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Just-war scholars: Killing of bin Laden justified

May 05, 2011

Just-war scholars contacted by the National Catholic Register, including one who emphasized he opposed American military intervention in Iraq, all agree that the killing of Osama bin Laden was justified under just-war theory.

Nonetheless, “it’s important not to take delight in the death of another,” said Msgr. Stuart Swetland, a graduate of the US Naval Academy who serves as ethics professor at Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary. “In Ezekiel 33:11, we’re told to ‘take no pleasure in the death of the wicked.’”


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  • Posted by: tony2311 - May. 13, 2011 4:29 AM ET USA

    This is just ridiculous! If they came across OBL unexpectedly, there was a skirmish, and he was killed, OK. But these guys spent weeks training with the specific intention of killing him. That was not justified. He should have been brought to justice as the US did with Saddam Hussein and as the Allies did with Goring, Hess, Keitel, et al, after WWII. They didn't go and kill them in their beds. Several of the Nuremburg defendants expressed repentance; the US didn't give OBL the opportunity.

  • Posted by: Paul - Ave Law '07 - May. 05, 2011 10:25 AM ET USA

    Assuming that he was putting up some form of resistance, I expect it was perfectly just to kill Osama bin Laden. Nonetheless, this NCR is disappointing because Desmond has only queried (the untrustworthy, Weigelian) part of the spectrum of thought as to modern just war theory. I want to hear/read what Bishop John Michael Botean, Prof. Michael Baxter, etc. have to say.