Now that Imad Mugniyeh is apparently killed, is the war on terror nearly over?

None of the commentators who have expressed pleasure at news of the apparent death of Imad Mughniyeh is apparently embarrassed at all to say how happy they are, that he deserved to die as he apparently did in a car bomb explosion (in Damascus), or that the world is now better off for all this.

Most if not all of these commentators would, I assume, also be ardent champions of the rule of law.

So, it seems to me that there is a contradiction here, about which there ought to be a somewhat greater degree of self-consciousness.

How can it be legal to carry out such targetted assassinations? Without any kind of legal proceedings — including impartial investigations and cross-examinations of evidence, and then public trials with guarantees of due process and proper defense — there is nothing to gloat and crow about here.

It might be more convenient, and even more entertaining, simply to off those who are conjured up as the great boogey-men of today, but it is not more moral or legal — or civilized.

We do not even know with any degree of certainty what this man actually did — we only know what unnamed intelligence or security sources passed on to some editors and journalists, who then published it as fact. Maybe Mugniyeh really was a fearsome, cruel and brilliant operative who committed horrible crimes. Maybe he was a nobody. We have absolutely no proof either way.

The only possibly even remotely good thing that could come out of such an ugly and hypocritical spectacle is that this awful so-called “war on terror” could be declared over. We could have annual rememberance days of its end, as we do of the armistices of World Wars I and II. And we could get back to leading much better lives than we did before this awful “war on terror” was declared.

11 thoughts on “Now that Imad Mugniyeh is apparently killed, is the war on terror nearly over?”

  1. some believe that they can torture and murder with impunity in the interest of their national security and sovereignty (sic)

  2. Mugniyeh was a worthless barbarian who killed innocent Americans on peacekeeping missions in Lebanon. Our mission was noble, his sinister. One less godless Muzzlem will make the world a better place. God Bless Bush!

  3. Well, you already know that I can’t agree with Muslims Against Sharia … or with The Poz Man’s opinion about what will make the world a better place. As to who or what Mugniyeh was, I remain, until proven wrong, a sceptic with serious reservations.

  4. I would just like to ask MAS why they use the word Facism together with Islam – a word created by a European Christian group.

  5. Even though he’s killed hundreds of people including civilians & was active in a terrorist organization, all people are entitled to due process. Why couldn’t he have been served an arrest warrant & been brought to trial? If he was found guilty he would get a really long jail term & the problem would be solved. I commend Marion on taking a stand that is moral & will eliminate needless bloodshed! Maybe an arrest warrent could be issued for Osama?

  6. Oops, just thought of something. If we had put Imad Mugniyeh in jail, his people could then kidnap a bunch of civilians & then morally we would have to release him. This is a real dilemma Marion. Do you think a really big fine would work?

  7. Interesting comments, Rule of Law, but just a bit bullying.

    The answer to your rhetorical questions is, No.

    What I think would work is stopping targetted assassinations, as well as all other indiscriminate attacks, from all sides. But I do think it is worth bringing up the issues of evidentiary proof and legality.

    If you read closely, you will see that I have not argued on the grounds of morality.

    Late last night I came across a news report that I thought said that the UN Security Council was preparing a statement or a resolution, or may have already adopted one, saying that it condemned all targetted assassinations everywhere. I was able to sleep more peacefully after that, but now I can’t locate this news report.

    When I went to the UN News Centre [the UN uses British English spellings], and I clicked under the category of Security Council — latest news — I found mostly statements made by UNSG BAN Ki-Moon. He is not a member of the UN Security Council… but that is the way the UN’s DPI works now apparently. Maybe the UNSC statement or resolution was made late, so processing it would have required staff staying after regular working hours, and it will be processed then later today.

    Anyway, I just read an editorial on the apparent assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in today’s Haaretz, which reads:
    “In December 2006, the Supreme Court authorized the defense establishment to carry out targeted killings as an unavoidable part of the war against terror. This license to kill was restricted through a number of stringent conditions. According to the Supreme Court ruling, assassination cannot come in revenge, or as punishment for a past terrorist act, but to prevent future terrorism. The threat posed by that person must be ‘strong and convincing’ and the person must be party to ‘continuous activity’, as opposed to sporadic or one-time involvement in terrorism. The Supreme Court forbids the use of assassination when the person can be arrested without posing a threat to the lives of soldiers, and when the action itself may cause disproportionate harm to innocents”.

    OK. This is not to say I agree, but OK.

    Then the Haaretz editorial continues: “It seems that according to the rules set by the Supreme Court, Imad Mughniyah justly deserved his assassination. When there is no choice, when terrorism directed against Western, Israeli and Jewish targets is evil and senseless, and cannot be contained through diplomatic means, no method has been invented that is more reasonable than the assassination of those who have made terrorism their life’s work”.

    Actually, I would have come to just the opposite conclusion: the rules set by the Supreme Court should have barred the assassination — if it was carried out by Israel, that is, and I am reserving my position on that one as well.

    If the Supreme Court reasons that assassination should never be done as revenge, or even for past acts of terrorism, then it could be argued that assassination should never be done. If assassination is forbidden when the target could be arrested without threatening the lives of the persons sent to arrest him or her, then arrest is the preferred method, and at least should be attempted.

    But, just as the Israeli Supreme Court’s lauded ruling on torture has simply opened the way for more torture — security agents just argue that they torture (or even use just moderate physical pressure) to prevent future terrorists acts that they just invent in their heads — this Supreme Court ruling on targetted assassinations provides some cover for these political murders, albeit with qualifications merely cloaked in legal garb, by saying that they can be justified if they prevent future terror, however imaginary.

    Do I need to say that many analysts believe that “terror” — a word that I do not like to use at all, and which is still not satisfactorily defined by the UN, but I can accept that this would mean the use of violence, force or fear against civilian targets, and not only to achieve political ends but for any reason, everywhere — has only grown as a result of indiscriminate bombings and targetted assassinations …

  8. I was also interested to discover, just now, a story on the Jerusalem Post website which reports that “Alberto Nisman, the Argentinean prosecutor who last year secured Interpol backing for the arrest of Hizbullah’s ‘special operations’ chief Imad Mughniyeh over the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish community offices bombing, said Wednesday that he felt no sorrow over Mughniyeh’s death, but neither did he feel that justice had been served…’Mughniyeh was being actively sought by Interpol’, said Nisman, ‘and it would have been best if he had been brought to court, to explain what happened [in the orchestration of the bombing]. I feel no sorrow [over his death], nor the reverse. I am a prosecutor and my work is to bring people to justice. This is not justice’.”

  9. The war on terror was declared for a reason, the 9/11, Now, how do other states wish to sit on the right side of the US and prove that they share the pain is a matter of how creative they are.

    Lebanon the pride of all arabs, was and still now living in blood (civil war times) and what we see is that many players are flexing thier muscels and the poor people paid the price. the scene has changed dramatically since president hariri was assissnated. god bless his soul.
    Marian is absolutely right about bring the guy to a court and prosecute him there if he is really guilty. such a thing was done by the US to Saddam and his assistants, Eichmann, ..etc. sometimes the guy is bad but finds those who support him like yigal ameer in Israel, pinochet of chile, Milosevech of serbia.

    The state prosecutor of argentina is definitely a cheerleader without a uniform.

    Justice is indivisible globally, so let it prevail everywhere.

  10. This comment was published in The Daily Star of Lebanon:
    “…it is virtually impossible for him to have had a hand in all the activities ascribed to him by friend and foe alike. He was barely (if at all) into his 20s when what would eventually become Hizbullah had its first stirrings, and while that organization and its immediate forebears were new and heavily influenced by a younger generation, its leaders – as Mughniyeh is widely alleged to have been from the beginning – tended to be a little older than that. Also, the number of operations attributed to him and their geographical locations made it even more unlikely that any one man could have had a direct role in all of them. The tactics, too, varied, as did the strategy: civilian or other “soft” targets in the early years, almost exclusively military ones thereafter. There is also the matter of expertise. Mughniyeh’s purported exploits – everything from furtive kidnappings to the outmaneuvering of the region’s strongest and most sophisticated military in the summer of 2006 – include ones requiring very different skill sets typically not found in a single individual. Then there are the few photographs in existence, and while the man is reported to have undergone plastic surgery to alter his appearance, the images in question could easily be those of two or more different people of very different sizes, even if one accounts for a significant weight gain. In fact, virtually everything that is thought to be known about Mughniyeh – including, now, his death itself – is suspect”.

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