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A Victory for the President, but a Defeat for the Rule of Law

Following the raid in Pakistan, and killing of Osama bin Laden, wives and children of the al Qaeda leader are crawling out of the proverbial woodwork.

Bin Laden reportedly had four wives, and anywhere from 20-26 children, 11 of whom are sons, most of whom have, according to The Telegraph, taken refuge in Iran.

The wife who was wounded by Navy Seals in the compound attack more than a week ago was 35 years bin Laden's junior which may explain why newly released bin Laden basement tapes show a dissheveled, and thoroughly exhausted middle aged man who can barely hold a remote. Videos of the 54 year old show him watching news clips of himself. Who knows, he may even have been able to catch an episode of "All In The Family" in syndication?

Indeed, given his potency, it occurs to me that, had it been his wish, his sperm could itself have been used as a weapon of mass destruction, so prolific was he.

Reuters now says that Omar bin Laden, the fugitive's fourth eldest son, is contemplating legal action against the U.S. "to determine the true fate of our vanished father." The younger bin Laden insists that the disposal of his father's body by burying it at sea was humiliating, especially in light of his father's prominence, and that it desecrates Islamic tradition.

Omar bin Laden also suggests that it was, from the outset, never the U.S. government's objective to capture his father, but to kill him.

Whether there is merit to this argument or not, and/or whether there is any way to justify the actions of the Navy SEAL in accordance with international law, there is a baffling question. Why, with an immediate family large enough to start your average garden variety football team, not to mention numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws, did it take nearly ten years to locate that compound?

CNN reported on "Osama's Women" back in 2002 following an indepth interview with Peter Bergen four years before that. What was the intelligence arm of the George W. Bush administration doing not only in the months immediately before the attack on the World Trade Center, but in the months afterwards that it never occurred to anyone to find a way to subpoena, and question one of bin Laden's family?

Why did Osama bin Laden become irrelevant to the Bush administration, and so quickly? Why did they instead choose to focus on plundering and occupying Iraq in the name of going after weapons of mass destruction that were never found instead of looking into Tora Bora? Why did they execute Saddam Hussein who had no connection whatsoever to 9/11?

More importantly, how can any reasonably intelligent individual be expected to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of an elected official again?

Yet, according to a recent poll, 80% of Americans now say they approve of the president's surgical removal of a pesky adversary. That must mean, then, that 80% of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden was the problem in much the same way that a staggering number of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

Factoring out any moral or legal considerations, just as the raid on Khaddafi's Libyan compound by Reagan's elite forces only served to neutralize and silence the Libyan leader temporarily, no lasting peace can ever be secured by the discharge of a bullet. To think otherwise essentially amounts to shadow boxing with a basic historical truth.

What happened in Pakistan on May 2nd in the end amounts to little more than rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. The infrastructure of global inequality remains in place.

In the end, while he may have had a $25 million bounty hanging over his head, and have been the most reviled man in the world, Osama bin Laden was a human being. Surely the "taking out" of one human being won't go far in addressing the underlying causes, or global socioeconomic disparities that are currently transforming Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Bahrain in unknown ways.

No American, since Ronald Reagan praised him as a heroic freedom fighter, has had anything good to say about Osama bin Laden. But, we don't pledge to restore the rule of law by making just one little exception for one bad guy or another. That's why it's called the "rule" of law.

President Obama has proven to the birthers that he is, in fact, an American citizens, and to the radical right that he is, in fact, the commander-in-chief. Now, he has to prove to the rest of us that he is the statesman we elected him to be.