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An Amazing Discussion

An amazing opinion piece in the NY Times has sparked an even more amazing discussion. The piece is “The Price of Assassination” by Robert Wright. It makes an interesting point about Obama authorizing the assassination of a US citizen living abroad who is strongly suspected of masterminding terrorist operations. For a moment, ignore whether this is legal or even constitutional, and whether or not it will hurt our nation in other ways. Wright asks, is there any evidence that it will bring about the desired outcome (the end of Al Qaeda).

There is at least some evidence that it will not. After all, if you assassinate the leader of a terrorist organization, are there not even more terrorists willing to take his place, and won’t they be even more willing to do terrible things after their former leader is assassinated?

So go read the article, before the Times starts charging you to read it. Then go on and read the discussion about the piece. If you only want the highlights of the discussion, the Times has conveniently put a “highlights” button at the top of the comments, which currently gives you the eight best comments, including one (#128) by former Senator Gary Hart, another one giving a perspective of someone who lives in Pakistan (#109), a cogent alternative view (#5), and more. Or pick “Reader Recommended” which includes all of the highlighted comments, plus more recommended by readers like yourself.

I have sorely missed Americans having spirited but thoughtful debates about important matters like this.



  1. Sidenote: First thing I thought of when I heard about this were old Westerns. “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters.

    I don’t know if such rough and ready “justice” existed in the US’s “Wild West” days, but I do know we have a myth of such buried in our rhetorical history.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 4:30 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    I am reading “Windows for the Crown Prince.” by Elizabeth Gray Vining. She was hired by the then Emperor in 1945 when the war was just ended and the country under occupation by the Americans. She was to teach the Crown Prince English. Later the Emperor wanted her to teach the Crown Prince American culture. Vining had just become a quaker. I was unaware Japan signed a treaty “not to fight” And they haven’t. Wouldn’t it be nice? You are perfectly correct. One of my tax clients said to me that an Insurgent in Iraq would be called a patriot here. Defending our country. Iraq is a perfect example of riling up a country. They will feel enmity for us forever.

    I retired as a tax preparer today after 28 years-7000-8000 tax returns.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Congratulations EBDoug! I hope you have lots of interesting plans for your retirement.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink