Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Global News and International Security

I don't mean to sound unpatriotic.  I mean, I make a lot of comments about dumb Americans, but really, I just find most people to be dumb.  I am, in fact, quite proud of the country I live in.  But the people who are surprised that Shakeel Afridi, the doctor who helped the United States track Bin Laden to the compound in Pakistan where he was later killed (Hey, good job, Seal Team really, though, that was bad-ass) was tried and convicted of treason are....kind of naive, really.

I'm all for what he did, but just because he did the right thing doesn't mean there aren't legal consequences.  He reported internal affairs to an outside intelligence source.  That's treason.  And the 33 years in prison he would serve as a result?  Pretty light compared to the punishment for treason in most countries, which is death.

Doing the right thing in spite of its legality is something you still have to consider.  Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail focuses on the idea that we have a moral obligation to break immoral laws.  But we also have a responsibility to accept the punishment that comes with it.  That punishment is what makes civil disobedience different from outright criminal behavior.

I think Dr. Afridi did exactly the right thing -- he helped us catch and eliminate a dangerous criminal and a threat to international security.  But what he did was still a crime against his country, and they have a right to prosecute him for that.  If the same thing happened in the U.S., they'd have just as much a right to do the same thing.  I'd like to think we'd have the fairness and good judgment to overlook or downgrade the crime in the face of what was accomplished as a result, but when a country's security and sovereignty within their borders is threatened, they have the right to try the people responsible for treason and to go after them as they see fit.

Just my two cents on a big global news story.

Tiredly yours,
Rachel Leigh

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