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CrimsonLine

The Death of Osama bin Laden

145 posts in this topic

So when I heard the news, two of my first thoughts were, of course, movie-related.

I personally couldn't help thinking of the heartbreaking ending of Peter Berg's The Kingdom.

Persiflage wrote:

: It's going to take more than killing symbolic leaders to accomplish any lasting good here.

They're saying now that they didn't just kill him; they took his computer, too. Any thoughts on whether that might have any tactical value? Or has Osama withered so much towards being a figurehead that he wouldn't even be in the loop on anything important nowadays?

The computer might have useful information on it, but what everyone seems to be ignoring is how much al-Qaeda has changed and adapted over the years. Much of the useful intelligence we'd gather while I was in Iraq would only be worth anything for a day or two at most. Radical Islamic terrorists are not a traditional army - so it's not like they have a leader that you get to win by killing. And killing an old man who helped inspire some brainwashed guys to kill thousands of Americans ten years ago is not victory against al-Qaeda. This is an "organization" in the loose sense of the word. For the most part, many al-Qaeda terrorist cells operate completely independently - united only by their radical religion and their hate.

This is how hard and nontraditional this is. Everyone is celebrating bin Laden's death as some sort of military victory. And yet, this is precisely how he probably would have chosen to die - murdered (martyred) by those who he hated, causing other fellow radicals to be inspired & determined all the more only to die for killing many of the infidel Empire. We may have lost the "battle" when it came to bin Laden's death as soon as President Obama announced it to the world. Serious foreign policy thinkers are suggesting the best tactical decision would have been to keep the whole thing under wraps for a while. If we did gain intelligence information from bin Laden's computer, it's likely any usefulness it possessed was destroyed as soon as we decided to announce his death to the world.

: Spiritually, I can think of nothing better to turn believers in Islam away from Christianity and the gospel forever than to see Christians celebrating the death of bin Laden.

So ... are we taking it for granted, then, that there won't be any MUSLIMS celebrating the death of bin Laden? I mean, he's killed a lot more of THEM than he has of US, no?

From the ones I've talked to, I think most of them understand that this is a little accomplishment. It may have been inevitable that we'd catch him some day, but it taking 10 years for us to find him, and 5-6 years after he'd already lost most of his usefulness to al-Qaeda as anything other than a mere symbol of success - that's him beating us. If there are Western Muslims celebrating bin Laden's death, they're the less thoughtful. Most of the intelligent ones who have taken time to understand foreign relations and military strategy in the Middle East probably just look upon all this talk about "victory" with wry smiles.

Making a public display of celebrating "Justice" in many cases, without even exploring the moral implications of doing so, is often unwise. This is one of those cases. The news media is currently engaged in the task of creating hours and hours worth of al-Qaeda recruitment video footage.

Why is this any greater of a recruitment than our country's past ten years? Why is this somehow worse than torture/harsh interrogations, Guantanamo Bay or invading Iraq? If he was a mere outdated figurehead, as many on conservatives have argued over the last several years...why is this suddenly a dangerous recruiting opportunity for terrorists?

It's the symbolism of the thing. Torture/harsh interrogations are precisely that - interrogations to get intelligence information - it's not like we're putting them on video camera and sawing their heads off. Guantanamo Bay is still a public debate, not a public celebration. Invading Iraq was good al-Qaeda recruitment over the years, but it was the sort of recruitment we want - forcing al-Qaeda to fight in order to prevent their own people from being free instead of to fighting at our homeland is winning the fight within both public relations and national security spheres. However, Americans celebrating in the streets at the death of a radical Islamic leader changes the focus again. It cultivates the hatred referred to at the end of the film, The Kingdom, and it demonstrates how many of us still have such a small understanding of what the conflict actually entails.

Tellingly, American reactions to bin Laden's death is revealing the still entrenched divergence of opinion on what has been called "the war on terror." What really are our goals? How do we go about accomplishing good and prevailing over evil? Some believe it's by killing a few bad guys like bin Laden (a belief also held on Western/Middle Eastern conflict by a number of Medieval historical characters). Some believe it's only by exposing and educating Muslim human beings to certain principles about humanity (often called "Western" values) ... a culture-clash problem we were confronted with in Japan in the late 1940s.

With this whole episode, I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to seek out the insights of thinkers who understand culture in the Middle East. I still recommend Vali Nasr (author of The Shia Revival and Forces of Fortune), as well as the writing of Lawrence Wright and Raymond Ibrahim. None of these thinkers, while relieved, are celebrating in the streets or talking about what a great victory this was.

Edited by Persiflage

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Kim Voynar at Movie City News is struggling with Christians' reactions to OBL's death. Her comments are heartfelt but frustrate me in equating the Bible and the Koran ("their messages aren’t actually that dissimilar").

Edited by Christian

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I think this is our theological disconnection. I don't think we should say in such contexts: "I have failed God" or "I have failed Christ." Rather, all occasions of violence (even in cases where such violence is ethical, if not obligatory) are symptomatic of the great post-Eden failure in which we live.

I accept this. But wouldn't "regrettable consequence" be a more apropos phrase than "failure", which as a blanket statement has a rather accusatory connotation?

Edited by Greg P

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First, fate (I'll refrain from calling it justice, that word's denotation being so vexed on A&F) catches up with the Suggs brothers and Jake in Lonesome Dove (the hangings themselves aren't realistically gruesome - nor should they be - but the scene is quite powerful nonetheless) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E44VYR3tTE8

* * * * * * *

Next, fate catches up with Blue Duck (who may be the better parallel to Osama bin Laden anyway, in terms of Lonesome Dove villains, in that Blue Duck's killings had a quasi-terroristic component to them, i.e. they could conceivably be viewed as a tit-for-tat response by native Americans against the white man's violent usurpation). Note the public jubilation in anticipation of Blue Duck's hanging. Is the celebratory applause in the U.S. after the news about OBL the modern-day equivalent? Is the current desire, on the part of many, to see photos of OBL's corpse a regression back to days when public acts of vengeance, seen with one's own eyes, were accepted? There does seem to be something primitive at work here, and it's troubling, even if it may be understandable. One thing's for sure. Woodrow F. Call doesn't know how to be jubilant, about anything, as we learned early on:

Woodrow Call: We come to this place to make money. They wasn't nothin' about fun in the deal.

Gus McCrae: What are you talkin' about? You don't even like money. You like money even less than you like fun, if that's possible.

Call stays to see justice done... oh, I mean, Call stays to see fate catch up with Blue Duck, but he ain't gloatin' about it. And neither should we, about killing OBL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a1QcWDpdNw

Edited by tenpenny

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Does the filmed cheering of folks like those in the stands at the Phillies game Sunday night suggest that christians cheered OBL's killing? I'm not so sure. I'm having trouble with the recruiting value angle as well. Sadly, what I read today by Reuel Marc Gerecht requires registration and subscription (I found it on the op-ed page of WSJ). He implies that al Queda has lost some of its luster with the constant killing of Shi'ites in Iraq during the mid-aughts. Bombing mosques, etc. Al-Queda has adapted and its most magnetic and telegenic spokesman has been killed as well. How does this event compete, or compare with "The Arab Spring"? How will this look a month hence if things keep escalating in Syria? Let's see how this plays out, rather than expecting 2002 all over again.

Mike: if violence is always seen as the failure of more proper means of the resolution of conflict, what about the violence as an initial act in a conflict? Is the pressure only on the respondent if the initiator sees the encounter differently? If the conflict ends in the demise of the respondent (who, it is here assumed, is not responding in kind), is this also failure?

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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. . . waterboarding . . . which apparently led to some of the information that resulted in bin Laden's demise.

Source? Admittedly, I've been out of the loop on this thing. I haven't watched any TV coverage of Bin Laden's death. I heard an NPR report this morning and that's the extent of it. But it was my understanding that the Obama administration had ordered the end of waterboarding.

Nothing definitive, but here's what a friend wrote on Facebook:

I just heard for the 2nd time today U.S. Congressman Peter King (NY) explain that we obtained the "courier information" (leading to Obama via a multi year investigation) initially from Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed and then it was subsequently confirmed by Al Libby both under "strong interrogation" but clearly stated "water boarding" in Guantanamo in context of Mohammed.

FWIW, on my ride home from work, NPR had a report that suggested that reports that any information leading to Bin Laden's arrest came from waterboarding may be erroneous. All details are not clearly known yet, but it seems there's no reason to think this is the case at this time, and that the five-year ban on waterboarding is still very much in place.

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If Jim Wallis is an "armchair Christian," then may God grant me the grace to aspire even to be a matching Ottoman. (Seconday pun unintended.)

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I just caught up with Seth Myers' speech at the WH Correspondents' Dinner, and it was interesting to see him make a joke about Bin Laden's hiding place and then to cut to Obama's face wearing this incredible forced smile. Man his face muscles must have hurt after that one.

(Link -- 1:55 to 2:10.)

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. . . waterboarding . . . which apparently led to some of the information that resulted in bin Laden's demise.

Source? Admittedly, I've been out of the loop on this thing. I haven't watched any TV coverage of Bin Laden's death. I heard an NPR report this morning and that's the extent of it. But it was my understanding that the Obama administration had ordered the end of waterboarding.

Nothing definitive, but here's what a friend wrote on Facebook:

I just heard for the 2nd time today U.S. Congressman Peter King (NY) explain that we obtained the "courier information" (leading to Obama via a multi year investigation) initially from Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed and then it was subsequently confirmed by Al Libby both under "strong interrogation" but clearly stated "water boarding" in Guantanamo in context of Mohammed.

FWIW, on my ride home from work, NPR had a report that suggested that reports that any information leading to Bin Laden's arrest came from waterboarding may be erroneous. All details are not clearly known yet, but it seems there's no reason to think this is the case at this time, and that the five-year ban on waterboarding is still very much in place.

Dianne Feinstein and Donald Rumsfeld (!) are both on the record (I just heard each of them say it) that the actionable intelligence leading to our knowing OBL's whereabouts did not come through any enhanced interrogation techniques (being pols, of course they won't call it what it really is).

In my opinion torture cannot be condoned under any circumstances. Torture is morally indefensible, even if it "works." End of discussion, full stop. Okay, just one sentence more, and then I'm done. I'm as opposed to torture as Michael is opposed to violence - torture is evil no matter how creatively one tries to justify it, so spare me (not directed at anyone here) the ticking-time-bomb arguments and Saw-like scenarios - and not only because of what it does to the tortured, but as much because of how utterly corrosive it is to the torturers - it's sulfuric acid applied directly to the souls of the people who participate in it, and it spreads out from there, albeit in a diluted form, to the rest of the society that tortures.

Edited by tenpenny

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If Jim Wallis is an "armchair Christian," then may God grant me the grace to aspire even to be a matching Ottoman. (Seconday pun unintended.)

For the record, Jim Wallis is one of the few modern christian thinkers I enjoy reading so I certainly respect the man and what he stands for in our culture. However, I think his statement that ALL violence represents some fundamental human failure, is at best woefully incomplete. I did read into his statement, along with others made that day, a sanctimonious air that seemed to be scolding people for daring to be joyful over the human justice exacted. I think such responses in wartime are entirely natural and not worthy of censure or condemnation. I think the range of emotions people felt, from celebratory to melancholy to anger are all healthy.

There are times when an act of violence can be perfectly fitting, good, heroic and life-giving. I'm not sure if the death of OBL fits this description, but it felt like it to me at the time. Wallis obviously disagrees.

Even though I found myself unashamedly glad for bin Laden's demise and inspired by the heroism of the men involved in the operation, I do agree with Wallis and the Vatican's call for Christians to reflect on this event soberly. I think the death photos-- which apparently are quite ghastly-- will instantly help many people come to grips with the gravity of this conflict.

Edited by Greg P

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I believe there is a good argument to be made that waterboarding is not torture. For one thing, our troops undergo it as a part of their training. For another, many activists willingly undergo it during protests against the technique.

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I believe there is a good argument to be made that waterboarding is not torture. For one thing, our troops undergo it as a part of their training. For another, many activists willingly undergo it during protests against the technique.

Yes, waterboarding is torture, and no, what we do to our own troops is not remotely the same thing.

What you voluntarily submit to, what is done to you by your comrades, with rules understood and agreed to beforehand, under sympathetic and vigilant oversight, the duration and timing known to you in advance, with the ability to call a halt to at any time, and the knowledge that you will be free to comment afterward on your experiences, is ipso facto different from what is being done to you in incarceration by scary enemies whose rules you don't know and who in any case may or may not decide to abide by those rules, under God knows what sort of oversight or lack thereof.

Here is a question worth considering: If your wife, your sister, your mother were abducted and it was done to her, would it be torture? Then it's torture.

Edited by SDG

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I believe there is a good argument to be made that waterboarding is not torture. For one thing, our troops undergo it as a part of their training. For another, many activists willingly undergo it during protests against the technique.

Voluntarily undergoing waterboarding, for training or demonstration purposes, at the hands of friendlies, where the "victims" are free to opt out at any time, where the "torturers" are alert and careful to ensure the safety of the "victims" at all times, and, most importantly, where the "victims" know all of this... is entirely different than undergoing waterboarding at the hands of unfriendlies - where both the gloves and the scare quotes come off. Malice makes a world of difference.

Never mind that historical precedent says, unequivocally, that waterboarding is torture.

How do you feel about extreme sleep deprivation? Extended stress positions? Is it not torture unless, for example, limbs and/or digits are removed, power drills are applied, or electric shocks are administered? I hear we did threaten to use power drills on detainees, up to the point of showing them the drills. But I guess that's okay because we didn't actually use the drills on them, and the detainees knew we wouldn't use them - although just how they'd know this, given all the other excruciating things we did to them, isn't clear to me. I'm just trying to figure out where the boundaries are...

Oops, I see Steven beat me to it.

Edited by tenpenny

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I believe there is a good argument to be made that waterboarding is not torture. For one thing, our troops undergo it as a part of their training. For another, many activists willingly undergo it during protests against the technique.

I've never heard or seen anyone who allowed the technique to be "properly" used on them, who did not declare it to be torture. (See: Christopher Hitchens)

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M. Leary wrote:

: Which was an act perpetrated by Yahweh himself.

This seems to me like a difference that makes no difference. The question is not who perpetrated the violence, but how people responded to it -- in this case, by celebrating it. The death of Osama bin Laden was perpetrated by Navy SEALs, but most of the people who have been celebrating it are *not* Navy SEALs. So the identity of the perpetrator is neither here nor there.

Andy Whitman wrote:

: Imagine the assassination of Queen Elizabeth of England, another outdated figurehead without political power in any official sense.

Actually, most of her power IS official, rather than, for lack of a better word, practical. It might be the Prime Minister who screens candidates for, say, the Archbishopric of Canterbury, but it's the Queen who "officially" appoints the Archbishop. And since Queen Elizabeth is also the Queen of Canada, I might as well point out that our own Prime Minister passed a very unpopular law about 20 years ago by getting the Queen's permission to stack the Senate with his own appointees.

CrimsonLine wrote:

: Saul was not acting with the permission of any authority that had the right to pronounce a death sentence on people.

True. But how much actual killing was Saul doing? Acts 8:3 says "he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison." Acts 9:2 says he went to Damascus to find Christians and "take them as prisoners to Jerusalem." Acts 9:14 quotes Ananias telling God that Paul had come to "arrest all who call on your name."

Now, yes, Acts 9 does tell us that Jews tried to "kill" Paul in both Damascus (9:23) and in Jerusalem (9:29) -- though note how Paul says in one of his letters that he fled Damascus not because of the Jews but because of the Nabatean government, which had jurisdiction over Damascus at this point in its history (II Corinthians 11:32). And 9:1 says that Paul himself was issuing "murderous threats" prior to his conversion. And of course the mob DID rush upon Stephen and kill him without waiting to get permission first. So the possibility of lethal violence was certainly "in the air".

But still. I wonder.

: Remember that the Jewish leaders needed the permission of Pilate to have Jesus crucified.

Yeah, and according to Josephus, James the brother of Jesus was killed by the Jewish leaders during the gap between one Roman governor's death and the next Roman governor's arrival -- an act which led to the Jewish high priest being deposed for exceeding his authority like that.

: Saul had permission from the Jewish leaders to persecute Christians, but NOT the permission of the government that actually had the power of the sword over the land.

Well... let's just say that the Romans don't appear to have had jurisdiction over Damascus at this point in the city's history. And if we wanted to harmonize Acts and II Corinthians, we could suppose that the government of Damascus WAS in cahoots with certain Jews who had an interest in killing Christians. But of course that would still leave us with the question of what Saul intended to do to the Christians after he had transported them back to Jerusalem. (And it wasn't always the Roman governors who dictated terms in Jerusalem, either; every now and then the Herods were in charge.)

: When I was thinking this all over, it struck me that in the old days, when a judge passed down a death sentence, he usually said that - "and may God have mercy on your soul." It was an acknowledgement that even the criminal has value in God's eyes, and that human justice does not circumscribe divine justice - or divine mercy.

Yeah.

Greg P wrote:

: I've never heard or seen anyone who allowed the technique to be "properly" used on them, who did not declare it to be torture. (See: Christopher Hitchens)

Heh. I was just about to mention him.

Of course, the question of whether the technique is morally justifiable is entirely separate from the question of whether or not a particular word can be attached to it.

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True. But how much actual killing was Saul doing?

Well, in Acts 22:4 Paul confesses: "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons." That could well be read to mean that Paul was aware that people had died as an indirect result of his persecution, and that he felt responsible for their deaths in some measure. The Acts account of Stephen's stoning takes some pains to point out that Saul was not directly involved, but he stood guard over the stoners' coats and approved of what they had done.

But I can't bring to mind an example of Saul/Paul actually, directly killing someone.

Of course, the question of whether the technique is morally justifiable is entirely separate from the question of whether or not a particular word can be attached to it.

True, although if you define that particular word to signify, in part, "actions that are never morally justifiable under any circumstances," you have in effect fused the separate questions.

Another word that has been bandied about is "assassination." I wouldn't have thought that word applicable after hearing Asst. Secy. Brennan, in Monday's press conference, imply that taking Bin Laden alive was not an option because he was involved in the firefight. But on Tuesday we heard that Bin Laden actually was unarmed when he was shot, although he was "resisting" capture. Which makes it sound more likely that this was indeed a shoot-to-kill mission. I'm not sure how much of a credible threat an unarmed 54-year-old diabetic* poses to a team of Navy SEALs.

I can think of a number of pragmatic reasons our govt. would not want to take Bin Laden alive -- for one thing, look at all the problems involved in bringing lower-level Al-Qaeda operatives to trial; those problems would be magnified in the boss man's case. His trial, if he ever got one, would undoubtedly be 100 times as much of a circus as the Zacarias Moussaoui trial was. Whatever the reason, with the information made available at this writing, it would appear that the thought of live capture did not receive serious consideration.

*Edit: the notion that OBL was on dialysis (something that Michael Moore, among others, made a big deal of) is evidently an urban legend whose original source is none other than Gen. Pervez Musharraf, former leader of Pakistan. So, never mind.

Edited by mrmando

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I can think of a number of pragmatic reasons our govt. would not want to take Bin Laden alive -- for one thing, look at all the problems involved in bringing lower-level Al-Qaeda operatives to trial; those problems would be magnified in the boss man's case. His trial, if he ever got one, would undoubtedly be 100 times as much of a circus as the Zacarias Moussaoui trial was. Whatever the reason, with the information made available at this writing, it would appear that the thought of live capture did not receive serious consideration.

I had a long conversation with coworkers the other day about how that a "shoot to kill" mission was likely the case, even though we had no information to support it. It has historical precedent, anyway (I understand Winston Churchill gave "shoot to kill" orders regarding Hitler, if he were indeed cornered).

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The Daily Show, for the win!

Edited by Greg P

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Invading Iraq was good al-Qaeda recruitment over the years, but it was the sort of recruitment we want - forcing al-Qaeda to fight in order to prevent their own people from being free instead of to fighting at our homeland is winning the fight within both public relations and national security spheres.

Um...huh? You realize that for much of the decade we did exactly what Bin Laden wanted-right? He wanted us to go into Iraq. He wanted us to be pouring money into unending war upon unending war. He wanted to do to us what he did to the Soviet Union. Exhaust us physically and financially. And when I listen to people talk about our financial future in this country? It sounds like he may have won the war. His death strikes me as much less a clarion call (even with people celebrating) that would necessarily fulfill that. Granted, I can see how if we followed the suggestions of some (burying him in pig fat, his head on a pike at ground zero) would incite some... but there is a reason we did not.

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mrmando wrote:

: Well, in Acts 22:4 Paul confesses: "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons." That could well be read to mean that Paul was aware that people had died as an indirect result of his persecution, and that he felt responsible for their deaths in some measure.

Ah, thanks for mentioning that. I remember thinking that I should check Paul's accounts of his conversion from the later chapters of Acts, but I forgot to do so in the end.

: True, although if you define that particular word to signify, in part, "actions that are never morally justifiable under any circumstances," you have in effect fused the separate questions.

So we're back to haggling over the distinction between "killing" and "murder", then, I guess. For some people there is NO distinction. For others there is. And so it goes.

: Another word that has been bandied about is "assassination."

Which, as I understand it, is only illegal in your country if the person being targeted is a head of state -- which Osama definitely was not.

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mrmando wrote:

: Another word that has been bandied about is "assassination."

Which, as I understand it, is only illegal in your country if the person being targeted is a head of state -- which Osama definitely was not.

assassinate: to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack, often for political reasons

Works for me on all counts. It's interesting to see people backpedaling from the word, though. Osama was resisting, so it couldn't have been an assassination (as if people complacently let other people stroll up and shoot them in the head). Osama was armed (actually, no he wasn't).

Call it what it is. It was an assassination. This is what we're cheering.

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So we're back to haggling over the distinction between "killing" and "murder", then, I guess. For some people there is NO distinction. For others there is. And so it goes.

Well, "torture" was the word I thought we were discussing, although the spectrum of opinions does more or less mirror that associated with the killing/murder/capital punishment debate.

: Another word that has been bandied about is "assassination."

Which, as I understand it, is only illegal in your country if the person being targeted is a head of state -- which Osama definitely was not.

Legal, schmegal (Smeagol?). I'm sure there are excellent reasons for declaring it legal. But was it, morally/ethically, or even tactically, the right thing to do? And how should we react? Those are the questions we're considering here.

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This is what we're cheering.

No. We're cheering because the policy of the U.S. government for nearly 10 years has been to get Bin Laden. That's been achieved. You can argue about the way it was done, and you can disagree with the policy itself. This is America. Think what you want. Say what you want. Vote for the better candidate.

But this government, whether you or I like it or not, was put on place by the Lord, and part of its purpose is to carry out what happened:

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.--From Romans 13

I don't think you have a problem with Romans 13 in principle, Andy, so I'm left to think your problem is with the application of that text to this situation. I'm open to counter-arguments on that score. But please don't say that "we" are cheering because Obama was killed, or because of how he was killed. That's part of it, but my own cheering is because of a sense of closure. Is there an element of chest-beating to my reaction? Yeah, probably. But I honestly think I'd be just as excited if the man had been captured, tried and executed. Because death is what he deserved, and I'm fully confident that's what he would've received through a prolonged legal process.

Edited by Christian

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This is what we're cheering.

No. We're cheering because the policy of the U.S. government for nearly 10 years has been to get Bin Laden. That's been achieved. You can argue about the way it was done, and you can disagree with the policy itself. This is America. Think what you want. Say what you want. Vote for the better candidate.

But this government, whether you or I like it or not, was put on place by the Lord, and part of its purpose is to carry out what happened:

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.--From Romans 13

I don't think you have a problem with Romans 13 in principle, Andy, so I'm left to think your problem is with the application of that text to this situation. I'm open to counter-arguments on that score. But please don't say that "we" are cheering because Obama was killed, or because of how he was killed. That's part of it, but my own cheering is because of a sense of closure. Is there an element of chest-beating to my reaction? Yeah, probably. But I honestly think I'd be just as excited if the man had been captured, tried and executed. Because death is what he deserved, and I'm fully confident that's what he would've received through a prolonged legal process.

I don't honestly have a problem with either the principle or its application in this instance. I totally get it from a governmental/temporal point of view. I just don't want to cheer it. It's a concession to the fallen world we live in, but that doesn't mean I want to shoot off fireworks in celebration of our fallenness. And that's the way the cheering strikes me. Whee. We got our man. Shot 'im in the head. Praise God.

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