing of Chechen rebels has given him great power within the movement to free the breakaway Russian republic. The attack occurs near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and is supposedly a revenge attack for Russian troops atrocities against Chechen civilians in the town on Alda four years to the day earlier.

—Feb. 27, 2004
A bomb onboard a Philippines ferry detonates, starting a fire that kills at least 100 people on their way from Manila to Bacolod in the central Philippines. The ferry was carrying around 860 people when two hours into the trip an explosion ripped the ferry, leading to a fire that quickly engulfed it. Abu Sayef, the al-Qaida affiliate, initially claims responsibility although the Philippines government denies the explosion was the result of a bombing. Later U.S. officials say the bombing was deliberate, not accidental.

—March 11, 2004
A co-ordinated bombing of trains in Madrid leaves more than 190 people dead and hundreds wounded. The attack, which leads to the unexpected fall of the pro-U.S. government of Anzar, is blamed on Morrocan terrorists with close links to al-Qaida. According to investigators, the attack was carried out not by al-Qaida or even an affiliate, but instead by radical Muslims who identified with al-Qaida and were led by a charismatic figure.

—April 5, 2004
The mastermind of the March 11 attacks and five others blow themselves up in a Madrid apartment building, killing a special policeman as well. Explosives discovered in the building where the five killed themselves to avoid capture indicate they were plotting more violence and were linked to the failed bombing of a high-speed rail line Friday. Two or three suspects may have escaped before blast.

—April 21, 2004
A suicide bomber kills five people, including two senior Saudi police officers and an 11-year-old girl, in an attack on a government building in Riyadh. An Islamic militant group, the al-Haramin Brigades, claims responsibility.

—May 1, 2004
Attack on oil refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, in which gunmen target senior executive at the facility, partly owned by ExxonMobil. Five foreigners are killed, including two Americans.

—May 20, 2004
Saudi security forces clash with five suspected Islamic militants near Buraida, killing four and wounding the fifth.

—May 30, 2004
Miilitants go on a shooting rampage at two oil industry office/residential compounds in the Persian Gulf coast city of Khobar, killing 22 people, mostly foreigners including one American.

—Dec. 6, 2004
Al-Qaida claims responsibility for an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, that left five non-American employees dead.

—Dec. 12, 2004
A bomb exploded in a Philippine market packed with Christmas shoppers Sunday, killing at least 15 people and shattering a months long lull in terror attacks in the volatile southern Philippines, where Muslim rebels are active.
The homemade bomb, concealed in a box, went off in the meat section of the market in General Santos, about 620 miles south of Manila. Officials immediately bolstered security in the predominantly Christian port city of 500,000 people, fearing more attacks.

—Dec. 29, 2004
Al-Qaida operatives launch an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior in Riyadh, hoping to topple the ministry’s inverted pyramid structure.The attack fails with seven terrorists killed and one ministry officer seriously wounded.

—June 20, 2004
U.S. and Afghan authorities disclose the arrest of four Pakistani men on charges they were plotting the assassination of Zalmay Khalilizad, the US ambassador to Kabul.

—June 15, 2005
Chechen rebels try to derail a train on its way from Grozny to Moscow. The train derails, but only 15 people are injured.

—July 7, 2005
Four suicide bombers detonate bombs on London Underground trains and a double-decker bus, killing 56 people in the worst terrorist attack ever in the UK and the greatest civilian loss of life since the blitz more than 60 years ago. The bombers are all British nationals and three are British born. Three are of Pakistani descent, the fourth a Jamaican who converted to Islam.

—July 21, 2005
Two weeks after the first Underground bombing, four other would-be suicide bombers attempt an identical attack on three trains and a bus. The bombs fail to go off and wound only one passenger. Within days, all four men are identified and arrested. Again, all are British nationals, this time of East African descent.

—July 23, 2005
Three bombs detonate in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 63, the worst terrorist attack in that country’s history. Two of the bombs detonated at resort hotels favored by Western tourists while the third went off in the city’s marketplace. Egyptian authorities rounded up a number of suspects and later killed one of the country’s leading Islamists in a shootout.

—Aug. 19, 2005
Attackers fire Katushka rockets in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, narrowly missing a U.S. Navy ship, and killing a Jordanian security man in a dockside warehouse. Two rockets are fired into the nearby Israeli port city of Eliat, causing minor damage.

(timeline came from here)

There have been other attacks since 2005, but I think the pattern is pretty darned clear.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, it does. Because civilized countries have higher standards than terrorist organizations.

The US had no choice, because Pakistan authorities cannot be fully trusted. What the US did was illegal, but ethically right.

I am happy that the number of top-terrorists is now a bit smaller which makes the civilized world a safer place. I am relieved that Bin Laden was apprehended and killed while resisting arrest and no longer poses a threat.

The only thing that could have saved his life was to freeze and raise his hands. From what I’ve heard he didn’t do that.

bob_'s avatar

@Blondesjon The people who care about killing people legally do so because if the government could simply kill anybody without regard for the law, then we could all be at risk. In this case, however, I think we can all agree that bin Laden was a legitimate target.

nikipedia's avatar

@bob_, I’m with you there. I have to confess that I think the people criticizing our action here are missing the larger point—this was an extraordinary circumstance that was perhaps outside the law. But of course, Americans always think we’re above the law.

bob_'s avatar

@nikipedia Ah, good, old American exceptionalism. Just yesterday I was reading about how Newt Gingrish and his mistress-turned-wife are now writing about the topic, criticizing those who don’t agree with the idea. Her books are aimed at children. How fucking depressing is that?

nikipedia's avatar

This fucking country.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob Jesus, don’t post so much crap at once. Can’t you link, please?

YoBob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – Normally I would have just posted the link, but in this case the point is the long history of Al Qaeda terrorism and a link just wouldn’t have made the point quite as effectively.

At least the list stopped in 1995, although there have been plenty of atrocities since then.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob You’re right about that. By our country as well.

YoBob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir No argument about our country getting their hands quite dirty as well. As I have said previously, war is ugly. I do, however, believe it important to remind people that we did not declare war, Al Qaeda did (in 1997 if memory servers) and in that declaration specifically stated that they considered innocent western civilians as valid targets. Unfortunately, for the most part we pretty much ignored the declaration of war until it was brought to American soil. In short, we were not the aggressors.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob So the later wars we led into multiple countries was simply retaliation? Do you really believe that?

The_Idler's avatar

@YoBob Where did I ever suggest that any of Al Qaeda’s actions were justified?

I was just making sure you knew why the Chihuahua bit you.

YoBob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Retaliation, no. Protecting our national interests, a large component of which included disruption of the web of international components specifically designed to create plausible denyability among enabling countries (in short, using our own rules of engagement as a shield against us), yes.

YoBob's avatar

@The_Idler Just as I wish to make sure you understand the nature of the group that declared war on the US.

Blondesjon's avatar

@bob_ . . . Like I stated above, Bin Laden got what he deserved. I’m just giggling at the absurd notion that any state sanctioned murder is ok if labled “legal”. Our government has every available mean to prove that any one of us deserves to die whether it’s true or not. They also have at their disposal the necessary tools to take any citizen out covertly if necessary. We actually are all at risk every day but for the vast majority of us that risk level is nearly non-existent.

I guess my ultimate point is that we don’t only get completely bent out of fucking shape over words, we also use them fool ourselves into a comfort zone by believing, for example, that there are different kinds of murder. Some folks are unable to take unflinching truth. They find it easier to swallow with a comforting, adjective chaser.

again, for the record, fuck osama bin laden. i hope he is in hell being gang raped by chimps wrapped in electrified barbed wire.

flutherother's avatar

@Blondesjon Murder is murder, but the chances of being murdered by the State are reduced if the State observes due process of law. If the government gets to decide who it will kill we are all a bit less safe.

Blondesjon's avatar

@flutherother . . . Right, because the due process of law has never been changed to suit the government’s needs.

now let’s see . . . should i put a tilde after that statement or links to the patriot and homeland security acts?

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