By Robert C. Koehler
When President Obama, summing up the killing of Osama bin Laden, said, “Justice has been done,” the problem wasn’t simply that he misspoke — justice, after all, can only emerge at the end of an impartial judicial proceeding — but that, in so misspeaking, he hit the emotional bull’s-eye.
“Justice has been done.”
We got him, America! Oh yeah, sweet! Who can’t feel the pop of satisfaction in those words? “He should have said, ‘Retaliation has been accomplished,’” Marjorie Cohn pointed out recently at Common Dreams, and that’s true, of course, but the president wasn’t summoning the dry, sober rule of law. He was evoking, just as George W. Bush did before him, the Wild West, America’s deepest font of mythology, where justice, you know, comes from the muzzle of a revolver. As with Geronimo, so with Osama: Wanted Dead or Alive.