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May 4, 2011

Justice? Decorum?

According to this MSNBC article, CIA director Leon Panetta has announced that the U.S. is planning on releasing one or more photographs of the dead body of Osama Bin Laden. Panetta said, "The bottom line is that, you know, we got bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him”.

Why? What possible good would that do? How would we look to the rest of the world?

I considered Bin Laden to be the most despicable and evil man who lived during my lifetime. I cannot grieve his death. But on the other hand, I have to admit that I don’t feel any stirrings of patriotic pride knowing that my country sent out a hit squad to kill a man.

Some people have claimed that Bin Laden was "brought to justice" earlier this week. But read the definition of "justice":
1. The quality of being just; fairness.
a. The principle of moral rightness; equity.
b. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.
a. The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law.
b. Law The administration and procedure of law.
4. Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason:
Had we captured Bin Laden and brought him to trial, I wouldn't question that we'd met the standards of this definition. As it stands, I question whether we can claim that he was "brought to justice". And to display a photo of his dead body seems, at best, an example of extremely poor taste.

And I have to wonder: how would American citizens feel if another nation sent out a hit squad to kill a public figure, then released photos or videos of his carcass? Would we call this behavior civilized?

The MSNBC article I mentioned said that the White House reacted to Panetta’s statement almost immediately with a statement indicating that a final decision hasn’t been made about whether to show Bin Laden’s body to the world. I suspect the White House is waiting to see how people react to see if this move will be politically wise.

I don’t know how others will react, but I strongly oppose such a tasteless display.

What about you?

Update: The White House has announced that these photos will not be released. 
I applaud this decision.


  1. I can't tell you how relieved I am that I am not the only one who feels this way. On Monday, as I drove around town and saw all the flags flying on the cars and heard about all the celebrations across the nation, I didn't understand. I didn't feel the behavior was patriotic, and to be honest I thought people were jumping on a bandwagon just to join in. Did they love their country that way the day before? Will they be so supportive tomorrow? For some reason we seem to require a reason anymore to sing "God Bless the U.S.A." or "The Star Spangled Banner." America seems to need to prove its worthiness to its citizens before being praised. It doesn't seem like that was the case 20 or 30 years ago. It makes me sad.

  2. I think the photos will be released because there is so much mis-information given to us by the government, corporations and the media that people want proof. I read another article regarding verifying OBL identity via dna tests as well.

    We deserve proof because this has affected the entire world.

    In addition I would like to add how un democratic it is to judge others for their reactions. People react differently, that's life and that's their right.

    When I heard the news I was in shock then I felt an overwhelming sadness for our troops.

    This morning I heard news about a new law in another country violating its citizens right to freedom of speech. We are incredibly privileged to be able to express our varied opinions.

  3. BellaVida - Please reread my post. I didn't pass judgment on anyone. I think my questions are legitimate.

    There are those who seem to equate questioning the actions of one's country with a lack of patriotism. I don't agree with that position.
    Thomas Jefferson said, "The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold on us". I prefer to ask questions well before we reach that point.

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  5. I'm a new follower. Good post, points to ponder for sure!

  6. Hi There, I agree... he should have been brought to trial/judgement. I am so disappointed where are our morals and ethics. I thought we were Christians. Thou should not kill. Is "christian" just a word and not an action? For me it's a daily action verb. I can't comprehend just killing him for whatever reason Just my opinion.


  7. One last thought - I ran across this quote from Martin Luther King. It seems to speak to this issue:

    "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 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."


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