Monday, May 02, 2011

Ding! Dong! Bin Laden is dead

Osama bin Laden is dead. Is it ever moral to celebrate someone's death? I don't know, but if you're going to sing Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead, I'm partial to the Fifth Estate's version from 1967.

30 comments:

Martin Gamble said...

Can we rejoice that justice was done, and can we also pray that God will have mercy on his soul?

BenYachov said...

Yep.

Anonymous said...

No. Killing Bin Laden was a crime. The person, who gave the killing order, should be convicted. Killing anyone is a crime. Even in the case of killing a criminal, like Bin Laden.

USA has no right to kill anyone outside it's own area.

BenYachov said...

Governments have a moral right to kill evil doers and their agents have a right to kill enemy combat troops in war.

If Bin Laden tried to surrender and they killed him anyway then it might be murder. He fought to the death. He got what was coming to him.

It's not hard.

B. Prokop said...

Bin Laden was an unrepentant mass murderer who, given the chance, would have done it again. It was a matter of basic public safety to remove him from the face of the Earth. No conflicted feelings here.

On a side note, it's going to be a bit hard for his followers to mythologize his demise. Osama proved himself a coward to the very end, using the body of a (presumably innocent) woman as a human shield, while firing away at the people who had come to arrest him for his crimes.

One Brow said...

On a side note, it's going to be a bit hard for his followers to mythologize his demise.

Inconvenient facts have never stopped myths before.

Anonymous said...

"Bin Laden was an unrepentant mass murderer who, given the chance, would have done it again. "

How many murders Bin Laden himself did?
He was a figure of one movement, but what did he personally?

Secondy, if also indirect murders are accounted, then also Bush and Obama are mass murderers. In my country (in Europe) they both are seen as mass murderers: they have done orders to kill so many human outside their own land. Osama's death is not praysed here. All death penalties are illegal here. In the EU the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment. Death penalties are not seen as only illegal, but also as a bad crime. It is very difficult for us to understand, how and why people in USA are celebrating someone's death. It has looked like barbarious for us.

Bin Laden was killed in independent country without any lisence. Killing someone in independent country by some other country's military forces is a serious international crime. It is also terrorism. It is sometimes difficult to see the difference between actions of USA and Bin Laden.

Anonymous said...

"Osama proved himself a coward to the very end, using the body of a (presumably innocent) woman as a human shield, while firing away at the people who had come to arrest him for his crimes."

Osama didn't kill anyone even in the end of his life. He was without gun. He didn't fire people who had come to arrest him.

It means that US forces were shooting a man who was not able to defense himself. Woman was his wife. USA killed also this presumably innocent woman. Being a wife is not a crime. But killing a innocent woman really is. Maybe we will see woman's murderer in a court. Murderer is a crime also in Pagistan. But propably we will not see any legal actions. Not because there was not any crime, but because USA will hide the murderers, and it will not give them for legal proceedings.

Anonymous said...

The official story has again changed. It looks like Osama's wife was not dead, but instead one other (innocent) woman was killed.

"The White House last night changed key elements of its account of Osama bin Laden's death, admitting that the al-Qaeda leader was not armed and that his wife was neither killed nor used as a human shield as senior aides had previously claimed."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8490814/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-wife-was-shot-in-the-leg-not-killed.html

unkleE said...

As an outsider and a christian, it amazes me that in this whole affair from 9/11 until now, supposedly christian USA seems not to have even considered the words of Jesus to turn the other cheek, love our enemies and pray for them.

Of course, it may be that this execution was necessary for the safety and wellbeing of others, but that decision will need to be justified before God, and it should be made with regret and tears rather than triumph. Jesus' teachings should be the default, and any violent action only taken from that basis. As it is, the whole thing looks more like revenge than justice. And a decision made out of feelings of hatred and revenge cannot be one that the Holy Spirit has guided.

Has anybody been praying for bin Laden, or just praying he will be killed?

I think these attitudes expose a serious weakness in US christianity as a whole - patriotism and fears for personal safety seem to be more important than the plain teachings of Jesus. I feel very sad about this.

BenYachov said...

Romans 13:3-4

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.

William said...

Under democratic systems, there is a tension between the rules of nations and the rules of individual ethics, but I think they are not the same.

Individuals may not kill in certain situations where governments and their agents may kill.

This has all been discussed much better under just war theories.

B. Prokop said...

unkleE,

We are also told to "love our neighbor as ourselves". Well, it would be a pretty poor love that allowed the likes of Osama Bin Laden to go on plotting and carrying out the murder of my neighbors. It is most definitely love of neighbor that motivates sincere Christians to resist, and yes, when necessary, to kill an individual who would otherwise harm their neighbor. That is why I cannot accept the "Argument from Christianity" for pacifism.

And no, before the crazies weigh in with their responses, I did not vote for or support Bush, and I opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Gimli 4 the West said...

It is not a good idea to declare war on a nation. There is much about the Chinese government to despise, but I wouldn't, as an individual, declare war against it.

There is a cold reality of action and consequence that all idealist need to come to grips with. The fate of OBL reminds us of this reality. To the extent that celebrating his death reminds us of this, then let us party.

Anonymous said...

UnkleE, well said.

Very well said.

Anonymous said...

(Coming from another non-American).

Anonymous said...

"Under democratic systems, there is a tension between the rules of nations and the rules of individual ethics, but I think they are not the same.

Individuals may not kill in certain situations where governments and their agents may kill."

Under democratic system is NOT allowed to kill people outside own land. USA has no right to kill anyone in Pagistan. They hadn't even asked a lisence from Pagistan's authorities. That's why Bin Laden's murder was a terrorist attack, done by USA.

USA has done so many crimes against democracy and humanity. In democracy all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. USA however seems to think that they have also right to do decisions about life of foreign people, and cheat on international agreements about independences of other countries.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

I was recently watching "A Town Like Alice" set in Malaysia during WWII with my wife. My wife was from malaysia. We were both rather relieved that they had rest from the enemies which attacked both the countries we were born in during WWII.

We were quite thankful and more aware of the sacrifices for and victory of our freedom that was made and won by the people of that time.

It feels to one who does not celebrate Osama's death or find his killing objectionable, that there is a middle ground.

I think those of us you are not americans should back off for the moment. It just seems from what I have been hearing from some christians what seems to be exercises in self piety. However I feel I may be overly harsh here. its just the frustrating feeling I get. We seem to be so quick to judge America but pay lip service or forget those you sort to bring terror upon her.

I cry for the deaths of the innocent and of even of those led astray. But for the teachers, and leaders I can't cry for.

Should I have morned the loss of Pol Pot, Stalin, Pinochet, or Hitler? No. Should i gloat over their deaths? No. Though I think I should feel gladness when the wicked can harm no more.

Obviously these are very difficult issues and worthy of discussion but I think we should give america a little bit of a break at the moment.

My wife and I are both thankful and glad for the relief from the enemies who sort to overcome and destroy both our countries.

Anonymous said...

"Should I have morned the loss of Pol Pot, Stalin, Pinochet, or Hitler? No. Should i gloat over their deaths? No. Though I think I should feel gladness when the wicked can harm no more."

I'm also glad that Pol Pot, Stalin, Pinocher and Hitler are not nowadays leading anything. However, none of them was murdered. What I don't understand in the case of Osama is, why he was killed. Why he was not arrested, but instead USA wanted to kill him?

In the name of war against Osama has been killed many thousands of innocent people. Much more than was dead in 11/9.

The murder of Bin Laden was just one little crime. (If for example Pagistan would kill a terrorist in USA (and same time some innocent people accidently), it would also be seen as a crime, because other nation has no legal right to kill anyone in the area of some other country. Maybe USA would however react somehow).

But murder of Bin Laden was just a tip of the iceberg. Before him USA has done so many terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Pagistan etc in the name of "war against terrorism". It has been absurd.

Al Moritz said...

Bob Prokop said:

We are also told to "love our neighbor as ourselves". Well, it would be a pretty poor love that allowed the likes of Osama Bin Laden to go on plotting and carrying out the murder of my neighbors. It is most definitely love of neighbor that motivates sincere Christians to resist, and yes, when necessary, to kill an individual who would otherwise harm their neighbor. That is why I cannot accept the "Argument from Christianity" for pacifism.

I have to agree.

Al Moritz said...

Let me add:

"Turning the cheek" may be a good choice for the individual, but it is in my view a false option when it comes to the wellbeing of many. I have my doubts that it can be reasonably claimed that Jesus meant it to apply also in the latter case.

But unkleE seemed to concede as much:

Of course, it may be that this execution was necessary for the safety and wellbeing of others,

BenYachov said...

"Turning the cheek" simply means we should not seek vengeance. It doesn't mean we shouldn't seek justice via lawful means.

If you steal from me I will call the cops. If you try to hurt me I will defend myself. But I won't go to your house to hurt you in retaliation for stealing from me. Nor will I seek to harm you after my self-defense repels you from your attack upon my person.

Really people it's not hard. These aren't new concepts they have been believed for centuries.

Anonymous said...

Rev 6:9-10 "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?""

These martyrs in heaven clearly hunger for the destruction of their earthly adversaries. Shouldn't we do the same? Those Christians Osama killed are doubtless now rejoicing at seeing their deaths avenged.

B. Prokop said...

Any atheists out there can skip ahead to the next posting, 'cause I'm gonna be arguin' from scripture here.

In the middle of one of the most eloquent apparent arguments for pacifism in the NT, (Romans 12:9-20), is verse 18 "If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all". Take note of that qualifier right smack in the middle, "as far as it depends on you". St. Paul has it exactly right. He has by no means ruled out resisting evildoers (use of force), but we must make 100% certain that we have done everything, exhausted all possible measures, gone the extra mile, and made sure that our own hands are clean, before we even think about using violence or waging war. Our action against Bin Laden passes that test. He started this, not us.

However, the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq was most definitely NOT in accordance with the principles laid down in this passage by St. Paul. We (as a country) unfortunately did not live peaceably with all as far as it depended upon us. Indefensible.

William said...

Yes, I agree. Killing bin Laden in Pakistan is an act of just war, the entire Iraq debacle unfortunately was not.

And I have a daughter and son-in-law in the US Army (and who just got back from Iraq in February) and who rejoiced at Bin Laden's death, not because of the death, but by seeing it as their victory.

My wife and I both were disturbed by their attitude, since we think rejoicing at any individual's death is wrong, but perhaps the joy is that of victory, not death.

BenYachov said...

>These martyrs in heaven clearly hunger for the destruction of their earthly adversaries. Shouldn't we do the same?

Or they might simply have a hunger to see justice done so they may be vindicated for God's greater glory and not the suffering of their adversaries per say.

unkleE said...

B Prokop:

I appreciate your comments, but we are both agreed that there may be good reasons why we have to take a life. My points were that:

(1) The default position for a christian should surely be not to take life, and the taking of life needs to be very carefully justified (and will need to be justified to God one day). And that American christianity seems to accept taking of life too easily, especially innocent life in "collateral damage".

(2) And that in this case, there seems to be more revenge than justice, more "patriotism" than Holy Spirit, and never that I'm aware of prayer for Osama rather than prayer against him.

You didn't really answer those points.

unkleE said...

BenYachov said...
"Turning the cheek" simply means we should not seek vengeance. It doesn't mean we shouldn't seek justice via lawful means."

That was exactly one of my points. This action may well have been justified, and President Obama has behaved with commendable restraint and sensitivity. But the American people generally seem to have behaved in a way that indicates revenge was a major motivation.

And of course this action was very questionable legally - an incursion into a foreign country that we would never allow, and a cold-blooded execution.

So the present situation seems to fail both of your own tests. The circumstances make the action understandable, but at the very least highly regrettable. Yet US christians seem to just accept it. Many of us outside the US are critical and perhaps even fearful of the American propensity to criticise others for their high-handed behaviour but then do exactly the same thing when it suits your interests. If the people behaved with the President's restraint and sensitivity, we might be less worried.

BenYachov said...

>But the American people generally seem to have behaved in a way that indicates revenge was a major motivation.

Sometimes that can't be helped. A soldier has a duty to protect his homeland by killing the enemy in battle.

A Christian soldier should, ideally strive spiritually to see it as a terrible duty. But the temptation to enjoy the battle or take pleasure in the Adrenalin rush of slaying another human being is always there. As well as the temptation to hate the enemy & multiply cruelty in war.
Killing in battle places men too close to their lower animal natures.

B. Prokop said...

It was a great source of amusement to me, when I learned that in the Middle Ages knights regarded Christ's words, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword", as a PROMISE, and not a threat! They took it as a guarantee that they would achieve a noble death in battle, and not an ignoble death from disease or some other cause.