It Is Finished…Not Really

I’m not really sure how to communicate what is going on inside my about the death of Osama Bin Laden. As a former soldier, I’m thankful. The face of the enemy is now dead. I understand that for so many families there is at least some sense of justice fulfilled…and by killing this man, there are countless future lives that have been saved. As a soldier, I understand what many service men and women are experiencing – satisfaction of a job done, a duty accomplished.

But I’m also ashamed of how most of my country has acted the past few days over the death of this man.

Hear me clearly, I have no sorrow or sense of loss over his death. He deserved to die. Any man that arrogant and destructive, the world is better without him. But to celebrate his death – does it not make us more like him? Does celebrating the death of another human makes us guilty of being exactly who he was? A horrific man that took pleasure in the killing of others under the banner of “justice” and religion?

There should be no apology in the pursuit of this man or the eventual execution of him. His deeds were clear to see and deserving of death. But to celebrate in the streets tastes more like revenge than justice.

And it’s nothing like Hitler in World War 2. While it is true that both men were symbols, icons of terror and horror, Bin Laden’s death doesn’t end anything. Terrorism is not going away. It will not solve the thousand year old hate between Islam and the West.

It will not bring back sons and daughters who have died since 9/11. It will not in any significant way change our role or our timetable for our involvement in the Middle East.

It may be a salve for our wounded today…but real healing?

So I’m conflicted and confused. I’m thankful and ashamed. I’m happy and remorseful. I’m hopeful and cynical.

And I don’t really have much more clarity than that.

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8 thoughts on “It Is Finished…Not Really

  1. First, I have to say that that is one of the best post about this I have read this week. However I am not ashamed of how America has acted this week. I am ashamed at how so many Christians have acted. This is why: why do you think that …your thankfulness is over a symbol of terror being gone and thiers is over the death of a specific person? Did the tribe not rejoice when David killed Goliath? Was there not rejoicing when the walls of Jericho fell? I am not for an instant saying that America is like that tribe, however do they not get to have a time of rejoicing as well? What I have seen from Christians this week is quite a bit of pious judgementalism. I agree that this is not going to make terrorism go away. Terrorism will never be gone. But I did rejoice when my child took their first step even though it was far from a marathon. So many times you hear about how Americans are not united anymore. However, this shows that in fact they are. No one who was here has forgotten that day, where they were, who they were with or what they were doing. So for them to rejoice over the first bit of justice that has been served in 10 years, I am sorry, but I don’t have a problem with that. Am I dancing on his grave? No, but I am glad to know that he is gone. When I suddenly see people posting scripture and judging people for rejoicing, I think about how off putting that must be for those who are not followers of Christ. We need to be careful that we are not being holier than thou. I lack quite a bit of clarity on this issue as well. But, I will be thankful that there is a little bit less evil in the world tonight as I tuck my children in bed. I am not so nieve to belive that it is gone. But I will pause and show thanks. I will also will also not be ruled by guilt and shame. I was raised in a church like that. I ask forgivness if I am wrong for my sense of relief, and I know I will recieve it, because the price has already been paid for me. I too am conflicted, but not because of the shame I have for America, but the concern that I have seen in the from so many Christians. Thanks for the thoughts Grant. It made me pause and really disect how I was feeling. Thanks so much for serving our country Grant. You are part of what makes America great.

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  2. I too believe that justice has been served, but I choose not to celebrate ANYONE’S death. John Donne speaks to how I feel better than I can:

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every
    man is a piece of the continent, a part of the
    main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory
    were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or
    of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes
    me, because I am involved in mankind, and
    therefore never send to know for whom the bells
    tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    John Donne

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  3. good comments, gang.

    Tiff – I’ll venture a clarification here on my part.

    If Bin Laden’s death ended the war on terror, suddenly brought peace in the Middle East, or at the very least ended our involvement in that area of the world – I could understand the rejoicing in the streets, the dancing around. Heck – I would probably even be a more than enthusiastic participant in that.

    But it does none of those things. It’s not David defeating Goliath or the walls coming down. There is no finality to this act.

    I’m glad he is dead and some measure of justice has been served. But it’s not the “nail in the coffin” moment in this war’s history either. (no pun intended.)

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  4. First, I have to say that that is one of the best post about this I have read this week. However I am not ashamed of how America has acted this week. I am ashamed at how so many Christians have acted. This is why: why do you think that …your thankfulness is over a symbol of terror being gone and thiers is over the death of a specific person? Did the tribe not rejoice when David killed Goliath? Was there not rejoicing when the walls of Jericho fell? I am not for an instant saying that America is like that tribe, however do they not get to have a time of rejoicing as well? What I have seen from Christians this week is quite a bit of pious judgementalism. I agree that this is not going to make terrorism go away. Terrorism will never be gone. But I did rejoice when my child took their first step even though it was far from a marathon. So many times you hear about how Americans are not united anymore. However, this shows that in fact they are. No one who was here has forgotten that day, where they were, who they were with or what they were doing. So for them to rejoice over the first bit of justice that has been served in 10 years, I am sorry, but I don’t have a problem with that. Am I dancing on his grave? No, but I am glad to know that he is gone. When I suddenly see people posting scripture and judging people for rejoicing, I think about how off putting that must be for those who are not followers of Christ. We need to be careful that we are not being holier than thou. I lack quite a bit of clarity on this issue as well. But, I will be thankful that there is a little bit less evil in the world tonight as I tuck my children in bed. I am not so nieve to belive that it is gone. But I will pause and show thanks. I will also will also not be ruled by guilt and shame. I was raised in a church like that. I ask forgivness if I am wrong for my sense of relief, and I know I will recieve it, because the price has already been paid for me. I too am conflicted, but not because of the shame I have for America, but the concern that I have seen in the from so many Christians. Thanks for the thoughts Grant. It made me pause and really disect how I was feeling. Thanks so much for serving our country Grant. You are part of what makes America great.
    +1

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