Wednesday, November 21, 2001

We may be placing our bets on different sides of the table, but isn't Shapiro making exactly the same point I was making in this space six days ago?
Bin Laden is probably no more likely to be taken alive than was Adolf Hitler. But what would we do if bin Laden emerged from his cave waving a white flag or was handed over alive by the Afghans? As Jim Steinberg, the director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, puts it, "The worst thing that we could do is to have him killed if we could have taken him alive." Bush's rhetoric about bringing bin Laden "to justice" would seemingly mandate putting him on trial. But the president's executive order authorizing military tribunals also raises the option that the government would try him in secret in Afghanistan and then, presumably, execute him. It is hard to imagine an outcome more likely to transform bin Laden into a martyr and make a mockery of our cherished beliefs in justice.

Which is exactly why I'm still betting on this pony.


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