Friday, May 6, 2011

The necessary thing

On the way to town today I saw a beautiful red-tailed hawk being chased by some smaller birds.  They banded together to chase this predator out of their area.  I love that even though I dearly love red-tailed hawks.  Nature has a way of working everything out.

Not so us.  I'm not jubilant over the death of Osama bin Ladin.  I can't remember the last time I cheered another human being's death, but I'm sure I have in the past.  That doesn't mean, however, that I believe what happened to him was wrong.  I'm not going to second-guess the guys who put their lives on the line to go into his mansion and take him out, knowing that place was probably an arsenal.  Could they have taken him alive?  Obviously not.  Arresting him in his home isn't the same as getting him back to safe territory without being ambushed and slaughtered by bin Ladin's followers.

I'm reminded of a Babylon 5 episode where a doctor was using an alien machine that took energy from her body to cure other people's illnesses.  She and her daughter are held hostage by an escaped killer who makes her use the machine on him to fix his gunshot wounds.  When it was obvious to her that he was going to kill both her and her daughter when he was "fixed" she reversed the machine and drained all of his energy instead, killing him.  At the tribunal afterward, she was acquitted, although the machine was confiscated.  The security chief turns to her and says, "You did the right thing."  She shakes her head and says, "I did the necessary thing.  The necessary thing isn't always the right thing."

That's how I feel about all of this.  It was a necessary thing.  It may not have been the right thing, but given the alternatives, it was the necessary thing.  Whether people cheered or felt sadness is completely a personal reaction that I have neither the desire or the right to judge.

All I know is that these brave Navy Seals went in and did a job that will forever be embossed in their memories for good or ill and we shouldn't ever diminish them by second-guessing the job they had to do.


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