Operation Geronimo Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  999 Words
Date:  2022-08-10

In the wake of immense terrorist attacks, including the September 11, 2001, attack, President Obama approved an operation that would result in the killing of Bin Laden. However, the operation received criticism as experts believed that it was illegal. According to them, the basis of killing members of terrorist groups has to follow a certain scope of the law of armed conflict. The operation was under strict legal reviews and the major question was whether it was in accordance with international law. According to the American constitutional scheme, the president has the right to push a command that would US force against terrorist groups. Under the scheme, authorizations of international law and the right to national self-defense are outlined. The operation was months in the making. During the plan, president Obama involved the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and the United States Special Forces. Despite the issue of legality, the paper persuades the reader that President Obama had the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to execute the plan.

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President Obama had the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to execute the plan because it was an act of national self-defense. Terrorism is a threat to national security and requires military action to ensure that the country remains safe from terrorist attacks. Reuters (2011) indicates that Bin Laden was an enemy commander in the field. After the operation, the Obama administration defended the killing because Bin Laden made no attempt to surrender (Reuters, 2011). Notably, President Obama had the legal authority because it was a justified operation that worked in the best interests of Americans. Bin Laden was the head of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, which conducted many terrorist attacks on American soil including the September 11, 2001, attack. Americans considered Bin Laden as an enemy of the country. For that reason, it is lawful to carry out an attack on an enemy. According to Reuters, Holder, the chief US law enforcement officer, emphasized that the killing of Bin Laden was lawful because the operation followed American laws and values. Even so, President Obama's legal authority on the execution of the operation is justified because he led a country and wanted American citizens to be safe from terrorist attacks.

President Obama had the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to execute the plan because it was consistent with the laws of war and international law. According to Schaller (2015), the former State Department legal advisor Harold Koh affirmed that America has the authority to defend itself through the use of legal force under the international law. Koh added that if a state feels threatened with imminent terrorist attacks, they do not have to provide human targets with legal processes before using lethal force on them. Al-Qaeda has conducted many terrorist attacks on US soil. Even after the September 11 2001 attack, Bin Laden continued to plot terrorist attacks on the US soil. Koh's statement sheds light on the debate on whether President Obama had the legal right to execute operation Geronimo. At that time, as the president of America, Obama felt the need to order the use of deadly force in the killing of Bin Laden irrespective of the International humanitarian law on human rights. Schaller (2015) affirms that in policy guidelines on standards of armed conflict, a person who poses a continuous or imminent threat to the USA can be killed regardless of their status on international human rights law. As discussed, it appears that there are no legal implications to the actions of the former President Barrack Obama.

President Obama had the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to execute the plan because he followed the scope of the law of armed conflict. Schaller (2015) indicates that according to Harold Koh, the former State Department legal advisor, in armed conflict, USA has the legal right to execute an operation even if it involves legal force by targeting people who are involved in planning terrorist attacks such as Al-Qaeda leaders. The author indicates that the legal perspective of American capture or kill operations have to coincide with the jus ad bellum and jus in bello. As the author adds, if the magnitude of armed conflict does not exceed its limits, such acts should conform to the international human rights law. The author indicates that in self-defense, the use of force may not be intense to trigger the application of the law of armed conflict. Just the author says it is evident that self-defense was the application in this operation because Bin Laden did not surrender when US special forces came into contact with him. A myriad of military operations is always under the control of the Department of Defense. However, operation Geronimo was contained in the federal law. Barrack Obama was the commander in chief of the armed forces and his decision to keep his country safe appeared to surpass any law.


The legality of Operation Geronimo continues to be questioned. However, based on the points discussed above, it is evident that the former president of America, Barrack Obama, had the legal authority to order the operation and execution of the plan. As a matter of internal law and an act of national self-defense, Al-Qaeda has attacked the US on many occasions and continues to be a threat to the country. If President Obama failed to order the operation and execution of the plan, Bin Laden would still be conducting terrorist activities on US soil. America should continue with the fight against terrorism to ensure that its citizens remain safe. Overall, the federal government has to take a closer look at their policy guidelines on standards and procedures that involve the use of force in counterterrorism to avoid questions of legality in the future.


Reuters. (2011). Bin Laden Killing was an act National Self-Defense. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved from https://www.jpost.com/International/Bin-Laden-killing-was-an-act-of-national-self-defense

Schaller, C. (2015). Using Force Against Terrorists 'Outside Areas of Active Hostilities'-The Obama Approach and the Bin Laden Raid Revisited. Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Volume 20, Issue 2

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Operation Geronimo Essay Example. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/operation-geronimo-essay-example

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