Why we celebrate murdering Bin Laden?

Although Americans are mostly in agreement that the demise of Osama bin Laden is a good thing, many are disturbed by the revelry. There is a lot of psychology behind this. When it comes to judging what’s right and wrong, intent matters a whole lot. But when it comes to punishment, consequences matter.

Here are three thought-provoking articles:

The primacy of moral heuristics can lead to other questionable judgments as well. Consider terrorist attacks. When al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, the terrorists failed out of ineptitude. Their intent was evil, and they did kill six people, but they botched their larger goal of bringing down the towers. … No overreaction against Muslims, no recriminatory war, very little public outrage at all. It’s hard to muster outrage for a failed crime—even when the intent was to kill thousands.

But when the al-Qaeda terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, … They had evil intent and they succeeded, and their act had horrific consequences—more than 3000 innocent people dead. Guilt was so clear and outrage so justified, that our heuristic mind was absolutely in sync with our rational mind, the mind responsible foe making the punishment fit the crime. …


This is why I believe that last week’s celebrations were good and healthy. America achieved its goal — bravely and decisively — after 10 painful years. People who love their country sought out one another to share collective effervescence. They stepped out of their petty and partisan selves and became, briefly, just Americans rejoicing together. …

Three – Noam Chomsky

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. …