Can we ever condone the notion of state-sponsored assassination?

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British lefties getting their panties in a twist

…..Yet the episode has left us with a more than ticklish logical problem, for the conclusion of last week’s events seem to be this: while torture is abhorrent to civilised society and must never be used, storming a house in a foreign country – at night and with overwhelming force – shooting dead an unarmed man, eliminating four others in the process and taking away the target’s body and dumping it in the sea is legitimate, as long as it is not proceeded by torture.

It is impossible to rank such actions as less morally culpable than torture. The extrajudicial killing of an unarmed man is by any standards the same, or worse, and it seems entirely possible that Bin Laden could have been captured alive and put on trial. So, when liberals rejoice at his slaying, along with the hosts of Fox News, they not only display an elementary flaw in their thinking, they shun the principle that justice should be seen to be done. (snip)

I stress that extrajudicial, state-sponsored assassination is wrong and no enlightened moral framework allows revenge to become a synonym for justice. But this sense of a result in a year that is already proving to be epochal is significant, despite the rage of al-Qaida, which gleefully promises fresh barbarities.

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