V Is For Vengeance, Vacillation & Value Judgement

Up on Twitter, an ongoing set of reactions to Bin Laden’s death has begun to niggle at me–and, as always, fence-straddling is involved. There’s a too-sensitive-by-half crowd that’s focused almost exclusively on, well, post-mortem etiquette. You know who I’m talking about–the It-Had-To-Be-Done-But-Let’s-Not-Be-Jubilant-About-It camp. As if jubilation was the worst part of the equation.

Let’s be clear here: Bin Laden’s death is a near-perfect example of vengeance. Personally, I’m more than okay with this because it was Deeply Justified–but nevertheless, it remains vengeance, pure and simple. However, while the value-judgement crowd weirdly seems okay with the two professional shots into the left eye, the dancing in the streets afterwards is causing them all manner of knit-brow concern.

If we must have soul-searching about Bin Laden’s death, shouldn’t we move the discussion upstream to, you know, the assassination itself, rather than leaving it at what constitutes decorum afterwards?

Just as one can’t be kind-of-pregnant or pull the plug of a life-support unit half-way out of the electrical outlet, you either buy into the concept of vengeance or you don’t. You have to decide. You can’t be sort of in favor of justifiably killing someone. No matter what the Too-Sensitive Crowd wants to believe, Grim Vengeance is no way superior to Happy Vengeance: Once you decide to endorse taking a person’s life, adjectives simply don’t matter (except, of course, as retro-fitted, moral wiggle room).

But the hand-wringing crowd I keep stumbling over on Twitter are faux-nuanced; they don’t (or won’t) see this. While they fretfully twist their shirttails over any sort of celebration about Bin Laden’s well-deserved demise, not one has posited that he shouldn’t have been killed. And intriguingly, I’m sensing the absence of the queasiness that usually accompanies cognitive dissonance. Their argument, I’m Good With Killing Him But For God’s Sake No One Smile, doesn’t seem to be problematic.

You can be for justified vengeance or be appalled by it–I equally respect either stance. But this Post-Mortem Miss Manners thing is exactly the kind of cocktail-liberalism that gives Lefties a bad name. And worse, it allows for a Not-Me situational sanctimony after one of the darkest and dodgiest of moral buy-ins . . .