There isn’t any real “debate” over this proposition in the minds of 95% or more of Americans, but it is bubbling up because a handful of writers —including even as competent a reporter as Michael Crowley— allowed themselves to think that this was just another story with other “aspects” to it which should be explored and debated at length.
The “debate” may go on in the minds of a very few people, but not for the vast majority of Americans. The details of the assault are very interesting, but not because they illuminate anything about bin Laden or the morality of the mission which is widely and rightly understood as necessary and in every way proper, but because they give greater exposure to the courage and competence of the American warriors. Civilized people simply do not doubt the guilt of bin Laden and we don’t doubt the justice of his dispatch, armed or not, resisting or not. Whatever the specifics of the orders of the SEALs, they are great heroes for having gone deep into hostile territory on a mission to bring justice to a monster whose evil has covered country after county in innocent blood.
There isn’t much to comment on in this regard, and analysts, columnists and reporters/bloggers should resist the temptation to try and say something new or interesting about so obviously moral a cause.
The interesting debate will occur when and if the left figures out that bin Laden is dead because of info developed at CIA black sites using enhanced interrogation techniques almost certainly including waterboarding combined with information learned from detainees captured in Iraq after the American invasion. The effort to push back against this obvious fact has already begun in,where else, the pages of the New York Times. (One has to ask, by the way, if the Times would have published a story containing details of the suspicions about the bin Laden compound, so feckless has the paper been about American national security over the past ten years? You can never tell after a leak appears who it has tipped off, but you can understand after a successful blow to the terrorists like this one how sensitive they must be to everything appearing in the American media and how any scrap of information conveyed by our MSM is devoured for signs of the approach of the SEALs.)
Successful prosecution of the war on terror requires many tactics, and while the American government must always maintain a deep concern for the morality of its techniques –which is has– the American public must understand that the ability to kill the monsters like bin Laden does indeed depend on the old line, probably wrongfully attributed to Orwell, that has become cliche: “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” The left hoots at this obvious truth, but it must collectively be trapped in its own obvious cheer over the demise of bin Laden, applauding the end of the world’s most wanted man, brought about by all the things they have denounced for a decade.
If not, let them say so, clearly: “It would have been better that bin Laden have gotten away than water boarding been used on anyone.”
And the Democratic pols who played to their fevers.