Many Americans have rejoiced over the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, but some Christians question how they should feel about the execution.
A division of Rick Scarborough's Vision America Action, Save America S.T.O.P. Obama Tyranny National Coalition, held a conference call Thursday with special guests, retired Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin (pictured to the left) and Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy.
The question many people have is: How much credit can President Barack Obama take for this? Boykin, an original member of Delta Force and former Commander of all the Army's Special Forces, answered: "Obama made, I think, a bold decision. I give the president credit for having made the right decision and showing what I think was probably some leadership that I had not seen.
"I also think we need to recognize that all of this intelligence really began under Bush," he said. "In some ways I think the Bush administration should feel vindicated in terms of the enhanced interrogation techniques."
A debate broke out when a listener asked what Scriptural and constitutional authority gives the U.S. government the right to kill bin Laden, who was never convicted in a court of law. Boykin and Gaffney seemed to agree on the matter.
"I don't hold myself out as an expert on the Scriptures, but my belief is that there is abundant basis for just war, and that's what we're in," Gaffney relpied. "[Bin Laden] was an admitted perpetrator of an act of war against our country. In this case I think he certainly got his justice."
Although Congress has not officially declared a war, Boykin argued that we must look at this as a war. He explained: "The Congress has not declared war, but in reality we are at war, and it's time for us to understand that we're at war and that all Americans need to be involved in this war.
"Osama bin Laden [was] an enemy combatant who is responsible for the death of thousands of Americans, as well as tens of thousands of Muslims around the world. From a Scriptural perspective, I find no inconsistencies with the concept of just war and killing in wartime."
Boykin also addressed the heroism of the Navy SEALs in the execution of bin Laden.
"Nothing is executed flawlessly—that just doesn't happen. But they probably came as close to anything that we've seen in recent history in terms of an operation that went real smoothly," Boykin said. "It was bold [and] audacious."
Boykin said that the particular team in charge of the operation, SEAL Team Six, is a specialized force that was created after a failed attempt to rescue American hostages in 1980. "They are unique among the SEALs in that they have specialized equipment [and] specialized training, and they have a degree of security associated with them you don't find with the normal SEALs," he explained.
Boykin also talked about how the military tracked down bin Laden, who communicated solely through couriers. "That was eventually his weak point, as we ultimately identified one of his couriers and were then able to surveil that courier both electronically, as well as with human intelligence," he said.
Although some Christians feel conflicted in not knowing whether to rejoice over bin Laden's death, Boykin said: "I'm like all Americans; I am just absolutely elated. I think this is a great psychological win for America and really for the western world."
Gaffney said: "I think this is a moment of great satisfaction—a great sense of pride that we all feel in terms of the ability of our military personnel to do this job as brilliantly as they did, [and also] a sense of painful regret that it took as long as it did to get that job done."
Although Boykin and Gaffney agreed that bin Laden's death is a cause for celebration, neither think this will bring an end to the war on terrorism.
"I hope we do not make the mistake of declaring victory and thinking this is going to bring an end to the war on terror or reduce the threat of terrorism against America and the rest of the world," Boykin warned. "It has had a devastating psychological impact on the al-Qaida affiliates, as well as the Muslim brotherhood and other Islamists, but in the end we need to remember that they are driven by a 1,400-year theology. They're not going to be deterred from this; this is a minor setback for them."
"Don't let anybody tell you that it's over [and] that the elimination of this particular individual has ended al-Qaida," Gaffney said.
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