Is It Morally Right to Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death?

John Blake writes for CNN:

Festive crowds gathered to cheer his assassination.One newspaper headline eulogy read, “Rot in Hell.” Televised chants echoed: “U.S.A.! U.S.A!”

Americans spilled into the streets for spontaneous celebrations after news spread that Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had been assassinated.

US PsyOps leaflet

Yet another reaction took place in more sober moments as people of faith watched the giddy celebrations with a tangled mix of emotions.

Is it morally wrong to celebrate the assassination of bin Laden in such a festive, patriotic way?

That’s the question that troubled Danielle Tumminio, an Episcopal priest, who fought back tears as she digested the news that bin Laden had been killed.

Tumminio was in New York on September 11, 2001. Her Long Island neighborhood, filled with lawyers, stockbrokers and firefighters, lost scores of people in the attacks.

“I remember coming home and smelling the smoke, seeing the debris and going to the funerals,” Tumminio says. “I actually studied abroad because I wanted to get away from feeling unsafe.”

But when Tumminio saw images of Americans celebrating, she felt something else: moral ambivalence.

“My first reaction was, ‘I wish I was with them,’” Tumminio says. “My second reaction was, ‘This is disgusting. We shouldn’t be celebrating the death of anybody.’ It felt gross.”

Jubilance, exaltation, revulsion – all those emotions mingled as people of faith struggled to find an appropriate response to bin Laden’s death…

Read more here.

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  • Youneverknowwithannanicole

    Not everyone will consider it immoral, but it sure seems primitive and uncouth to me.

    • Norton Michaels

      I had the same mixture of emotions when I heard about Bin Ladens death, but I thought “Let people have their day”.Thought I wasn’t one to go out celebrating, I held my tongue and resisted passing judgment on those that did. Because as crass and vulgar as the thoughtful might find such displays, it is not exactly as if the sentiment is unjust. The man was a fundamentalist multi-millionaire mass murderer. He was a dictator without a country. I would have preferred a trial, I would have preferred this same action without ten years of misguided wars, I would have preferred a foreign policy that doesn’t stir up hornets nests all around the world, I would have preferred a world without such life negating philosophies that create men such as this….but what we get is this, and though it may seem empty or futile in the end, for many its all they are going to get. There is no justice for September 11th, there is no justice for Afghanistan, there is no justice for any act of wanton murder…there are just actions…. and there is simply one less greedy misguided man to carry out greedy misguided actions.

  • Youneverknowwithannanicole

    Not everyone will consider it immoral, but it sure seems primitive and uncouth to me.

  • http://twitter.com/FalseLion Brad Wilson

    well by definition, funerals are celebrations.

  • http://twitter.com/FalseLion Brad Wilson

    well by definition, funerals are celebrations.

  • quartz99

    I think what bothers me more than the people celebrating (which is kind of disgusting. It shows they’re no better than bin Laden and his followers), is that I simply don’t care. It won’t change anything here. It won’t stop our war on an idea — after all, the media’s already sizing people up to fill the “most wanted” spot. It will spur some reprisals but there are other attacks that he won’t be inspiring now or that his death will scare some of the organizers so overall I figure it’s a push in terms of safety… though of course fear of reprisals will be used as an excuse to take away more of our freedom but *shrug* they’d find some pretext anyway. This one’s just convenient. But… there’s a man and his family and sure they were my enemy but he was murdered by my country and I… don’t care. I have become so used to death that it no longer saddens me. He’s dead. So what?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MOXBYE3QE2QFIG2QMWWWEZ6LWA zon moy

      but by celebrating we prove ourselves more evil than him and all his followers.

    • Astroyboyhung55

      If he is alive, do you want some more 9/11s in the future?

  • Anonymous

    I think what bothers me more than the people celebrating (which is kind of disgusting. It shows they’re no better than bin Laden and his followers), is that I simply don’t care. It won’t change anything here. It won’t stop our war on an idea — after all, the media’s already sizing people up to fill the “most wanted” spot. It will spur some reprisals but there are other attacks that he won’t be inspiring now or that his death will scare some of the organizers so overall I figure it’s a push in terms of safety… though of course fear of reprisals will be used as an excuse to take away more of our freedom but *shrug* they’d find some pretext anyway. This one’s just convenient. But… there’s a man and his family and sure they were my enemy but he was murdered by my country and I… don’t care. I have become so used to death that it no longer saddens me. He’s dead. So what?

  • Hadrian999

    i think it’s pointless, the man wasn’t a brilliant commander or a skilled planner or organizer. killing him only made him more relevant than he has been for years.

    • Tuna Ghost

      The celebrating, or the actual killing? The killing makes sense from a US policy standpoint (carrying through with their promises/threats, taking out the primary symbol of the enemy in the war on terror, etc.), the celebrating I think goes hand in hand with that–they’re really celebrating the US gov’t actually doing something it said it would do, which, you have to admit, is a special occasion.

      • Hadrian999

        you are correct it is perfectly in line with U.S. policy, an empty meaningless gesture that does nothing to address the problem of terrorism or increase the security of civilians in the middle east or the united states.
        who cares we got em.

        • Grooveboss

          The art of war says to take territory not individuals.

          • Hadrian999

            sometimes assassination has a place in war, for instance if a particular individual is a master tactician, or is scientist, someone whose loss would cripple an enemy then assassination would be useful, osama was nothing more than a figurehead, the complications caused by his assassination could far outweigh any pr value of killing him.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MOXBYE3QE2QFIG2QMWWWEZ6LWA zon moy

            unless of course taking him alive would have made the complications of assasinating him seem simple in comparison. now what could he have said or proven that would do that.

          • Hadrian999

            those aren’t the only 2 choices, once they had his location there were a lot more interesting and productive things that could have been done

  • Hadrian999

    i think it’s pointless, the man wasn’t a brilliant commander or a skilled planner or organizer. killing him only made him more relevant than he has been for years.

  • Norton Michaels

    I had the same mixture of emotions when I heard about Bin Ladens death, but I thought “Let people have their day”.Thought I wasn’t one to go out celebrating, I held my tongue and resisted passing judgment on those that did. Because as crass and vulgar as the thoughtful might find such displays, it is not exactly as if the sentiment is unjust. The man was a fundamentalist multi-millionaire mass murderer. He was a dictator without a country. I would have preferred a trial, I would have preferred this same action without ten years of misguided wars, I would have preferred a foreign policy that doesn’t stir up hornets nests all around the world, I would have preferred a world without such life negating philosophies that create men such as this….but what we get is this, and though it may seem empty or futile in the end, for many its all they are going to get. There is no justice for September 11th, there is no justice for Afghanistan, there is no justice for any act of wanton murder…there are just actions…. and there is simply one less greedy misguided man to carry out greedy misguided actions.

  • Norton Michaels

    I had the same mixture of emotions when I heard about Bin Ladens death, but I thought “Let people have their day”.Thought I wasn’t one to go out celebrating, I held my tongue and resisted passing judgment on those that did. Because as crass and vulgar as the thoughtful might find such displays, it is not exactly as if the sentiment is unjust. The man was a fundamentalist multi-millionaire mass murderer. He was a dictator without a country. I would have preferred a trial, I would have preferred this same action without ten years of misguided wars, I would have preferred a foreign policy that doesn’t stir up hornets nests all around the world, I would have preferred a world without such life negating philosophies that create men such as this….but what we get is this, and though it may seem empty or futile in the end, for many its all they are going to get. There is no justice for September 11th, there is no justice for Afghanistan, there is no justice for any act of wanton murder…there are just actions…. and there is simply one less greedy misguided man to carry out greedy misguided actions.

  • bookwench

    Maybe OBL’s death could’ve been seen as “just” had it been carried out before the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq, killing untold civilians while torturing and imprisoning others, or before we decided to practice rendition or maybe before our elected officials decided to roll back the civil rights that defined our nation, or before presidents grabbed the power to imprison American citizens without due process or have them assassinated, or before we had thousands of our own soldiers coming home in body bags, or with PTSD or even committing suicide.
    Now, it just seems like a very hollow victory to me.
    And ultimately, who cares? Will we be getting out of Afghanistan now? Doubtful. Unless we have to do that so we can get into Pakistan.
    We destroyed our own country. Does Bin Laden’s death change that?

    • Haystack

      None of that stuff would have happened without bin Laden. He gave Bush & co the excuse they needed to fuck over the country that way.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe OBL’s death could’ve been seen as “just” had it been carried out before the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq, killing untold civilians while torturing and imprisoning others, or before we decided to practice rendition or maybe before our elected officials decided to roll back the civil rights that defined our nation, or before presidents grabbed the power to imprison American citizens without due process or have them assassinated, or before we had thousands of our own soldiers coming home in body bags, or with PTSD or even committing suicide.
    Now, it just seems like a very hollow victory to me.
    And ultimately, who cares? Will we be getting out of Afghanistan now? Doubtful. Unless we have to do that so we can get into Pakistan.
    We destroyed our own country. Does Bin Laden’s death change that?

  • http://profiles.google.com/potter.dee Potter Dee

    Blood for the Blood God!
    Blood for the Blood God!
    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    The King is dead, long live the King!

  • http://profiles.google.com/potter.dee Potter Dee

    Blood for the Blood God!
    Blood for the Blood God!
    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    The King is dead, long live the King!

  • SF2K01

    I don’t see much wrong with a one time celebration, just don’t make it a national holiday. We celebrate the end of wars, the fall of leaders, and it is right to celebrate a triumph, but people should recognize it’s not as if the war is over. Bin Laden wasn’t a genius, he was just one of many people involved in a low tech terror campaign that will be going on for a long time. Dead or alive really has no difference from their side, alive he could make plans, and dead he’s still a martyr that can be fought for. This is different from the fall of a national leader that people will not continue to serve after their fall.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see much wrong with a one time celebration, just don’t make it a national holiday. We celebrate the end of wars, the fall of leaders, and it is right to celebrate a triumph, but people should recognize it’s not as if the war is over. Bin Laden wasn’t a genius, he was just one of many people involved in a low tech terror campaign that will be going on for a long time. Dead or alive really has no difference from their side, alive he could make plans, and dead he’s still a martyr that can be fought for. This is different from the fall of a national leader that people will not continue to serve after their fall.

  • Tuna Ghost

    The celebrating, or the actual killing? The killing makes sense from a US policy standpoint (carrying through with their promises/threats, taking out the primary symbol of the enemy in the war on terror, etc.), the celebrating I think goes hand in hand with that–they’re really celebrating the US gov’t actually doing something it said it would do, which, you have to admit, is a special occasion.

  • Alturn

    Instead of celebrating the death of bin Laden, it would be better to soberly assess the world condition which lead to his extremism finding a home – the vast inequalities of wealth around the world. The millions who die daily of starvation in a world where a 10 percent surplus of the food needed to feed everyone is grown every year.

    Whether or not it is morally wrong to celebrate the death of bin Laden, it is morally right to ensure the basic needs of every human on the planet are met.

  • Alturn

    Instead of celebrating the death of bin Laden, it would be better to soberly assess the world condition which lead to his extremism finding a home – the vast inequalities of wealth around the world. The millions who die daily of starvation in a world where a 10 percent surplus of the food needed to feed everyone is grown every year.

    Whether or not it is morally wrong to celebrate the death of bin Laden, it is morally right to ensure the basic needs of every human on the planet are met.

  • StupidYouth

    Most of the people celebrating looked like college kids who were children when 9/11 happened. Thanks again, young people for making America look bad. If you are our future, America is doomed.

  • StupidYouth

    Most of the people celebrating looked like college kids who were children when 9/11 happened. Thanks again, young people for making America look bad. If you are our future, America is doomed.

  • Hadrian999

    you are correct it is perfectly in line with U.S. policy, an empty meaningless gesture that does nothing to address the problem of terrorism or increase the security of civilians in the middle east or the united states.
    who cares we got em.

  • Haystack

    No, it’s not wrong to celebrate the death of a mass murderer who would have gladly killed any one of us, and our families, to further his ideology. It’s not as though he renounced his violent ways and was leading a life of quiet meditation either–he was leading an organization that is trying to kill you. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m happy he’s dead.

    • Grooveboss

      I’m happy they lost a mastermind, but I am not going to celebrate having to kill. It just takes the whole seriousness out of the whole situation. And this is serious. Pride is one thing joy is another

  • Haystack

    No, it’s not wrong to celebrate the death of a mass murderer who would have gladly killed any one of us, and our families, to further his ideology. It’s not as though he renounced his violent ways and was leading a life of quiet meditation either–he was leading an organization that is trying to kill you. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m happy he’s dead.

  • Haystack

    None of that stuff would have happened without bin Laden. He gave Bush & co the excuse they needed to fuck over the country that way.

  • Honu

    I find the celebrating to be pretty disturbing even if I understand it. If anyone deserved to die it was OBL but despite this, killing another human being should not be cause for a level of giddy excitement that seems to be expressed over the last 24 hours by some. Your team didn’t win the superbowl. Glenn Greenwald wrote a good article about this:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/05/02/bin_laden/index.html

    I agree with Glenn that I would have liked to see OBL captured and brought through a legal process and then a death penalty (which would most definitely be the result). At least it would give the impression that the United States follows a system of justice (which it doesn’t…consistently in any case).

    So what now? It’s doubtful we’ll leave Iraq or Afghanistan now that the ‘Mission’ is accomplished. Of course we could have ended this 10 years ago when Bush stupidly allowed OBL to escape in Tora Bora by not committing ground troops at that time.

  • Honu

    I find the celebrating to be pretty disturbing even if I understand it. If anyone deserved to die it was OBL but despite this, killing another human being should not be cause for a level of giddy excitement that seems to be expressed over the last 24 hours by some. Your team didn’t win the superbowl. Glenn Greenwald wrote a good article about this:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/05/02/bin_laden/index.html

    I agree with Glenn that I would have liked to see OBL captured and brought through a legal process and then a death penalty (which would most definitely be the result). At least it would give the impression that the United States follows a system of justice (which it doesn’t…consistently in any case).

    So what now? It’s doubtful we’ll leave Iraq or Afghanistan now that the ‘Mission’ is accomplished. Of course we could have ended this 10 years ago when Bush stupidly allowed OBL to escape in Tora Bora by not committing ground troops at that time.

  • RONIN

    I do find it to be a rather uncivilized display, but not at all surprising and I neither condone nor condemn it.

  • RONIN

    I do find it to be a rather uncivilized display, but not at all surprising and I neither condone nor condemn it.

  • Jason Slupski

    Yes. Yes it is. Tired of just crying over The Good That Die Young because of a Subhuman parasitic-subtracting Vampire like this DEADDEADDEAD-D-E-A-D RottinginHellwithSatanshovingPineapplesUpHisAss FINALLY got his come-uppins’-Mutherf*ck.

  • Jason Slupski

    Yes. Yes it is. Tired of just crying over The Good That Die Young because of a Subhuman parasitic-subtracting Vampire like this DEADDEADDEAD-D-E-A-D RottinginHellwithSatanshovingPineapplesUpHisAss FINALLY got his come-uppins’-Mutherf*ck.

  • Jason Slupski

    Yes. Yes it is. Tired of just crying over The Good That Die Young because of a Subhuman parasitic-subtracting Vampire like this DEADDEADDEAD-D-E-A-D RottinginHellwithSatanshovingPineapplesUpHisAss FINALLY got his come-uppins’-Mutherf*ck.

  • Jason Slupski

    Yes. Yes it is. Tired of just crying over The Good That Die Young because of a Subhuman parasitic-subtracting Vampire like this DEADDEADDEAD-D-E-A-D RottinginHellwithSatanshovingPineapplesUpHisAss FINALLY got his come-uppins’-Mutherf*ck.

  • Jason Slupski

    Yes. Yes it is. Tired of just crying over The Good That Die Young because of a Subhuman parasitic-subtracting Vampire like this DEADDEADDEAD-D-E-A-D RottinginHellwithSatanshovingPineapplesUpHisAss FINALLY got his come-uppins’-Mutherf*ck.

  • mrtastycakes

    It’s just an nationwide wake.

  • mrtastycakes

    It’s just an nationwide wake.

  • Dildobreath

    Well, considering how a very large portion of America (and the world in general) seems to be caught up in a kind of hideous death cult, usually personified by a book whichs amount to not much more than a beautiful romance sandwiched in between a kick in the eye and a slap in the face, I would say it’s to be expected.

    But yes, it’s absolute egg fart shit.

  • Dildobreath

    Well, considering how a very large portion of America (and the world in general) seems to be caught up in a kind of hideous death cult, usually personified by a book whichs amount to not much more than a beautiful romance sandwiched in between a kick in the eye and a slap in the face, I would say it’s to be expected.

    But yes, it’s absolute egg fart shit.

    • Grooveboss

      I look at all overly religious people at satanist trying to achieve the same status as god. Just found out some guy at my mothers church is lying about having had drug problems to get attention. Totally evil.

  • Grooveboss

    The art of war says to take territory not individuals.

  • Grooveboss

    The art of war says to take territory not individuals.

  • Grooveboss

    I’m happy they lost a mastermind, but I am not going to celebrate having to kill. It just takes the whole seriousness out of the whole situation. And this is serious. Pride is one thing joy is another

  • Grooveboss

    I’m happy they lost a mastermind, but I am not going to celebrate having to kill. It just takes the whole seriousness out of the whole situation. And this is serious. Pride is one thing joy is another

  • Grooveboss

    I look at all overly religious people at satanist trying to achieve the same status as god. Just found out some guy at my mothers church is lying about having had drug problems to get attention. Totally evil.

  • Hadrian999

    sometimes assassination has a place in war, for instance if a particular individual is a master tactician, or is scientist, someone whose loss would cripple an enemy then assassination would be useful, osama was nothing more than a figurehead, the complications caused by his assassination could far outweigh any pr value of killing him.

  • G-rizzleadams

    I know what I’m gonna be this Halloween…

  • G-rizzleadams

    I know what I’m gonna be this Halloween…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MOXBYE3QE2QFIG2QMWWWEZ6LWA zon moy

    unless of course taking him alive would have made the complications of assasinating him seem simple in comparison. now what could he have said or proven that would do that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MOXBYE3QE2QFIG2QMWWWEZ6LWA zon moy

    but by celebrating we prove ourselves more evil than him and all his followers.

  • anon

    Personally, I would’ve wanted to hear the truth from his mouth. We are keeping much less high target individuals in prisons for undefined somewhat-life imprisonments. What would we know now, or know in the future; what would have been gained if he was captured alive?

  • anon

    Personally, I would’ve wanted to hear the truth from his mouth. We are keeping much less high target individuals in prisons for undefined somewhat-life imprisonments. What would we know now, or know in the future; what would have been gained if he was captured alive?

  • anon

    Personally, I would’ve wanted to hear the truth from his mouth. We are keeping much less high target individuals in prisons for undefined somewhat-life imprisonments. What would we know now, or know in the future; what would have been gained if he was captured alive?

  • Hadrian999

    those aren’t the only 2 choices, once they had his location there were a lot more interesting and productive things that could have been done

  • Astroyboyhung55

    Did Bin Laden think it was morally right to be happy about killing 3,000 people?

    Such a stupid article, Americans are suppose to have the right to celebrate his death.

  • Astroyboyhung55

    Did Bin Laden think it was morally right to be happy about killing 3,000 people?

    Such a stupid article, Americans are suppose to have the right to celebrate his death.

  • Astroyboyhung55

    If he is alive, do you want some more 9/11s in the future?

  • Astroyboyhung55

    If he is alive, do you want some more 9/11s in the future?

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