Sunday night we learned that Osama bin Laden was dead, assassinated by an elite U.S. military kill squad, although those aren’t the words they use. I certainly won’t mourn Osama bin Laden, but I don’t feel good about his murder. In fact, I’m trying to figure out why it has left me with such a hollow feeling.
Have you ever encountered a situation that you felt was profoundly wrong on so many levels that you despaired at even finding a starting point to explain your revulsion?
I shouldn’t be surprised. I know our government has a policy of sending hit squads around the world. But it is dramatically different when the success of one of these finely honed instruments of state terror is trumpeted by the main stream media and celebrated by the public in general with glee. I applaud the statement of one commentator on Democracy Now! who said we should draw little comfort from the fact that one killer, Osama bin Laden, has died at the hand of an even bigger killer, our military.
And that’s as good a starting point as any to understand the emptiness I feel. I believe that killing is wrong and I believe that capital punishment whether imposed by a jury or via extra-judicial means is never justified. We are taught from an early age that two wrongs do not make a right, and yet our leaders seek to limit this equation to small wrongs. The greater the harm perpetrated against it, the more likely it seems that a country will feel justified to giving back as bad if not worse than what it got.
The problem with such reactions is that they are negative responses to harmful actions. Rather than solve a problem they compound the destruction. In this instance, the killing of bin Laden, who apparently over the years has become more of a symbolic leader than an operational mastermind, is more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence than bring it to an end.
Watching students dance in the streets in celebration and government officials in many countries applaud I feel like a virus of violence has infected our world. I can’t help but think that no good will come of this. I can’t say I’m proud to be an American today.
Hell, I don’t feel that good about my species.
What I take comfort in is that I’m not alone. Some of you out there have also voiced your dismay and I suspect many more feel the same way, but like me, you have a hard time putting those feelings into words.
To receive a notification whenever there is a new post to Out on a Limb Together, subscribe now.