Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mehsud is dead. Do we celebrate?

Abdullah Mehsud is frequently described as a f...Image via Wikipedia
A couple of days ago one of our drones took out Baitullah Mahsud (maybe). The top Taliban leader in Pakistan. What's wild is when the Taliban confirms he's dead, our guys say they might just be trying to fool us and he's playing possum. When they Taliban denies he's dead we say it may just be a stall tactic to prevent defections while they choose a new leader.

As I was thinking the news the other night one of the reporters said we should celebrate this victory. I can't recall his exact words. But, it was something to that effect. I have to say that I am weary of the war and the killing of innocents and it's tempting to celebrate anything that moves us closer to an end to that. But, then I tried to put my myself in the position of the Taliban leaders who also think they are fighting for a righteous cause. This man caused the death of Benazir Bhutto just under two years ago. His side celebrated the assassination of a woman who gave her life for her country. At his funeral, they'll be celebrating his life, saying he gave his life for his country.

The report was that when he was taken out by the drone, he was on the roof with his wife and she was rubbing his feet. They said he suffered from diabetes and probably had pain in his legs. We want to demonize the people we kill and think of them as less than human. But, we should face the fact that he was a man, flawed like all of us, doing what he thought best. His wife was there comforting him and for that, she paid with her life. We'd call her collateral damage. But, when the Taliban tells their stories about this, just like the other 20 people killed in the attack on Bhutto, they'll consider the other people killed when we took Mehsud out as innocent victims killed by terrorists.

I don't have an answer for this. I am not a pacifist. We have to do what we have to do to protect ourselves. But, I don't want to ever forget that the people we kill are someone's husband, someone's father, someone's son, someone's wife. I will not celebrate anyone's death, no matter how much of a "bad guy" he's supposed to be.

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