Thursday, 5 May 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury on Osama bin Laden

Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop on Osama Bin Laden

Q: Do you believe that the killing of Osama Bin Laden is justice for the 9/11 attacks and indeed other attacks? And was the US morally justified in shooting him even though he was unarmed as the White House now admits?

A: I think that the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done, in those circumstances. I think it is also true that the different versions of events that have emerged in recent days have not done a great deal to help here. I don’t know the full details anymore than anyone else does but I do believe that in such circumstance when we are faced with someone who was manifestly a ‘war criminal’ as you might say in terms of the atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be observed.

Press reports:

See the video of this, from Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury condemns the manner of Osama bin Laden killing

Press Association via Independent Archbishop ‘uncomfortable’ over Bin Laden killing

Telegraph Tim Ross Osama bin Laden dead: Archbishop of Canterbury criticises White House

Guardian Riazat Butt Bin Laden killing left ‘uncomfortable feeling’ – Rowan Williams

BBC Archbishop ‘uncomfortable’ over Bin Laden unarmed death

Channel 4 News Osama bin Laden killing leaves Archbishop ‘uncomfortable’

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Comments

The U.S. justice system is based on presumed innocence and a fair trial: I don't think Osama bin Laben could have counted on either of those today. Is the world better off without him? No doubt. Is the world a safer place without him? Likely. Was "justice done"? Not so sure. Was there an alternative? Can't think of one.

Posted by: Edward of Baltimore on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 3:40pm BST

Bin Laden has caused, directly or indirectly, the deaths of thousands of unarmed innocent civilians in many parts of the world, not just the U.S. Rowan Williams seems to think it would have somehow been better if Bin Laden had been armed. Why? To give him a chance to kill one more person? Huh?

Williams seems to operate in an alternate reality in this as in so many other matters.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 4:21pm BST

But as has been pointed out elsewhere, the fact that al Qaeda uses suicide bombers means that telling whether or not OBL was armed or not would have been difficult to do.

At any rate, I'd much rather have an American soldier mistakenly shoot an unarmed OBL than have the soldier mistakenly think he was unarmed, try to take him into custody, and find out the hard way that he *was* armed, after all.

Full disclosure: I'm not made uncomfortable by OBL's enforced shuffling off this mortal coil at all. I *am* made uncomfortable by hand-wringing over the elimination of a threat to humanity like OBL. If the Archbishop starts moaning about the manner of OBL's burial, too, I'm giving up Anglicanism and taking up something else - possibly drinking.

Biblical trivia: Holofernes and Sisera were unarmed, too.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 4:42pm BST

... and I am uncomfortable with the Archbishop. He should have half the concern over the infringed rights of good gay men and lesbians. I don't think any of us want to see the death of another human no matter how inhuman they may be, but when did the Archbishop last stand in an armed enemy camp and make a considered philosophical decision.

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 7:15pm BST

The Vatican has criticised this killing as well. Watching Americans, especially young people who were children at 9/11 dancing in the streets tells us how far things have fallen in the U.S. Or maybe their violent nature is just more open now. It looked like any jubilant crowd in Tehran. But then again, the U.S. has murdered its enemies before and wrapped itself in a cloak of righteousness. To them, they are the only people who mater on the planet, so, to paraphrase Nixon (with Frost), if the U.S. does it, it is not illegal.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 10:03pm BST

The Sanhedrin once said (of the killing of Jesus): "It is expedient that one man should die for the people"

Anyone who sets themselves up as a 'Messiah', for whomever, is bound to become vulnerable. We now know that the death of Jesus bought/brought life to all humanity. Can we say the same of Osama bin Laden? Did his killings bring anyone life?

The life of Jesus brought the prospect of eternal life for all human-kind. Bin Laden believed that his murderous actions would bring life to Muslims only. I cannot blame the American people for the death of a murderer. Even the Bible is ambivalent about the death of our enemies - see David and Goliath!

"God desireth not the death of a sinner - but that he should turn from his wickedness and live". The question here might be: 'Did Osama bin Laden turn from his wickedness? Maybe not.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 10:13pm BST

I think this says it well...
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/must+never+celebrate+death/4731821/story.html

Posted by: Richard Grand on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 10:18pm BST

When reporters ask questions like this, I wonder why respondents (regardless of title) don't just answer "I don't know. God will judge."?

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 10:24pm BST

People whose lives have been touched by islamist terrorism have reason to feel glad that Osama bin Laden one of its key authors, is dead.
However, an extra-judicial killing as the ABC infers, leaves us feeling uncomfortable. Good for him for remarking so gently on the emperor's new clothes.
Such action is unlikely to guarantee closure, or any healing of wounds inflicted by Al Qu'aeda, notorious for extra-judicial action against truly innocent people.
An International Criminal Court trial, with a body of multi-faith, multi-cultural lawyers for defence, prosecution and judgement, however challenging, complex or painful a process, would represent moral progress in ending the futility of violent retaliation as the first (and often only) response to perpetrators of such evil outrage.
If anyone clings to the need for revenge, let it at least be served as cold as this! Perhaps the whole world might learn something worthwhile as a result.

Posted by: Keith Kimber on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 12:15am BST

I too found the shouts of USA, USA and the celebrations in the streets repugnant.

I am glad we gave that murderer a proper burial at sea.

And I am satisfied that he is dead.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 12:50am BST

Richard Grand posted "Watching Americans, especially young people who were children at 9/11 dancing in the streets tells us how far things have fallen in the U.S. Or maybe their violent nature is just more open now."

This is a cheap shot. The reality is more complex.


Check out this interview that CBC's As it Happens did with Donna Marsh O'Connor, spokes person for "9/11 families for a peaceful tomorrow." It would humble any person of faith. If link one won't work, click on link two and go to As it Happens for Monday part II. God bless America's peacemakers.

http://www.cbc.ca/video/news/audioplayer.html?clipid=1906256326

http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/episode/2011/05/02/monday-may-02-2011/

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 1:44am BST

Simon,
You may like to list the attached comments by the two New Zealand Archbishops, commenting not so much on the killing itself, but on our response to it.

Reflections at the time of the death of Osama bin Laden
The news of the demise of Osama bin Laden has been felt to bring a measure and a form of closure for thousands affected by the acts of terror over the past decade. It is crucial that the acts of terror in any form, including those masterminded by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, be challenged and overcome.
However, the death of Osama bin Laden is no cause for gloating, or unthinking jubilation. The biblical record is clear in Ezekiel 18:32: “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.” We are therefore not called to relish the death of anyone. We are called to grieve the fact that turning and living was not chosen in the first place by Al Qaeda, who chose the way of death, but also to grieve all deadly spirals of violence and fear, hatred and prejudice with all their various causes.
Learning to find a way of understanding the causes of the way of violence and death can, by grace, lead to a measure of God given forgiveness of enemies, as the Gospel calls us to do: Matthew 5:43-44, John 13:34, Luke 6:27-28, Romans 12:14, 1 Corinthians 4:12, Romans 12:17-21, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 John 2:9-10. We need insight under God, rather than vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30). An eye for an eye (Matthew 5:38) and the whole world goes blind. This means jingoism and enjoyment of the death of Osama bin Laden can find no place in Christian prayer or Christian thinking.
We can do no better than end with the words of a Christian leader who gave his life for the cause of justice, freedom and abundant life for all people: "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."--Martin Luther King, Jr.
++Brown Turei
++David Moxon
Archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 2:01am BST

"Bin Laden has caused, directly or indirectly, the deaths of thousands of unarmed innocent civilians in many parts of the world, not just the U.S."

Many people are saying this sort of thing, and I wonder how they cannot reflect that the U.S. has caused the deaths of thousands of unarmed innocent civilians in many parts of the world, most recently and notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. And what of the deaths of armed nationals whose offense is opposing foreign occupation of their native lands?

If we're uncomfortable with the cold-blooded killing of a man (and his staff) in his own home, I wonder that we're not more uncomfortable with the impersonal slaughter of wedding parties, motor convoys, and apartment house residents in the Middle East by missiles dropped from drone aircraft remotely controlled from centers in Nevada -- all to eliminate people suspected of organizing opposition to foreign occupation (ours). Sorry about the women and children in the area. No offense intended. Sign here for burial expenses.

The U.S. empire has operated outside public view in large part -- who knows about the conquest of the Philippines or the murder of the opposition party by our dictator in Peru? Nowadays, we can see how the beast operates, and it's not a pretty sight. But it undergirds the U.S. standard of living. Where to start unraveling it? The ABC, and the church at large, might give it some thought, instead of continuing to operate as a department of Empire, and apologist for the powers-that-be.

Posted by: Murdoch Matthew on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 5:09am BST

" But then again, the U.S. has murdered its enemies before and wrapped itself in a cloak of righteousness. To them, they are the only people who mater on the planet, so, to paraphrase Nixon (with Frost), if the U.S. does it, it is not illegal."

Wow, Richard, ALL Americans?

How broad was thy brush.

I find the bitterness and hatred directed at people for having the audacity to be no more than U. S. citizens a bit disturbing. I have condemned the celebrations, while an Englishman I know thought they were fine. I have questioned the validity of the killing and its efficacy, whereas a Canadian woman told me it sounded perfectly valid to her. And I'm not just American but one o' them thar vy-lent hillbilly 'Murkans without no eddykashun down south.

Of course, maybe I was too busy off murdering my enemies to notice some kind of new evidence. Even if you, yourself, are a U. S. citizen, the tone of those comments was of such a hateful mien I am simply amazed. You may want to note that words can be violent, as well, even those that do not call for killing and destruction.

I am truly appalled that your comments were allowed here, when Simon has cut me off for calling an individual caught in a lie a liar.

If this is an example of the Christianity exemplified in the rest of the world, Dawkins is right.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 5:31am BST

Most unwise to have commented, especially as he prefaced his brief answer to the question by admitting he didn't have the facts. The office of the Archbishop of Westminster was much smarter.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 8:03am BST

I don't see anything that's wrong with his statement. Of course it's better if it looks 100% as if justice had been done, and in a Western democracy that means capturing your suspect and trying him in a court of law.

It doesn't mean that this was remotely possible here, and I don't see Rowan saying that it should have been. He simply points out that it's not ideal.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 8:23am BST

Very sane comments from Abp Williams -- who was in New York on 9/11 and who lost a host and dear friend in a terrorist incident in Istanbul in 2003. The US vengeful glee has also been rejected by the Vatican spokesman. It is dragging us back to the tit for tat world of 2001 to 2003 at the very moment when the Arab world seemed to be surging forward to democracy.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 9:28am BST

I for one am quite happy that the spiritual leader of my communion is uncomfortable with killing. Even if justified, even if the target is the most odious and terrible of people, even if unavoidable in the heat of battle, the circumstances surrounding the taking of any life should make one uncomfortable. Well done, ++Rowan.

-Chris

Posted by: Christopher Arnold on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 12:19pm BST

The "Equivocator in Chief" strikes again. The ABC alert condition remains OPAQUE. (But he has a nice voice and good stole action for Royal weddings.)

Posted by: Timothy on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 12:57pm BST

"The U.S. empire has operated outside public view in large part -- who knows about the conquest of the Philippines or the murder of the opposition party by our dictator in Peru?"

Well, you seem to know about them, as do lots of other people in the States who are equally ashamed of our actions.

As for the morality of using drones as attack weapons, rather than only as spies in the sky, that is indeed debatable, and is debated in both military and civilan venues. I doubt Bin Laden engaged in subtle debates over the morality of random murders of civilians.

Going to war in Iraq was indeed wrong. I make no defence of that. Then, I wouldn't defend the Falkland war, either.

I'm not claiming American innocence, but merely want to point out that the real world we live in is too morally complex to be over-generalized about.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 2:05pm BST

The ABC quite clearly said that he knew as much as any other person on the street about the circumstances surrounding OBL's death. And as a Christian leader surely he is mindful of Matthew 5:44, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. The Americans have created a martyr out of a murderer and any consequences will have to be borne by them. I sincerely hope there won't be any retribution for what's happened, but I think we will be lucky if there won't be.

Posted by: hitherqueen on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 4:54pm BST

It is so tempting to respond to the substance of these comments, as an American Christian and priest. I think all that could be said has been said. What bothers me is that 'broad brush' characterization of Americans, based largely on sensational media portrayals. To my friends and former neighbors in England, the birthplace and true home of my wife, Americans are as highly conflicted over this as those across the ponds. Archbishop Tutu's well known remark about Anglicanism being very messy, is an apt description of American democracy - and getting messier [and nastier] by the day, which is cause for much concern here, as it rightfully should be abroad.

Posted by: Bob McCloskey on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 5:04pm BST

Yes, there are those who will celebrate the demise of Bin Laden. And us Yanks do celebrate with more abandon that the Brits and chant USA at the drop of a hat. But not all of the US feels this way.

To say "bothered" means condemnation is also a broad brush. Any Christian should be bothered by war, by killing of any kind.
http://stoneofwitness.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Muthah+ on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 5:12pm BST

The capture, imprisonment and trial of a live Bin Laden would almost certainly have triggered a hostage crisis of unimaginable proportions, with many, many more innocent deaths.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 5:34pm BST

"What bothers me is that 'broad brush' characterization of Americans, based largely on sensational media portrayals."

Thanks for saying this. The broad brush is always tempting, because it requires little analytical thinking, and makes ignoring complexity easy.

I recently read a book titled "One Christmas In Washington," about the meetings between Churchill and his entourage and FDR and his just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They met to hammer out how to conduct what was now a global war. The book gives biographical sketches of the participamts, and I was surpised and somewhat shocked to find simple-minded bigotry on both sides - about each other, and not the enemy. Some Brits loathed loud-mouthed bragging Yanks, and some Yanks despised snobbish and stand-offish Brits. Prejudice on both sides made coming to agreement that much harder.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 7:47pm BST

I think the snark and criticism of high spirits at the death of a monster like Bin Laden is off-base (besides being an example of wrapping oneself in a "cloak of righteousness" in itself, Richard Grand). I'm pretty sure that people were excited when Hitler died, too; I'm also pretty sure that that's okay.

I look forward to the purse-lipped tut-tutting when Gaddafi is hanging from a light-post and people are cheering in Tripoli. Or is it only Americans who must feel guilty for having human emotions?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 8:38pm BST

I think judging all (U.S.) Americans by those relative few who partied in the streets Sunday night, would be like judging all English by their football hooligans. I think it's fine to judge the USA by its (SCOTUS-approved) 2nd Amendment and gun violence to match, but to draw a "how far they have fallen {blood-thirsty monsters}" conclusion by last Sunday's flag-waving is really rather ridiculous (not to mention self-righteous).

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 6 May 2011 at 8:56pm BST

Crazy Rabbit seems to have been one of very few people on this thread to have pointed out the obvious alternative to Osama's killing - in the way it took place. To have taken him captive (even if he had agreed to such a thing) would have meant the future fear of terrorist activity in seeking his release. And, one must ask, what country - apart from the US - would ever consent to holding him in custody while lawyers decided what to do with him? It is too easy to criticise the U.S.

While I, too, deplore excessive rejoicing at the death of a tyrant, I am old enough to have been a citizen of the English City of Coventry during the 2nd World War, when Hitler's bombs killed many of my fellow citizens. I remember distinctly the joy with which I hailed the death of Adolf Hitler - not just because of the bombing raids, but also because of the systematic eradication of the Jews of Europe. Attitudes towards tyrants is inevitably coloured by personal experience of their wrath.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 12:29am BST

On the one hand, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of celebrating the death of any human being. On the other, I had a sly G&T when President Reagan died and went to hell, and I have a couple of bottles put away for the Thatcher-Gotterdammerung too. I'm not particularly proud of it, and unlike Bill Dilworth I make no claim that it's "okay". I wish I were half as high-minded as Archbishop Rowan. Unfortunately, I'm just bloody vindictive, that's all.

Posted by: rjb on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 6:21am BST

Cynthia mentions people who have moral doubt about using drones. I remember President Obama joking about drones at his meet the press stunt last year -- no moral qualms in evidence there.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 11:13am BST

ABC doesn't inhabit the military world of tough choices. 

We may de-cry the US 'Lone Ranger' approach from a safe distance and quietly ignore the idea that a combined internationally co-ordinated operation is more susceptible to be botched by leaks and ambushed.

It was Bin Laden's active current global leadership of indiscriminate lethal violence against large-scale civilian and especially American targets that made him a legitimate strategic target for US forces.

While the operation was retaliatory, even our own military are employed to thwart active lethal adversaries (even strategic ones) with lethal force. If Bin Laden had renounced his participation in a long campaign of lethal violence, his killing would be a summary execution for past crimes. Now that's a different matter entirely.

Let ABC declare his pacifist hand, if he considers the elimination of any active strategic combatant (who is not necessarily wielding a physical weapon) as unconscionable.

Let him also declare a viable alternative for the real world to contain an active, avowed and demonstrated capacity to inflict death while minimising any further threat to our safety.

Our military authorities 'bear not the sword in vain'

Posted by: David Shepherd on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 11:27am BST

"Attitudes towards tyrants is inevitably coloured by personal experience of their wrath."

Absolutely.

I also think it's interesting that the celebrations in NYC and DC were primarily youth-driven, while lot of the of the condemnation, on the other hand, seems to be from older people. Some of the condemnation has the familiar ring of "The problem with young people today...", but projected through an anti-US filter.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 1:47pm BST

For once I agree with Rowan...

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 6:19pm BST

I had no idea that people would take me so literally. Of course, not all Americans are violent. Of course they have a legitimate reason to be happy. Perhaps I have overstated my opinion. Of course I know that reality is more complex. I simply had a reaction seeing people treating a death as if it were a sports championship. It is accurate to say that American administrations have done this before. My comment about the "openness" of the violent nature of Americans was unnecessary. But at the same time statistics about gun deaths and violent acts in the United States per capita cannot be disputed. It is much higher than in Canada, for example. The violence in American society is often decried by its leaders and many commentators. Young people carry guns to school and there are states that have passed legislation allowing people to bring them to church. Then there is the endless violence on TV and in the media, not to mention Hollywood entertainment. The fact that it seems so normal to young people is a cause for concern. I am glad Bin Laden is dead, but it is a time for sober reflection, not hoopla.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 4:02am BST

"The capture, imprisonment and trial of a live Bin Laden would almost certainly have triggered a hostage crisis of unimaginable proportions, with many, many more innocent deaths."

That does not seem to have happened with the capture, imprisonment and trial of a live Saddam.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 8:51am BST

"That does not seem to have happened with the capture, imprisonment and trial of a live Saddam."

Yes, things in Iraq went (and are going) so *smoothly*...

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 12:56pm BST

Spirit:

Saddam Hussein was tried and convicted by his own people in his own country for crimes perpetrated against them. Osama bin Laden would have had to be tried in a country not his own (Saudi Arabia has effectively washed their hands of him), by the countrymen of his victims, for crimes perpetrated against citizens of those countries.

It is and was obvious that no country wanted jurisdiction over this trial or responsibility for holding him.

I do not "celebrate" his death...but I recognize it as the only form of justice he was ever likely to get.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 2:08pm BST

Hopefully this will be useful (Huffington Post/CBC)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-breitweiser/today-is-not-a-day-of-cel_b_856535.html

Posted by: Richard Grand on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 2:13pm BST

Richard, you could support absolutely any opinion you cared to take on the subject with selected quotes from the survivors of 9/11. They are not a homogenous group by any stretch of the imagination. The key thing is, it seems to me, that for some people, like Kristen Breitweiser, you, and +++Canterbury, it was not a day of celebration. For others, especially young people who had grown up under the shadow of OBL, it was.

Curiously, I have not seen anybody accusing those who did not celebrate of not caring, or of being bad Christians or bad people. But many of the non-celebrators seem absolutely compelled to make judgments - not only of morality, but of basic Christian allegiance ("no *real* Christian could ever possibly," etc) on those who did. Yeah, "real Christians" don't celebrate death in a unseemly manner, but they sure do have judgmental down pat.

For the record, I didn't celebrate, but I'm glad they killed him. But really, dictating other people's emotional responses to earth-shaking events is above everybody's pay grade, as far as I am concerned. Speck, meet plank...

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 5:42pm BST

Maybe this will help:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/opinion/08dowd.html

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 5:47pm BST

The preacher at Mattins this morning reminded us that Dietrich Bonheoffer was part of the conspiracies to asssinate Hitler (and of course paid for it with his life). This reminds us that there may be occasions when such actions are necessary, but he, like many of us, have to wrestle with our 'uncomfortable' feelings too.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 5:48pm BST

Bill Dilworth said "Richard, you could support absolutely any opinion you cared to take on the subject with selected quotes from the survivors of 9/11. They are not a homogenous group by any stretch of the imagination." That comment is a two way street-it applies to you as well. Those "growing up uncer the shadow of Bin Laden" are no different from any of us who have lived with the consequences of 9/11. Young people have no monopoly. In fact, they don't know what life was like unless they were in the military, flew frequently, or crossed borders in those days. I have still not adjusted to nor accepted the paranoia that pervades U.S. society. It would be great if that could end.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Monday, 9 May 2011 at 12:01am BST

For me, the crucial question is not whether Americans have the right to be elated about Bin Laden's death, but whether it is politically helpful to celebrate in the streets.
We've all been offended by images of Muslims celebrating 9/11 and we know that images of celebrating Americans will be beamed in to those people's homes. They will not know that most Americans are relieved but do not feel the need to dance in the streets, they will believe that the whole country is sticking up 2 fingers to them.
The truth doesn't matter, the perception will create its own truths.
And celebrations like this can well radicalise more people and breathe more life into Al Quaeda.


Incidentally, a German newspaper ananlysing the situation concluded that the Bin Laden episode is a throw-back to 2001, a closure, but that Arab countries have long moved on from there. The fact that the US immediately responded with force to the attacks showed the people on the ground that their own leaders aren't invincible, which eventually led to the Arab uprisings we've been witnessing in recent months. If Al Quaeda is weakened it's largely due to the changed political situation in the Arab countries.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 9 May 2011 at 9:38am BST

The ABC's comments in the press release are unremarkable as far as comments on general principles go.

But, thanks to Bill Dilworth (8 May 5:47 pm BST) for the link to Maureen Dowd's column on the aftermath of Bin Laden's death. I read Ms. Dowd's Column weekly, but had missed this one. One of the best analysis on the subject at hand I've seen.

Dowd writes: "I leave it to subtler minds to parse the distinction between what is just and what is justified. ... Morally and operationally, this was counterterrorism at its finest. We have nothing to apologize for. ” Bingo!

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 9 May 2011 at 3:16pm BST

"...the crucial question is not whether Americans have the right to be elated about Bin Laden's death, but whether it is politically helpful to celebrate in the streets."

I do not intend to live the rest of my life worrying about what the Muslim man-in-the-street makes of me, my life, words, or actions. And while there are any number of things in American society it might be "politically helpful" to change, inasmuch as they might (or do) offend overseas Muslims, I would be sorry to see any of them change as the result of giving the Muslim world a heckler's veto.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 9 May 2011 at 10:24pm BST

"I have still not adjusted to nor accepted the paranoia that pervades U.S. society. It would be great if that could end."

That's made no simpler by mindless anti-Americanism.

Those of us working from the inside to try to bring that about are constantly - *constantly!* - thwarted by the ongoing thoughtless us/them of anti-Americanism. I don't care to promote an exceptional America - any more than I would an exceptional Canada or England or anyplace else. We are all human, and humans are not particularly exceptional, no race or nation having a lock on cruelty, stupidity, arrogance, murder, rapine, duplicity, or savagery.

The world is a mess. It isn't just Americans - we are all to blame, and blaming each *other*, instead, is going to destroy all of us.

That includes, by the way, those of you Americans so impressed with your own moral virtue - "Why, Rowan is right!" Where were *you* to stop it? What did *you* do?

What did anyone do/is doing about the conditions that gave rise to an Osama bin Laden?

No. Please, play "I'm-better-than-you" and we can all burn just as well as the other.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 at 6:26am BST

My comments on the paranoia that pervades the U.S. has nothing to do with anti-Americanism. I don't know where that came from-your reaction says more about you. I am simply saying that I love many things about the U.S. and would like to get back to better times. These comments are based on what my AMERICAN friends say to me about themselves. They don't like the situation they are in. They live it every day.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 at 3:49pm BST
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