Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
President Obama continues to get high marks in all public opinion polls on foreign policy. Much of that, doubtless, is due to his crisp dispatch of Osama bin Laden last year.
The latest dust-up about that raid is a mere tempest in a teapot. Some ex-SEALs are saying that Osama was not armed when he was taken down, that he was shot while looking out the window of his residence in Pakistan.
This really should not matter in the least. Under centuries of international law, Osama bin Laden would have been defined as hostis humani generis—an enemy of all mankind. He should be so defined still. The international law of outlawry applied with special force to pirates and slave traders. Osama the mass murderer, the terrorist bent only on more slaughter needed no Miranda Warning. He could legitimately have been shot if he were ordering at Baskin & Robbins.
We have praised President Obama for getting Osama bin Laden. And we respect how the president consigned Osama’s body to the deep. Ironically, Winston Churchill, whose bust he pitched out into the snow, would have approved, too. It was young Churchill who sharply criticized Britain’s Lord Kitchener for desecrating the body of the Mahdi, an earlier Muslim fanatical leader.
If we remember the rapturous reception of Barack Obama in Berlin in 2008 and the tingle that went up the leg of nearly every foreign reporter at the sound of Mr. Obama’s voice in that long-ago campaign season, the events in Tehran this week must come as a shock.
The terror masters of Tehran, hosted a meeting of 120 nations, members of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). That these 120 nations are all also members of the United Nations should give us the deepest concern.
Iran has been designated by the UN itself as a persistent violator of international nuclear arms treaties. Iran’s rulers openly and defiantly call for the eradication of Israel—and of the United States. Israel and the U.S. are members of the UN. To call for the destruction of fellow members of the UN is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter.
So, does the international community unite and boot Iran out of the UN? No. A majority of its members traipse off to Tehran for a conference. Are they sitting there as human shields, determined to stave off an Israeli preventive strike? How can they possibly justify their presence in Tehran?