I find the celebration of Gadhafi’s death, as I did the celebration of Bin Laden’s, more than a little discomforting. Mainstream media covered the “joy” and “celebration” and “relief” of these two events all-the-while ignoring the fact that millions of innocents had been murdered in pursuit of these men and that these men had been murdered as well.
Yes, Gadhafi was an evil man who killed his own people and ours. And yes, so was Bin Laden. Is the world a better place without them? Yes. Is it any a safer? Maybe. But are their deaths occasions for celebration? I think not. It’s not that I believe these men’s lives had any redeeming value; it’s that I believe we are wrong to celebrate their deaths.
Recall the outrage we felt when we saw video of people dancing in the streets after the towers fell on September 11, 2001. Or how we are appalled when the bodies of Americans are paraded before the cameras in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and yes, Lybia.
So where’s our outrage as we watch the people of Lybia parade Gadhafi’s body through the streets? Where is our recognition of the lives destroyed–many of whom were killed by our armed forces, our drones, and our country? When did we begin to conflate justice with revenge?
When did we become a country whose celebrations of the demise of our enemies are fueled by blood-lust? Those who know the history of this country might recall the words of James Madison who wrote:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established. (emphasis mine) Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV (491-492)
Long before Saddam Hussein, Ossama bin Laden, and Moammar Gadhafi were born, Madison understood the cause that has moved so many into some bizarre kind of morality that declares when it is someone we hate, someone with whom we are or have been at war, or someone whose life we’ve deemed to have no merit, it’s okay to revel in their death, even their murder, but when it’s one of us, someone we’ve decided is worthy, outrage is the only acceptable response.
Franky, I find our media’s celebration of Gadhafi’s death as gruesome and sickening as Gov. Rick Perry’s supporters cheering his record of authorizing some 230 executions does.
I cannot find any comfort living in world that celebrates the torture and murder of another human.