“I think that the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done in those circumstances.
“I think it is also true that the different versions of events which have emerged in recent days have not done a great deal to help people.
“I don’t know the full details any more than anyone else does but I do believe that in such circumstances, when we are faced with someone who is manifestly, was manifestly, a war criminal, as you might say, in terms of atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be done.”
N.T. Wright says this:
“The main reason President Obama has been cheered to the echo across the US, even by his bitter opponents, is not simply the fully comprehensible sense of closure a decade after the horrible, wicked actions of September 11 2001. Underneath that, he has just enacted one of America’s most powerful myths.
“Perhaps the myth was necessary in the days of the Wild West, of isolated frontier towns and roaming gangs. But it legitimizes a form of vigilantism, of taking the law into one’s own hands, which provides ‘justice’ only of the crudest sort. In the present case, the ‘hero’ fired a lot of stray bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan before he got it right. What’s more, such actions invite retaliation. They only ‘work’ because the hero can shoot better than the villain; but the villain’s friends may decide on vengeance. Proper justice is designed precisely to outflank such escalation.
“Of course, ‘proper justice’ is hard to come by internationally. America regularly casts the UN (and the International Criminal Court) as the hapless sheriff, and so continues to play the world’s undercover policeman. The UK has gone along for the ride. What will we do when new superpowers arise and try the same trick on us? And what has any of this to do with something most Americans also believe, that the God of ultimate justice and truth was fully and finally revealed in the crucified Jesus of Nazareth, who taught people to love their enemies, and warned that those who take the sword will perish by the sword?”
(HT: Michael Bird)