Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed Emotions, Two Weeks Later

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog here that has gotten more reaction than almost anything else I have written. The reaction has not come from only one side.

Some of my friends have shaken their heads and wondered where my sudden "liberal angst" was coming from. Why would I worry about patriotic Americans celebrating military victory?

Some of my other friends have wondered why I hesitated at all in the blog. How could I possibly understand anyone celebrating the death of any human being under any circumstances?

It tempts me to take the earlier blog down, but that would be the chicken way out. I wrote that in the heat of the moment. So I think it is fair for me to come back now and ask if my reactions are different.

Well, we know more facts now. It looks as if, in fact, there was no wife-as-a-shield, and it looks as if there was not the "firefight" that was initially reported.

On the other hand, I am becoming more and more convinced that the vast majority of those celebrating were reflecting on a military victory in a way much like many celebrations of our past, from Bull Run to VE Day.

So here is my take now. I have no problem with the military action. I have no problem with those who celebrate our military victory.

Where I think my reaction was justified was with those who have - or appear to have - blood lust for an individual. The word I used in my original blog was "giddy" - some of those whose celebration approached "Ding Dong! The witch is dead!" appeared to me to be bloodthirsty. The celebrations of some seemed to me to be bloodthirsty, kind of like some fans of football or Nascar or hockey who seem to be there just to see the bloodshed or the fight.

I know that was not most of you. I know that exultation in this great turn in the War on Terror is not an unChristian act.

All I meant to do was express a view that I felt - and that I still feel - that perhaps the worst part of war is this emotion that is brought out in some of us to revel in the blood sport. As I said in the original email, that should give us pause.

That is my only point, but I still believe it. Once we have paused and evaluated why we feel the way we do, we can move on. But we ought at least to think about it.

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