Saturday, 7 May 2011

Osama bin Laden and the Archbishop of Canterbury

I am disappointed and not a little surprised to hear criticism of the Archbishop of Canterbury for expressing a moral view on the killing of ObL. Surely that's what the church exists for. Moreover, the A of C adheres to a faith whose tenets include a prohibition on killing and injunctions to love one's neighbour and to turn the other cheek; it's scarcely surprising that he should have a few reservations about said killing. It seems otiose to point out that the critics generally belong, nominally at least, to the faith for which the A of C speaks.

It's also surprising that so little criticism of the manner of the killing should have been heard more generally. Provided that ObL posed no threat to the US Navy Seals carrying out the mission to apprehend him - and it's no doubt a truism that it could be very difficult to make a correct judgement on this in a matter of split seconds - it would surely have been preferable to render him up to a court for judgement and almost certain punishment. After all, even overlooking the example of Nuremberg, the Israelis chose to put Eichmann on trial, not to take him out in the obscurity of suburban Argentina.

Incidentally, would it not be far more punishing for ObL to be confronted to with his crimes while in the power of his enemies and to have years to contemplate the end rather than be deprived of life in a struggle of a few chaotic minutes?