The Death Of Bin Laden: Some Justice, Pragmatism & Caution

Pragmatically speaking the Dalai Lama may be correct in his analysis that Bin Laden”s death was necessary to prevent him from being the catalyst and facilitator of further terrorist attacks.

I am willing to wager that the U.S. military personal directly responsible took no particular joy in their roles, but should rightfully be proud that their courage and actions served their families and countrymen and other citizens around the world well and with honor, eliminating a real threat to all of our safety. I don’t think any of us need to gloat about the outcome, though, nor do I think it is moral or responsible of media and political pundits, of all stripes, to feed off of this event.

It was probably inevitable that Bin Laden would be hunted down, but if it makes people sleep better at night, then they are very naive. There will always be evil in the world and as long as there is ignorance, fear manifest from evil will rule man’s actions. When we can all learn to respect our fellow man and woman and aspire to knowledge, evil will be suppressed.

This entry was posted in Ethics & Human Values, Humanity's Worst, Newsworthy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Death Of Bin Laden: Some Justice, Pragmatism & Caution

  1. Dusty says:

    though, nor do I think it is moral or responsible of media and political pundits, of all stripes, to feed off of this event. But both parties are politicizing the hell out of this ‘event’ and that was inevitable I guess, but I hate it.

    OBL was really nothing more than a figurehead now..and yes, evil is still alive and well, in many forms. As long as there is ignorance and will exist eh?

  2. Stanley says:

    “When we can all learn to respect our fellow man and woman and aspire to knowledge, evil will be suppressed. ”

    I can’t see that ever being the case in our world. And there are some, like OBL who are going to have to be dealt with just like we deal with rabid animals. That’s a terrible thing. But if someone aspires to the mass murder of men, women, and children, I think the analogy is fitting. Seal Team Six put OBL down for the collective good of humanity. I have absolutely no problem with that.

  3. Wayne Frost says:


    The problem when we all (and I include myself) applaud the summary execution of a criminal without due process is that we are opening the door to allowing our government and our elected representatives to engage in other vigilante justice, such as warrantless wire tapping, searches and seizure, prolonged detention without trail, torture and acts of unprovoked war.

    We bring ourselves down so that we are no better than those who we condemn. Our country has been betrayed by those who have abandoned our ideals of freedom and due process under the law. We have become a nation that will justify any action, whether it be on Wall Street or in the world at large, that selfishly advances our agenda, despite any harm or injustice our actions may bring to others.

    Writing in Salon this week, I think Glenn Greenwald put it well in his article headlined “The quant and obsolete Nurenburg principals”:

  4. Stanley says:

    War crimes trials are for the winners to hold and for the losers to undergo. One can only imagine the same trials we would have been put through for the fire bombing of Dresden or the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    My belief is that the US should be a “counter puncher.” That means that the invasion on Iraq should never have happened. But if the other guy hits first (such as OBL and the 911 attacks) then we are going to punch back and put him down.

    For those plotting to attack us and feeling safe because they are living in some remote mountain area of the world in a basically lawless state, guess what? You aren’t safe from justice anymore. This is not warfare in the “two sides squaring off in trenches” any longer. Now it’s terrorism, and counter terrorism. So that may look different. But the aim is the same. Hit back until the guys trying to kill you get the message and tire of the course they were pursuing (or aren’t around to pursue it anymore).

  5. Wayne Frost says:

    So are you saying, Stanley, that as long as we are retaliating against actual previous attacks on us, or due to our perception of possible future attacks, it is OK to throw out the rules of law and the principals of human rights that have governed us since our country was founded?

    Where do we draw the lines between an act of civil disobedience, a criminal act, an act of terrorism and an act of war? And do we respond to each of those situations in measured response based upon our rules of law or do we just go “full nuclear” in any or all situations, and who is entitled to make that decision? Yes the 9/11 attacks were heinous, but were they acts of war that threatened our overall national security or our way of life in the immediate aftermath? Were there terrorists waiting in the wings or enemy armies poised to attack out side of all of our major population centers or industrial sites, it seems not.

    But since then, in the name of protecting us against terrorism, many of our fundamental rights have been abridged by agents of our government, and the rights we would normally have recognized that accrue to other human beings, have been revoked, as it suits those in power in our government in their zealotry to fight “terrorism”. I think we can agree that there really was no legal or moral basis for our country to invade Iraq, that war in Iraq was sold to the American people based upon a visceral fear of terrorism, but not based upon any element of fact.

    Does the unilateral projection of our power through acts of aggression in the name of combating the specter of terrorism, (whether real threats or vivid imagination by those with other motives) on our part do anything for our or the worlds long term chances of having security and having the ability to thrive in life? Are we turning our country in to another paranoid Israel, trying to build a moat around our borders, and attacking targets outside of our borders that we feel threatened by? Are we turning our country in to a police state, where in the guise of national security, agents may tap our phones without court order, enter our homes and seize our property, or place us in some kind of detention? Subject us to torture in the name of national security?

    I think it is the moral responsibility of all of us to question our officials any time we perceive they are stretching the envelope in terms of anyone’s human rights.

    I shed no tears because Bin Laden met his end, but I do worry about the ease with which we seem to condone “frontier justice”, we are supposed to be more advanced as a society.

  6. Stanley says:

    I think we are up against the rock with the hard place directly behind us. Our system of government does have checks built in to the checks and balances that our country’s government was founded on.

    The courts have to figure out the hard questions about whether something is beyond the law or not. And, while the pendulum may swing to far in one direction you can bet it will begin to swing back in the opposite direction at some point.

    I’ll just point out that, like with a moderated forum on the Internet, the government can’t please everyone, every time. But one of its most crucial roles is to keep its citizens safe. Will every action it takes to do that be perfect? No. Because we are dealing with imperfect human decisions.

    I am comfortable with the decision to go after OBL in Pakistan. I was, and remain, uncomfortable with the decision to invade Iraq. But when you consider the information that came out of the compound where OBL was holed-up. That those guys spend their days and nights trying to come up with new and ever more inventive ways to kill us, I can’t say I have an issue with discouraging them via drone strikes or Special Operations night visits.

    Just keep in mind that if, through some failure of our intelligence community and armed forces, the bad guys get a hold of some type of nuclear device, they will not hesitate to try and use it here or in Europe or in Israel. That is the sort of thought that keeps me from being overly critical of the actions taken to defend the rational world.

  7. Wayne Frost says:


    Let me be clear “Pragmatically speaking the Dalai Lama may be correct in his analysis that Bin Laden”s death was necessary to prevent him from being the catalyst and facilitator of further terrorist attacks.” I am not totally comfortable that we did not capture Bin Laden as opposed to killing him on the spot, but I accept it as the outcome.

    What concerns me is that our fear of terrorism drives us to paint anyone or anything that may deviate from our perception of “normal” as worthy of lethal treatment by government operatives simply because we think there may be a threat against us. It is too easy to rationalize striking with all our might when we think we are threatened, it is harder and requires a stronger will to think strategically (not tactically in the moment) and measure our response with consideration of the long term outcome. I believe Obama and his advisors and did exercise due diligence and caution in their operation and the overall result met most of our objectives. I don’t think it is rational to in essence believe or act is if we can unilaterally “pop a cap” in to the skull of any person who we perceive as a threat to our security. Part of our system of checks and balances is the right of the citizens to question the motives and actions of their government.

    It is my belief that at this time, more than any other since the end of World War II, we, the individual citizens need to be aware of the power and influence of the corporate oligarchy over all branches of our government. We should not be handing out any blank checks in terms of “national security”. Corporations do not have my best interests on their agenda, and government unduly influenced by corporations does not have my best interests on its agenda. We do need to keep a keen eye on our government and let our elected officials know when we think the pendulum has swung too far in any direction, we can’t rely upon them to perceive or self-correct wild swings, we need to speak up.

  8. Stanley says:

    I’ll conclude by saying that we’ve always had the luxury to be insulated from the threat of “foreign violence” by our geographic isolation from most of the world. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans stood between us and those that would do harm to us.

    But that changed with the beginning of WW II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. But even then we knew who we were fighting and where to find them. I think a lot of the discomfort that we feel today is that we don’t know exactly who are enemy is and where to find them.

    So, the nature of threats we face and how we respond to those threats in terms of “asymmetric warfare” are evolving. We are having to fight less like someone employing the Marquess of Queensberry rules or even living up to the Geneva Convention is no longer entirely (or even partly in many cases) possible.

    But make no mistake about it. We still pursue the bad guys in places like Afghanistan with a sincere regard for civilians and prisoners rights. If you look at reports of how the Soviet Union’s armed forces fought in Afghanistan, and then contrast it against our forces you can only conclude that we are attempting to minimize civilian deaths and interrogate prisoners without a tenth of the brutality used then as a method of gaining information.

    While I am in favor of questioning my government (after all I’m a product of the 60’s and the anti-Vietnam war movement) and not trusting without reservations, I am also of the opinion that we are going to have to use new methods to fight this latest threat to the civilized world. I am able to draw a clear distinction between the forces of right and moderation and those who would like nothing better than to enslave the world in some throwback to the 14th century “Caliphate” we hear so much about. I don’t think that most of the women who live in Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter, really want to live, suffer and die under Sharia law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s