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McNeal Publishes Op-ed on bin Laden Aftermath

GregGregory S. McNeal, associate professor of law, published an op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine titled, “The Bin Laden Aftermath: Why Obama Chose SEALs Not Drones,” on May 5.

In the article, McNeal asserts that the United States chose to launch a raid against al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, instead of bombing, because it was the best option based on the military objectives, available intelligence, and the law of armed conflict. 

"Bin Laden was long thought to be hiding in a cave somewhere in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)," writes McNeal. "As it turns out, he was in a mansion in an affluent neighborhood in Abbottabad. Had he chosen to hide in a cave, a missile or a bomb would have been a perfectly appropriate means by which to kill him. Of course, that's likely why bin Laden chose Abbottabad -- he knew that U.S. concerns over collateral damage were his best defense. What he didn't count on was that various detainees and intelligence assets would provide clues to those around him, that President Obama would be willing to authorize a raid rather than a bombing mission, and that the U.S. military would be able to carry out such an operation."

McNeal teaches courses in criminal law, national security law, international organizations, and ethics. He is a national security specialist focusing on the institutions and challenges associated with global security, with substantive expertise in national security law, criminal law and procedure, and international criminal law.

Before joining Pepperdine in 2010, he co-directed a transnational counterterrorism program for the U.S. Department of Justice and served as an advisor to the chief prosecutor of the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions on matters related to the prosecution of suspected terrorists held in the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has also consulted with members of Congress, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Iraqi High Tribunal, and Fortune 500 companies on matters related to counterterrorism, international criminal law, and national security.

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