“Presidential Authority: Operation Geronimo Case Study” Scenario
When a nation contemplates the use of force, that force must be done with legal authority and within the
strictures of the laws of armed conflict. If there is both legal authority and that force follows the principles
laid down by The Hague Rules of 1907 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 then there can be a justified
result. After September 11, 2001, Congress authorized the Commander-in-Chief at the time to use force
against those individuals who had perpetrated the attack on the United States that fateful day. Under our
constitutional scheme, the President could direct the National Command Authority to use armed force
against Al Qaeda, including Bin Laden and others. Additional international authorizations via the United
Nations and NATO followed. Overlaid in this authorization to use force was the basic international
principle of the inherent right of a nation to self-defense, found in Art. 51 of the UN Charter.
Domestically, the authorized use of force was most certainly supported by a Presidential finding to kill
Bin Laden as a hostile. By law the President must inform the leadership in Congress about these findings.
This was done years prior to the operation itself. The operation was months in the making. Intelligence
officials discovered the compound in August while monitoring an al Qaeda courier. The CIA had been
hunting that courier for years. CIA interrogators in secret overseas prison developed the first strands of
information on him. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September. 11, 2001 attacks,
provided his name. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. The
detainees told interrogators that the courier was so trusted by bin Laden that he might very well be living
with the al Qaeda leader. By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that
President Obama wanted to “pursue an aggressive course of action,” a senior administration official said.
Over the next two and a half months, President Obama led five meetings of the National Security Council
focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him. President Obama
met with his national security advisers on March 14, 2011 to create an action plan. President Obama
personally discussed the plan with Vice Admiral William McRaven, the commander of the U.S. Joint
Special Operations Command. The commander first approach considered was to bomb the house using B-
2 Spirit stealth bombers, which could drop 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). Obama
rejected this option, however, opting for a raid instead. This would provide definitive proof that bin Laden
was inside, and limit collateral damage. On April 29, 2011, President Obama approved an operation to
kill bin Laden. It was a mission that required surgical accuracy, even more precision than could be
delivered by the government’s sophisticated Predator drones. To execute it, President Obama tapped a
small contingent of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six and put them under the command of CIA Director
Leon Panetta, whose analysts monitored the compound from afar.
Operation Geronimo is the code name given to the raid conducted by the United States Special Forces
against Osama bin Laden’s safe house in the city of Abbottābad, Pakistan on May 1, 2011. Osama Bin
Laden was killed during this operation. The operation was conducted by members of the United States
Navy SEAL Team Six, under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command, in conjunction
with U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives. The team had to go across the border of
Afghanistan to launch the attack. During the month leading up to the raid, members of the Naval Special
Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) trained on a one-acre replica of the “Waziristan Mansion”
compound in a special operations sector of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, practicing rappelling down
into it from helicopters, among other tactical approaches. DEVGRU was a 24-man platoon.
Bin Laden was in a highly fortified compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottābad. Nestled in a
neighborhood that also was near Pakistani military academy and favored by retired military leaders, the
compound was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet, topped with barbed wire. Two security gates
guarded the only way in. A third-floor terrace was shielded by a seven-foot privacy wall. No phone lines
or Internet cables ran to the property. The residents burned their garbage rather than put it out for
collection. Intelligence officials believed the million-dollar compound was built five years ago to protect
a major terrorist figure. The raid of the compound was less than 40 minutes.
Instructions: Analyze and evaluate the major points of your case study for research to write your
persuasive essay. Use your time to develop a deep understanding of your topic to fully explain your
stance on the topic. You are required to give an in depth introduction of your topic. Provide transitional
sentences from one topic to the next. Then develop the body of the paper fully using no less than 3 full
pages and no more than 5 pages, this does not include the APA format title and references page. Finally,
provide a summative conclusion. Provide a total of two references for your references page. In-text
citations are required for all cited resources and references Ensure you use Times New Roman 12 point
font and the current APA Writing Style. Be sure to proofread your essay for spelling and grammatical
errors. Apply everything you learned in class towards the writing of your persuasive essay. Essays must
be submitted at the end of the allotted timeframe so that they can be graded.
Choose one of these two sides to persuade your reader:
(1) “President Obama had the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to execute the
(2) “President Obama did not have the legal authority to order Operation Geronimo and to
execute the plan”.
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