I know I’m the militaristic of the two of us here at MoF, but I find myself ambivalent at the recent news that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed by US forces (a week ago, whereupon they “took custody” of his body to make sure it was him).
I have been told that there were Americans celebrating this event, a thought that sickens me, but I think the broader point here is getting lost: so what? Anyone who thinks this will change anything is deluded.
Immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, when Americans were forced to realize—if only for the briefest of moments—that our foreign policy might just make us not everyone’s friend, the structure of Al Qaeda was discussed as being “hydra-like”. Now—10 years, 900 000 deaths, and a number of freedoms later—we’ve cut off one of the heads. How many will grow in its place? Hamas, a different but similar group, has already issued a press-release condemning the killing. Extremists (or perhaps moderates made extreme by our insensitivity) have already used the desecration of their holy book as an excuse to kill—how much more of an excuse do they have now?
Am I glad that bin Laden is dead? Yes—I think that one fewer religious extremist leading people to violence is a good thing.
Am I glad that American forces killed him? I’m on the fence. I don’t know that this proves anything (10 years later) or that it will solve any problems.
Some people who can say it better than I:
As always, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman humble me with their grace. “Not taking any joy in the news.” I wish more people could say that.
RT @lizzwinstead: Can we travel with big shampoo again??!
Of course not. Once removed, freedoms are hard to get back—if not impossible. We’ve created a new “norm” of being considered terrorists when we travel. I don’t see that it’s likely to change anytime soon.
“No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.” – Obama The Americans are the… http://tumblr.com/xxs2cs7q6j
Craig hits the nail on the head here (click through for full post): Obama allowed as how we “took care to avoid civilian casualties” but never returned to the subject of whether or not we were successful. How many American and allied soldiers have died in pursuit of this goal? How many civilians? How many militia members? How many who we aren’t certain whether they’re militia or civilians? (Also, though I am loathe to legitimize their existence, they remain human: How many
mercenaries private defense contractors?)
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice. Proverbs 24:17 (Osama = exception)
Atheist tweeter @AlmightyGod is always good for a smile or a smirk—here, perhaps more serious. I’m not sure if the tweeter is serious or tongue-in-cheek (I hope the latter).
Interviewing 9-11 survivors on npr. Some of the logic of our need for revenge troubleS me
Family members of those who died in the Twin Towers are always the first to be called for sound bites on the War On Terrorism™; but usually only those who want to talk about it. Those who, dare I say it, have an agenda. There are plenty of families who want to move on, who don’t want the blood of anyone else spilled in their names, who don’t want to dwell. But they are rarely quoted because of those facts. The population of family members of victims is the same as anywhere else: some peaceful, some militaristic, some in between.