Monday, May 2, 2011

The execution of justice

Good morning God,
I woke to scenes of ghastly jubilation on the TV,  people singing and dancing in the street, shouting and cheering in joy at the death of one man Osama Bin Laden. He, his son and one other were killed in their home in Pakistan last night, by American special forces.  In the words of Barak Obama - Justice has been done.
 I can understand the killing of Osama Bin Laden in a raid gone wrong - I can even understand the immature 'wanted dead or alive' mentality.
What disturbs me, no - terrifies me, - is the jubilation over this death.

I believe the scenes we are witnessing in America this day are more of a tangible threat to the survival of our way of life than Bin Laden's threats ever were. What we are seeing in Obama's smile and in the crowd's spontaneous celebration is more dangerous to the rest of humanity than the pseudo religiosity of Al-Qaeda ever was for it exposes the death of international justice and liberty on the altar of offended American nationality. As Obama stated - 'We can do these things not because of wealth or power but because of who we are'.  Or put more succinctly 'Might is right' and 'If you hit me  no matter how long it takes, or wherever you try to hide - I will find you and hit you back, so hard you will never dare to hit me again, and no, I couldn't care less why you did it.

Obama ended his gloat with the words 'God bless America' and I found myself praying God, that you would find some way of helping him and the American people see how sickening this obvious delight in the death of a man is: Bin Laden is dead, justice has been denied the families of the victims of 9/11, of 7/7  and of all the other atrocities around the world, attributed to this man. Bin Laden was wanted by MANY countries, not just by America. The whole of the Western world has been robbed of the chance to hear an unedited account of why this man felt justified in waging his war on its way of life. The proponents of liberty and international justice are forever denied the opportunity of bringing this man to trial - of judging him according to the legal moral and ethical codes that they insist underpin western societies.

As hard as it is to accept, regardless of what the man did, regardless of how many he killed, maimed or destroyed, justice demands a proper account and judgement of those crimes, not a government sponsored lynching.

killing is not justice - it is the denial of justice.

The celebration of Bin Laden's killing merely exposes the lie that justice was ever intended.

The perverse delight at Bin Laden's execution sits alongside people's acceptance of the illegal concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay and the disgusting use of waterboarding and other forms of torture, as proof positive that Al-Qaeda has won the war.

Justice and liberty are dead.
They were destroyed in 9/11

And I am afraid God, that all that remains is a sort of perverse despotic democracy which lives a lie of liberty and which is slowly but surely spreading across the globe like a cancer.

God help us.

52 comments:

  1. Provocative and insightful as ever, Angela. Thank you.

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  2. I share your concerns.

    Thank you for voicing them.

    Pat

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  3. Wonderfully, and brqvely, put. God help us indeed.
    Dave

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  4. Angie,

    100% with you on this.

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  5. Thank you for writing the blogpost I was about to write...

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  6. The celebration lacked ululating houris to make the effect complete. Conflict makes one side much like the other. This was as true in the cold war as in the war on terror.

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  7. You are a morally delinquent monster. Reading your bio, I am ashamed to have attended Wesley College. What is wrong with you?

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  8. I'm stunned that anyone could believe this tripe, let alone post it publicly. I would have stuffed bin Laden in a pig carcass and dragged it through the streets.

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  9. You're piece of crap article consists of nothing but idiocy. Sickening.

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  10. My mother remembers VE day at the end of WWII. With many others, she ran out into the streets and cheered and danced at the news that Hitler was dead and the war in Europe was over. Those crowds were celebrating life not death, the end of fear, the renewal of hope. The same holds true for the Americans last night, who have lived in fear of this mass murdering terrorist for over a decade.

    Bite your tongue, get down off your high horse, and grow up. Your self-righteousness is nauseating.

    - Ellie M.

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  11. "We pray for peace, but not the easy peace, built on complacency and not the truth of God" (Alan Gaunt).

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  12. Never in my entire life have I seen such a revolting display of wanton weepy cowardice and as sickening a co-opting of the concept of God to a personal political obsession, as this blog post. YOU DISGUST ME!

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  13. Killing Osama bin Laden with Seal Team Six is the first thing that makes me think Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

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  14. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean you have to be rude!

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  15. Thank you Ellie, but I don't think the comparison between WWII and the 'war on terror' quite works, as I am sure our Jewish brothers and sisters would agree. As for America living in fear for the last decade.. what of the people of Madrid, or the victims here in the UK? There is no high horse, just fear and despair following the scenes of jubilation broadcast today.

    Michael,
    According to Scripture, the prophet asked - what does the Lord require of us? and the answer was given - 'to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God. (Micah 6:8) One of the ten commandments is - thou shalt not kill? Jesus said 'love your enemies'. Need I go on..?

    Anonymous,
    To rejoice in death can lead only to more death. It takes real courage to refuse to become like those you profess to abhor.

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  16. Angela, I'm glad you wrote the post that you did. As I woke up this morning to the news and the images that confronted me I had an increasingly uneasy feeling building up. I can't ever celebrate the killing of another human no matter what he has done and the denial of justice is wrong. It was so encouraging to read your views to confirm that I wasn't alone. Keep speaking out. We need more people to voice uncomfortable truths.

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  17. Cecil J. CooperMay 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Hey Anjela , What gives you the right to judge anyone ? Do you really think your above me ? Tell me about the personal loss you suffered at the hands of the monster Bin Laden. You exist in a fantasy world. People who behave like you usually have serious emotional issues. Pray for yourself crazy lady.

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  18. Maybe Bin Laden was right and women shouldn't be taught to read or write.

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  19. Angela, your quickness to condemn others for a perfectly normal human response says more about you than about them. If you'd really paid attention to the footage, you'd have noticed that many if not most of those dancing in the streets last night were youngsters, people who would have been mere children when they watched the horrific sights of 9/11 on TV.

    These are the people you're judging and insulting. But judgment works both ways. Your attitude sickens me.

    Ellie M.

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  20. He had his chance to surrender and opted for a bullet to the head.

    What are you carrying on about?

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  21. Cecil,
    thank you for your post. To answer simply - I have the same right to form and state an opinion as you do, isn't that part of the 'liberty' that we claim to defend? Do I think I am above you - no,just different if you think its ok to rejoice at the death of another human being rather than bring them to justice.
    With regard to my personal involvement - my husband was a London Bus Driver working during 7/7.

    Ellie,
    thank you again for your comment, so sorry you think that it is a normal response for people of any age to delight in the death of a man - any man.
    Yes, I did know that a significant number of those outside the White House were students - I'm sorry - does that excuse their behaviour in some way?
    What exactly sickens you? That I dare to write that I find such jubilation over the death of another human threatening and fearful? or that I believe that killing someone is NOT the same as administering justice?

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  22. As David H said Angie.

    Wonderfully, and bravely, put. God help us indeed.

    Thank you for these wise words.

    Syb

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  23. Haven't enough people died because of actions related to this asshat? You would risk the lives of more soldiers to bring this animal in alive? SHAME ON YOU.

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  24. Thank you for this post, it sums up what I've been saying today to anyone who will listen. The vitriolic comments your post has inspired merely demonstrate the same sickness you have described.

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  25. With you on this 100% Angela.

    I truly believe that time will show that the way of peace is the only way of Christ.

    Vengeance is mine saith the LORD. (Or is vengeance ours?)

    Blessed are the peacemakers. (Or are the warmongers and those who profit from a continued state of war blessed?)

    We are told the Gospel would be met with resistance and animosity. Keep preaching it Angela!

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  26. I found this blogpost by searching for reactions to bin Laden's death and was relieved to read your post which largely reflects the way I was feeling.

    I can certainly understand the feelings expressed by all sides here, especially for the family & friends of victims. However, such tender connections cannot override a society's need for sober reflection about the long-term consequences of circumventing the law and due process even for monsters like bin Laden.

    We need to be wary of arrogance and an attitude of "open season" when it comes to administering justice and punishment, even to the most heinous criminals like bin Laden. Our children deserve a better example of respect for the rule of law, and respect for all human life, even if our enemies do not. Otherwise, we risk eroding the values we accuse bin Laden of destroying.

    We must not become a monster in the name of defeating a monster. That would accomplish nothing. Or as Gandhi once said..."an eye for an eye [only] makes the whole world blind."

    - Andrew M., Canada

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  27. I pray for your ignorance.

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  28. "If you hit me no matter how long it takes, or wherever you try to hide - I will find you and hit you back, so hard you will never dare to hit me again, and no, I couldn't care less why you did it."

    Sounds like a good attitude for the leader of a country that actually desires to survive, rather than be subject to further attack by vermin who believe they can strike with impunity. What's the alternative? "Er, we sincerely regret the fact that you murdered thousands of innocent people on American soil. Could you please put your reasons for doing so into writing?"

    The late Mr. Bin Laden made a point of explaining just why he thought murdering American (and other "infidel") children was justified. His offense consisted not in offending "American nationality," but in acts of sadistic terrorism.

    Why the demented yearning for some sort of international tribunal in order to rehash the motives of this villain? Even the arch-terrorist himself might have considered this a boring exercise; in any case, he preferred death to capture.

    So drop the creeping-Jesus act.

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  29. Screw the law, was Bin Laden worried about the law? Its past that point. We are dealing with people whose laws allow them to stone their women in the streets. We are dealing with people who also dance in the streets after deaths, but they play with the body parts of the the people they just killed and hang their burnt corpses in the air.

    Savages dont deserve the law to save them.

    They can say death to the infidels all they want, but we will see who gets it in the end.

    Im a peaceful person, but some people in this world do not allow for peace.

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  30. Bin laden was evil but murder is a sin. Murder is not OK when we do it but evil when they do it. Thanks for having the courage to speak the truth.

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  31. You can tell you are a Euroweenie. Your pacifist views are what is damning your countries in Europe right this moment. Madrid responded by doing what the muslims told them to do..pack up and go home. Britain responded like they always did...wait for America to take care of the problem.

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  32. I am not ignorant of the fact that bin Laden, had he faced an international court, would have definitely been sentenced to a well-deserved death, but it would have provided a more meaningful and resolute ending than what we are all left with today.

    I am not ignorant of the great satisfaction felt the world over that he is gone swiftly.
    I am not ignorant of how it feels to vent our collective anger, frustration, and vengeance upon those who are overwhelmingly guilty.
    My concern lies with the way in which this type of business is conducted--openly, legally, morally and with attention to detail. Why?

    Because it matters. It matters that greater respect be shown for all human lives. The lives that were lost or otherwise affected on 9/11. The lives of all the soldiers who have been fighting and continue to fight for freedom, justice, and peace throughout the world. The lives of all soldiers and civilians who have been killed in this just and noble struggle to rid the world of terrorism. The lives of family members and loved ones who were taken by this monster.

    They all deserve that justice be carried out in its full and proper way to send the strongest message possible to all terrorists: if you commit yourself to a life of evil hatred and death, you get what that deserves, AFTER the overwhelming evidence of your crimes has been detailed and documented in every aspect before your final and certain verdict so history can judge that the world (not just America) has administered justice according to the standards of the rule of law that we hold dear, and not by some vigilante lynch mob mentality that only degrades a wider respect for human life and the law itself.

    We must not bring ourselves down to their level--that would only serve to provide our enemies with fuel to fan the fires of hatred, and it leaves us little room to distinguish our behaviors from theirs.

    To miss this point is true ignorance.

    - Andrew M. Canada

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  33. 100% with you Angela - and so saddened by the vitriol your post has inspired. Blessed are the peacemakers

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  34. Just a note to say that whilst I am perfectly happy to continue to publish comments that differ from my own, I will delete(and already have deleted) any comments that use offensive language.
    Please respect netiquette.
    I understand that this is an emotive issue, but please keep your posts clean and to the point.
    Thanks
    Angie

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  35. your god is a murderer

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  36. You've taken alot of flak for this post Angie, not all of it posted here -- some of it too cowardly even to link here. But you have spoken well -- spoken truth -- and fwiw I'm doffing my cap in your direction.

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  37. Well said, Angela. 'Love your enemies' - yes, the gospel is as offensive today as it ever was. I tip my hat to you too.

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  38. Angela,
    Thank you for your insight. Ever since early this morning when I saw the crowds of people rejoicing over death, I've had trouble sorting out how to respond as a Jesus follower. I think what's troubling is the myth of redemptive violence...that violence can stop violence. Jesus resisted the use of the sword, and I can't help but wonder what he would have done or wanted us to do in light of bin Laden's actions. I'm just really struggling with our response other than a killer got what he deserved.

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  39. He already confessed to 9/11. He did so on one of those videos he was so fond of releasing the a compliant Western media.

    Having confessed, the only thing left to do was decide on his punishment.

    I would have preferred that he had been alive when he was tossed into the sea from the aircraft and that sharks had been given the opportunity to complete the task, but I'm not disappointed with the outcome as it's been reported.

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  40. I'm with you, Angie.

    Am disappointed with the way Obama broke the news and how he summarised it yesterday. That could have been so different.
    Yes, justice is needed especially for all the direct victims and their families but so is the need to minimise the risk of fuelling reprisals.

    Bea

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  41. I would submit that your view of the actions and emotions of Americans to the news of bin Laden's death is comprised of what you can gain through the screen you are looking into.

    To judge the hearts and minds of a nation by what the media feeds you illustrates just how open-minded you are willing to be. If we had shared your sense of judgment for a nation; the people of the United States would not be nearly as far in debt for campaigns that go well beyond bullets and bombs.

    I, nor any other American I know chooses violence over peace. While I am not one to celebrate at another man's death, even a sworn enemy; I also will not back away from my complete support of actions that are taken in an effort to contain a threat to the way of life that gives us the many freedoms including the one to openly share scripture.

    I don't believe violence is the way to peace; but I also do not believe the imperfections of mankind allow for complete peace. Therefore from time to time it will be necessary to contain those threats to this way of life.

    Understand this...for more than 235 years the people of the United States have defended, at all cost, our belief that all of mankind is created equal; that all of mankind should have the opportunity to live free. That freedom is broadly summed to mean no individual should be burdened by oppression, be it foreign or domestic. Free from a government that is anything other than a representative of the collective will of the people. While we are far from perfect, we have a long history of great effort to demonstrate this belief.

    I will not apologize for preserving the peace we enjoy. I will not pretend that such peace can be maintained by any other way than forcibly restraining the threats against it until such time as the niceties you reference can take hold. Most of all, I will NEVER support the idea that a response to terrorism should be gauged by the risk of reprisal. There is no end to the resolve my fellow countrymen and I will demonstrate to ensure FREEDOM reigns.

    You may revolt in the actions that are taken to restrain evil. Yet you and many others throughout the world sleep well, and openly share your faith under the blanket of peace that was afforded you by the lives of those who are willing to stand face to face with evil and refuse it the opportunity to spread, whatever that costs.

    When evil took the face of a Nazi dictator and reigned terror on the heads of your people every night...Winston Churchill begged for our help. We responded with the blood of our sons to not only silence the air raid sirens, but to see that the threat was permanently snuffed from your doorsteps. Perhaps you should have begged Hitler to join you for a cup of tea while you listened to his desires?

    There was never any illusion that the world opinion would be unanimous regardless of how we handled the situation. We continue to wage a war against an enemy who fights unrestrained by basic rules of decency or respect for human life. We have bound the hands of our military with multiple layers of restraint, using far less than the total might at our disposal in an attempt to spare not only the many innocent, but the misguided people of the region as well.

    Even when faced with the opportunity to treat their leader in the same way our's would have been treated in their hands; we chose to give their leader the decency of burial according to the faith customs he held.

    The fact that you don't find that good enough confirms the depth of your charecter.

    Since you and many of the Monday-morning quarterbacks feel you could do a better job; I encourage you to step up.

    Michael Cameron

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  42. I have to agree with some of the people saying that they do not agree with the sentiment of this post (but not in the way some of these have been expressed) yet at the same time I understand it as well! I was moved by Obama's speech and I understood the sense of relief felt expressed in the scenes outside the white house. I understand that if Osama Bin Laden was imprisoned then this could have led to many kidnappings, threats, torture and maybe killings as a way of bargaining his release. As it is, the hardcore element of Al Quaida now believe that OBL is in heaven getting his reward - and they have not had to deal with the possibly de-mystifying effect of OBL in an orange jump suit/sitting in a court room. Although on the other hand I wish wish wish that he could have been tried in an international criminal court. I completely understand the very Christian view point of forgiveness, which I believe this post is expressing. But at the same time no one can know what is in people's minds - especially not from a few tv shots of nameless people rejoicing on the streets. Ultimately I feel that personally, I would not have been rejoicing on the streets and I will not agree with those people who say OBL deserved what he got or worse, the same way I will not agree with capital punishment, or deporting foreign nationals from this country to regimes where they will face execution. But at the same time I cannot take a stand and say that those people i do not agree with are any kind of threat personally or globally. Sometimes you have to just let people hate, allow them to vent, acknowledge the pain that this is born out of, and still love them/not judge anyway.

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  43. Silly, decadent nonsense.

    This killing was a victory. There was no point in hearing this man justify his evil in a courtroom, this is not a legal dispute, it is a war. Far better to simply kill him in that war than to arrest him as if he were simply some form of common criminal.

    A good deed and the world is a better place for it, only the truly decayed and degenerate cannot celebrate their victories over their enemies.

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  44. Michael,
    thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. Your first statement is in part obvious - as I begin my blog by telling you what motivated me to write was what I was seeing on TV. But I made no judgment about the heart and mind of a nation based on it - I simply recorded my response to what I saw - and the fear that it engendered.

    Sadly, as many of the comments to this post have demonstrated - many Americans do seem willing to choose violence over peace - but I stress again - I am not interested in judging an entire nation, just what I witnessed.

    I am sorry that you take offense at my fear of the sort of nationalistic jubilation I witnessed and what it represents. As hard as it might be to accept, not everyone wants the McDonaldisation of the world, or thinks it would be good for humanity. The equality you speak of, is highly selective - the American way of life it would appear, is, as is often said - a dream - not a reality. It doesn't, for example, hold for the poor people in your country (black or white) who have no health insurance..

    I think what troubles me most in your comment is the idea you seem to have that the world is somehow dependent on America to police it and keep it safe. Your selective reading of the events of WWII make this evident. History does not agree with you however. The request for aid from America was only met AFTER Pearl Harbor. America only gets involved when she has been directly affected. The same is true of the war on terror which some of us have been living with for significantly longer than 9/11.

    BUT
    Be that as it may,
    my post was concerned with the way in which it is claimed that JUSTICE is the same as killing.
    An unarmed man was shot in his bedroom in front of his wife - is this justice?
    We have no way of knowing whether or not sport was made of his body before it was buried/dumped at sea. We were not fortunate enough to have our own live feed to these events.

    The issue is not whether or not America had the right to behave like Al-Qaeda and send a cell to assassinate someone in covert operation on foreign soil:
    The key issue is the claim made by those who insist that they are fighting terrorism and defending the rights of law and liberty that this is what passes for JUSTICE.

    It would have been easier to kill all those who have been brought before international courts of human rights, from Nuremberg through to the Hague - but the difference between us and the terrorist is this - we choose follow the rule of law rather than the law of the jungle.

    Lastly, but by no means least - it is easy to speculate on what might have been if we had not been so violent in the past in the service (we believe) of a greater peace. But our speculation does not justify our current actions.

    My faith calls for greater courage than this. Courage that God has not abandoned humanity to its savagery, and that IF what was written on American Money was written on all human hearts - THEN the world might really be able to sleep at night.

    as an obvious p.s. - If this was such a great victory for 'peace' why is every country now on a higher alert for terrorist activity than it was prior to it?

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  45. First time I've come across your blog. Great post! It would be nice to see some more post like this from Americans.

    God Bless

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  46. I'm really pleased to find this blog post. Not only have you clearly expressed what I have been thinking but the comments illustrate what we are up against as Christians.

    "There is no alternative to violence." Really?

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  47. Angela, thank you for articulating what many of us have been thinking. You have not only witnessed to the Gospel message but you have also allowed those who disagree to have their say.

    Andy

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  48. I thank Angie for her post because like her I do not "rejoice" at anyone's death, and I am repulsed by that attitude which does. Bin Laden's death, however, was a consequence of his own actions and choices - he had given his life over to the pursuit of violence and of hatred. He accepted neither international conventions nor the very clear guidance of Islam in the conduct of war - not a soldier then, but certainly a combatant. Unless you are a pacifist (and I want to be but just can't) it follows that a legitimate authority can use armed force to protect against such a threat.

    Like Angie I do not accept this as "justice" and as a Christian I can never accept "revenge" as an acceptable motive. "Justice" is actually the wrong category for what has happened. This was not a judicial action but a military one. Admittedly not a conventional military action but it is closer in character to an act of war than a bungled arrest. We need to rethink our just war theory which was framed to help us understand conflict between nation states not the kind of asymmetric warfare we see in the world today. Nevertheless Bin Laden was certainly a combatant and a therefore a legitimate military target. Could he have been captured rather than killed? I doubt that this kind of long range special operation can be finessed to that degree - but I am not a military man and in no position to judge.

    In the end this was "cruel necessity". Please no gloating, no heroes and no martyrs - the world is a dark enough place already when we have to do these things, but for God's sake let us not take them to heart

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  49. My opinion, for what it's worth...

    Firstly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I / We in the Western world believe this a foundation of our society, but there are limits. Slander, lies, words can be more damaging than violence, as they are unstoppable, and spread easily.

    Why does this relate to Bin Laden? In my opinion (again) there is real evil in the world, and it's not necessarily in an individual, but in a philosophy. Bin Laden's philosophy, outlook on life is, however he got it, pure evil. He believed it was OK for him to murder thousands of people. Living in the West, UK, America, Israel, wherever, we were potential targets of his beliefs.

    What does the bible say about evil, about war, about someone who has killed thousands, and would kill you if he were able? I don't think even the bible says, lets listen to why he feels justified for his actions. Sometimes, we should not listen to words. Some evil needs to be fought and killed.

    Put it in bible terms, Bin Laden was like Amalek, who preyed on the weak. Gd said to wipe them out for their cowardly evil actions.

    The bible, wise book that it is, understands lots of things we work towards, hold for granted, freedom of speech, fair trails, justice etc, have their limits, and once over those limits, the rules change.

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  50. "As for America living in fear for the last decade.. what of the people of Madrid, or the victims here in the UK?"

    This was for them too.

    "To rejoice in death can lead only to more death."

    What are you basing that on? Our enemies think we are weak and decadent. Showing them we mean business is likely to save innocent lives. Destroying Al-Quaida will save innocent lives. I rejoice in that.

    "thank you again for your comment, so sorry you think that it is a normal response for people of any age to delight in the death of a man - any man."

    An inability to experience anger is deeply neurotic (and annoying).

    re. you comment @7:29 - nobody in his right mind would set foot inside an NHS hospital, assuming he was able to gain admission before bleeding to death. "McDonaldisation" indeed.

    Back when Britain was still a serious country, George Orwell wrote that “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” And you stand ready to purse your lips at them for being nasty enough to protect you.

    Bin Laden was not "murdered", as one commenter suggested; he was killed in a military action. For once I can almost stand the sight of Barry.

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  51. I do not share your opinions, but I do share in your regrets. And thank you for sharing them, as I enjoyed reading them.

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