Monday, May 02, 2011

Don't cheer, boys

The killing of Osama bin Laden is a signal achievement in the struggle against those who would use terror as a legitimate weapon to impose their narrow, rigid view of the world on others.  It was a necessary step, once he was located.  Had I been the President, I should have ordered it.  

Yet I cannot celebrate the death of any person, even one who has brought so much death and suffering to so many others.  

For a long time, I have admired Capt. Tom Philip, commander of the U.S.S. Oregon at the Battle of Santiago during the Spanish-American War.  As the Spanish ships came out of the harbor, the overwhelmingly superior US fleet engaged them.  When one of the Spanish ships began to blaze, sailors on the Oregon began to shout.  "Don't cheer, boys," Capt. Philip called out.  "The poor devils are dying."  The simple humanity of that statement moves me.  

And so my feeling this morning is, Let's not cheer.  Let us, instead, regret the necessity to take human life in defense of human dignity.  

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Thank you. This is what I've been thinking, but hadn't yet found the words.

I did what I could by posting both Obama's speech on the subject and Chris Hedges' speech, one a nationalist statement and the other an anti-imperialist statement, and then posing editorial questions about them both.