“Obviously, we're going into the sovereign territory of another country and landing helicopters and conducting a military operation. And so if it turns out that it's a wealthy, you know, prince from Dubai who's in this compound, and, you know, we've spent Special Forces in — we've got problems.”
Thus President Obama admitted in an interview to 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft on the assassination of Osama bin Laden that the only concern of violating international law is whether the victim is a noble, or not.
The idea that Lady Justice is blind has never really been taken serious. We know that if she were and all were held accountable that most of our political leaders, past and present, would be turned over to stand trial for a laundry list of international crimes. It wouldn't just be Slobodan Miloševic, Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi. Murderers like Paul Kagame and Ariel Sharon would also be tried and likely convicted for their crimes.
No, Lady Justice peeks under her blindfold and quite frequently. Even at the Nuremberg Trials it was standard practice that what defined a crime was whether or not the Allies did it. If the Allies could be shown to have committed the same crime as the Nazi defendant, then it was no longer a crime and the charges were dropped. As was the case for Admiral Gernetz who saw his charges dropped after US Admiral Nietz admitted to doing the same thing.
While the US does have a supermacy clause to its own constitution that says "all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land," or that the US does not have jurisdiction in Pakistan, or that technically it is an act of aggression to conduct a military operation in a sovereign country without either their approval or that of the United Nations Security Councils authorization, or that assassinating an unarmed and detained person is a no-no, it's no matter. For the nobility, law is only of concern if they are victimized. If the noble are the victimizer then it does not apply.
However, for the US, acts of aggression come and go like seasons. There is not a post-World War Two president who has not signed off on one. The proper christening of an American president is to bomb some distant country on the flimsiest and most hypocritical of pretexts. Like gangsters who have to prove their credibility with some criminal act, so too must an American president prove his street cred with an imperial crime.
We even call these flagrant violations “justice” as Obama and his team did following the illegal execution of Osama bin Laden. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined in by saying as much.
Only when recognizing the power of politics and class and its supremacy over “law” can violations of law be called judicious. Like Thucydides said ages ago: "Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
This is precisely what President Obama acknowledged. When carrying out an illegal action Obama only needs to concern himself with whether or not the victim is “a wealthy.” If the victim holds political and economic power, like a “prince from Dubai,” then rest assured that the criminal act will not be carried out—and if it is, then “justice” is all the more likely. But if the victim is weak and powerless then do not fret about the rigmarole of law, pull the trigger.
President Obama’s comment should go down in the history books alongside former President Bush’s statement that “money trumps peace.”