Barack Obama called the killing of Osama Bin Laden “justice”, but it didn’t match the classic legal definition of justice that’s supposed to be practiced by the U.S. government. In that definition of justice, guilt is determined through trial and punishment is delivered after conviction. Obama lectured that anyone who questioned the process by which Osama Bin Laden was killed “needs to have their head examined”.
Apparently, Obama now thinks that the rule of law is a wacky, extremist idea, and that people who question their own government are insane. I don’t share that idea.
I strongly suspect that Osama Bin Laden was significantly responsible for the death and destruction of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011. Call me old fashioned, but I wanted to see Osama Bin Laden put on trial. Killing him when he was unarmed delivered the American people a feeling of revenge, but it didn’t really give us justice.
Maybe, though, President Obama was using the term “justice” in another sense – in the lawless, violent sense of retribution – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If we accept that as justice, though we also have to accept the killing of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jim McLaughlin as justice. After all, McLaughlin was shot and killed by a Muslim in Afghanistan shortly after Osama Bin Laden was killed. McLaughlin’s death could be looked at as retribution, and if we accept that retribution = justice, then McLaughlin’s death would be justice.
I don’t accept that definition of justice. Neither does U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, who said of McLaughlin, “Just last week, a retired Army lieutenant colonel from my district just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, James McLaughlin, Jr., of Santa Rosa, California, was killed while working as a contractor training military pilots in Afghanistan. He died along with eight others when an Afghan pilot turned on his allies and went on a shooting spree during a meeting at the Kabul airport. Bin Laden’s death won’t bring Jim McLaughlin back, nor will it bring back the 1,500-plus Americans who have lost their lives in Afghanistan. The horror of this war continues unabated.”
If our government was truly pursuing justice, then we might have a chance of ending the long years of American wars in Muslim nations, and bringing our nation’s soldiers back home to the United States in peace. As long as our nation keeps pursuing revenge, we will not obtain peace, and we will remove ourselves progressively further from the noble system of laws and true justice that we once sought to maintain.