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In the last couple of posts I’ve indicated at best an ambivalence, and what could most probably be expressed as a complete lack of empathy toward Anwar Al-Awlaki and Ibrahim Hassan deaths.

There’s both some truth to this implication, but I also admit some posturing to bring home the point that, should these men be as described, I hold no love for them. I am not a “terrorist sympathizer” (as so many conservatives like to pain progressives). Certainly if they are the as murderously inclined toward the west as we have been told, it’s hard to hold any real empathy toward their plight.

I’ll skip the fact that we have little proof their “crimes” outside of what we’re told by our government, however for sake of argument I’ll take their claims at face value. Still I think it’s important to point out in a better world we would care about killing people, even terrorists. In an ideal world we would try to convert our enemies to our side. That is, reform them, not kill them.

At a basic level killing is wrong – period. At a basic level our ideal should be to end all war, all killing, altogether. At a basic level we should mourn the killing of not just those on their side, but all human life.

Sadly that is not where we are today. Today life is “cheaper” than I’ve ever seen it – and it’s not just the “bad guys”. The “good guys” (us?) show remarkably little value for human life as well. Moreover there looks to be no end in sight – as a society we no longer even talk of a future without war. We no longer even seem to aspire to it. No one, at least in the mainstream, even attempts to offer a viable path to end this endless “war” against terror. Quite the opposite, we pursue policies that even those sponsoring know at best can offer respite, but are more likely in fact, to prolong and encourage.

So I’m not happy these men were killed any more than I’m happy that anyone is killed. I didn’t want to see them die, I wanted them to see justice. Even better I’d have liked to have had them to have seen the error of their ways and change course. That or perhaps all of us find some middle ground where we can live in peace, since after all, our own policies have played a major part in this as well.

Being raised in a Judeo-Christian society I’ve been taught to believe in repentance and the ability for men to reform. That turning the other cheek and “loving thy enemy” is an ideal to be aspired to.

That seems so far gone now, by insults granted by both sides, as to to have no hope of ever returning again.

But it is what we should aspire to – to end war, end death, end killing. To start caring enough that even when those killed are as evil as these men were said to be, that it actually matters to us. To at least wish we hadn’t had to do it.

Instead, now,  it only seems to come with the sound of cheering.

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