It’s not often I feel much sympathy for Angela Merkel, a woman who, by forcing through the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, acted as one of the gravediggers of contemporary European democracy, but on this occasion . . .
On Monday morning in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met reporters for an approximately six-minute long press briefing on the development. “I am glad that it was successful, the killing of Bin Laden,” she said. That statement is now being heavily criticized in German political and religious circles, including among members of Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Criticism was also lobbed from members of Merkel’s own party. Siegfried Kauder, of the CDU, and the chairman of the legal committee of the Bundestag, told the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse: “I would not have formulated it in that way. Those are thoughts of revenge that one should not harbor. That is from the Middle Ages.”
Nonsense. Revenge can be just as well as sweet. On this occasion it was both. And to suggest that these supposedly indecorous thoughts belong only to the Middle Ages is to show a misunderstanding of human nature that beggars belief.
Kauder’s suggestion (see below) that the U.N., a thoroughly corrupt body built on the principle of moral equivalence between democracies and despotisms, should lay down the law on such occasions is an insult to common sense, good taste and, I would have thought, basic Western values.
Kauder also questioned the legality of killing Bin Laden. “The principle that the ends justifies the means has no legal foundation…The United Nations is now called upon to finally create binding laws. It must be crystal clear, what can be done, and what cannot.”
As for the comments from various religious figures, they are what they are and they are not for me:
Ingrid Fischbach, a vice-chairwoman of the CDU in the Bundestag, who is also on central committee of German Catholics, spoke with reservation about Merkel’s response. “From a Christian point of view, it is surely not appropriate to express pleasure with the targeted killing of a person,” she told the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur.
Religious figures also came out against Merkel’s statement in German newspapers Wednesday. Franz-Josef Overbeck, a Catholic military bishop, told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, “One cannot as a person, and especially not as a Christian, be glad about the death of another person. That also applies when that person was a violent criminal.”
Bin Laden’s death is a military and political victory, and one won with great bravery and skill. Not to celebrate that victory would be very strange indeed.. As to how you celebrate, well, that’s a different question . . .