terrorism

I am glad Osama Bin Laden is dead. Not dancing in the streets delirious – we don’t do that sort of thing in the Boston suburbs where I live – but satisfied. A man directly responsible for the gruesome deaths of thousands of people has now gone to his just rewards, and the world is better off for that.

Even before confusion began to emerge about what exactly happened in that house in Abbottabad last Sunday, voices had been raised, mainly in Europe and at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, that the American operation was not “just.” The clamor has intensified now that it appears Osama was unarmed at the time of his death. The claim, however, is absurd. Those who make it seem to think that the Navy Seals who stormed Osama’s compound should have slapped handcuffs on him, read him his Miranda rights, and carted him off to Riker’s Island to await trial. Using that logic, no criminal proceeding that occurred before the introduction of trial by jury, right to counsel, rights against self-incrimination and the like could be considered just. Neither Hammurabi’s Code nor Solomon’s wisdom nor the trial of Socrates could pass that test, leading us to conclude that justice itself did not exist before 1966 or thereabouts. [click to continue…]

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Yesterday I listened to an interview  on National Public Radio with David Kaplan, editorial director of an organization called the Center for Public Integrity, which has just come out with a report on the illegal trade in tobacco which, according to Mr. Kaplan, is the world’s most-smuggled legal product.

It’s a fascinating story of a trade worth as much as $100 billion annually – representing an estimated 12 percent of total cigarette sales – with a global reach and organizational sophistication worthy of any multinational corporation or illegal drug cartel. [click to continue…]

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