Posts Tagged ‘Use of Violence’

The death of Osama Bin Laden has prompted a myriad of emotions, discussions, and questions among the PARCC bloggers. Gearoid Millar will start the discussion with a piece reflecting  on the failure of the field of conflict resolution to shift paradigms and practices.  Miriam Elman will follow with thoughts on the future role of Al Qaeda. I am struck by  how  symbolism and practice have changed from World War II and now, regarding perpetrators of war crimes. For the United States, bringing leaders to trial  was a powerful symbol of crime and punishment – and the rule of law- and the model for the new world order.  Why has America  changed its views?  What opportunities have been lost? Isn’t this symbolism now more important than ever?

Bin Laden is Dead: The Legitimization of the Military Option and the Failure of Conflict Resolution

 by Gearoid Millar


I write these words on May 2nd 2011, after watching news of the death of Osama Bin Laden on the morning news shows. In those reports I saw images of jubilant crowds outside the White House and in the streets of New York. After almost 10 years of violence, the application of U.S. military force, and the deaths of tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, the symbol of the 911 attacks has been killed, with a bullet to the head. This most violent of state acts, not the final killing of Bin Laden but the use of force throughout the region over the last 10 years, is in many ways being legitimated by this additional act of violence, this final application of force. The jubilation witnessed in these crowds, the feeling of justice, or vindication, or just general euphoria that drives such celebrations, is understandable, but in many ways it is also ominous and disconcerting. It says something about our society’s acceptance of death and ruin as foreign policy practices. This acceptance shows that our reliance on state violence reflects, not only failed diplomacy, but our own social norms and the lack of alternatives to violence. (more…)

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