During the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, there were three planes operated by terrorists crashed into the skyscrapers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building. Moreover, the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania, presumably aimed at the White House or the Capitol. The US authorities demanded that the Taliban extradite Bin Laden. The refusal to extradite the terrorist was the reason for the launch of the US anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. However, despite the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Bin Laden could not be arrested. He continued his active political activity, constantly appearing on television with new threats against the United States and its allies. After the terrorist attacks, the US Congress adopted a resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists. It allows the US President to use the necessary and appropriate forces against those states, organizations, or individuals who took part in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Obama’s actions on the use of force are justified based on this resolution and on international law, enshrined in treaties and laws of war.
Congress gave the Commander-in-Chief the right to employ force against those responsible for the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, after a tragic day. The President might order the National Command Authority to employ force against Al Qaeda, including Bin Laden and other members, in accordance with the constitutional framework (Savage, 2015). The United Nations and NATO then issued further international permits (Wallace, 2012). The fundamental international concept of a nation’s inherent right to self-defense, codified in Article 51 of the UN Charter, was overlaid in this permission to employ force (Schaller, 2015). Domestically, a Presidential decision to assassinate Bin Laden as an enemy was unquestionably supportive of the authorized use of force. The President is required by law to share these results with the congressional leadership.
After the CIA received information about bin Laden’s whereabouts, there was no unity in the US leadership on the question of how to destroy him. The initial plan to launch a bombing attack using bombers was rejected in order to minimize possible civilian casualties (Schaller, 2015). Thus, this reflects the idea that the investigation has been conducted for quite a long time, which indicates that Congress has been notified of the intentions to conduct the operation (Savage, 2015). The organizers of the operation had no choice but to stop at the riskiest option — a ground operation by special forces.
According to the Secretary of State, such decisive actions could, in the worst case, result in a direct military clash between American Navy seals and the Pakistani army (Savage, 2015). Based on various aspects of the legislation, it should also be noted that this operation was carried out with the presence of a particular right in the United States. The existing prohibition does not restrict this issue on murder in Presidential Order 12333, which was signed in 1981 (Govern, 2012). This operation was a military action in the current armed conflict between the United States and Al-Qaeda, and it is not forbidden to kill specific leaders of the enemy forces.
Summing up, it should be noted that President Obama had all the legal grounds for conducting the Geronimo operation. This is due to the fact that after the terrorist attacks on the territory of the United States, the legislation significantly expanded the powers of the president. This factor was reflected in the fact that Barack Obama had grounds to take the necessary actions in response to a potential terrorist threat. Thus, US legislation focuses on a preventive response to a potential threat to protect its own population and the sovereignty of the country.
Govern, K. H. (2012). Operation Neptune Spear: Was killing bin Laden a legitimate military objective? Targeted Killings, 347–373.
Savage, C. (2015). How 4 federal lawyers paved the way to kill Osama bin Laden. The New York Times.
Schaller, C. (2015). Using force against terrorists ‘Outside areas of active hostilities’—The Obama approach and the bin Laden raid revisited. Journal of Conflict and Security Law, 20(2), 195–227.
Wallace, D. A. (2012). Operation Neptune’s Spear: The lawful killing of Osama bin Laden. Israel Law Review, 45(2), 367–377.