As y’all know, I was WAY turned off by all those kids outside the White House partying last night, acting like the death of our best-known enemy was a football victory or something. As I said, within about 100 yards of each other we saw the perfectly right response to the situation (President Obama’s) and the perfectly wrong one. There are a lot of reasons why that demonstration offended me, such as the fact that, well, that rah-rah team, yay-us-screw-them stuff always turns me off. It’s one reason why I am appalled by political parties. And am not very fond of football itself.
But the biggest reason is… do we really celebrate a man’s death? Even when that man is a monster, who has killed thousands of innocents (including thousands of OUR OWN) and himself celebrated it?
If anyone in the world deserved to have people dancing on his grave, he did. But still, I really didn’t like seeing the actual dancing.
We’re talking about something very primitive here. Civilized people do engage in war (despite what some of my friends think), and unless they are destined for the evolutionary scrap heap, they engage in it to win. And that means killing the enemy. And when one engages in war successfully, it is a cause for celebration.
But do we celebrate the MEANS to victory to the extent of celebrating an enemy’s death?
We were totally justified in killing Osama bin Laden, and it was long overdue. And from my anti-death penalty perspective, we killed him the right way — in the heat of battle, rather than executing him after holding him in a cell for a couple of years. My heartiest congratulations and thanks go out to the Seals and support personnel who carried out this operation with such stunning efficiency, and to the president for his handling of it.
Of course we take satisfaction in this victory. But do we PARTY? I think not. To me, the appropriate response is, as I said last night, GRIM satisfaction. If we’re civilized.
But you know, I don’t think I have yet expressed what I’m trying to say nearly as well as Bob Amundsen did:
Celebrating death in battle is wrong. When war is declared (as bin Laden did), you live with the consequences of that choice, including death. True warriors do not celebrate death; we celebrate victory. We have won a battle; the war against extremism continues.
Did we get all giddy and dance in the streets when Hitler killed himself? No. We got all giddy and danced in the streets because the war in Europe was over. Same deal with Hiroshima vs. V-J day.
I’m glad Americans are taking satisfaction in this; so am I. And I fully understand the emotional involvement of people like Anton Gunn, whose brother was killed by bin Laden.
But that partying in the street stuff was deeply wrong, and I hate that the world saw American’s doing that. I’m glad they saw our Seals make short work of Osama once we had the intel, but I’m sorry that they saw the celebration outside the White House.
Does that make sense to anyone but me?