Friday, May 06, 2011

On the Death of Osama bin Laden

I like what the Dalai Lama recently said about the killing of Osama bin Laden, "From a Buddhist perspective of your enemy being your greatest teacher, it was sad." But he also went on to say "Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened. If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures."

While I can never forgive what bin Laden did, I definitely can not forget either. Am I sorry he’s dead? Absolutely not! The United States military was justified in taking his life. I don’t see his killing as an act of revenge, but more of an act of helping prevent future acts he could inspire others to do. If I could be transported back in time and given the opportunity to kill Hitler, knowing the great evil he would do in the world, would I do it? Absolutely!

The thing that’s bothered me about the whole issue is seeing the faces of people on TV, Americans, celebrating his death in the streets. Isn’t this what we condemned “less civilized” countries for doing right after 9/11 when we saw mobs of people in the Middle East, and elsewhere, pumping their fists in the air shouting "Death to America!"?

A subdued sense of justice and gratitude would have been a more appropriate reaction, as well as the right way to separate ourselves from bin Laden. It is bin Laden and his kind who celebrate death.