Justice Like the Hawk

by Henry Farrell on May 9, 2011

Obama’s interview yesterday evening is being “interpreted”:http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/obamas-message-for-human-rights-watchs-ken-roth/238566/ by Jeffrey Goldberg as an implicit rebuke to Kenneth Roth (or perhaps, at a pinch, to people like Kenneth Roth) who questioned whether the killing of Osama Bin Laden was, in fact, justice. Roth had tweeted

bq. Ban Ki-moon wrong on Osama bin Laden: It’s not justice for him to be killed even if justified; no trial, conviction.

Jonathan Chait professes himself “similarly bemused”:http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/87890/human-rights-watch-head-opposes-bin-laden-killing.

But what Roth was arguing is entirely clear and internally consistent. What _is_ unclear is the way that many commentators (including Obama) are conflating just in the sense of ‘just deserts,’ (or ‘he deserved to get it’) and justice in some procedural sense.
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