May 18, 2011
I enjoy reading/listening to Chris Heuertz’s stuff, but I don’t know what to think when he and many other Christian theologians mention not resorting to violence when faced with people such as Osama Bin Laden. I don’t know if passive love is the answer in this case. However, Chris finishes his reflective piece with a note worth reading (the whole thing is worth reading, actually):
The luxury of the non-victim is to externalize victimhood, to espouse theories without the burden of living with the impact of them. Today we wake up in a new reality, one without Osama bin Laden, a reality that we now have the potential to shape. Without turning it into an externalized abstraction, may we reject the absurdity that violence has solved anything. May we work to create a new future where love is the rule and real peace is the goal.
May 16, 2011
N.T. Wright (New Testament scholar) and some others duke it out over the theological complexities of killing Osama Bin Laden. Follow up with the links – they are worth mulling over.
May 14, 2011
If he was POTUS, he wouldn’t have had taken OBL out in the night:
“I think things could have been done somewhat differently,” Paul said this week. “I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison. Why can’t we work with the government?”
Brian Doherty breaks it down:
This very controversial position is in line with his general sense that the U.S. should not and need not act like a power that can do whatever it wants wherever it wants, and that other people and nations in the Middle East generally deserve to be treated with the same sympathy and empathy as any other. He’s held firm to these stances, and seems like he’ll continue to, though it remains to be seen how many GOP primary voters will go along with him.
Doug Mataconis wraps it up:
In general, I tend to agree with Paul in principle. A foreign policy based on the idea that American can and should throw its weight around in the world for whatever reason it wants strikes me as a recipe for eternal war abroad, and deprivations of civil liberties and massive government spending at home. Paul, however, seems to apply this principle in an overly strict, some would say old fashioned manner that doesn’t take into account the realities of the world. The Pakistan of 2003 when KSM was captured is not the same as the Pakistan of 2011, and, arguably, Osama bin Laden is a far different target than Mohammed. Moreover, I think the Administration’s skepticism about trusting the Pakistani “government” with any of the operational or intelligence details of this mission before it took place was fairly well-placed given the considerable evidence that they aren’t necessarily trustworthy.
I agree with Doug. But in principle, I don’t believe it’s in America’s best interest to rampage through certain areas of the world. If we do, we have to accept creating some madness in the process.
May 14, 2011
Osama’s compound had a few scattered electronic devices (which were banned under Taliban rule in Afghanistan). The Navy SEALs also found his porn stash (or someones stash of porn in his house). Was he that much of a fundamentalist?
May 10, 2011
Whether or not torturing (or it’s euphemism “enhanced interagation techniques” (EIT) lead America Navy Seals to OBL, it strips humans of their dignity and God-given image.
Now that that is out of the way, I want to confront this ideology mix-up. When the Khmer Rouge (the architects of the Killing Field in Cambodia) tortured, we called it inhumane and torture. When the Nazi’s tortured Jews, we called it inhumane and torture. When America tortures terrorist suspects (while there are more effective legal alternatives out there), we call it “protecting our country”, “defending liberty”, “fighting terrorists”, or some other Americanized slogan that could go on a bumper sticker.
I want to know why we don’t see our torture as what it is: torture. It isn’t any nice, prettier, or better if we do it, too. We will go down in history as torturing and we have little room to condemn others (even radical Muslims who torture Americans and their own). An eye for an eye, even when doing it for “just” causes, leaves all blind.
This all reminds me of the death penalty and the war on terror. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is bad. We torture people who torture people to try to attain some righteous outcome. That doesn’t sound like logical math to me.
May 7, 2011
Alissa J. Rubin goes undercover in Afghanistan in a burqa.
Reactions and full video to the GOP debate in Greensville, SC. (plus what the GOP debated on during their last primary)
The difference between capital punishment and killing Osama Bin Laden.
How can we fight a drug war in America when we can’t keep drugs out of our prisons?
Finally, a tumblr blog perfect for me and other teachers.
May 6, 2011
H/T: Tony Auth
May 5, 2011
A good quote from him now that OBL is gone:
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
May 4, 2011
In light of OBL’s death, I provide for you a not safe for work video. Enjoy:
May 4, 2011
This new movement, named “deathers”, is another conspiracy theory fad group. Some of my students and friends have voiced doubts of OBL actually being dead. Ezra Klein addresses this with brevity:
If we didn’t kill bin Laden, presumably he’ll quickly release a video emphasizing the fact of his continued existence. Or he’ll at least tell his daughter to stop publicly saying that she watched as he was shot and killed by Americans. If the conspiracy is that the Obama administration is claiming to have killed bin Laden when they in fact have actually captured him and are holding him for torture/interrogation/fun dance parties, then a photograph proves nothing more than that someone in the Obama administration knows how to use Photoshop.
May 4, 2011
“The monster we created-yes, WE-in the 1980s by ARMING, FUNDING, &TRAINING him in the art of terror agnst the USSR, finally had 2 b put down. … Which reporter has the courage to say it? “American-armed terrorist from the 80s, Osama bin Laden, was killed earlier today by America,” – Michael Moore
May 4, 2011
Don’t believe the spin. Read for yourself.
May 2, 2011
“Whenever America uses violence in a way that makes its citizens cheer, beam with nationalistic pride, and rally around their leader, more violence is typically guaranteed. Futile decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may temporarily dampen the nationalistic enthusiasm for war, but two shots to the head of Osama bin Laden—and the We are Great and Good proclamations it engenders—can easily rejuvenate that war love. One can already detect the stench of that in how Pakistan is being talked about: did they harbor bin Laden as it seems and, if so, what price should they pay? We’re feeling good and strong about ourselves again—and righteous—and that’s often the fertile ground for more, not less, aggression.”
May 2, 2011
I put off my lesson plans today in school and dedicated all 5 of my classes to discussing this momentous world event, listening to Obama’s speech, and reflecting on our own thoughts and reactions. It produced some interesting thoughts and teachable moments.
I centered much of the discussion surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s (OSB from here on out) death around these questions:
- When did you first hear the news? How did you hear it? What was your first reaction?
- Do you feel any safer now that OSB is dead?
- Should be celebrate the death of OSB or anyone? Should it matter that many Americans have celebrated OSB’s death just as many people from around the globe celebrated on September 11th, 2001? (One caveat: the American military is not bent on killing innocent people – terrorists are. However, drone attacks by the American military kill many innocent people).
- Should we of buried OSB in another way instead of at sea? Does it matter to respect his corpse? What message does it send to the Muslim world when we respect (or do not) their customs?
- Will OSB’s death impact the war on terror? Will it be the demise of al Qaeda? Will it eventually bring out troops home?
Many of these questions, to me, do not have easy, simple answers, let alone answers at all.
In retrospect, this was one momentous weekend. The royal wedding was Friday, the anniversary of Hitler killing himself (1945) and Saigon falling to the Communists (1975) was Saturday, and OSB’s death was Sunday.
Here are some images from outside the White House as well as a telling quote from presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on the death of OSB:
Welcome to hell, bin Laden.
February 1, 2011
The past week has filled our news outlets with pictures, videos, and stories of the Egyptian riots. What the denizens of Egypt are fighting for is not jihad but democracy:
Middle Eastern tyrannies aren’t falling the way George W. Bush predicted. America isn’t the hammer; if anything, we’re the anvil. But Bush’s argument that Middle Eastern democracy could help drain the ideological swamp in which al Qaeda grew may yet be proved true. Osama bin Laden has never looked more irrelevant than he does this week, as tens of thousands march across the Middle East not for jihad, but for democracy, electricity, and a decent job. It’s a time for hope, not fear. America can survive having less control, as long as the Arab people have more.
Big ups to Bush II. Historian Basheer Nafi adds on:
My feeling is that we are witnessing a second wave of the Arab liberation movement … In the first wave, the Arabs liberated themselves from colonial powers and foreign domiantion. I think now, the very heart of the Arab world, the backbone of the Arab world, is leading the move towards freedom and democracy and human rights.
(Pictured Above: “Sleeping protester at Tahrir Sq. with signs: “people decide for themselves” and “down with the head of the gang” [Reuters])
August 14, 2010
Harpers tells of Osama Bin Laden’s cook who has “sentenced” to 15 years in prison at Guantanamo Bay:
The cases of al-Qosi and child warrior Omar Khadr, now underway, highlight America’s current prosecutorial dilemma. Any prosecutor worth his salt would want to start the process just as Justice Jackson did at the end of World War II: with high-profile targets against whom powerful evidence has been assembled. But nine years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri remain at large. Thus the world is shown not the mastermind of a heinous crime but a short-order cook and a 15-year-old child who offers credible evidence that he was tortured in U.S. custody. The spectacle is so pathetic that we can understand why those running it want to turn to carnival tricks to conceal the unseemly reality.
I appreciate what Scott Horton says, especially since I just watched Nuremberg and enjoyed all three hours of it. It should be noted that even though al-Qosi was merely bin Laden’s cook, he had to have some inside information and be somewhat valuable to bin Laden to be in his inner circle. Horton makes a good point as he refer’s to Justice Jackson: Jackson mulled over what to do with the city of Nuremberg and it’s ecumenical role in the Holocaust. He said that he preferred going after 22 men and putting together 22 solid cases based off of the evidence. I don’t think we can simply discredit this because of his role as a cook but it is disheartening that Osama is still out free. Remember, we still haven’t given up.