Monday, May 02, 2011

A bittersweet victory?

I woke to the news that US Special Forces had killed Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaida, the terrorist organization that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and except for the heroics of a group of passengers that led to the crash of another plane over Pennsylvania, perhaps another target would have been hit.  It was nearly ten years ago, and the search for the lead perpetrator has gone on since that day. 

That day has come, as a Navy Seal team attacked a compound in a city just north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.  The plan was approved on Friday by President Obama and carried out yesterday.  Apparently word came out late last night, but I didn't see it until this morning.  The news reports show large groups of Americans cheering and celebrating, which is understandable.  This has been a long dark night for the nation, but his death doesn't change things all that much.  Al Qaida has lost much of its support and it's unlikely that bin Laden ran things day to day.  But the symbolism remains.

The question is -- where do we go from here.  The President termed this "justice is done."  And there is some truth to this, but we still have troops to return home from Iraq and a war to conclude in Afghanistan.  There is unrest elsewhere in the Muslim world and we must wait and see how all of this turns out.

So, my question is this:  Is this not a bittersweet victory?  This brings a chapter to an end, but the book is still being written.  So, how do we want the next chapter to be written?  That is the real question!

  

6 comments:

Brian said...

I'm having a hard time today. Someone in the hall just approached me with the Kansas City Star. Like headlines around the world it has death in bold letters. She asked, "Isn't this wonderful news?" as I was walking into my office. I said "I saw the news" and kept trying to get into the office (and avoid this conversation). She insisted, "Isn't it wonderful news?". I turned around and said, "No! I won't celebrate the killing of anybody. God bless you." and walked into my office. I heard her say, "Whatever" as the door closed.

Normally I am good about not getting emotional. Having a harder time today. I don't mean that I support the man. He was not a good guy. I just mean that I'm having a hard time emotionally dealing with the celebratory mood of the killing of a human being.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

That's why I used the word bittersweet. I understand the celebrations, and perhaps the necessity of the action, but as a folower of Jesus I'm not sure how to respond. Celebration doesn't seem correct!

John said...

I wonder if it wouldn't have been better that he died of natural causes?

I am not a fan of violence, nor of assasinations. Something in the commandments, and there was that stuff Jesus said about praying for your enemies.

Speaking pragmatically, I think his death by an American commando unit in Pakistan will have significant negative fallout, in the West, in Pakistan, and in the Muslim world in general - notwithstanding the lip service which is being paid by many Arab leaders. I think the sense of justice and vindication that is felt among Americans that his death came at the hands of American forces will be more than offset by the retaliation that may likely follow.

I hope I am wrong. I pray our violence will not lead to yet more violence.

Brian said...

Just to be clear - I didn't interpret Bob's post as being celebratory. I was responding to what I'm seeing elsewhere.

Gary said...

Since the government has a well deserved reputation of lying, I want to see the body. But alas, they have, supposedly, quickly and conveniently buried the body at sea. This whole thing is very suspicious.

David said...

It was suspicious and convenient from the start Gary. I would think we'd want him alive. Oops.