As a Catholic Christian man, I wish death on no one. But when President Obama announced on Sunday night that our troops found and killed Osama bin Laden, I rejoiced. No, I wasn’t out in the streets dancing and waving the American flag, but I might as well have been. I am very happy about this event. I am very proud of our military and the Navy SEALs. I am extremely proud to be an American this week. And though I’ve never been a big fan of President Obama’s policies, I’m glad my commander-in-chief made the decisions he made.
Allow me to justify my jubilation with four simple words: we are at war. It’s as simple as that. We are at war. And war changes things. In war, it’s kill or be killed. In war, if you don’t pull the trigger first, you go home in a body bag.
So when I feel like celebrating, I’m not specfically celebrating the death of a man. I’m celebrating the success of a mission. I’m celebrating the fact that after we were attacked, our brave men and women in uniform did their job to defend our country. I’m showing respect and gratitude for these fine citizens who volunteered to go out and protect me. And if that protection means ending the life of a terrible terrible man, so be it.
I’m actually quite appalled at those who say that we should not be celebrating. I find it interesting how these people will sleep peacefully tonight under the blanket of freedom that our Navy SEALs and our entire military force have laid out for them.
Let’s call a spade a spade. We didn’t do this. We didn’t ask for this. The United States didn’t decide one day to go out and attack a country. Need I remind you that Osama bin Laden attacked Americans, and did so right here on American soil? Where were you on September 11, 2001? Have you forgotten how you felt that day? What are we to do? Would you have us just sit back and say, “well, we don’t rejoice in killing people, so we’re going to let this slide.” That’s not the country I call home.
I’ve seen this quote on Facebook:
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, 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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
First, about its authenticity, my research shows that the first sentence was never spoken by King. So I find it amazing what people will believe, and even more amazing who they trust. If it’s on the internet, it must be true right? If you posted this quote, or if you happen to believe that Martin Luther King Jr. said it, please post a comment here explaining where you got your information from. I’m truly interested to find the credible source that everyone is using.
Now, to the message of the quote. Regardless of who said it, it’s still raises an important perspective. Might I suggest that if this is all you believe, then perhaps you don’t understand how war works. As the most powerful nation on Earth, we cannot just sit here and take it when someone attacks us, and does so right here on our own soil. When we defend ourselves by retaliating and killing the man who attacked us, I submit that we are not spreading hate or darkness. It is not an example of “hate driving out hate”. Quite the contrary, it is an example of brave men and women spreading love and care and respect for the families of almost 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001. Those Navy SEALs, and all in the U.S. military who support them, care much more about spreading peace and about protecting their fellow Americans than they do about Osama bin Laden. Those brave men and women care about me, and they prove it by going out and protecting me, and they’ve never even met me!
Another quote is flying around Facebook:
“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” – Mark Twain
Again, another quote with questionable attribution. But it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right?. Accuracy of attribution aside, it again raises an interesting perspective. If reading Osama bin Laden’s obituary means that the terror and senseless killings that this man brought on the world will now come to an end, then include me with those who read it with great pleasure.
And one last quote:
“We as a nation are repulsed when we see Muslims dancing over the death of Americans. Why would we think our reaction would not be seen as disgusting behavior to them?” – Rick Halperin
In this quote, the source is not offering a fair comparison. If WE had provoked THEM, if we had attacked them on their own soil simply because we don’t like them, and they retaliated by killing our troops in their own defense, then I certainly would not be “repulsed” to see them dance over the dead Americans. Actually, retaliation is the reaction I would expect. But that’s not what happened. Our killing of Osama bin Laden was a direct response to his actions against our country. It’s that simple. So yes, we have every right to rejoice in this event.
Don’t get me wrong, the war is not over. Our troops are not coming home just yet. I don’t rejoice because the war is over. I’m grateful that we have ended the life of a man who took so many. And, truth be told, I find it hard to type those words here in my blog. As a Christian pro-life man who is against abortion and against the death penalty, it’s hard to say that. But I do it with no conflict in my heart.
We are at war.