UPDATED at 8:02 p.m.: The AFP reports that the offfice of the Dalai Lama is attempting to clarify the remarks that the Los Angeles Times interpreted as a potential endorsement of the Bin Laden killing.
The news service reported Wednesday evening that a statement posted to the Dalai Lama’s website says the Buddhist leader said that any counter-measure taken against Bin Laden, "no matter what form it takes, has to be compassitionate action."
The statement, via AFP:
The Dalai Lama "emphasized the need to find a distinction between the action and the actor. He said in the case of Bin Laden, his action was of course destructive and the September 11 events killed thousands of people. … So his action must be brought to justice... But with the actor we must have compassion and a sense of concern... His Holiness said therefore the counter measure, no matter what form it takes, has to be compassionate action."
Original post at 5:45 p.m.:
We didn’t exactly see this one coming.
The Dalai Lama appears to have the U.S.'s back when it comes to questions concerning whether the killing of Osama Bin Laden was justified, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the paper, the Buddhist leader was asked a question Tuesday about the topic during an event at the University of Southern California, and "appeared to suggest that the United States was justified in killing Osama Bin Laden."
The quote in question:
"Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened. … If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures," the Dalai Lama said.
It should be noted that the comments came the same day that the White House amended its original account of the raid to say that Bin Laden was not armed, as officials had originally indicated that he was. So it is not clear if the Dalai Lama was aware of the latest details.
Still, the comments come from the same man who tries to avoid killing mosquitoes if he can, so they are more than a little surprising.
Meanwhile, as more questions crop up about the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting, the White House has looked to quell any suggestions that the killing was potentially illegal.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder stressed to lawmakers that the Navy SEAL team that shot and killed Bin Laden was legally justified in doing so, and would have been even if the al-Qaida leader had attempted to surrender.
“[Bin Laden] was the head of al-Qaida, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September 11th,” Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee (via NBC News). “He admitted his involvement and he indicated that he would not be taken alive. The operation against Bin Laden was justified as an act of national self defense.”
Holder told the senators that the mission was a “kill or capture” one, but added that even if Bin Laden had attempted to surrender, “there would be a good basis on the part of those very brave Navy SEAL team members to do what they did in order to protect themselves and the other people who were in that building."
*Clarification, May 4, 2011, 7:07 p.m.: The original post and headline have been updated to clarify that it was the Los Angeles Times that reported the Dalai Lama’s comments “appeared to suggest that the United States was justified in killing Osama Bin Laden.”