Justice?

Last night as I was working on homework, I saw my twitter stream go nuts. Within less than 30 second there were 45 new tweets (this is a lot for my stream, I’m only following like 380 people). Reports were coming in that Osama Bin Laden had been caught or killed. No, definitely killed. US has his body. Obama to give conference soon…Then Obama gave his speech, confirming that yes, we had finally caught the man behind the USS Cole and 9/11 (and many other attacks).

During his speech, Obama made the statement “Justice has been done”.

“Justice”? Revenge? Yes. Justice? Hardly. I don’t see how this is justice. First, how is there any justice found in death? For a few reasons I am against the death penalty, but mainly because I don’t see how it is a punishment. What punishment is found in death? I can find none. Remember when we found Saddam? And he looked like this:

 

He basically became a laughing-stock. Look at him! We showed the world that this despot had no power left, and had been reduced to hiding out *literally* in a hole in the ground. He was then tried and sentenced to death in front of the whole world. This is what we do with even the most vile and lowly among us here in America. We give them a trial. But with Bin Laden, that ending never had a chance to happen. Instead, he went down in a blaze of glory, fighting his enemies to the bitter end. A martyr. Rather than demonstrate our own ideals of democratic justice, we ended up just killing the man. The SEALS obviously did their jobs, and returned fire like they should have, I’m not questioning their decisions, nor Obama’s. But I think somehow an opportunity was missed. We fed into the shoot-first-ask-later stereotype we’re associated with globally. Coupled with Bin Laden’s heroic death, our actions may just end up giving our enemies something new to fight for, one more thing to hate America over.

Back to the point of justice, how does this one death provide justice for all the lives he helped to destroy? How does it right the wrongs that led up to the attacks on the USS Cole and 9/11?  How does it right all of the wrongs carried out since? I don’t think it does. I think Osama Bin Laden was a real piece of shit. And there isn’t any doubt that the world is a bit better off today now that he isn’t in it. But I can’t find a shred of justice in his death. Maybe peace and comfort to some, and vengeance for others. But justice is sorely lacking in this situation.

I believe that rather than celebrating this death, we should attempt to examine the situation at hand on a little more of a global scale, checking our nationalism at the door. Let’s acknowledge that the world is just a little less evil than it was the day before Bin Laden was taken from it. But let’s also acknowledge the fact that the systems in place that created Bin Laden are still present today, and that our country still faces threats to our liberty both foreign and domestic. Maybe we can use this opportunity to examine how it is that Bin Laden came out as the winner in this situation.

Before I end, let me be clear. It’s not that I’m upset about this happening. I’m not. Like I said, the guy was a colossal piece of shit, a total waste of existence. I’m just not up for celebrating death, especially when it is being used as some kind of national rallying cry. I think I’ll save my celebrations for when we end the Patriot Act and bring our troops home. Then you might see me waving a flag in the streets.

Cheers.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Justice?

  1. zenfant

    yup. it’s a conflicted day. it’s not a simple issue, i wish it was so i could just feel complete and done.

    but, it feels like we are still on a treadmill covered in shit.

  2. I agree with you. I don’t see any justice in the death penalty, and as I understand the statistics, it doesn’t deter murderers anyway.

    • Exactly. It isn’t a deterrant at all. Life in prison is much more of a punishment, and even worse than that is life in solitary. That is real punishment.

  3. You might be interested in this:
    Rewards of Revenge, Johah Lehrer
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/05/the-rewards-of-revenge/

  4. Adam,
    I can forgive Barack Hussein Obama for his words; he’s a politician. He can’t go all Zen on TV like I’d do. Or maybe Jerry Brown. Maybe Jerry Brown could do the Zen thing about announcing Obsama’s death…

    • Ha!
      My commentary was less about Obama specifically, as I’ve seen the “justice” commentary running around all over the place, but that was where I heard it first.

      Maybe Jeff Bridges could be Obama’s press secretary…

      Maybe Randy Quaid would have made a more proper press secretary for Bush…

  5. Thank you. I was getting frustrated with the various quotes and quirks that made it all about “closure.” There is no closure to be had in this mess; and it’s far from over. I was in the middle of a very large group os US military types when the news came in. Interestingly, they were all very subdued. “Now what?’ summed it up.

    • Yeah, at first I had a “woo-hoo!” moment, but then it was more of a… hu? now what? type of feeling. I don’t see much change for the better happening as a result of this, at least not on a large scale. To me it was much more anti-climatic than I would have ever anticipated it to be.

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  7. I agree with you. I don’t see any justice in the death penalty, and as I understand the statistics, it doesn’t deter murderers anyway.

    And it certainly wouldn’t deter people who were determined to kill themselves during the act of terrorism as well.

    Maybe you felt relieved or cheerful when you heard the news. That means you are human. If you really take the time to examine the feelings – to know why they made you happy, to predict how you will react in the future – that means you are a Buddhist.