What Civilization Means

I do not know the life, background or motivations of one Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who was killed, along with another passenger, when a motorcycle rider out of a Bourne movie stuck a plastic explosive on his car door and blew him to smithereens. What I do know is that he was a scientist working, we're told, as a procurer in Iran's nuclear power/arms program. Does he make the decisions in this theocratic tyranny? Is he responsible for the policy? Maybe he is an adamant Khamenei supporter. Maybe not. But he has been assassinated by someone. How should we respond?

Here's how Rick Santorum responded to these kinds of killings:

On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.

There is no way in Catholic – or indeed any moral – teaching that such assassinations can be celebrated as "wonderful". The person saying so is attacking some of the core truths of Christianity. Here's the response from the Israeli military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai:

I don’t know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear.

Not even for his fatherless child? Or wife? Here's Greenwald's account of one of the previous assassinations:

In November, 2010, two separate car bombs exploded within minutes of each other on the same day, one that killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriar and wounded his wife, and the other which wounded another nuclear scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, along with his wife. Then, in July of last year, Darioush Rezaei, 35, was shot dead and his wife was wounded by two gunmen firing from motorcycles outside of their daughter’s kindergarten.

I fear sometimes that we have badly lost our way here. When Americans rejoice in the assassination of scientists, they have lost their moral compass. When they cannot shed a tear for a dead man's wife or child, they are becoming dangerously close to the barbarians they claim to be fighting.