Monday, May 02, 2011

My thoughts on OBL and the 10 year fugitive run

"I've never wished a man dead, but I've read some obituaries with great pleasure."
-Mark Twain
I'm taking a break from reading my facebook newsfeed to write an entry on what happened last night. Not that my opinions count or matter really, and there will be time to reflect more deeply on this, but I wanted to write down what I was thinking and feeling as the news unfolded and continues to unfold.

Last night Doug went to bed and I was on his heels when I took one last look at facebook, where a high school friend posted that Obama was getting ready to address the nation in moments. It was about 10:20pm, and Liam was freaking out. What was he going to talk about? What could he be suddenly addressing the nation for at 10:30 on a Sunday night? I jokingly said that he was interrupting all the TV broadcasts so he could specifically interrupt Donald Trump's TV Show. He had nothing to say, but because he is the president, heck ... he can do anything. "Oh hi, I'm the president! I can do anything I want! If I want to monkeywrench The Apprentice, I'll monkeywrench it! Hope you liked getting my birth certificate, Donald!" Liam thought that was funny. We wondered if it was something about Libya, Qadaffi, something like that. And he suggested Bin Laden.

Bin Laden hadn't been much of a mention in the past several months. The "Arab Spring" movements were filling the headlines, no one was really paying any attention to OBL and where he was hiding. I raised my eyebrow. Captured? Something? Dead?

I decided to go upstairs and get Doug. I figured if I did not and there was some Big News, he'd be mad at me. I also figured that if he didn't care, he'd roll over and go back to sleep and that would be his call. He jumped out of bed, news junkie that he is, and we came downstairs to watch.

Eventually the talking heads on the TV stations that we were bouncing around (CNN/Fox/MSNBC/Local News) came out and announced that Bin Laden had been killed in a compound invasion.

Initially I had an "America, Fuck Yeah!" moment where the song from Team America was ringing through my head. And then I got a little sick to my stomach about the "Oh dear, what happens next?" Doug said that all the sleeper cells across the world might just use this as the moment to wake up and strike hard.

I then got a little sicker in my stomach watching the news roll in of people celebrating in the streets. Most of them were very young when 9/11 happened, maybe 10 or 11 years old, and there they are screaming in the streets like the home town hockey team just won the Stanley Cup. Any excuse to party, right?

The president came on and did his address, dispelled some of the unconfirmed reports that this happened the week before or a month before or whatever, and confirmed it had happened this day. So no joke, he didn't want to interrupt Donald Trump, he had news to share.

I then started to think about the vacuum that his persona would leave behind, and the next in command, the ladder climbers, the real haters in the operation who upon ascending to the high seat will really flex the muscles and strike out at us.

Reading through the responses on Facebook, there was a lot of jubilation, a lot of cheering, a lot of "this is pointless, it will not bring anyone back..." a lot of "Great, now can the TSA stop bothering us at the airport, for crying out loud?"

And there were sobering thoughts. Bible quotes, fears, sadness. And then other comments to those statuses saying "can't you just be happy for a minute? Enjoy the moment!"

Several of my friends posted profound quotes, but I loved what Molly had to say (Eeka's Molly) with this:
"Although I find it rather a relief to know that bin Laden is gone, I can't help but think of the midrash in which God chastisted the angels for rejoicing at the Egyptians' destruction at the Sea of Reeds..."My creations are drowning, and you want to sing?" Many emotions and reactions are appropriate. Wild cheering and partying are not. Carry on."
I was suddenly aware of the fact that when the news shows Arabs dancing in the street and celebrating with guns shooting into the air after 9/11 or when a suicide bomber takes out a Jerusalem marketplace full of Jews and Western Tourists, we call them "savages," but here are our own people dancing in the street and freaking out. It made me very ashamed for some reason.

My friend Ann posted that it broke her heart to know this man was dead, and did not stand the chance of accepting Salvation through Christ. Basically, yes. But he led a life that said that he rejected our Christ and was a full enemy to him, so do we necessarily weep for that or do we say "you made your bed, you sleep in it, for eternity..." Honestly? We all have an end-date to our lives, and he lived his right up to the end as an enemy to Judaism and Christianity, to anything other than his philosophy of hate. What can we say to that? As Christians or as anyone else. Is this "justice?" And as Christians, don't we believe that those who do what he did deserve justice, not just here but after at the hand of God? Can we not say that this WAS the hand of God giving him finally what he "deserved?"

And then there were jokes, some of them awful, most of them involved Donald Trump. And sadly one made me laugh out loud but I feel guilty for it. "Okay, okay, on a scale of from Anne Frank to Osama, how was my hiding place?" This will be used in hide and seek going forward, I guess.

I'm proud of the soldiers and Navy Seals who managed to put this together and execute it so quickly. But I have concerns and questions. I'm upset by the fact that he's probably been hiding in Pakistan all this time, and Pakistan didn't do anything about it. He basically was living next door to Pakistan's "West Point." You would think Army guys would ... know? Do something? Anything? Maybe? I do not like that he wasn't captured and put on trial. But then again, at what cost financially to the country would a lengthy trial be? Who would try him? Would he just end up in GITMO like so many other big whigs who have been sitting there for about 10 years? And what is this 'burial at sea' thing that they pulled off mere minutes after killing him? Why? I mean, I'm not calling out a conspiracy theory, and I know that parading his body around is ghoulish and wrong, but ... so fast? Everyone is concerned about whether or not it was in adherence to Islamic Law, but I really don't care about that. I really don't.

It feels like a hollow victory also, as I remember two of my classmates who died in the Twin Towers, my friend Mike who is a firefighter in NYC who had to deal with the aftermath and the loss of over 300 of his Brothers. Nothing will bring any of them back.

On that note...


  1. "I was suddenly aware of the fact that when the news shows Arabs dancing in the street and celebrating with guns shooting into the air after 9/11 or when a suicide bomber takes out a Jerusalem marketplace full of Jews and Western Tourists, we call them "savages," but here are our own people dancing in the street and freaking out. It made me very ashamed for some reason."

    YES YES YES - this. It's not fabulous just because it happens in the USA or because we're still smarting from our countrymen dying.

  2. Maybe they would have taken him to trial, if he had decided to go quietly. I bet they had to shoot him to get him to stop shooting at them.

    And damn, can you imagine the sheer numbers of hate-filled bigots from both sides who would mob the body if they put it anywhere on land?

  3. Yeah dave -- we actually did talk about this last night. images of Mussolini being dragged through the streets and beaten and everything were indeed avoided. I do kind of get the feeling that black ops goes in quietly and shoots a couple times AT the exact target, and THEN mayhem breaks loose. I would like to know about the other people shot/hit/whatever and find out who is still alive and what their stories/roles are.

    i'm glad it's over, but it's not over.

  4. I saw irony in the fact that he was killed hiding behind a woman, but otherwise the whole thing is just sad. It always is when people choose to embrace hatred.