Staff editorial: Victory should not equal vengeance

When President Barack Obama approached the podium in the East Room of the White House Sunday, he gave America one of the defining moments of its history: the death of Osama bin Laden.

The announcement spurred a rash of celebrations, including a gathering at the White House gates.

The declaration resonated with Americans as the destruction of a monster, our victory over not the personification of evil, but rather evil itself. Chants of “USA, USA” filled the air of our collective conscience; we hearkened back to conclude, “Mission accomplished.”

[X]press does not view the death of bin Laden in such simplistic terms.

His death is a victory for the U.S., but as with any loss of life, it should cause us to pause. Those who carried out the murder of 3,000 American citizens on Sept. 11 did so proudly without wavering. We should not be as cavalier about any life—even that of a terrorist.

Sunday should not have been a moment for welcoming the death of a man. Bin Laden’s death should have been an opportunity for introspection. It should have provided an opportunity for analyzing the complexities of the last 10 years.

After commandos killed the al-Qaeda figurehead and four others, Americans should ask themselves whether death is the same as justice.

The U.S. is a country that embraces the idea of minority rights, one of those being the rights of the accused. Is death, or trial by jury, actual justice? Can we disregard our principles for convenience? [X]press does not know the answer to these questions, but we are disappointed that Americans simply wanted him dead; they wanted revenge, not justice.

Americans are well versed in the sending of troops to war, desensitized perhaps. They are not, however, accustomed to seeing it. If there was any silver lining to be had after 9/11, it was a further appreciation of all life, not just our own. Yet, we celebrated bin Laden’s death as callously as we imagine bin Laden cheered his victims’ demise.

The events of 9/11, while devastating, should have taught Americans compassion, not rage; reflection, not vengeance.

Because vengeance has consumed us, how can we justify ourselves against our enemies? We can’t.

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  • Good.

    What Americans should really be asking in the end though, was it worth it?

    Was this vengeance worth the lives of over 5000 military men aside from the countless Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani civilians who have died in our reckless nation building in the war of terror? Was it worth the trillions lost, the economy ruined, the jobs destroyed? Was this blood worth it?

    I truthfully believed that we could have killed him easier. Retribution was necessary for closure. Small militant assassination forces have been used before and they have been successful in finding enemies. But when you bring a whole force of our military, they become awfully easy to spot.

    The politicians ate up the reactions of the American people and responded as people felt their blood boil and sent our young men and women and students to war. Undeclared by congress, decided by the President, with a lot of approval.

    And the question now is here.

    What now?

    It’s a good opportunity for us to just come home. Rebuild this country and make sure Osama Bin Laden does not get the last laugh. Sure, it is good he is dead, but now it is time to address some more pressing issues. I hope the student body is ready for it.