Justice? What Justice?

Today Amnesty International posted an article about the US and Osama Bin Laden’s death, USA: A Reflection on Justice.  First of all, I would like to put out the obligatory disclaimer that I am in no way affiliated with Amnesty International and they are in no way affiliated with me.

Broken keep and burning farmTaught his fathers strength of arm;Feud and fight from gate to gateShowed them how to nurse their hate.~ poem about the Scottish Wars of Independence

When the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death first broke, early in the morning, I had mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I very vividly remember September 11th and how it (among things) marked the end of my childhood, and was pleased.  But on the other hand, I felt sad because I know this is not – and cannot be – the end.  In fact, this makes me fearful for the inevitable retaliations.  Wars do not end until one side is so utterly decimated that they have no one left to sacrifice.  When it is the US and several allies versus a large part of the Middle East, that will take a very long time.  Peace?  What hope is there for peace when both sides are breeding anger like this?  Bloody hell, at least with the Cold War actual violence was kept to a minimum!  I study the Scottish Wars of Independence, which lasted for nearly a century and within a couple years of their commencement had completely changed the Scottish economy because the crops were constantly being destroyed and the farmers killed.  We call the Middle Ages barbaric, but at least then people were honest about they did.  William Wallace, before the famous battle of Stirling Bridge, shot down all attempts at negotiation by saying that they were fighting to defend themselves and their freedom.  Hmm, who invaded who here?  Now, I am not trying to justify what either side has done here; rather, I want to point out that both sides are (supposedly) fighting for what they believe in.  If it is the same as what we believe, then it is a glorious cause to be supported whole-heartedly.  But if it is different?  Then you are wrong, and worse – a terrorist.  “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”  Land of the free, eh?

“Justice is done.”  The US president’s infamous words following Bin Laden’s death, and a serious point of controversy.  Justice, I ask, what justice?  Where is the justice in death?  Guilty, innocent; it does not matter, murder is still murder.  But even if we ignore that, what of the innocent people who died along the way?  Where is the justice when children out gathering firewood are gunned down?  I understand growing up in a conflict zone causes kids to mature faster, but someone please explain to me how a nine year old can seem like a threat to a military helicopter.  That was just one incident, by the way; there were others too.  Where, then, is the justice in all this?  It sickened me then, it sickens me now.  First I was sad, but now … well, this is the change so many people had been praying for.  I have always been incredibly grateful to have been able to live in a place where I do not have to worry about my freedom or security, but now I look at everything and wonder if I have just been naive.  Is it really freedom, or is it ignorance?  At least when you have to fight for your survival, you know exactly what you have and what you are fighting for, and you know what freedom really means.  But justice?  What is the difference, now, between justice and forcing your beliefs onto others?  Freedom of thought?  That is now reserved for terrorists.

After nearly ten years, countless lives directly and indirectly lost (a lot of money goes into those war machines, money that could have been put towards healthcare or housing), international relations ruined, and the hope of peace practically destroyed forever … “justice has been done.”

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