Monday, May 9th, 2011
A week ago this evening, President Obama announced to the world that American special forces had tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden. There was rejoicing in the streets. I understood why this would be so, but it made me uncomfortable.
But what made me even more uncomfortable was learning that President Obama has since said that anyone who disagrees with Bin Laden’s murder needs to have their head examined. I was quite disappointed with this statement. Again, I understand why Bin Laden had to die; but I can never rejoice at the killing of any human being. And I cannot be proud of officially state-sanctioned murder, even of someone like Bin Laden.
For me to be proud of our country in this situation, we would have had to demonstrate to the world how our values differ from Bin Laden’s. I don’t want to second-guess the soldiers in the situation; I will never know what happened or what could have happened. I would not have wanted to be in their position, and I’m grateful for their service, bravery and skill. I am proud of them for minimizing the number of deaths in the operation, for only wounding — rather than killing — Bin Laden’s wife.
Here is what our teacher, Everyday Zen founder Zoketsu Norman Fischer, had to say about Bin Laden’s death: