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Germany’s civilized killjoys

The Local · 9 May 2011, 18:19

Published: 09 May 2011 18:19 GMT+02:00

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Apparently the jubilation of the death of the world’s leading terrorist has exposed the Americans for the archaic, vengeful warriors they are.

"What kind of country celebrates an execution in this way?" asked an indignant Jörg Schönenborn, the editor-in-chief of German public broadcaster WDR, after Osama bin Laden had been killed. And he’s not the only one.

Germany is suddenly teeming with grand muftis, who can explain in detail why a burial at sea is un-Islamic and therefore an affront to the Muslim world. And there are loads of moralizing philosophers espousing the view that Chancellor Angela Merkel was wrong to rejoice over an enemy’s demise. Of course, we shouldn’t forget the legions of wise legal experts, who always seem to know best.

"It was clearly a violation of applicable international law," said former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt on a TV talk show recently. Is this the same Schmidt who gave the order to for the GSG 9 anti-terrorist force to shoot hijackers aboard a Lufthansa plane in Mogadishu before they had a chance to ask for a lawyer? "It doesn’t fit with my understanding of law and order that murderers are simply gunned down," said Schönenborn last week. But would he have said that on national television back in 1977?

Many Germans have clearly been unsettled by the impressive US military operation culminating in the death of terrorist leader bin Laden. Their mistrust can be read from the widespread responses the extrajudicial killing has provoked: bin Laden was no longer relevant to the operational work of al-Qaida; there was no due process; the rapid disposal of the body was suspicious; the Americans’ vengeance and rejoicing over a death is uncivilized; the Muslim world had long since turned away from bin Laden; or it was all just blatant electioneering for an embattled President Barack Obama.

In short, the American operation came too late and was not really necessary, according to many in Germany. The fact that the Americans received crucial information as to the whereabouts of bin Laden’s hiding place through questionable interrogation methods at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp completely discredited the mission for the German sceptics. What is there to cheer about?

But these are smug words from individuals who believe they always know better. They make it sound as if the Germans wouldn’t have shot bin Laden, but would have talked him into agreeing to surrender legally – there and then in the middle of the night – before taking him into custody. But this approach wouldn’t have satisfied anyone either – after all, Germany has been unwilling to take former Guantanamo detainees in the past. This nasty terrorist problem is ultimately a matter for the Americans, they think. However, the German conceit – this black and white perspective – has nothing to do with the realities of such an operation.

And the anti-American subtext of the unenthusiastic German response to the execution of bin Laden isn’t the most jarring aspect. Far more remarkable is the distance – as if Germany is no longer part of this war on terror. As if there were no German forces in Afghanistan. As if 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta never lived in Germany. As if the Germans who died in Djerba in 2002 suffered from food poisoning. As if three men weren't just arrested plotting bomb attacks in Düsseldorf.

And so, for Germany, the death of Osama bin Laden marks the end of the inglorious chapter of history that started on September 11, 2001. Even if Germany today appears unmoved by the event, the country remains deeply enmeshed in the fight against terrorism and its causes. No-one is obliged to rejoice, but it’s also wrong to shamelessly wash our hands of the whole affair.

Story continues below…

The Americans have been doggedly on Osama bin Laden’s trail for ten years. The Germans, on the other hand, have used this time to remove themselves from their own responsibilities. So much so, that Germany’s corner pub ethicists and armchair jurists can now condescendingly grade others still trying to make a difference.

This commentary was published with the kind permission of Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, where it originally appeared in German. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:44 May 9, 2011 by Sooney
Well - Well - Well

Would not have seen this if I had not scrolled all the way down - unlike the other articles - - guess it was just an opinion to positive... I plan to share this with - you should not thrown stones if you live in a glass house....
19:18 May 9, 2011 by EastPrussia
This author is completely right - Schmidt wouldn't have said his opinion when he was President, and Germany has a lot of these "arm-chair Judges" with the air of superior moral judgement. It is astonishing that they simply ignore the evidence and the current state of the civilized world - and the threats imposed on it- and instead choose to advocate for this terroist's legal rights. I feel someone gives up their legal rights when they kill thousands and subject many more to brutal oppression under a torturous regime. Besides, he wasn't even a citizen of the U.S., so why would their laws need to apply to him? It's all just madness.
19:32 May 9, 2011 by Sooney
Well said - EastPrussia
20:25 May 9, 2011 by ryhntyntyn
Rubbish. Celebrating Killing is ghoulish. It doesn't matter how much the person killed "deserved" to die. If it has to be done, it has to. But jumping around like an idiot afterward shouting USA USA! at the top of one's lungs like Hulk Hogan just broke the Camel Clutch and defeated the iron sheik is more than just stupid. It's indicative of how badly Al Qaeda actually hurt the US, and changed that country for the worse.
20:52 May 9, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
EastPrussia> It is astonishing that they simply ignore the evidence and the current state of the civilized world...

I agree: I think we should be able to do something to slow down global warming, and pollution in general.

EastPrussia> I feel someone gives up their legal rights when they kill thousands...

AFAIK he did not kill thousands any more than successive US Presidents have done: even if he gave the order it is not the same as actually killing.

Personally I prefer to keep the innocent-till-proven-guilty system. And if the evidence is so clear of someone's guilt then it should be a short trial.
21:07 May 9, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
@East Prussia: Maybe Schmidt wouldn't have said the opinion when he was Chancellor, but only because of political reasons. I am quite sure that the legal experts in the german chancellery and the foreign office have their difficulties with that operation.

"It is astonishing that they simply ignore the evidence and the current state of the civilized world - and the threats imposed on it- and instead choose to advocate for this terroist's legal rights."

If you think so (as do many others), Bin Laden can celebrate his last victory: that the "civilized world" has left its path and begun to stroll dark ways of extra-judicial killings and torture. In fighting the terrorists the US have let it happen in the end to be stooped down to their level, as harsh at this may sound, unfortunately (just look at Guantanamo, a legal abyss). I do believe in the rule of law, and I do believe in the human rights of ANYBODY - you cannot give them up and you cannot lose them, or they were not human rights. And I certainly do not believe in simply bumping someone off because all other alternatives are "inconvenient". I would like to believe that Bin Laden was shot in self-defense, that he reached for his gun, whatever... but I do not believe it.
21:16 May 9, 2011 by Lisa Rusbridge
The majority of Americans were not dancing in the streets, this was the media doing their self-appointed job of reporting on what makes the easiest and most dramatic story. No one I know chants "USA! USA!". Not ever. Most reasonable people view this as a turn of a page -- perhaps even another chapter, but not much more than that. It remains to be seen what impact: positive and/or negative, both short term and long term, will result from OBL's death. And of course this depends on one's vantage point.
21:25 May 9, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
Joy over the death of human-beings is something I cannot understand. Looking back at the last century, it was amongst others, the USA which condemned Hitler's Government for ordering armed forces to march into Poland. The reason given by Germany then, resemble the arguments of the former and current Presidents of the USA now. It was because of thousands of German-speaking citizens in areas taken by that country had been murdered. Everybody has the right to defend themselves and no sane person, in the civilised world, would want to deny this right to the USA. During ones own defence it is also quite possible that the adversary may die. There is however an enormous difference between defence and cold blooded murder!
09:04 May 10, 2011 by Sooney
It is not joy over a human death - it is celebration of an end to a chapter for the USA and the chapters name was Osama Bin Laden - it had nothing to do with Germany - the issue is it is amazing that Germany has so much to say about something they had nothing to do with - ok - everyone has opinions - but it is amazing to see a country who lives in a glass house throwing stones in the manner they are doing it -especially with their historical background - now there are other countries doing the same things - where is the tv media outcry about that if your focus is on ther rights for human beings - no matter what they do and where they are in the world - but it appears to be one sided where the Germans are concerned - when you live in a glass house YOURSELVES - how are you condeming someone elses actions while condoing your own - the author pointed out this out very clearly in in his article - yet there is a steadfast continuation with a focus on how and what the USA has done - and ignoring that same factual clear disregard for human life (terroist) when and the same order was giving to kill terroist without a lawyer - what is the difference - So I am left wondering why this public outcry on the USA abut human rights - a world terrorist. So if Germany is as they say they are - human rights and all where is the public outrage and outcry about human rights around the world - here are a few examples right now: 61 or so people (not 1) allowed to die at sea while trying to leave a terrorist infested country - come on now - you must have some thoughts on those people rights - and especially in their case - they had done nothing wrong - but they died in the sea like you know who - so is appears that your focus is just on the USA - that's interesting as it appears there is a lackluster approach to how addressing how you handle your lives, selective approaches to how you view human rights historically and similar approaches in 2011 and the canny ability to validate your actions - who cares - but it seems that you truly want to vent your views around the world as to how the Americans handle their own business - don't throw stones if you live in a glass house and your house already has cracks in it...but you probably don't even realize what the cracks mean....

So again - hats off to East Prussia and the author of this article....
10:07 May 10, 2011 by MaKo
*** Thank you, Moritz Schuller, for this insightful article. ***

Sooney is right - it is the celebration of the end of a chapter. I am American and the celebrations in the streets were uncomfortable to me, but at the same time, I didn't suffer the effects of 9-11 in the same way that the people of New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania did, and as such, I'm not going to prescribe them a stoic reaction to a major defeat for Al Quaeda at the hands of American special forces. I won't begrudge them their revelry. 9-11 happened on American soil. It means something different there.

In the USA, the death of Bin Laden means that someone who is responsible for the murder of thousands wasn't left free to plan continued attacks in his own sworn war on America. Here in Germany, the death of Bin Laden seems to mean that a human being was unjustly struck down by American forces.

So we find ourselves at a cultural impasse. I would ask those on the other side to bear these things in mind: that it means something different in America. Don't criticize what you can't understand before you try and gain a little perspective on it.

And again, thank you to Moritz Schuller for supplying some of that perspective.
10:24 May 10, 2011 by Angry Ami
I always find it interesting when Germans broad brush Americans, as if some yahoos whooping it up in the streets represent most Americans, if I were to make the same assessment about Germans, this comments page would crash, anyway that having been said, hey people react they way they do, and it's their free choice to do so, to me OBL death doesn't really make that much difference in this struggle, since Al Zawahiri is the real brains behind the operation, so good that 1 evil jihadi is out of the picture, but at the end of the day it wont make that much difference.
10:36 May 10, 2011 by lucksi
And maybe, just maybe, most Germans know that the US outfitted, trained and bankrolled this charming Bin Laden when he was just a hobby terrorist. Because it was just fine and dandy when Bin Laden's "freedom fighters" were busy attacking Russians, right?
11:00 May 10, 2011 by FredFinger
Bin Laden was very useful against the Russian invasion and was rightly supported by the americans. Then he went rogue, started attacking the West and had to be eliminated.

And your point is?
12:28 May 10, 2011 by authun
The article is sensationalist drivel.

TheCrownPrince makes a strong point that Americans hardly know any more what good taste is.
13:31 May 10, 2011 by Sooney
Just the author's point - just read your own comments - but it is ok - everyone has a right to their own opinions - now don't they - including the Americans....
13:39 May 10, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
I lost two friends in the 9-11 attacks; I was assigned as an EMS Chief to help cover Chicago if the city were also attacked - but I did not run around cheering at the death of OBL. As stated, the media chose to show the sensational - just as Germans are portrayed as beer guzzling, pretzel chomping fools on US television during Octoberfest. But I will not say I am unhappy about this. One can debate international law and human right until they are blue in the face, but until every person and every nation respect these values, they are but abstract wishes. Forget the two World Wars, but then look at the German "Human Rights" record in the countries it invaded in Africa.

Even within Germany there are events that call into question Germany's record on human rights: "Unknown Assailant - Insufficient investigation into alleged ill-treatment by police in Germany, details three deaths and 12 cases of serious injury following police action but it is believed that there could be many more. "

Glass house - perhaps.
13:42 May 10, 2011 by FredFinger
Bin Laden got what he deserved. Good taste had nothing to do with it.

What a bunch of pinheads some of you are. Terrorism is the ultimate in bad taste as if taste has anything to do with it.
13:53 May 10, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
And lets take a look at the German wooing of Rwanda for its own purposes:

"On paper, the European Union may criticize China for engaging in a ¦quot;trade only, no politics¦quot; approach to Africa, but in practice, Germany, at least, is willing to support brutal African regimes that engage in horrendous human rights abuses if it means gaining a foothold against China. "

16:09 May 10, 2011 by Beachrider
Wow. More haters working their keyboards. Perhaps they should have been working the international courts so that OBL would have had an international bench warrant against him (oops, legal error on the haters).

Given these positions, I am interested to see of Colonel Ulrich Wegener is out of Germain jail yet. He certainly did a beat-down of those similarly charged PLO factions at Munich in 1972 and on Lufthansa 181 in 1977. The German chief executive was Helmut Schmidt. I guess that he was run out of town right away because he didn't bring those folks in for an international court.

Oh wait, Germans 'danced' with them. They are Germans. This is about hate for Americans.

Lose the hate. That is how we get these things behind us.
16:31 May 10, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
@Beachrider: the actions in Munich and Mogadishu took place to save hostages (in both cases) from an imminent threat of life. It' s called assistance in emergency. That's a big difference to the extra-judicial killing of an unarmed man at home (as I presume it was).

Furthermore, Commander Wegener and Chancellor Schmidt got the permission to act within the borders of Somalia by Somalia's President Siad Barre in exchange to a huge sum of "development aid".

In 10 years from now the US will look back on that lost "war against terror"-decade in embarassment, because they betrayed their own legal principles, squandered their strengh in completely unnecessary wars and ruined their economy, while China is standing on the sidelines ready to take over the lead.
16:50 May 10, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
Before Obama's election we were in Germany visiting with friends and family. They were overjoyed at the prospect of Obama becoming the President. They bought his rhetoric on change. So know where are all the supporters? Had it been George W in office, everyone would be pointing fingers and say "See..." But now people are lost - they didn't see Obama's lack of international relations, and his overall lack of any experience. Obama had to prove he was just as tough as anyone - had the press found out that he knew where OBL was and did nothing, or left it to the Pakistani's he would have been vilified, both here and abroad. Remember, it is easy to tell the score after the game is over.
16:51 May 10, 2011 by Beachrider
PLO fighters could have been captured. They were killed in battle to keep more Germans from gunfire.

Germany wouldn't have asked Somalia if the Airplane had been there for five years, either.

Lose the hate.
16:54 May 10, 2011 by steve6400
There seems to be an inability or refusal, to differentiate between 1. joy from Justice and 2. joy from death. It is far easier to criticize the masses for being happy at UBL's death; but this is a straw man, and more than just a bit sanctimonious. The USA celebrates justice being served. The celebrations would have been just as great, if not greater, had UBL been taken alive, but even idiots realize that the US did not have the luxury of that choice. So, once again the German Punditry is completely correct in Theory yet fail miserably in Praxis. Funny thing about theory and praxis: they are always the same in theory but never the same in praxis.
19:19 May 10, 2011 by ChrisRea
"In short, the American operation came too late and was not really necessary, according to many in Germany."

Really? What is the basis for this statement? A quick poll among his friends? There are also other statements in this article which are clearly only the author's assumptions.

Moritz Schuller writes like he would know what Germans stand for. The only impression he made on me is that he might be schooled by a propaganda committee.

Conclusion: poor article, translated only because it is in line with the view of the staff from "The Local".
19:23 May 10, 2011 by benjahmin
How is this even being discussed? Joy from the killing of another human being is monsterous, terrorist or not. I think its an interesting point that many Americans now know the sense of joy that many radical muslims felt on 9/11. Sickening but true. America as a nation has FAR more blood on their hands than Mr. Bin Laden ever did.

If America didnt play the "world police" game, less people would want to burn their flag and blow them up. Just a thought.
19:54 May 10, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
I prefer the US playing the "world police" game rather than Russia or (God forbid) China. Who else should do it? The UN? Har. The EU? Har, har. No, let's be honest, the West needs the USA, and rightly so. And I am by no means a "hater", Beachrider, I just take the liberty to form my own opinion.

Problem is, since 9/11 the yanks are a little bit nervous and "distressed", to put it politely (on the other hand, who could blame them?). Let's be honest, the last 10 years are lost, not only for the USA, but also for all the others. With the billions that were spent for Iraq alone., how many schools and streets, houses and infrastructure could have been build? And in my opinion the threat by terrorists which our governments constantly try to sell us is completely exaggerated: some lousy nutters in rags strolling to and fro through Afghanistan, barely able to handle a bazooka. Just leave them alone. If they don't want out way of live, why bother?
20:45 May 10, 2011 by EastPrussia
@ Sooney

"It is not joy over a human death - it is celebration of an end to a chapter for the USA and the chapters name was Osama Bin Laden"

That's exactly right. We are not celebrating a human death, but the end of a struggle against a terrorist figurehead whom the U.S. had been searching for years.

And by the way "TheCrownPrince", I was not saying that he had no human rights, since human rights are undeniable and cannot be taken away by anybody. Rather, I was suggesting that a person's legal rights should not be so emphasized when the criminal is as blatent with his crimes and so obviuosly beyond rehabilitation as OBL.

By the way, where should he have been extradicted to? Saudi Arabia? I'm sure their courts are uncorruptable and represent the loftly ideals of the civilization you say has been degraded by this entire 'war on terror' affair. Justice is ambiguous by nature, subject to change depending on a nation's laws, and perhaps this particular person got what he deserved.

Don't forget, "justice" in some places often includes execution.
20:49 May 10, 2011 by pseu
I am personally happy he is dead. I am not celebrating his death in any way, just happy he is dead.

Is that really so bad?

Who are you to tell me how I should feel about this? Do I wish he could have been put on trial, have a forum to speak to, and make a mockery of the court?

No, I am happy he died in the middle of the night in some trash hole in Pakistan and then had his body dumped in some random part of the sea.
22:10 May 10, 2011 by charlenej
I lived in NYC on 9-11. I saw the aftermath, I smelled THAT smell, I remember the missing posters.

I consider myself and liberal and a pacifist, but I will say this: I'm glad that SOB is dead and I'm glad the U.S. did it. He rejoiced and danced in the killing of innocents. Thought it was funny to blow people up. Me being glad about his death in no way makes me like him. I don't want innocent people dead. But sociopaths that do nothing but brainwash others into acts of insanity? I absolutely want them gone and in all honesty I don't care how it gets done.

If I may quote Samuel L. Jackson in A Time To Kill "Yes. Yes [he] deserved to die and I hope [he] burns in hell."
23:35 May 10, 2011 by Katzerina
Seeing as I was here... what celebrations? As far as I saw and heard, there was one rather spontaneous evening in front of the White House and in NYC...where mostly young people went and got a lil happy... and it certainly didn't last for very long. Did the foreign press manage to amplify the reporting?

This doesn't even compare to say the results of a college football win in terms of crowds celebrating... or Mardi Gras?

Seriously, as much as most Americans I believe supported the outcome.... a lot of the celebratory tone, was more akin to South Park's Team America.
01:18 May 11, 2011 by tercel
The Germans are lashing out at the Americans because they realize in 50 years or less through demographs and democratic rule of law Germany will be ruled by sharia law. This is something THEY have done to themselves and have no idea how to stop it. So they strike out like a little child whose parents took away the child's candy before dinner. The native German death rate is higher than the native birth rate, the moslem birth rate on the other hand is 5 to 6 times the moslem death rate plus you have to add in all those legal and illegal immigrants that arrive every day.

I visited Germany several years ago, it was breath taking to see the great cathedral in Cologne, it will be sad when it is turned into a mosque much like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The great art museums in Berlin - to bad virtually all the art is un-islamic and will be destroyed. Alas I am too old to see this happen and happen it will. I still fondly remember sitting at an outdoor cafe and watching all the beautiful German girls (20 years old and up) go by and wishing I knew more than a few words in German and that I was 40 years younger. Alas it will not be long before they walk by with some male relative in their burqas and niqabs. You only have yourselves and your suicidal belief in multiculturalism to blame NOT America. You could not bring yourselves to kill Hitler or even arrest him, you believe a man who ordered the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians deserves his day in court but you are just fine with committing cultural and national suicide.
02:24 May 11, 2011 by Beachrider
Wow now we are to be afraid of Sharia customs? Live in fear if you like. I choose not to. This passive-aggressive stuff will eventually take YOU down, though. The USA will lose its battles addressing issues and pushing for solution, though.

Go along for the ride, but you can still affect the way it is done. Or not.
08:15 May 11, 2011 by MfromUSA
WELL, WELL WELL. GERMANS want to throw stones.

I respect your leader.............she said it right.

There should be joy when evil is destroyed.

Now, Germay.it is your responsibility to rid yourselves of your hate mongering NEO NAZI groups. You don't seem to have the stomach for it, despite the past.

Don'y criticize the USA for destroying that which is EVIL.

EVIL has no right to anything..........laws be damned!
08:58 May 11, 2011 by Sooney
It appears to me that I am reading a lot of comments from people who think they know what Germany stands for - the author is just expressing his opinion in his article - just like some folks are expressing their opinion and propoganda views and throw stones through freedom of expression with the Local - at least they offer you that right.....
12:27 May 11, 2011 by FredFinger
It is not death the crowds are celebrating but life, life without fear of a religious pervert and mass murder like Bin Laden. The germans should get over this kind of navel gazing while there is still more work to be done.
18:18 May 11, 2011 by tercel
@ Beachrider

It's not sharia customs you should be afraid of it's sharia LAW you should be afraid of - unless you are a moslem male then I am sure you are jumping for joy at it's impending implementation. If you are not a moslem male go to Pakistan, Somalia and Saudi and immerse yourself in sharia "customs", learn what is coming to Germany. I've been there and seen it and have no intention (while I'm alive) of ever allowing what you naively call sharia "customs" to come to the US. While you sheeple surrender to 7th century barbarism we in the US fight it, and just like good sheeple every where you despise those who will not surrender with you.
19:03 May 11, 2011 by Flint
@ Kenneth Ingle. You have no understanding of the history of WWII, do you?
19:33 May 11, 2011 by Beachrider

This use of fear, codewords and 'punctuation' easily engender hate. Although some groups migrate to other countries to preserve their ancestral ways, most people move to integrate change.

I am American. I resent your condescension towards others. Stop talking like this or you will only push-away people from conversations. Or just stop talking, your choice.
06:07 May 12, 2011 by tercel
@ Beachrider

If you are an American and your last post tends to make me doubt it, may I be so forward as to advise you to read the first amendment to the constitution of the United States, especially the freedom of speech part. I believe it was Ayaan Hirsi Ali who once said, "The one thing islam fears the most is free speech in the hands of free men."

I read from virtually all European posts the US should have arrested OBL not killed him - OBL on many occasions boasted about how he helped plan, finance and pick out those who destroyed the WTC. WHERE was the international arrest warrant from the Hague? How about the international arrest warrant from the EU? Demjanjuk could be acquitted of all charges against him. Even Israel admits most probably his SS ID card is a Russian forgery. YET Spain wants him extradited where prosecutors have prepared a separate case against him. For what, there is no evidence he was ever in Spain or violated any Spanish laws. BUT there appears to be evidence OBL had a hand in financing the terrorists who blew up a Spanish train killing hundreds just before the Spanish election. WHY did Spain not issue an arrest warrant for OBL? To arrest someone you need an arrest warrant and there was none.

Face it there is no free speech in Western Europe at least when it comes to islam - even if you speak the truth the government will arrest you or the moslems will kill you. Most Europeans I believe resent the fact that they are being over run by a culture right out of the 7th century and are being forced by their government to integrate into it. America will not go silently into the night. We will stand and fight and any terrorists that attacks us we will kill even if heaven runs out of virgins. I do not always agree with what my government says or does but in killing OBL it did the right thing.
10:11 May 12, 2011 by frankiep
You people who are now criticizing and condemning the US for finding and killing bin Laden, the head of a worldwide organization whose stated goal is to kill 'infidels' and their supporters, are ridiculous and showing your true colors. Monday morning quarterbacks of the absolute worst variety. The kinds of people who are never willing to take any action yourself but are the first to criticize and complain about those who do take action. Let's say that instead of killing him that he was arrested - how many of you so-called human rights experts would be willing to have his trial, and the resulting biggest terrorist target in world history, in your town?

When Adolf Eichmann was captured in Argentina by the Israelis and put on trial in Israel, many people such as yourselves screamed bloody murder about how he was a harmless old man minding his own business when he was "kidnapped" and taken halfway around the world to stand trial in a "kangaroo court". Now here we are half a century later and the same shrill chorus is complaining about how OBL was a harmless old man who had his so-called rights taken away and was killed in cold blood. I wonder how many of you would also be complaining about "kidnapping", and "kangaroo courts, if OBL, like Eichmann, had been arrested instead. I'm guessing that most of you would. Good riddance to OBL. It's comforting to know that he finally got what was coming to him and that his is no longer stealing oxygen from the rest of humanity.
11:39 May 12, 2011 by michael4096
@tercel - do you really think that writing words in capitals makes your rant any more accurate?

"Virtually all European posts..." - complete rubbish. Apart from the fact you haven't a clue which are European and which American and which from other lands, there is nothing to say that posters on this forum are representative of their origins. Besides, I see for and against from all quarters where people have admited their origins.

"Most europeans ... resent ..." - more rubbish. Most Europeans don't have strong feelings about moslems at all. Some Europeans resent immigrants in general but that is different.

"If you speak the truth ... arrested ... or [killed]..." - which planet do you live on?
14:42 May 12, 2011 by lwexcel
To every American on this board....Why are you arguing? OBL is literally 'sleeping with the fishes.' If people want to complain ...fine. It is not as if their opinions matter anyway. I am also quite sure that the local politicians/judges here in Germany would not have even spoken out against it if they were not trying to sway votes for their parties in an election year.
15:02 May 12, 2011 by FredFinger
@ Iwexcel

The very fact that this happy event is in any way an issue in Germany is a very telling state of affairs. Politics aside, germans have some very perverse ideas about all sorts of things including the fight to keep us from becoming victims of islamic terrorists.
16:41 May 13, 2011 by mj22
@Iwexcel Of course this anti-Americanism is used to sway votes, just like it was 100 years ago in Germany. Politically opportune anti-Americanism, powerful Christian political parties, rising right wing extremism, and a splintered political landscape that ranges from communists to right wing nuts is the same toxic brew that caused Germany to explode 80 years ago.
16:46 May 13, 2011 by Joshontour
Funny how many of these people come out to defend Muslims whenever another terrorist attack occurs. Always the same "not all Muslims are terrorists" argument. When Muslims dance in the streets of their lands, celebrating the death of westerners we hear it too. But when a few Americans react with jubilation over OBL's death, all Americans are condemned. Scheinheiligkeit pur.
17:11 May 13, 2011 by mj22
@Simon_Kellett Personally I prefer to keep the innocent-till-proven-guilty system.

Me too. But it doesn't apply to people who are not US citizens and aren't on US soil.

@Simon_Kellett "AFAIK he did not kill thousands any more than successive US Presidents have done: even if he gave the order it is not the same as actually killing."

Odd, didn't you just talk about "innocent until proven guilty"? Where have any US presidents ever been found guilty of murder?

The legality of the killing of Osama bin Laden is determined by the courts, not by pundits or mobs. The relevant courts are US courts, Saudi courts, and Pakistani courts, although German courts also could involve themselves. If none of them determine that any laws have been violated, then the killing was legal. If prosecutors choose not to bring charges or courts refuse to accept the case, then the killing was legal too. That is the way a nation of laws works.
17:48 May 13, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Progressives are progressives, whether in Germany or in America. Progressivism is the death of common sense.

American conservatives have absolutely no interest whatsoever in what the U.N. or the World Court has to say about situations like this. The USA has been looking for Bin Laden since 2001. He ordered the attack on our nation, and he has been dealt with. He was an enemy combatant. Al Qaeda is still very much in existence and is intent on harming the West, especially the USA. This isn't a situation where the war is over and the other side has put down their arms, so now it is time to try them as war criminals. No, they have not put down their arms.

Europe, be on notice that conservative Americans do not care for your liberals or your socialism. Nor do we care if you dislike us either. Honestly, we are blissfully unconcerned about your opinion, because it is unfailingly derived from the nonsensical mentality of liberalism. We live in the real world. Our feet actually touch the ground.
21:20 May 13, 2011 by mj22
@TheCrownPrince "In 10 years from now the US will look back on that lost "war against terror"-decade in embarassment, because they betrayed their own legal principles, squandered their strengh in completely unnecessary wars and ruined their economy, while China is standing on the sidelines ready to take over the lead."

You're misattributing European attitudes to Americans; Americans aren't interested in empire building or in converting other nations to democracy or in a p-ssing contest with Europeans. In fact, to most Americans, Europe is of no interest at all. And most of those Americans like me who have to deal with it personally or professionally would still rather be home.

The only reason the US got involved on the world stage in the 20th century is because Europe and Asia were totally incapable of getting their political and economic affairs in order, and because its failing economies, refugees and dictators were becoming a bother for Americans.

Europe really has three choices. It can continue to dance to the US tune, it can kowtow to China, or it can grow some b-lls and take care of its own affairs. Since the latter two are unlikely to happen any time soon, the status quo will continue; you might as well accept it and pray that US tax payers aren't getting tired of ensuring Europe's defense and oil supply.
22:23 May 13, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
Meanwhile NATO continues air strikes with the sole intent of killing Gaddafi - how is that any different? The US killing of OBL/UBL was a surgical strike that killed very few persons as compared to a bomb with its inherent collateral damage.
00:09 May 14, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
The arraignment and trial of an alleged offender involves getting to the truth of the alleged crime, this being of major importance for risk management and prevention of such crimes in the future. Obama's extra-judicial killing of US alleged 9-11 mastermind Osama prevented justice, both for society (that needs to know what happened) and for the alleged offender.

We don't know who did 9-11 because all the alleged perpetrators are conveniently dead and now the alleged master-mind has been murdered by Obama. 90% of Germans and 50% of Americans believe the US Government is lying about who did 9-11. Indeed the FBI Most Wanted List wanted Osama for embassy bombing atrocities (29 Americans killed) and not for 9-11 (3,000 mostly Americans killed). Science, engineering, architecture, military, aviation and intelligence experts say that the US did 9-11(for details of numerous such expert opinions simply Google "US did 9-11").

While we do not know for sure who did 9-11, we do know that Obama murdered the alleged key witness Osama and accordingly that Obama has become a murderer and an accessory after the fact to the 9-11 atrocity. Further, we do know for sure that Bush, Obama, Blair, Brown, Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Harper, Sarkozy and Merkel and their associates are variously responsible for the post-9-11 carnage in Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan (post-invasion violent deaths plus avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation total 2.7 million and 5.0 million, respectively; and post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.8 million and 2.7 million, respectively; an Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide and an Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide, respectively).

Bush, Obama, Blair, Brown, Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Harper, Sarkozy and Merkel and their associates should be arraigned and tried for war crimes and mass murder before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and should be punished not by execution but by life imprisonment that would enable psychologists and psychiatrists to find explanations for these genocidal US Alliance crimes.
00:41 May 14, 2011 by phil25
I would like to answer a few points that have been raised.

Any people who celebrate the murder of another person are clearly cretins, and what the world witnessed in Washington on the night OBL was killed was clearly a poor reflection on the American people, however unrepresentative you believe it to be. No matter what OBL is supposed to have been responsible for he still should have faced a trial, in the same way as WW2 Nazis and Milosovic.

When it comes to ´terrorism´ the people who bandy the word about to stick a label on OBL, Al Qaida, Hamas, PLO etc should take care. In my opinion the US the biggest terrorist state in the world and has been for at least 40 years, firstly because of its foreign policy which brazenly flaunts international rules, but also because of the brutal and undemocratic regimes it supports merely because they are prepared to kowtow to the US.

What should be a bigger concern in the assassination of OBL is that the US has assumed the right to send its death squads into other sovereign states - in the same way as Israel did last year - to kill people it doesn´t like. This is not the way so called civilised societies - as opposed to terrorists - are supposed to operate. Are we then saying that it is OK if the US starts killing Europeans because they have become problems.

Its long overdue that European politicians stop cheerleading US foreign policy and start standing up to America and all that it represents.
02:29 May 14, 2011 by OldMule
I am an American and I was appalled by the demonstrations after bin Laden had been killed. I think some of them were probably orchestrated by the democrats, who seldom get to beat their chests over showing some spine in international affairs. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad we finally got the bugger, but it should have been a somber, sober reaction rather than the jubilation that was shown. Most Americans agree with me; They realize that the world changed (much for the worse) on 9-11 and the death of one man has not changed that sad fact.
04:51 May 14, 2011 by Swag2TZ
This is complete and utter bullshit. First of all, we don't live in a civilized world anymore. WAKE UP...Second, the Pakistanis let this punk live in their country for 5 years, while the stupid Americans pay billions to a bunch dipshits who can't even run a country, much less keep law & order. Third, Bin laden is tot. Lets move on. We got bigger fish to FRY. Keep up Deutschland, your slacking on us.
01:00 May 15, 2011 by Ich
The article goes only 3/4th of the way. In additioan to all said, and well said, there remains the "victory cheer", itself. Nothing wrong with that when, after a decade of effort a major goal is achieved, major terrorist leader is neutralized, shot in the head, who will no longer perpetrate his evil upon America or Eukrope. That will, unfortuneatel, make it easier for Europe's armchair analysts to remove themselves een farther from the realities, but, I think we can stand the pressue. Hoo-Rah!
02:38 May 15, 2011 by nadom
I get sick of anyone who refers to the taking of a life of a human being when they refer to Osama Bin Laden, or is it Usama Bin Laden. Any resemblance to this thing as a human being is a joke. It was the killing of an infectious worm that was breed by Satan.
14:14 May 15, 2011 by charlenej
I don't get the pearl clutching. Bin Laden would behead anyone of you and every member of your family, and throw a party afterwards. We know this already, don't we? He has said as much himself. Terrorists don't care about the laws of men on earth.

Honestly, I believe the U.S. probably could have captured him alive and brought him to court. Could you imagine the drama? I have no doubt there would have been a thousand hostage negotiations to deal with all over the world from people trying to get him freed.

In this instance I think this was just the way to go. Yes, we brought other maniacs to trial, but with them there were rules of engagement where wars were lost and won. What do you do with a group of people who don't give a **** and will blow up babies whenever wherever however.

Obviously on this issue, I've lost any measure of humanity, but I guess that happened when I was sitting next to my friend in a midtown manhattan office on 9-11 when she got the call that her family member was killed.
18:10 May 15, 2011 by Joseph Thomas
The people shouting in celebration in the videos were mostly very young. People in their 20's party for almost any reason they can find, to cheer with their peers in public. Actually, this occurred in just a few spots of a few cities. No big deal. There's no doubt in my mind, knowing well the psychology and make-up of the German youth, there would have been the same small level of public celebration in a small number of German cities, under identical circumstances for Germany. Sadly, it doesn't make good television to show the 99% of Americans who were reflective the day he was found and killed. Reflection also means not to generalize. Also, to avoid generalizing about the youth, a vast majority of young people were also very reflective that day too, and I commend them for their maturity. But kids will be kids, and perhaps we should let them have their time to grow too.
18:45 May 15, 2011 by vladpootin
Most of the jubilation what was displayed by the media was a spontaneous 'celebration' of mostly young students that happened to be in pubs and hotels near the Whitehouse and the Washington Mall. The newscast was around 12 midnight EST and these people happened to be in the right place to gather and that's what the media captured. Truth be told, the majority of this youthful demographic have never served in the military, are mostly tuned-out to international matters, Al Qaeda, terrorism and global conflict. This was the equivalent of the 'celebration' itself being the attraction - like a World Cup victory celebration by those who never watch or attend the matches...Jumping on a bandwagon for the most part.

As we now discover Bin Laden¦#39;s porn collection and cannabis crop in the compound, hypocrisy and absurdity wash over the critics of this truly exceptional raid on the World¦#39;s second worst madman...second - to the #1 that you in Germany know all too well.
08:16 May 16, 2011 by DOZ
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:56 May 16, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
Um, no, as far as I know there were not any jubilant celebrations following his death. It was more of a relief to know that he was finally dead following 9/11. It's bull to say that he had no control over Al Qaeda in his last days- has anyone here been reading about the stuff that they have recovered from his compound? We're happy that we have finally taken out one of the men that we felt was the greatest threat to our country, and yeah we're happy about it but I'm pretty sure that more people are concerned with the backlash that has begun in the Muslim world because of it. I'd absolutely LOVE to see what Germany- or any other European country for that matter- would have done had it been them though...
12:46 May 17, 2011 by wenddiver
Get real, a man who brought war with him, killed thousands of innocent civilians and targeted Embassys and Diplomatic staff was killed, because he had access to an Assault Rifle when the authorities burst in.

He turned out to be a cowardly weanie in a real gun fight.

The raid itself was technically superb. The air space of the nation hiding the terrorist was penetrated. We flw to the far side of their country, without being detected, through the technical excelence of our advanced air craft and daring and skill of our Air Crews. We penetrated the very heart of their Defence complex and dropped down in the middle of thousands of their best troops and para-military forces. We killed the World's biggest terrorist and had time to grab the world's biggest supply of terrorist documents. We egressed the country, before the military of the terrorist's host could do anything.

All this was done after a massive intelligence operation that found one man who had the entire world to hide in.

We did this after watching the Muslim world celebrate this puke killing thousands of innocent people in New York and Africa, while promising to kill Millions more.

Tonight every person on a plane or in a large building is safer, because of the magnificance of our Sons and Daughters military service.

Anybody who wasn't proud of that, wasn't rooting for the Free World in the first place. The man was evil enough that he deserved to have his death celebrated like Hitler's and Stalin's.
08:35 May 18, 2011 by Krazi Diva
What's all this commotion about. Actually not all Germans are against the Justice Served and the Burial at sea. Not all Americans are for it. One thing for sure, both the Bibel and Koran advocates an eye for an eye. Myself, I believe in Karma: What goes around, comes around. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Maybe we should have captured him and beheaded him on the deck of the Carl Vinson. Hey People, wake up! There is a war going on. Not 100% who started it, but it's on. We need to work together to ensure we dont lose it!!!
02:19 May 19, 2011 by n230099
""It was clearly a violation of applicable international law," said former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt "

Once in a while prissy boys like 'Helmut' need to have someone do something they don't like just so we can hear them say stuff like this. LOL!!
06:41 May 19, 2011 by consumerx
I am really disapointed that everyone is taking the survey of the German people as plus or minus 1 percent or so as accurate. First thing, the US political polls that cost hundreds of millions of dollars are plus or minus 5 percent. I cannot believe your poll is more accurate than the best polls in the world. Second thing, there was a day care center in the twin towers and OBL murdered not only innocent adults but small kids and babies. Next time ask

" What do you think of the reaction of the killing of OBL the baby killer? " , a more factual question that will get different results on your poll if I am not mistaken.
17:13 May 19, 2011 by Thorsten
It was necessary to kill him, but you should never celebrate killing your enemies. That is very disrespectful and a sign of weakness.

The solution to 1,4 billion muslims is closing borders and not interfering in their business. They hate us and they will never be capable of having a decent society.
20:20 May 22, 2011 by wenddiver
@Thorshen- Spoken like a true TV Chair philosopher.

When someone tries to kill you, and you kill them you always celebrate, even if it is internal, it's in your human make-up. That regret is Hollywood BS, it may come later when other people tell you to be filled with regret, but not while you have your finger on the trigger.

It's a sighn of weakeness. Using advanced technology, to fly into a nuclear powers most sensitive area and kill the worlds most wanted murder, seize the biggest treasuer trove of terrorist documents and then get out without a scratch shows a lot of qualities in a people, weakness isn't one of them.
04:32 May 31, 2011 by Scottrocks9
The world's leading terrorists are still alive. One is living in luxury on a ranch in a place called Crawford,Texas. The other is traipsing around Europe doing God's work. To execute an unarmed criminal without due process, no matter who that man is, is another violation of International law, perpertrated by the US military and Government. But what you gonna do about it? Obama has to appease to many 'Nazi'onalistic American right wingers and has compromised his integrity in the name of American Nationalism.
15:32 June 25, 2011 by SayNoToUS

You state, "The only reason the US got involved on the world stage in the 20th century is because Europe and Asia were totally incapable of getting their political and economic affairs in order, and because its failing economies, refugees and dictators were becoming a bother for Americans."

An arrogant statement if I ever heard one. Tell me please, the reason USA declared war in 1917? Name the dictators at that time. Who felt "bothered" by refugees? Does that extend to immigrants too at that time, and throughout the entire 19th century?

The same dynamics are at work in the USA then, as is now; refugess and immigrants become voters, and by gosh, don't politicians here love wooing voters? So your argument about USA's reasons for getting involved in world affairs in the 20th century are as weak and flimsy as Woodrow Wilson's reasons for entering WWI (Wilson War I). Wilson War II was the direct result of the USA getting arrogantly and unjustifiably involved in WWI.
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