A track on Linkin Park’s latest album (A Thousand Suns) includes excerpts from a Martin Luther King speech given during the Vietnam War. You don’t have to share King’s religious convictions (as an atheist, I don’t) to agree with this:
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.
I’m not sure why, but this came to mind when I heard about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Somehow I expected better of the Obama administration. Should governments really be in the business of assassination, no matter how hateful the target?
Granted, the Australian government has been party to some ethically questionable actions (think of the Baxter Detention Center), but I’m fairly sure that a random Australian plucked off the street would be a little shocked if Canberra suddenly ordered a targeted assassination of a terrorist. I realise that the scale of the Bali night club bombing was much smaller than 9/11, but Australia is not immune to terrorist acts any more than other nations.
The well-known Australian lawyer Geoffrey Robertson has called the killing of bin Laden a perversion of justice, making Osama a martyr and giving Obama the next election.
In the more than 40 years since King’s speech, we still seem to be totally clueless with respect to wisdom, justice, and love…
If we were the inhabitants of a planet seeking entry into something like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets, we should expect to be ignored as the savages we still are.