War is a Last Resort, Not an Olympic Sport

Why I don’t rejoice at Osama bin Laden’s death.

I don’t rejoice at Osama bin Laden’s death, but I’m relieved he is dead. He can no longer mastermind or inspire the deaths of others. However, I cringe when I see people waving American flags as they cheer and shout USA! USA! War is a last resort, not an Olympic sport.

Many of Osama’s followers believe he was engaged in a holy war, died bravely as a martyr, and is now enjoying the fruits of heaven along with the first of his 72 virgins. But by some unlikely chance, had Osama repented of his nefarious deeds and become a born again Christian just before he died, many Christians would believe that Osama is now in heaven, comforted by the Blessed Virgin.

I don’t care what ludicrous beliefs people have, except when such beliefs cause harm to innocent people. I don’t believe in any gods and I don’t believe we can have good holy wars. Our goal should be to prevent more deaths overall, not to “win” by having more of their people die than our people. At some level, I grieve whenever a life is lost.

I’m pleased with the success of the operation and that the brave troops who carried out the mission returned safely with minimal loss of life. Apparently, they also obtained sufficient DNA evidence that the body really was that of Osama bin Laden. However, I expect we will still hear from “deathers,” the Muslim equivalent of Donald Trump, who won’t believe Osama bin Laden is dead until they see what they consider an appropriate death certificate. Faith too often trumps evidence, to the detriment of all.

While we just had a good day, we won’t have a great day until we achieve peace in all the countries where we are at war. I hope someday to see an equivalent of the famous 1945 picture of the sailor and nurse kissing in Manhattan’s Times Square during celebrations for the end of World War II.

That will be an occasion to rejoice.

Herb Silverman
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