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Monday, May 2, 2011

Hard to avoid

Well, here I am, back! I really try to avoid getting political on facebook or blogs, or just online in general but I wouldn't feel right about posting today without at least mentioning Osama bin Laden's death.

First of all, I have to say I am amazed by US intelligence's ability to track down and hone in on bin Laden over the last several years, and carry out the attack without anyone knowing how close they were to finding him - pretty amazing.

That being said, Obama's assertion that this world "is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden" makes me uneasy. I do think there are times when the use of force is necessary and I'm certainly not one of those who believes war is completely avoidable - as long as we have the freedom to make choices, there are people that will make horrible and devastating choices, and to stop them may require violence. To quote Thomas Paine (again!) "The best way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." However, to say the world is a better place because he has been killed is, I feel, to ignore some of the moral complexities involved. As the ancient proverb says, "before embarking on the path of revenge, dig two graves."

Openly celebrating a death, no matter whose death, just doesn't sit right with me. However, the person we're talking about is someone who would happily murder every American citizen - who would measure his own success by the destruction of others. Certainly the world would be a better place if people like Osama bin Laden never existed - but it would be foolish to think that enacting violence against another human being is ever without consequence.

I'm not going to take a stand, because I don't have one - but in this case, it's probably OK to feel a little torn.


  1. Great comment from a kindergarten teacher I collaborated with at Woodstock (or one of her friends in South Africa, not sure which):
    "I will not celebrate the death of any man, Osama bin Laden included... Yes, he was a foul human being. But still a human. I refuse to forfeit my own humanity on his account."

  2. Agreed - I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad we got him. But, there are complex consequences to his death that we don't fully understand yet. And the rejoicing just seems distasteful.


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