Rosie O’Donnell, comedian and celebrity, has come out against the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden — on principle. O’Donnell no doubt speaks for many liberals and some libertarians when she claims that Osama bin Laden’s execution is an injustice because he didn’t get “due process” of law. According to O’Donnell, America is supposed to be “better than” its enemies, and she claims that we become terrorists ourselves when we do things like capture and execute the leader of the world terrorist movement.
Here are some things that O’Donnell, and people with her viewpoints, have probably not considered and never will consider:
1) Why should bin Laden get “due process” of law when his entire terrorist career was dedicated to destroying
the systems of government and civility that make due process possible?
2) If bin Laden had his way, the world would operate under an arbitrary and fundamentalist religious dictatorship. Quite literally, heads would roll for anyone who disagreed. O’Donnell has been an outspoken opponent of unfair acts against, say, gays and lesbians. Under Osama’s rule of “law,” gays and lesbians would be among the first to be sacrificed. What kind of principle is O’Donnell upholding when she defends Osama bin Laden’s right to exist? Why does she want to make the world so safe for Osama bin Laden and those like him? Who benefits, and who loses, in such a world?
3) O’Donnell, like other liberals, favors the notion of “hate crimes.” Hate crimes refer to prosecution for things that cannot easily be proven, motivation and emotion. If you’re prosecuted for a hate crime, you are sentenced not for the crime itself — i.e., for provably, physically harming another person — but for the implied or even subconscious reasons motivating the crime. In other words, you receive a heavier sentence for killing someone because they’re gay or black than you would if you killed someone for no particular reason. This concept is difficult to credibly implement under the American system of government, which holds people responsible for illegal actions, not for illegal motives or ideas. Communist and Nazi regimes punished people for what government considered wrong ideas, but according to liberals like O’Donnell the American government should do the same. Why is O’Donnell so concerned about “due process” for a known war criminal while unconcerned that somebody might be improperly jailed for what they think and believe (however irrational), rather than for what they do? With respect to “hate crimes,” O’Donnell favors the underlying premises of a totalitarian dictatorship, which jails people for their beliefs, but when it comes to war criminals, she’s suddenly a fervent defender of individual rights.
4) According to O’Donnell’s liberal view, America should be “better” than its enemies. Why is the burden on a relatively free country, historically respectful of individual rights, to prove its superiority to a terrorist killer who favors barbaric totalitarianism for the entire planet? Isn’t the United States a self-evidently better place to live and breathe than the kind of world Osama bin Laden would have us inhabit? Liberals are often motivated by a psychology of guilt. It’s their own personal and psychological problem imposed on the rest of us via the force of government. “I feel guilty. So trillions of dollars must be spent by government in order to help me feel less guilty.” Or: “I feel guilty. America shouldn’t kill a war criminal such as Osama bin Laden.” Why must free people and innocent victims pay because O’Donnell possesses untold layers of psychological baggage?
5) If O’Donnell had her way, bin Laden would have been captured and imprisoned in a military compound to await trial. She would have opposed this, as well. She would have demanded that bin Laden be moved to a normal criminal prison and even tried in New York City. Would she have advocated Adolf Hitler being treated this way, had he been caught at the close of World War II? Probably not. Liberals seem to assume that terrorists are not war criminals. But if events such as 9/11 are not war, then what is war? Liberals don’t view terrorism as warfare. They view it as a series of isolated actions that frankly Americans mostly bring on themselves for being too successful and what they consider “arrogant.” To a liberal, war is orchestrated by people who make too big a profit, not by people who seek to even the scales through acts of destruction.
6) Rule of law and individual rights are universal, moral rights inherent to every human being. However, in order to uphold those rights governments must sometimes fight off people who want to obliterate those concepts of rights altogether. Osama bin Laden was an open, proud and known terrorist. There is no question of guilt or culpability, and he opposes the very system that would (if Rosie O’Donnell had her way) uphold his individual rights. Bin Laden — like Hitler, or any other war criminal — did not merely violate the rights of one or numerous individuals through murder. He explicitly declared war on the very concept of rights themselves. This is the essence of a war criminal, and if Osama bin Laden did not fit the description nobody ever will. If the military was not justified in capturing and killing bin Laden, the military is not justified in ever taking any action at all. And perhaps that’s what many liberals believe, Rosie O’Donnell included.
O’Donnell is right about one thing. Barack Obama is not acting consistently by upholding the execution of bin Laden. This position is not consistent with Obama’s otherwise steadfast refusal to call terrorists war criminals, to try terrorists as war criminals, and his general attitude, like O’Donnell’s, that America must be “better” than its enemies. Why Barack is against nearly every aspect of hunting down and killing terrorists, on the one hand, while supporting it in this case defies logical explanation. Surely, Barack Obama is not the first politician to be inconsistent. But I suspect there’s a quiet fury among many true-blue liberals over Obama’s success in doing something that undercuts every principle he has ever articulated, and most of the other foreign policy actions of his administration to date.
Rosie O’Donnell, true to form, speaks for those liberals who are more restrained at keeping their mouths shut. Her attitude represents the literal dead end of pacifism and self-annihilation.