Monday, May 2, 2011
Justice in Abottabad
Last night, as I was sitting in bed, catching up on Facebook, I saw a post by the CIT stating that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces. At the same time, almost to the second, a friend had IM'd, saying: It looks like the bogeyman is dead." And so he was. Almost ten years since he had become a household name, and many more since he had begun his war with the United States and others, and he had been killed by Navy SEALS, his DNA taken, and his body buried at sea.
I felt a moment of solemn satisfaction of my sense of Justice. I wanted to stand up and sing The Star Spangled Banner, which is what the crowd in Times Square did at almost the same time. I went to sleep after a long day doing various tasks to get the house ready for sale--it's a long, drawn out business--and getting the loss of our friend's new dog registered with the Pet Alert. I did not spend any more time on the internet. And I am glad I did not. I did not want to see the moment of justice politicized and criticized, nor hear any theories about why the government was lying to us about this, too.
So today I put up my flag, and then drove down to Los Lunas to look for Tri. (No luck, but three sightings were reported through the Alerts, so we know where she is hanging around).
It was not until I was driving back up here that I heard the politicization. And later, checking on the web, I saw that the crazy train has once again pulled away from the station, this time with a series of theories on the Libertarian Enterprise alleging that bin Laden has been dead since 2001, and the death was just announced now in order to save Obama's presidency in 2012. I was not perturbed. I do not believe that this one incident will save the O-incompetent from being a one-term president. Only the Republicans can do that by once again choosing a candidate who hardly differs from the Big O himself, himself.
I was not perturbed, but neither do I have either the gumption or the patience to construct fancy arguments to counter either ideologues or loonies. However, there was one protest that kept cropping up that I do want to address, and that is that POTUS and our government are somehow murderers of Osama bin Laden. No, I am quite convinced that bin Laden was ultimately his own worst enemy, and after years of escalating attacks in on the West, he had finally met his match, and even if it took nearly 10 years, vengance is a drink best served cold.
Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States particularly, and upon the West in general. He took up the sword, and he used it against both military targets and civilians in Yemen, in Africa, and within the borders of the United States. He made deliberate, well publicized threats to kill many thousands of innocent people through the organization of terror he created, Al Quaida.
Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEAL Team 6 on 1 May 2011, decades after he began his open war on the West and everything that is not Muslim and not extreme. He was killed, but not murdered. Murder is the unlawful killing of one human being by others, and the victim is innocent within the circumstances of the crime. Self-defense is the killing of one human being by others in order to stop him from committing assault that results in morbidity and death, or the destruction of property resulting in injury or death of innocents. In the case of killing for self defense, the one killed is not innocent, but has initiated force against innocents.
As Americans living under what is left of the Constitution, we have ceded self-defense against foreign invaders--whether they are a nation state or a band of brigands--to the federal government. This is one of the few actions of the federal government that is entirely lawful and Constitutional. Because bin Laden declared war against the United States by his threats, and followed it up with action, he is not a criminal, he is an enemy. We do not capture enemies and bring them to trial, we make war against them. War is not a rule-abiding exercise, and those who make war as Osama bin Laden did, know that. By taking up the sword against the United States, by attacking us on our own soil, he could expect nothing less than total destruction. And so he got it.
This is justice. To cut a man like Osama bin Laden any slack is to discount the rights of the innocent people who were working at the embassies in Africa and at the World Trade Center, and the innocents killed within the Islamic (so-called) House of Peace. It also discounts the fact that Osama deliberately provoked and attacked US military targets,including the USS Cole and the Pentagon. To ignore or excuse such behavior for any reason is to commit an injustice against those whose lives and property were destroyed by a deliberate act of war. It is not within the purview of the federal government and its executive to do that. In order to "provide for the common defense", the President of the United States must act. In this case, Obama acted properly and must be commended.
Of all of the sayings in the "other" Testament, there is one that unequivocally true. It is: The one who takes up the sword will die by the sword. Osama bin Laden took up the sword of Islam against innocents and against military targets. He made war on the United States. Responding to that is not murder, it is justice. Osama died at the hands of those whose Constitutional duty is to defend the people of the United States and their property.
Although I think that to madly celebrate the death of this evil man is unseemly, I do think that the sense of relief that people feel, and the pride that they exhibit at having finally gotten justice--shown in such acts as the singing of the Star Spangled Banner in Times Square Sunday evening--is entirely appropriate. There is pride in doing justice, because it is the moral response to acts such as Osama bin Laden's murderous terror. He chose his behavior, and in so doing, chose the consequences of it. The innocent people falling from the sky to their deaths on September 11 did not so choose.
I am not joyful about this, and I do not celebrate; rather, this moment has caused me to be happy that their deaths have finally been accorded the justice that they deserve.