Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden

Note: This blog is based on the assumption the Osama bin Laden is dead at the hands of the U.S. Military under the guidance of President Barack Obama this past week. If you believe bin Laden's been dead for years, or that there is some big conspiracy at hand, there's really no point in reading. I am one to question authority, and I do not blindly follow. But in this case, I have to have faith in the fact that what Obama has said is the truth, because believing otherswise would make my head explode. And I truly do not see the point in lying about either bin Laden being dead or when he was killed. It is an impeachable offense and I would be the first to speak out against President Obama if it came to light that had lied about the events of Sunday night.

Sunday night’s shocking announcement of the killing and capture (of the body) of Osama bin Laden has set off a fury of emotions, thoughts and theories. So I have decided to weigh in on some of the discussions that I have observed via the internet and news media.

First off, is it right, in this instance, to celebrate the death of another human being?

Generally, relishing in the murder of a man is not a becoming trait for anyone. I am not sure I can tell people the correct way to ”celebrate” Osama bin Laden’s death. I choose to celebrate in the abstract: a man who is responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans is no longer able to do harm. I am not na├»ve enough to think this brings any kind of end to terrorism, but it is a victory nevertheless. Perhaps it even brings closure to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. I did not lose anyone on 9/11, so I cannot rightfully tell a person who lost a wife/husband/son/daughter, etc not to celebrate that the man responsible for their loved one’s death is now dead. It has to be quite a cathartic feeling to know what it’s like to lose a loved one to murder, but to wish that kind of sadness of someone else. However, in emotional times like this, you can excuse someone who was directly victimized by bin Laden if they are happy that he’s dead. I mean, this guy was as evil as evil gets. True, his death does not change things a ton. It certainly doesn’t bring back those killed on 9/11, or those soldiers who have lost their lives over the past 10 years fighting for this country. Nor does it put an end to terrorism. It may, in fact, bring on retaliation and more terrorist acts. Time will tell. I know some have said they’d rather that we capture and imprison bin Laden, as that could be worse than death. Maybe true, but I personally do not think that this country should have to waste the resources making him comfortable, protected, and paying for his meals and medical care.

People are going to react to his death in different ways. The only reaction that I seriously question is that of a douche bag sports star coming to the defense of bin Laden. I think of those videos of American’s being be-headed and think, “Yeah, I guess we really should hear the terrorists’ side of the story.” Oh wait, that’s right: We have. Osama bin Laden openly stated he was the mastermind behind 9/11 and encouraged more killing of Americans. But I can see how you need some clarity, you moron. Shut the fuck up and go play your stupid football game. If someone wants the opinion of a complete jackass, we know where to find you.

Quick Aside: Thanks to the wonderful "comment" features on various articles, I've read people say that we (Americans) have brought on the wrath of the terrorists, and hatred by other countries, through our lifestyles, our screwed up values, priorities, arrogance, ignorance, etc. I will freely admit there are a lot of things and people that I do not like in this country. There are many negative things you can attribute to America and Americans. But I don't see how you can defend a person, or group, who use terror, violence, and murder to get their point across.

Secondly, Osama bin Laden was un-armed at the time of his death and capture.

I've read some other people's blogs and thoughts regarding the idea that the U.S. didn't follow it's own laws, shooting an unarmed man, not giving bin Laden due process, his day in court, a run through the judicial system. I'm having a true battle of "reason" versus "yeah, but this terrorist fuck killed over 3,000 unarmed people and wouldn't hesitate for a second to kill any of us reading this at any time" and struggling to empathize with bin Laden for not getting his Miranda rights read to him. I know this is just another issue that will divide folks, but I just don't see any other way his apprehension could have ended.

Thirdly, it sickens me that there’s been so much debate about who deserves credit for Osama bin Laden’s death.

The Bush fan boys are throwing furniture in their apartments at the idea that President Obama is not crediting George W. for bin Laden’s capture. Get over it, and go cry in your Cheerios. For better or worse, George W. is not the president anymore. Love him or hate him, Barack Obama is the current president of the United States. He is in office, he is the current commander in chief, and therefore he was the one to rightfully address the nation regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. This was a team effort between the Obama administration and the US military. Pres. Obama didn’t make the kill shot, a solider did. Perhaps that man needs to be credited. Or perhaps the American people should be credited for electing a man who had the balls to go after bin Laden for real. And just to point out, bin Laden apparently lived at Casa de bin Laden for 6 years. If my math is correct, George W. Bush was president 6 years ago. He had his chance.

And by the way, if George W. does deserve credit, does that mean if the Al Qaeda retaliate and commit a terrorist act, than I can blame George W? Because you can’t have it both ways.

I gotta say one of the more disturbing things that I read was that the terrorists who the U.S. water boarded deserved more credit than President Obama. These people were murderers and criminals. They did not divulge information out of the goodness of their heart. They did not have a change of heart while watching a Lifetime movie one night. They were tortured into providing information. Whether you agree with the use of water boarding is not the point. The idea that saying the terrorists deserve more credit than the president is appalling, and certainly not something you’d be saying if ole’ George Dub-yah was the one in office.

The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden should not be credited to any one person. Will Obama use this during his re-election campaign? Probably. And I am sure many will use this in considering whether or not to vote for him in 2012. What kind of impact will Osama’s death have on people’s overall assessment of Barack Obama as a president? I guess that remains to be seen. I am not trying to say that President Obama is the best president ever. I freely admit that a lot of the hope and positivity surrounding him during the election seems to have subsided, and many people have been wondering exactly what Obama has really accomplished during his time in office. He may not go down as the most effectual president in history, but this is a proud moment for him, and for America.

Finally, should the US military release pics of Osama bin Laden’s dead body?

Now, I admit, though I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, I did find it strange that even before some could fully wrap our brains around the death of bin Laden, he had been dumped at sea. I think this was out of respect for bin Laden’s religion, which dictates burial within 24 hours. I admit I was a little put off at the idea of paying this man any respect. I know some people are trying to say bin Laden’s been dead for years, and this was some sort of re-election tactic on behalf of President Obama. Do I know for a fact that is not true? No, but that would one hell of a conspiracy and awful way to lie to the American people (almost like lying about WMD's to justify a war). I cannot deny that I, like many, would like some proof, and a picture of the body seems to be it. So there’s been debate over releasing pics of bin Laden’s dead body.

In 99.9% of cases, I’d say that is distasteful. In this case, I can see both sides. Perhaps seeing the pics would silence some doubters. It may also shock and outrage, especially since sometimes death photos don’t always resemble how the person looked alive, which could always create more controversy. It could also inflame anti-American sentiments from the Islamic communities, and not only those who sided with bin Laden. DNA tests and pics of the body are not going to dissuade conspiracy theorists from thinking that bin Laden has been dead for a while now. There is no perfect decision. Releasing the photos, or not, will each have their own set of consequences. Perhaps it would be wise to leak the photo through a website or media outlet where people can seek it out if they want, instead of splatter it all over the papers? Perhaps release a version of the photo that shows his face, but is censored to limit the gore. Or maybe just release the photo un-doctored to hammer the point home that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Or don’t release it at all. I just don’t think there’s one right decision.

Note: This was written before Pres. Obama announced he will not be releasing the pictures. So there it is. It's a decision that will flame the fires of the conspiracy theorists and more anti-Obama sentiment. But would releasing the pictures do more good? I can't say. It was a tough decision and one that I am glad I did not have to make.

As with many of the issues surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death, there is no one way to handle things that will please everyone. I guess it just shocks me at how divided people seem over this issue. America is not a perfect nation, but it’s a damn good one, especially when compared to some of the terror and oppression that rule other countries. Bin Laden’s death was a victory for this country, regardless of who you want to credit for it, or if you celebrate his death, or celebrate simply the idea that a very evil man is no longer able to terrorize people. Yes, finally, 8 years after we were told “Mission Accomplished,” the mission actually was accomplished.

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