Saturday, May 7, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Death

I was trying to keep my blog clean from the smear that is Osama bin Laden, but I just can’t do it anymore.

From a self-defense standpoint, I can understand and appreciate why his execution was an act of just war.  He was someone who masterminded the deaths of 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001.  And he was plotting to do more damage to America. 

From a human standpoint, though, it’s different.  Among other things, his death makes him a martyr to his followers, a reason for retaliation.  Not that they really needed any reasons to attack the US.  Still, there’s something gruesome about killing, even when it’s “right.”  I’m not saying that the Navy Seals weren’t brave in doing what they did.  They were.

Death, to me, is always a sad occasion, even if it’s the worst person in the entire world.  And killing can never become the first line of action.  How was Osama bin Laden able to rise to power in the first place?  Undoubtedly, much of it had to do with the fact that he was super-rich.  Without his great wealth, he would have been just another guy with an opinion.  But aside from that, what pains and indignities had people suffered that they were willing to sign up with him?  Why would someone choose to be a suicide bomber?  What about their lives was so unbearable that they would rather die on a suicide mission, than live?

The death of Osama bin Laden does not bring an end to the circumstances that give rise to radicals.  People who have no hope.  People who have no hope will sometimes do the craziest things.  People who have been shut out of society and have no value to anyone.  People who have no purpose are easy prey for radical groups.  His death brings an end to an immediate threat, but not to terrorism.

The US has the most powerful military in the world.  When somebody becomes a target of the US, there is really no escape.  That kind of power is really something that the US should be afraid of.  No longer are there 2 superpowers warring against each other, but one that can make war on the entire world.  The people in the military are, no doubt, brave and decent people.  But it’s the policy makers who concern me.  Anyone who has that much power has to make a real effort not to become the aggressor.

It can be easy, when feeling wounded, to want to attack back.  But the US as a military force can easily crush the military powers of smaller countries.  All the more reason to exercise self-restraint.  In particular, the fighting that has begun in Libya.  The whole reason why the US invaded Libya was because the Libyan government was willing to kill civilians.  But US air strikes in Libya have killed at least 40 civilians.  A superpower like the US needs to be willing to dialogue with other countries.  Dialogue, not the use of military intervention, is the best way to resolve many international conflicts.  It’s also the best way for the US to prevent becoming like those terrorist organizations that we fight against.  Preserving civility and peace is a fight worth fighting too.


TracyRobin said...

Excellent piece, thank you.

Adult Student said...

Thank you for your comment.