On Thursday, September 15, the Society convened to consider the question Resolved: Celebrating Osama bin Laden’s Death was Justified.
Mr. Jonathan Askonas spoke on the affirmation, accompanied by Ms. Amanda Wynter, who made her induction. Mr. Benjamin Snow spoke on the negation, after a slight auto accident, and was accompanied by Mr. Joshua Donavan, also making his induction.
Starting the discussion, Ms. Wynter argued that the desire to feel relief and happiness is inherent to the human condition, and that bin Laden’s death caused these emotions to come forth in many.
Mr. Snow discussed the impact of bin Laden’s death on the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism, arguing that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are worse off now, which is not a cuase for celebration.
Mr. Askonas noted that this was not a “referendum on ourselves,” but rather a moral discussion of past events. He expressed an American “tidal wave of joy” at the news of bin Laden’s death.
Mr. Donovan finished the keynote portion of the debate by contending that the United States’ actions were not in accord with the Geneva Convention, and that the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were denied the right to see bin Laden charged guilty by a legitimate court. He argued that the United States could have shown principles and justice, but opted instead for “cowboy vengeance,” which, he asserted, was not worth celebration.
A heated moral discussion with intermittent personal anecdotes characterized the debate. Mr. Medina noted that Americans treated bin Laden as a symbol, and not as a man. Mr. Rinaldi argued that because justice was served to those who suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks, celebration was justified.
The Society narrowly voted 56-3-52 to affirm the resolution. The Society then proudly inducted Ms. Wynter and Mr. Donovan. Huzah!
Peter A. Prindiville