Killing Osama Was Wrong
Now he's a martyr, writes Geoffrey Robertson
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 4, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
A Pakistani woman shouts slogans during an anti-US protest in Multan today against the killing of Osama bin Laden.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – American glee over the death of the "Wicked Witch of the East" is understandable, but unattractive to many in the rest of the world, writes Geoffrey Robertson in the Daily Beast. It would have been so much better to skip the apparent "cold-blooded assassination" of the unarmed terror master and instead have brought Osama bin Laden to court and "rob him of his martyrdom," he adds. President Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, knows the "absurdity of his statement that 'justice was done,'" writes Robertson. "Real justice" with an arrest, trial and sentence would have been difficult, but "should it not at least have been attempted?" he asks.

"Is this what justice looks like?" asks Der Spiegel in a related piece. Obtaining "retributive justice" for crimes is "not achieved through summary executions, but through a punishment that is meted out at the end of a trial," says international law expert Claus Kress. Instead, Robertson concludes, "killing bin Laden has made him a martyr, more dangerous in that posthumous role than in hiding." It represents a "missed opportunity to prove to the world that this charismatic leader was in fact a vicious criminal." Both his "legend and the conspiracy theories about 9/11 will live on undisputed by the evidence that would have been presented to convict him at his trial," Robertson adds.