Good Riddance to a Bad Man

Dear Reader (and those who are merely reader-curious),

Qassem Suleimani is dead and I feel fine. 

He was a bad guy, and I don’t mean in the glib Good Guys vs. Bad Guys sense. I mean, he was literally a bad guy. I do not mourn for him. Indeed, even if it were to turn out (and I don’t think it will) that his killing was unlawful, bad policy, based on bad intelligence, or sold with lies, I would still not feel sympathy for Suleimani, because he did a dozen—two dozen? A thousand?—other things that would make almost any death overdue.

This is a point a lot of people seem to struggle with. Forget foreign policy for a second. Say Joe commits murder, but the police can’t prove it, so they end up framing Joe for the crime he committed, or even some other crime. Being outraged by such violations of due process is right and proper, and I have no quarrel with people who blow a gasket when things of this sort happen. But I don’t feel a lot of sympathy—any, really—for Joe. When you break all the rules, you may not have forfeited your legal right to complain when the authorities don’t follow them either, but you have forfeited your moral right to whine about it.

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