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“Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou has bestowed favours. Not of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.” (Koran 1.5/6)

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Discussion (49)¬

  1. grumpy cow says:

    author, it is really special that you do all this stuff in a pub….fabulous

  2. Juan says:

    Primero se “alteriza” al que era semejante, después se lo deshumaniza y ya está justificada la violencia.

  3. henry ford says:

    I wonder what beer they drink ?
    Danish Dynamite? ( A favourite in Bath )

  4. Andrew Hall says:

    “I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.” -Groucho Marx (my favorite Marxist)

  5. kennypo65 says:

    The problem with religion is that belief and dogma are more important than compassion, and compassion should be a first principle.

  6. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    As a result of having to be right
    People foolishly fight.
    Tribes forming cults
    gives unfortunate results
    Which makes for a bloody sight.

  7. Mother Goose says:

    Great ‘toon, but puleeeeeze learn the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ !!!! Shit that irritates me! :)

  8. Author, the surgical precision with which you state the unnoticed obvious is, as usual, totally brilliant. Thanks for this one.

  9. FreeFox says:

    Talking of the justification of violence and “us” vs. “them”, I would be very interested – with the permission of Author, please just delete this post if you think I’m inviting unnessecary flaming – in the views of the venerable minds present on the killing of bin Laden. A triumph of justice or unlawful murder, politically necessary or senseless violence? What’s your take, folks? (Also, those who don’t mind sharing the info, I wonder how being American, British, or of another nationality influences your views.)

  10. Jesus is being rather indulgent with allowing Mo’s pontificating of late – is he feeling unwell?

  11. Bappie says:

    Free Fox, talking of justification of violence I don’t think it’s right to kill bin Laden. He should have been brought to an international court of law (Den Haag )
    But how dangerous would that be to the place where he would have been brought to?

  12. Bappie says:

    author,
    humor is humor AND THESE CARTOONS DO HAVE HUMOR

  13. Some Matt or other says:

    At the risk of severe OTdom, I’ll answer FreeFox’s question. Author, feel free to delete this if you’d prefer to keep things more relevant to the comic.

    I’m American, and I think on the most basic eye-for-an-eye (as it were) level, bin Laden got what he deserved. I hesitate to say “justice” was done, since that’s a higher ideal. The ideal path would’ve been capture, interrogation, trial, imprisonment, and eventual death by slow rot in a lonely cell. Going out in a hail of bullets was too good for him, but I’ll take it. I don’t know enough about international law to say whether the assault was legal, but if it were up to me it would be.

    Now, somewhere there is indeed a line to be drawn: If he had surrendered and then was executed in a state of full submission, that would’ve been inexcusable. The original story of him having died with a gun in his hand was more palatable than the current description of him being unarmed but “resisting.” I can’t say definitively where the line is in relation to the latest account, but it’s a shade of grey I’m nevertheless still okay with.

    In large part, I think that’s because bin Laden’s status in the murky world of “asymmetrical warfare” is uniquely crisp. Defining “terrorist” is damnably hard when you’re trying to figure out how to handle rank-and-file hostiles in a complex environment, but the man who built up an entire paramilitary organization with the stated purpose of waging “war” on every American citizen (not to mention fellow Muslims) to spectacular and world-changing success is in a category of little ambiguity in my mind. I see no substantive difference between the Abbottabad raid and the killing of Admiral Yamamoto.

    All that having been said, I am wary of this creating unwarranted precedent. The notion that the United States has open license to violate a sovereign nation’s borders and kill anyone it deems a “terrorist” is a mark in the we-have-met-the-enemy column. The mitigating circumstances here were the nominal permission Pakistan had already given us to conduct such operations and the target’s aforementioned status as Grand Wizard Terrorist Supreme. (In a convenient paradox, the stealthy nature of the mission can also be justified by the fact that some elements of Pakistan’s leadership/intelligence seem to be arrayed against us. This is the least thought-out portion of my argument.) My point is that if the success of this act is used as justification for future hit-jobs under even shakier pretenses, then what moral value it has may quickly decay. Many of the key circumstances were unique and, FSM willing, will remain so.

  14. @Freefox I’m not sorry to no longer be sharing the planet with that homophobic and homicidal fanatic. I’m saddened by the people dancing in the streets wrapped in American flags. Bin Laden was seriously in decline as a leader. Now he will have more power than ever. Only the thoughtless celebrate a death, even the death of a monster.
    As to whether it was legal, or morally okay, I can only quote Michael Moore at his most sarcastic: “We go into other countries. It’s illegal, but we’re Americans. It’s allowed.”
    I’m not American. I don’t like the way the Blackwater Security guys fly over crowds in Iraq using their machine guns like car horns. If a foreign power acted like that on American soil there’d be indignant outrage. But we’re talking about power, and people who refer to the deaths of civilians as “collateral damage”. Morality does not seem to apply.
    Just to go further off topic – how many mainstream American movies can you think of in which the “good guy” uses torture to get information from a bad guy? “Green Hornet” was the last one I saw that did this. Standard operating procedure. Might makes right.

  15. Some Matt or other says:

    DH, as an American I’ve long had a perverse desire to see some other country do on our soil half of what we do abroad, just to give the hawks a sense of perspective. Even the concept of a foreign military base within our borders would send people through the roof, much less an army “occupying” us “for our own good.” And don’t even get me started on our use of mercenaries. For all its squickiness, the bin Laden operation was remarkably clean, given what we’ve shown ourselves to be capable of.

    And I’ve also been long aware of the torture-as-good-guy-tool in cinema. It makes for dramatic storytelling in short timeframes, but it sadly reinforces ideas that aren’t necessarily true. I like to think one of the virtues of the secular/atheist mindset is a healthy skepticism towards “common sense,” since we have no reason to trust evolution to have wired our brains for strict factual accuracy in our perceptions – just the opposite, in fact. Our instinctive logic is that torture will lead to truthful confessions, but the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. It’ll be interesting if we ever find out the details of how we got all the info necessary to pinpoint bin Laden. The official word has been pretty cagey so far.

  16. foundationist says:

    Thanks author, another good one.

    On the Bin Laden discussion: I am pleasantly surprised by the absence of gleeful imagery of the “what I would have done with his corpse”-type that – irritatingly enough – makes up a good portion of the discussions at richarddawkins.net.

    If the official version of how the mission went holds up, I have no problem with the outcome. It does the Obama administration great credit, that the soldiers were apparently really ordered to try to catch Bin Laden. A trial in The Hague and an orderly conviction – or rather several orderly convictions for all his various crimes – would have been by far the preferable outcome but if he was shot in a gun-battle while resisting arrest that’s a good second.

  17. Jerry w says:

    Idea gleaned from many American Western Movies:
    “We’ll give him a fair trial before we hang him”

  18. Unruly Simian says:

    I’ve never killed anyone but I have felt a great sense of satisfaction having read several obituaries……

  19. Anonym says:

    “They wrath” (?)

  20. Intelligent Designer says:

    Author: Typo in the Koran quote. Should read Thy, not They.

  21. Daoloth says:

    @Some Matt or other. “Some elements of Pakistan’s leadership/intelligence seem to be arrayed against us”. That’s putting it mildly. Bin Laden is found to be “hiding” in the Pakistani equivalent of a mansion in the grounds of West Point, while the US feeds billions into the same state that supports him.
    Serious questions need to be asked about policy in that region, but as Christopher Hitchens put it recently–it’s almosts an anti-climax to have it confirmed that Bin Laden was “not a heroic guerrilla fighter but the pampered client of a corrupt and vicious oligarchy that runs a failed and rogue state”

  22. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    i like this one, i think i would like to be in the same pub as jesus and mo. Perhaps jesus would bought me a beer

  23. Daoloth says:

    Apologies if this is a repost from one of you guys but of the off chance that it is not–you really need to see this:
    http://tiny.cc/rc0mb
    Author–The challenge has been thrown down–satirise this, if you can.

  24. @Daoloth The girl’s an obvious troll just yanking everybody’s chain to see how many hits she can get. Very poor taste. Dumb as a sack of hammers. In need of attention we don’t need to give her. Nothing there to satirize.

  25. Jewish Atheist says:

    New beer pump, eh?

  26. Daoloth says:

    @DH. You are probably right! However, she is just taking the attitudes of some christians & moslems to their logical, if ghastly conclusion.

  27. I found that I didn’t have any feeling one way or another – I had assumed Bin Laden had died from diabetes or something ages ago – we haven’t had a video comment from him and with islamic nations overthrowing dictators, Bin laden has lost relevance.

    Could dying be the career move he needed to re-boost his image and refresh his hold on world? Maybe, it’s proven a good career booster in the art world

    but, the problem with martyrs is that they can’t really lead anyone after their big moment and it’s easy for someone else to put a context and spin on it.

    Bin Laden started out as a CIA operative and his family has ties with the Bush family – so I find that I wounder about what made him go roque on the CIA? And on his family for the most part – after all – it seems to me that he could have bought a few countries if he wanted to expand territory

    his goals were really unclear – it’s a little pointless to score a victory and have no purpose for having attempted it – it’s kinda like maybe the hijackers weren’t supposed to succeed and a mistake that they did

    it certainly didn’t do anything for whatever his cause was – the Danish Cartoons got more islamics united against the west than 9/11 did.

    that said, I found the images of Americans celebrating in the streets a little too similar to the post 9/11 photos of islamic celebrants

    I guess we’re all barbarians at heart, or not that far removed from Rome…..

  28. Daoloth says:

    @DH- you were correct. Apologies. It was late. I was tired. Did not adequately check. Egg on face etc etc. Another victim of Poe’s law. Please disregard previous.

  29. MrGronk says:

    FreeFox;
    I supported the killing of bin Laden. Assassination may be utterly unethical if you’re a policeman, but is the nearest thing to ethical warfare if you’re a soldier. One point needs to be made, though: last Saturday, another terrorist died who had, in his career, destroyed an airliner. He was an anti-castro Cuban called Orlando Bosch, and he died of old age under US protection. I have to say that if Castro had ever sent a team into the US to kill this vicious old bastard, I would have had to support the action purely out of moral consistency. But I can imagine that plenty of Americans would not have grasped the irony of it.

  30. @Daoloth Sorry to sound so grumpy. No problem. And thanks for introducing me to Poe’s Law.

  31. Jude says:

    Us and them is more depressing if you’re living in an arabic country cos it’s an “us” territorie.

  32. @Jude I imagine it’s a lot easier to be tolerant if you are being tolerated.
    @MrGronk Thanks for the heads up on Orlando Bosch. Yes, it’s very hard for America to claim the moral high ground on any issue.

  33. Jerry w says:

    @Mother Goose,
    Puleeeeeze learn the difference between pedantic and… eh, nevermind…

    “Great ‘toon, but puleeeeeze learn the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ !!!! Shit that irritates me!”

  34. Jude says:

    @Dh i’m not in conflict with anyone nor hatefull But for me as an ex muslim i’m having a hard time adapting with the “us” folks cos they are in control of civil laws, schools, politics , plus the complications of the “halal and haram” that is affecting the people and the way treat each others and How the “haram” doers are labeled and alienated …that’s my us and them causes of depression and feeling alienated and i just can’t go back to the “us” side anymore. It’s complicated here in lebanon. But of course not in beirut it’s cosmopolitan In a weird way. But i live in a more arab area in north of lebanon.

  35. @Jude Congratulations on being an ex-Muslim. That seems to be a huge step, and Muslims I’ve suggested it to just shake their heads and mutter “impossible”. You have my sympathy. In fact, I don’t know how you can stand living in such a culture. But I’m very glad you are there. Your presence gives me hope that the enlightenment will spread to the theocracies of the world. I find it very hard to believe that people actually WANT to live in repressive religious cultures. I’m sure most simply can’t see any alternative, and are kept silent by threats and rigid thought control. I talked to a young man from Pakistan. His father won’t let his mother or sisters leave the house. He doesn’t agree with this, but he can’t see any way to change things, and he’s not ready to give up his religion.
    Do you see others following your example in Lebanon? Do you have any kind of a support group there?

  36. Jude says:

    @dh i never been religious my entire life Because my parents disencouraged me from going to mosques when i was young Because they feared that i might get recruited by the islamic militants during our lebanese civil war . It’s not that repressive in lebanon, we have pubs and clubs more than mosques and churches actually we have the best night life you can imagine :) But having night lifes is not a priority to a major change in our society cos you’ll see muslims going out drinking, dancing Then the next day they will be at mosques feeling guilty about having that drink or you’ll see them posting some quranic miracle video on facebook with a caption “islam is the truth”. The problem here is the religious control over the political system, schools, civil laws, that is influencing people’s thoughts and crippling it ,and the result of this influence is just So weird to the level that i don’t know How to explaine cos it’s a mixture of hypocrissy ignorance fear and the lack of alternetives for them. There are many people here who doesn’t live a religious life But when it comes to voting they become muslims the sunnis will rush to vote against shia and vice versa. strange:). i have many like me here But few of them that i’m sure about will never wake up in the morning and post a quranic miracle verse on facebook. It’s complicated.

  37. Poor Richard says:

    Killing Osama bin Laden was neither good nor evil, lawful in the largest sense or not–it was merely efficient. Do some of you all truly think he ought to have had the chance to befuddle and delay? He may have been sick, which means he might have gotten his “out” like Milosevic, dying in prison waiting for The Hague to rattle its bones? Obama and company did this the smart way, preventing all the media and legal crapstuff that would have gone on: “Hey, look, there are THREE bullet holes in his kneecap–better open another investigation!”

    I am indifferent to his fate. We lost a close, brilliant family member in tower one. I would have shot bin Laden had I the chance, too. Now, let’s see if we can get the others. What was good for Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger is good enough for al Queda. But, yeah, I might have liked to have Oswald in for grilling.

    Keep your heads down for a while. They WILL strike back.

    By the way, I am the most gentle of pussycat liberals. I just know right from wrong when I see one or the other. Usually.

    As Poor Richard says, a rabid dog needs a good killin’.

  38. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ Poor Richard – I agree, and feeding him to the fish, sorry, burying him at sea, was on consideration a very practical approach to avoiding the potential problem of religious relics of him turning up in future. The best the faithful can hope for now is his face appearing on a naan bread.

  39. FreeFox says:

    @ Poor Richard & MrGronk: About the killing of Bin Laden, I have no problem with anyone feeling satisfaction of even savage joy. (As I told DH in some earlier threat, I am a rather avid worshipper of Ares, and I can totally understand bloodlust.) However, in the end I prefer Athena over Ares, and I think thereby lies the trouble: Revenge is a basic human emotion. There maybe peeps who completely lack it, but I’ve never met one I truly would have believed such a claim. But states are not permitted the same luxury.
    Just as the scientific method was developped as a rigorous method to remove bias from how we acquire knowledge, so was due process developped to remove bias from political and legal decisions. Just like science is what seperates knowledge from supersticion so is due process the single principle that seperates a state of law from tyranny.
    Everybody knows that Bin Laden was a vile criminal who deserved no better than to be shot like a dog… (apologies to Spoing, this is just a figure of speech, no offense to dogs intended)… but for a government this is not enough.
    This isn’t about the death penalty (even though I am even opposed to the death penalty on principle, independent of the falibility of the legal system), nor about whether this was just in the individual case of Bin Laden, or even if it was politically opportune or not… since 9/11 Americans have gotten into the terrible habit of allowing their government to suspend this basic principle – Guantanamo Bay, Bradley Manning, Bin Laden… not to speak of the Iraq war, justified with boldfaced lies, that cost the lives of 100,000 civilians even by the most conservative of estimates.
    For ten years now this government has been a Tyranny. Maaaybe a benign one, for its own people, but a tyranny nonetheless. The political equivalent to homeopaths, spoonbenders, fortunetellers, and gurus.
    I think the “apprehension” of Bin Laden is a damn shame. Obama has allowed Bin Laden to win. Since 9/11 the US have fought the devil, and they have become it.

  40. HaggisForBrains says:

    Further to my naan bread comment, I have just finished a delicious curry for dinner, and have to conclude that actually most naans look a bit like Osama Bin Laden.

    Having just eaten one, I am reminded of the RC Eucharist, and starting to feel a wee bit unwell… Perhaps it was the wine.

  41. @Freefox Agree one hundred percent, except for the stuff about ancient gods of course. The idea that America can go into any country and do whatever they want, justified by a “war on terror” or a “war on drugs” is a step backwards for civilization and the rule of law. Such a pity the Afghans couldn’t be prevailed upon to apprehend Bin Laden and subject him to due process. Such a shame the Americans don’t have the technology to apprehend a perp without killing him, hard as that is to believe. We live in an imperfect world.

  42. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ DH – I agree too, and am also against the death penalty, mainly for practical reasons (the imperfection of any criminal justice system). However, I am prepared to make an exception in this case because I think the alternative of capturing and bringing him to trial would have created far more problems than it would have solved, and because there is no doubt in my mind (and I cannot see how there could in this case be doubt in anyone’s mind*) that the world is a far better place without him. This is nothing to do with revenge for me.

    *Tempted to say “any right-thinking person’s mind”, but stopped short because that usually means “anyone who agrees with me”. Perhaps what I want to say is “anyone who is not brain-fuddled by religion”.

    PS. Sorry about the earlier frivolity, but this is, after all, a comic site. Who knows, perhaps some day OBL will get his own comic strip.

  43. I am pro-death penalty, but only in rare cases where the evidence is entirely overwhelming – like with the folks who video tape what they do, as Canada’s Ken and Barbie killer couple Paul Bernardo and Karla Holmolka did.

  44. Stephen Turner says:

    It also seems a relatively small step from the likes of “gays cause earthquakes” to persecution,

  45. Clothcap says:

    Bin Laden RIP 2001.
    December 2001 Report by NYT: “High-Level Murmurings That bin Laden Is Dead” – 2011-05-10
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24706
    BREAKING NEWS; ‘Bin Laden dead long before US raid’. Osama Died of Disease – 2011-05-09
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24685

    There are plenty more research articles, infowars.com site is a good place to find some, opednews.com another.

    Mr Toonist, make your ink never run out.

  46. FreeFox says:

    @Haggis: That is exactly my point, (and I always thought it was the barmaid’s point as well) – just because “everybody knows” something, that doesn’t make it true. Once people agreed that there couldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind that the sun revolved around the earth. I believe it is called argumentum ad populum.
    I have no idea where exactly Scott Adams gets his news but apparently there are a lot of doubts about how the apprehension of Bin Laden went off and about the circumstances surrounding it.
    It’s not about the killing of a human being, and it’s not about justice, it’s solely about the fact that it is for our own well-being that governments are bound by strict rules – stricter rules than individuals, since they are more powerful and need to be controlled to not accidentally step on common people. The whole point of having a principle like due process is that it is NOT suspended when it seems politically beneficial. And since 9/11 this government has stepped on a lot of people, always with the excuse that this was an act of emergency.
    You do not need to believe in a religious hell to understand that the road to it is paved with good intentions.

  47. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ FreeFox – Yes, I’m having a problem with the ethics of this. I cannot disagree with the principle of due process, and I have major concerns about the way the US government, and to a slightly lesser extent, the UK government, seem to consider themselves above the law, even to the extend of condoning torture (a mediaeval notion which as well as being totally abhorrent, is also well proven to be useless).

    Having said all that, I can’t help feeling that Bin Laden had made it perfectly clear that he accepted responsibility for 9/11, and that he intended to continue encouraging his people to kill innocents for his cause. In this sense I can justify my agreement with his being assassinated by treating it as the execution of a confessed murderer. After all, we are not talking about some dodgy confession obtained by dubious means in a cell in Guantanamo. I therefore allow this as a morally justified killing, but only as an exception, in exceptional circumstances. I agree fully about the road to hell, and exceptions should be just that.

  48. JoJo says:

    The killing of Bin Laden was entirely justified on the grounds of self defence. Not of the soldiers on the ground but of the US itself. He made no secret of the fact he was planning more attacks. The fact that he led no recognised nation against which law could be declared does not make him unreachable. Just as between individuals, extra judicial killing is a crime, killing in genuine self defence is not.

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