exceptionalist justice

NT Wright, on recent events:

Consider the following scenario. A group of Irish republican terrorists carries out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the US, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this seems plausible enough.

But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we've still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.

What's the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is subject to different rules to the rest of the world. By what right? Who says?

via guardian.co.uk.

I think Wright is wrong when he implies that US:Pakistan::UK:US

Well, perhaps not wrong... mere exaggeration?

Or perhaps I don't understand the realities of the IRA when compared to al-Qa'ida.

In any case, he makes a depressing point. Who decides what is terrorism, and what is justifiable action against it? I find myself in agreement with the action taken by the US in Abbottabad (for complicated reasons, some of which have to do with the fact that I'm Indian and grew up with a certain unfortunate perspective on Pakistan...), while grieving the real complexity of evil and our hopelessly wrong, inherently subverted & evil-multiplying attempts to defeat violence with more violence.

Revelation, reason, wisdom & love have long since departed this discourse, and all that's left is the rhetoric of power, politics, deception & hatred.

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