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Osama bin Laden's death: a military victory worth celebrating

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Wide White: Osama bin Laden's death: a military victory worth celebrating

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osama bin Laden's death: a military victory worth celebrating

The U.S. has been fighting a war whose primary opposition leader was Osama bin Laden for almost 10 years. 5,992 soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bin Laden's death marks a tremendous military victory against al-Qaeda, our primary adversary.

When news arrived that bin Laden had been killed, immediate reaction was predominantly excitement and celebration. Finally - FINALLY - we had succeeded in bringing down the man behind the massacre of thousands of innocent lives!

Fans at a Phillies game started chanting, "USA! USA! USA!" People expressed hope that we'd be able to publicly celebrate the U.S. military team who was responsible for bin Laden's capture and death. One popular (and mis-attributed and fabricated "Mark Twain") quote said, "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

It didn't take long, though, to see a much different, more subdued reaction. Around 2.5 hours after the news broke, I started seeing posts like, "Remember on Sept 12, 2001, when you saw people in some places abroad celebrating death? Exactly. Don't be like that." Many people circulated a (fabricated "Martin Luther King, Jr.") quote that said, "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." Another post said, "[R]ejoicing in or celebrating another person's violent death is [messed up]. Let's quietly move on."

Our country just experienced the most significant military achievement in years and we're supposed to "quietly move on?"

Throughout history, newspaper headlines have screamed the news and ticker-tape parades have been thrown when the U.S. has succeeded in battle. While I appreciate the reminders from so many that death is evil and shouldn't be celebrated, victory in war -- bittersweet as it is --should be celebrated. Victory means life for those who win and, presumably, the defeat of death and evil.

We do not celebrate the death of a man, evil as he may have been. But we do celebrate the military victory that death represents.The world is a safer place with Osama bin Laden dead, and that is something worth celebrating.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Keithslady declared,

Is it worth leaving a comment just to say, "I agree"? Well, I'm going to assume it is and I do.

5/04/2011 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

His life altered our civil liberties and his death will not revert those alterations to their original state. Unless that changes there is absolutely nothing to celebrate.

5/04/2011 7:26 AM  
Blogger watchman declared,

There is certainly reason for jubilation. The guy was a scumbag. But, a bit of discernment is in order before we all start singing 'Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.'

* Violence. Any time anybody has two bullets put into their brain, it is difficult for me to jump up and down. There is something intrinsically tragic about that. He was a scumbag, yes. But, I feel kind of like a scumbag when I enjoy violence. I know I sound like a lilly-liver, but when I saw anchors and reporters smiling as the scene of Bin Laden's death was described, I got creeped out.

* Victory. It is one thing to celebrate a victory and it is another thing to celebrate an assassination. An assertion that this is in anyway the same as V-E Day or V-J Day seems very strange. Al Qaeda didn't surrender, nor did the Taliban, and neither did the Mujahadin. Nobody that our soldiers are currently fighting has given up, nor will they for some time. I can see how this was a military victory. But, it is not victory on the same scale.

* Unalienable Rights. Bin Laden was clearly a scumbag, and a threat to our nation's security. However, I hope I never end up threatening our nation's security - or am ever accused of it. As far as I can tell, the administration ordered Osama greased so that they didn't have the headache of detaining him or trying him in a tribunal. Expediency is trump? Sounds more like the policy of a banana republic.

* As an American, I think the guy got what he earned. However, as a member of Christ's Kingdom, this is just a further illustration of what is wrong with the world. Peace does not come about through violence. Violence, by definition, only takes us further away from peace. Is it wrong, then to enforce the law, and use violence if necessary? Of course not. However, we cannot possibly think (as some have said) that plugging Bin Laden with lead gets us closer to peace and safety.

5/04/2011 9:30 AM  
Blogger watchman declared,

Is there reason to be happy? Absolutely!

However, there is also significant reason to pause and to reflect.

Whatever else you do, America. Please - NO MORE LEE GREENWOOD

5/04/2011 9:35 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

Celebrating a military victory is not the same as enjoying violence.

I should add that I don't watch cable news and wonder if people are reacting to what they're seeing there. I have no idea what's going on in the awful world of cable news.

I disagree with the assertion that bin Laden's death does not bring us closer to peace and safety. If that's true and we're just treading water, then I suppose I can see why someone would have nothing to celebrate. I don't think the notion that "violence only takes us further away from peace" is entirely true. That would indicate that taking down a gang leader or a murderer doesn't make a city safer. I just don't follow that line of thinking.

As for Lee Greenwood, come on man...'80s music is timeless! ;)

5/04/2011 10:00 AM  
Blogger watchman declared,

'I don't think the notion that "violence only takes us further away from peace" is entirely true. That would indicate that taking down a gang leader or a murderer doesn't make a city safer.'

Long answer warning.

The question I struggle with is where personal ethics coincide with political/governmental ethics.

Violence is cyclical until someone breaks the cycle. For instance, if I shoot your friend (cause I am SO gangsta), you respond by shooting me (because you are SO gangsta), my friends will then want to shoot you, which will bring your friends in, etc. At some point the cycle is broken in one of two ways: somebody decides to chill out stop the violence, or authorities step in and mediate the conflict according to law.

ON an interpersonal level, the ethic is clear - turn the other cheek, end the violence, be a peacemaker.

Can the ethic apply to government? Clearly, law enforcement cannot just turn the other cheek when there is a mass murderer on the loose. Government MUST protect its citizens. So, principles are different between the interpersonal and the governmental. My assertion is that the ethic still applies if the situation falls outside of the rule of law and into the interpersonal.

For example, a police shooting occurs. There is an anecdotal reputation for such cases, where it is generally understood that trials are unneccessary for those who shoot and kill police officers. An example of this is the Adolph Archie case in New Orleans. He shot a cop, was arrested, and didn't make it to jail.

To me, it is law enforcement's duty to bring perpetrators into the penal system. They certainly have personal grievances, but those must be put aside. For, the law is a way that we break the cycle of violence, while still seeing justice brought to bear.

Arrest, Incarceration, and even execution cannot really be classified as violence since they are acts of the state protecting its citizens. When that violence falls outside of the rule of law, it becomes vigilantism, and only exacerbates the cycle of violence, thus hurting the citizenry.

Violence begets violence. However, violence within the rule of law, can bring peace.

5/04/2011 12:45 PM  

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