GOD BLESS AMERICA

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. ~President Barack Obama


I am always proud to be an American. America has been a force for good in the world from its beginning. (Note to those who start pointing out imperfections: There is no perfect country because countries are made up of people; however, America is simply the greatest country the world has ever known, and if you want her to be better, take a look in the mirror and make that person better). Americans, taxed and regulated to death though we are, still rally to the aid of suffering people anywhere disaster strikes. Americans are different. America is different.

And it is with great pride and joy that this American celebrates the death of Osama bin Laden. Yes, I said celebrates, because I’m plagued by neither the inability to make moral distinctions nor the desire to engage in moral preening to show off to my mindless comrades how superior I am to average Americans who are capable of making moral distinctions. I am an average American -- I know right from wrong, good from evil, and truth from falsity. I am committed to pursuing the truth, so if I am in error, reason will correct my errors. I believe in America, and in American values. And one American value is justice.

Justice and vengeance are not the same, although vengeance can serve the cause justice. Justice is concerned with moral rightness; vengeance is concerned with retribution. Whereas justice is concerned with moral rightness in a particular instance, vengeance can seem disproportionate in the instance; however, vengeance can serve a valuable deterrent. There are times justice demands retribution to demonstrate moral seriousness -- retribution demonstrates to wrongdoers that we take very seriously behavior that violates the rights of another and undermines human dignity. To undermine human dignity is to undermine civilization (from the Latin civilis, related to civis -- civics, civility, civilization, and citizen share these roots). And although we can refrain from vengeance, we can never stop the pursuit of justice, because the corrective need for justice does not end with the passage of time.

So Osama bin Laden has experienced justice, but not vengeance. Nothing about our response was disproportionate, and in fact, the very idea that we would show concern for Islamic tradition for this monster is problematic. At the very least, the threat of denying paradise to terrorist vermin that would come from burying bin Laden’s body cradling a ham might serve a valuable purpose (yes, yes, I know -- it would just incite them. As if they need our help for that). Apparently, we have now come to agreement that bin Laden was, in fact, a real Muslim. Update: The reaction from the Islamic world confirms that bin Laden was the quintessential Muslim. Thanks for the clarity, guys.

That objection aside, our great Navy SEALs deserve our boundless gratitude for their courage and willingness to face death in order to bring justice to this evil man. Gentlemen, if I am ever in your company, it would be my great honor to stand you a drink. For now, I will raise my glass to you and say, “God bless you, and God bless America.”


~Shyla Lefever