Many if not most Americans seem to think that the assassination of Osama bin Laden solved something. What did this accomplish? The man who organized the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington is dead, but so what? He no doubt was pleased to see death arrive. He professed to await it with equanimity, knowing that it was inevitable, probably would be violent, and that he would be rewarded in another world for his service to Islam in mobilizing a formidable organization to oppose what he saw as Islams great enemy the Great Satan, as the Iranians have named the United States. He supposedly planned and ordered the New York and Washington attacks, and he is attributed responsibility for the subsequent bombings of Madrids railroad station and the London Underground, although it remains unclear whether he was directly associated with them or merely inspired them. He also sent a very large number, if not most, of the American people into a frenzy of fear, outrage and political paranoia, and inspired the U.S. governments useless destruction or displacement of undoubtedly more than a million Iraqis, other Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, and their allies and sympathizers. This in turn inspired still more reciprocal violence. These actions deeply altered for the worse the civic morality of the American government and people, convincing them to accept the Bush administrations decision, now supported and sustained by the Obama government, to jettison international law in America's pursuit and treatment of its enemies, reintroducing torture, the abuse of prisoners and assassination as state policy into the practice of a major western power for the first time overtly and officially, at least since Nazi practice in the Second World War. The advance achieved by West European and American civilization during the 19th and early 20th centuries to reintroduce the Christian and chivalrous values of the past into modern war was deliberately reversed during that war. The barbarism of the First World War was mainly the result of introducing industrial and chemical methods and innovations into warfare between 1914 and 1918. Aerial bombardment of civilians was to a limited extent reintroduced. During the Second World War, these became the principal methods of warfare for the western Allies. After the fall of France, London had no way to come to grips with the Germans except through the air. It had credulously accepted, from the early bomber enthusiasts, that aerial bombing would be precise and effective. It was anything but. The British in desperation turned to nighttime area bombing of worker housing, rationalizing to themselves that workers after all were soldiers, too (and that it demoralized the enemy home front to bomb wives, children and relatives.) The U.S., equally credulous about air power, had built the presumably invulnerable flying fortress daylight bomber. These were shot out of the skies without fighter escorts. American fighter planes were also vulnerable until Britain gave the U.S. the Rolls Royce Merlin engine to use in the otherwise inadequately powered P-51 escort fighter. The atomic bombing of Nagasaki (after Hiroshima was already destroyed, to the worlds horror) was the ethical nadir of the Allies war. When he authorized mass civilian bombings, Churchill had said to his colleagues that if Britain lost the war he and they would be tried as war criminals. Such scruples seem not to have been voiced in the White House with respect to Nagasaki. Nor, a half century later, were there White House expressions of scruples with respect to shock and awe in Baghdad (where the Iraqi civilians were supposed to welcome us) or when the Marines reduced Fallujah to Dresden. The Nazis at least were defeated in the Second World War. In the Bush and Rumsfeld Global War on Terror, only national disrepute was gained by atrocities. The two wars in Afghanistan and the one in Iraq have not even been won militarily. In President Bushs war against Islam (he had read Samuel Huntington, too), only hatred flourished on the Islamic side, and among Americans, fear and expediency. The naval commandos, the Seals, that conducted the raid on bin Laden were probably under orders to kill him, rather than capture him alive. The U.S. had no actual evidence that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He would have probably become one more Guantanamo prisoner held without charge, a propaganda embarrassment for the U.S. and an asset to Americas enemies. Deep-six him. Killing him, and those others unfortunate enough to be in the Abbottabad compound and caught in a line of fire, was undoubtedly illegal under the laws of war, but the laws of war were tossed out several years ago. Ambassador Charles Freeman recently quoted to a Washington audience the argument made by a former head of the Israeli Defense Forces Legal Department that, If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. ... International law progresses through violations. This seems now the unavowed policy of the United States. Antiwar