A mini furore seems to have emerged because Rowan Williams said some pretty uncontroverial things about the killing of Osama bin Laden.It does seem that people really are addicted to inventing disputes where none actually exists!At a press conference on a totally un-related matter he was asked about the killing and his reply can be seen on his web-site www.archbishopofcanterbury.org
Reading all the blog comments which assert that when it comes to Osama bin Laden, international law and the traditional concepts of justice simply do not apply, remembering the church’s teaching about vengeance and forgiveness,and recalling that it was the USA which insisted that Nazi war criminals must face a court rather than summary execution, I share Rowan’s ‘unease’.
That is not the same as explicitly condemning the actions of the president of the USA or embracing a woolly approach to human evil, but just seems inevitable for anyone who thinks that justice is a different thing to vengeance. Unless we have all abandoned the principles of justice that have held sway in the free world for centuries there must be many who share this unease, even if we personally ultimately conclude that what occurred in Pakistan was a necessity. I know that many people were persuaded that the bombing of Dresden and Hiroshima were legitimate and necessary means to achieving peace, but I don’t think those millions who had qualms then and have qualms now should be accused of anything worse than maintaining their humanity.