Thursday, May 26, 2011

Former German Chancellor Schmidt on killing of Osama

Yesterday, Helmut Schmidt – the former German chancellor who is also a frequent contributor to German weekly newspaper Die Zeit – stated that the murder of Osama bin Laden violates international law. He also said that Americans have become used to "not viewing international law as binding for themselves."

I don't know much about international law, but it seems a no-brainer to me that a country cannot assassinate someone. Schmidt makes an interesting comparison with the attempted assassination of Hitler, which he said did not violate international law, but I don't follow his reasoning. First, I'm not sure what the law was before the end of World War II; second, it was not a state, but individual Germans (who wished to take over the state) who attempted to assassinate Hitler.

Whatever the case, the most interesting thing for me remains the drastically different reaction to the killing of Osama in the US and in Germany.

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