Retribution or Justice?

Adam over at Ochuk’s Blog “points out”:http://www.ochuk.com/?p=1010 some “comments”:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/6/8/75854/67368 regarding the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. One in particular stands out to me:

bq. What was delivered was retribution, not justice.

This could be quibbling semantics here, but I have to wonder about the choice of words.

“retribution”:http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=retribution
# Something justly deserved; recompense.
# Something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment.
# Theology. Punishment or reward distributed in a future life based on performance in this one.

“justice”:http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=justice
# The quality of being just; fairness.
#
## The principle of moral rightness; equity.
## Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.
#
## The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law.
## Law. The administration and procedure of law.
# Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason: The overcharged customer was angry, and with justice.
# Abbr. J. Law.
## A judge.
## A justice of the peace.

I’m not sure I yet understand the outrage expressed by those who have given voice to their opposition to military strikes like these. Zarqawi, a man whose only ambition was the death of others, was killed during an air strike. It was his job to take out as many ‘infidels’ as possible by whatever means necessary. And now his own actions have come full circle and returned home to him.

Retribution? Justice? I think perhaps it was both, and what’s more, I believe his death was both fair and deserved. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe in the sanctity of human life. I believe that life is a precious gift, something that we are all entitled to as God’s creations. Yet, I also still hold to the notion that if you take the life of another human being, your own life itself becomes forfeit. True, the taking of the life of the murderer does not set right the wrong of taking another life. There is nothing that can rectify that wrong. But in snuffing out another’s life, you have stripped them of all their rights, and a cost must be paid for such actions. In case of a mass murderer like Zarqawi, I believe that taking the life of the murderer is the _only_ way to ensure that such atrocities do not continue. ((This is also why I believe that there is both room and a place for capital punishment in our justice system.))

Remember, this is a war we are engaged in. It is a war of ideologies in which the antagonist would wipe out every single person who does not believe exactly as they do. Many have fallen victim to these attacks, and we have every right to defend ourselves. Personally, I think that both retribution and justice ((Justice does not necessarily mean that the moral scales have been balanced. In many cases such balance is impossible to achieve. In this case, a man who has taken many lives has, in turn, had his own life taken. This is fair and an enforcement of a higher moral standard.)) have been meted out here.

One thought on “Retribution or Justice?”

  1. I’m with you on this one.

    I also find it troublesome that so many who are quick and sure to make their outrage heard about a killing such as this were so very quiet, or at least unconcerned about being heard, when this particular man was beheading innocents such as Nick Berg.

    I can respect a principled stand against killing. I get frustrated by people who, when confronted with their double standard, muble something along the lines of “well of course I was against that too.”

    I sometimes want to holler back, “But you weren’t against it enough to yell your outrage then like you are now!”

    But then I figure it’s not really worth getting my blood pressure all worked up so I just shake my head and walk away…

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