Just for reference, in case you haven’t heard the news, Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Many people are celebrating his death and many people are saying that we should not be jubilant about his death.
I need to put down my thoughts, as that’s what a blog is for, right?
I’ve always believed that if someone sought to kill you, you need to kill them first. Ironically, Judaic dictations and commandments agree. This is a matter of pragmatism, as your life is literally the most precious thing you have. I would say that you “own” but many people don’t seem to take ownership of their lives.
Question: is celebrating the death of someone a dishonorable and immoral act?
Answer: it depends. Losing a life is always tragic to someone. Everyone has those who look up to them, adore them, and love them. When a life is taken it is invariable that it goes unnoticed. With rare exception we must mourn, not celebrate the deceased.
Back to my third paragraph, about exterminating those that seek to kill you.
If all alternative courses of action have been eliminated, you need to destroy those that actively seek your death. This supersedes other options because you cannot fully function under the threat of death. When the one that seeks to destroy you is, himself, destroyed, you should not feel guilt for their death in any form whatsoever. Acknowledgement of the fact that others will feel pain is humane, but this is about the choices of the deceased not the inadvertent consequences that their support group will face.
Celebrating their death is definitely in the grey area of morality, of course. Celebrating the fact you no longer have to worry about that person is obviously justifiable. Celebrating the movement and reclamation of life post-threat is also obviously justifiable. Celebrating the loss of a life, though, has imprecise complications. These complications are where people protest.
With regards to my agnostic, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish friends and brethren, everyone in the United States and everyone in Israel, everyone in New York and everyone in Pennsylvania, everyone in England and the rest of Europe, everyone with a hint or degree of moderation in their views, I am not just glad that the top of Al Qaeda is no longer a threat, I’m glad he’s dead.
His death is much more than the death of a man, it’s the death of a symbol and a very, very large step forward in the war against Al Qaeda. Remember, the entire mission which killed him took about 40 minutes, the actual fight that destroyed him took but a couple. The remaining 30-something minutes were spent collecting computers and data, evidence, and other things to help implicate the rest of Al Qaeda’s network of hate and discrimination.
The US Government not only guaranteed Bin Laden’s voice being silenced, they gained priceless information to protect the assets of ourselves and our allies. This, indeed, is cause for celebration.