The Assassination of Osama Bin Laden: Legal Authority

Topic: International Law
Words: 836 Pages: 3

Terrorist attacks have greatly affected the foundations of great countries such as America. Many people have questioned whether the President had a legal authority to order the operation. President Obama acted right since terrorism compromised the security and well-being of Americans. Osama Bin Laden was one of the terrorists who organized the biggest attacks ever in American history. The American government had been looking for the terrorist until 2011, when he was killed. President Obama had the legal authority to protect Americans from any threat. That is why he ordered the operation since the security of Americans is a matter of great concern which needs undivided attention. When quoting an early speech of president Obama, he said that he had a lawful right to protect Americans from terrorists by ensuring security matters were given priority(Capone,2010). In other words, the President meant that he would do anything to ensure the safety of Americans. President Obama felt that America was in a crisis-fighting one individual who threatened the stability of Americans for many years.

The assassination of Osama was an authorized military operation that America yearned for a long period. When a country considers the use of force, it must do so within the bounds of legal authority and international humanitarian law (Ali,2018). A just conclusion is possible if both the legal power and the force deployed adhere to the conditions set out in the 1907 Hague Rules and 1949 Geneva Conventions. This can be justified by dismantling the formula by examining the facts surrounding Bin Laden’s assassination. United States Special Operations Forces launched an early morning attack on Bin Laden’s compound some of his family members were hiding. During the September 11 attacks, 2001, Congress gave power to the President to use force against those threatening the stability of peace in America. According to the American constitution, the President can order military troops to use armed force against terrorist groups, including individual terrorists and other members of any terrorist organization. The United Nations and NATO also granted additional international authorizations. Article 51 of the UN Charter establishes a nation’s inherent right to self-defense as the basis for authorizing the use of force.

Since Bin Laden had been a threat for many years, the President’s desire to eliminate him allowed increased force. The President is compelled by law to communicate these results to the legislative leadership (Hana,2018). This appears to have been accomplished quite some time ago. As a result, President Obama was legally empowered to authorize and conduct Operation Geronimo. To be justified, however, the conclusion must be consistent with the laws of armed conflict. When the Special Forces arrived, they were told to use as much force as possible while adhering to three principles: first is a military necessity, followed by proportionality in their operations, and lastly, distinction. Osama was identified as a hostile target and a significant security threat. Military action against him was authorized to further the United States and international community objectives against global terrorism. It is illegal to engage a target without a legitimate military goal. There was an army justification for confronting Bin Laden, demonstrating that the confrontation was necessary for military reasons. When Special American Forces entered Osama’s bedroom, they used a level of force proportionate to the threat posed by the hostages. Bin Laden did not appear willing to surrender, and weaponry was in close proximity. In reaction to Bin Laden’s threat to the Special Forces, small arms were allocated to engage the genuine target. As a result, the idea of proportionality was followed.

A last pertinent premise concerning the operation’s use of force was the idea of differentiation. When force is utilized, it must be used sparingly and with a definite objective in mind. It is never lawful to target civilians purposefully unless in self-defense. While collateral damage is regrettable, it refers to people’s accidental injury or death during a military action. In Bin Laden’s room, the force was applied with considerable caution, with two well-aimed shots to the military target’s chest and head. According to the Obama administration’s presentation of the facts, Bin Laden’s wife looks to have been shot in self-defense. Because there is legal authority and regulations were controlling armed combat, Osama’s assassination and those who hired Special Forces to defend him were legal under both domestic and international law (Ritchie,2018). Humane killing should never be taken lightly, and it must always be carried out legally.

Lastly, the above illustrations have confirmed that President Obama had the legal authority to order the operation. America is one of the few countries in the world with a great constitution and values democracy. Peace and security are vital for the prosperity of any country. Security affects the well-being of other sectors of the economy, which is why governments are very strict when it comes to insecurity matters. President Obama achieved a remarkable feat by ensuring one of the most wanted terrorists is dead. The actions of President Obama can be fully justified since he acted within the constitution.


Ali, S. (2018). The Bloody Nose: 10 USC Sec. 395. Nat’l Sec. LJ, 6, 127.

Capone, A. (2010). Barack Obama’s South Carolina speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(11), 2964-2977.

Hana, A. M. (2018). SPEECH ACTS IN BARACK OBAMA SPEECH’S IN ANNOUNCING THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN. Wiralodra English Journal, 2(2), 151-162.

Ritchie, M. (2021). Gasping for war drama: the “about to die moment” of the Osama bin Laden assassination. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 1-15.

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