Monday, May 02, 2011

What am I supposed to do?

So, as you doubtlessly know by now, Osama bin Laden is dead.

Located, attacked, and killed by U.S. forces after years and years of effort. And I applaud the effort and I acknowledge the need to find the man believed responsible for the terrible events of September 11. And I am glad that he was found as opposed to him remaining out there somewhere or maybe simply having disappeared, never to be verified again.

But, I am also not going to cheer and chant and thump my chest and be glad that someone is dead because we in the United States determined that he must be dead. Dead is dead and I am not a fan of death, no matter how justified you might believe the punishment to be. I couldn't do what the military asks itself to do. I couldn't willingly pull the trigger to end someone else, and I pray that I am never in a position to do so.

I've never been comfortable with the United States playing the role of judge, jury, and executioner to all of the globe's bad guys. I wish we had a functioning sort of World Court that could truly be relied upon to make these sort of difficult decisions and shift the focus from one country's need for vengeance to an indictment by the global community. But that is all kinds of Star Trek-y nonsense that just doesn't exist in today's reality.

So . . . I guess I have to be slightly relieved that a threat has been removed. And I'll quietly accept the fact that someone had to do something to ensure justice. And I'll think about how the rules are different in military situations.

But I won't be chanting USA! USA! USA!

God, no . . . I won't be doing that.

(Seems a little too fundamentalist/true believer to me.)

1 comment:

Fred Shirley said...

In general, I agree with your post. However, the reported instructions to the team that attacked Osama's lair were to capture or kill. I would have preferred capture. As long as a person is in custody, there are options. When they are dead, there are no further options. I have only seen or heard casual references to the intelligence data that was recovered. I believe that data in the long run will have a greater impact on our ability to protect ourselves in the future than the demise of Osama.