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thoughts on Osama bin Laden

On the Sk8J forum, someone asked for people's thoughts on the news of Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of a United States team sent to capture or kill him. I wrote some out, and thought that would make a good post for today. I'm expanding a bit on some of them, too.

First, I'm mildly surprised. I'd simply stopped thinking about Osama bin Laden, and while I can't say that I believed it would never happen, I also can't say I ever expected it would happen.

Second, as I posted on Facebook already, my immediate reaction was to start imagining how the Republican/neo-conservative camp would try to spin this to make President Obama look bad—why did it take him so long, why is he focused on that instead of the economy, et cetera ad nauseam. The corollary reaction was to realize I'm more sour on American politics than I was aware. And to my more-conservative friends, yes, I'm sure the Democrats and liberals have been equally quick to seek political points to score against Republican presidents in the past when those presidents have had some accomplishment to announce. 

Third, I do think it's a worthy blow in our defense—and the defense of the world—and a fitting end, that we were able to send our own team in to capture or kill him and succeed at that goal. Capture, trial, and imprisonment (or execution) would have been nice if possible, but I'm not sure it would've been any more meaningful. 

Fourth, in much the same way that at a certain point the question was no longer whether Obama could be elected president but how well we as a nation would be able to move forward and recover from our messes under his direction, I think the question at this point is how we as a nation will move forward in handling issues of terrorism and security, here at home and abroad. Or in other words, although finally killing Osama bin Laden is a good achievement and worth some celebration, it only highlights the greater problems we've been struggling with in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. 

Finally, another friend's reaction on Facebook was to say "I can't say I'm sorry he's dead." That prompted me to wonder whether there's anyone out there in the world who is truly sincerely grieving for the death of Osama bin Laden the person—not the terrorist organizer or religious-political crusader, perhaps, depending on your point of view, but the father, brother, uncle, or friend he may have been. I do not mourn him, and I do not blame anyone for hating him. But at some point he was a human person, and it may be better to pity that lost opportunity of the human he could have been than to glory in the destruction of the monster he became.



( 1 wrote — Write )
May. 5th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thoughts on Osama bin Laden
I enjoyed reading your comments on this event, Phil, especially the last paragraph. I share your musings and wonder what it was that made him so determined to destroy America and Americans. I hope that at least now he rests in peace and that for the rest of us that there may be more peaceful encounters with the Islamic world than antagonistic ones.
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