Death of bin Laden: Mixed Bag

5 May

As seen from the both sidebar comments and public comments on yesterday’s Word of the Week, the death of Osama bin Laden proves to be far more complex than just killing the architect of the tragedy of 9/11.  I have some very real concerns about a mob mentality of celebration of an individual’s death and the lack of due process. I worry that in some ways we have sunk to the level of those we have accused as terrorists by summarily executing bin Laden without due process of law.  I worry about continuing a culture of violence and wonder when does it stop?

I am guessing that the Peace Movement is also asking how do we create a culture of peace and when do we say there are better alternatives to violence.  My friend James Russell just published an article for Truthout that addresses these very issues. Click here to read James’ article.  I suppose I would like to understand if we are moving towards a more peaceful time with the death of bin Laden, and does his death really provide the needed closure?

3 Responses to “Death of bin Laden: Mixed Bag”

  1. Jennifer Lockett May 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    It’s been an emotional and conflicting experience, that is for sure.
    What I do find promising and hopeful is that, across the board, this has raised very serious ethical and moral discussions. No news source covering this ignores the moral quandary. I hear teenagers having these talks about was this a morally right decision. In my circles, at least (which I admit are more narrow), no one is viewing this in a simplistic, us v. them light. Agree with the move or not, everyone is questioning not only the event but their own, emotional reaction to it.

  2. Jay May 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Bin Laden’s death is a big, big, deal. I concede that capturing him would probably have been even better, but the salient fact is that he is no longer at large, living in comfort, surrounded by family and admiring protectors, inspiring copy-cats, and perhaps coordinating future attacks.

    Comparing bin Laden to any other person is to miss the point–he was sui generis, utterly unique. His freedom symbolized America’s blundering incompetence, a perennial thumbing of the nose at our so-called superpower status, whereas his death is demonstrable proof of being able to accomplish a task. As to the hand-wringing over cheering ‘mobs’, I defy you to name ANYONE else whose death would provoke a similar response. This eagerness to condemn the ‘mobs’ is politically tone-deaf and betrays an over-eagerness to assume the absolute worst about the American public.

    Accusations that the Democrats are weak on national security issues have been a long-standing electoral tool of the Republicans. The President is planning to begin drawing down American forces in Afghanistan this summer–bin Laden’s death gives crucial political ‘cover’ to the President to follow-through on those plans.

    Therefore the peace movement should be embracing bin Laden’s death–not only does it give the sitting Democratic President significant tough-on-terrorism gravitas, blunting a potent Republican charge, but it also makes the draw-down from Afghanistan much safer politically, making it much more likely to actually occur.

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