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Of course we all know the big news this week and as a matter of fact, it doesn’t involve wedding dresses or haute couture.

The end of a decade-long manhunt was reached with Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and head of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, died in a firefight at the fortified stronghold outside of Abbottabad in Pakistan. For those affected by the events of 9-11, it brought some closure.

There is no doubt that Bin Laden is the instigator of evil, perhaps the most hated man in the world since Adolph Hitler. I would even venture to say that he is a bit of a religious nutcase, using his religion to justify heinous acts upon people who never did him harm. I don’t say this about many people, but the world is indeed better off without him.

And yet I have some mixed feelings about all this. Not that he’s gone – I’m not strictly happy that he was unarmed when he was shot. Obviously I wasn’t there, I’m not a Navy SEAL and I don’t know what I’d do having to make a split second life or death decision. But still, there’s always that little unsettling feeling about shooting an unarmed man, even one like Bin Laden. It’s that code of the west – you never shoot a man in the back. The nagging question is going to always be was there ever any intention of taking him alive, or was this planned as an execution all along?

Not that I have any issues with executing the guy. He has thousands of lives to account for. Leaving him alive for a trial might not necessarily benefit anybody; keeping him alive leaves him in a symbolic position much as Nelson Mandela was (not that I’d compare Bin Laden to Mandela) but executing him might fan anti-American flames in the Arab world. Of course, the Arab world is busy trying to establish democracy, perhaps too busy to fan the dying flames of extremism.

I admit struggling with the execution of an unarmed Bin Laden but the clincher for me was this – not a single civilian in the Twin Towers was armed. Nor were the passengers on those planes. Nor were the embassy employees in the various bombings his group engineered. When you live by the sword, you die by it.

Should the death photos of Bin Laden be released? I think the President made the right call in saying no. Do we really need to see the guy with part of his head blown off? What purpose does that serve other than to really piss off the fundamentalists and/or satisfy the ghoulish need of some internet drones to get their chubbies by seeing a real, live dead body? Ooo-ooo.

I do find it a little sad that we’re acting like Munchkins about the whole thing. Ding Dong the witch is dead and all that, but we’ve still got troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq with no end in sight. We’re still on high alert and while we may have crippled Al Qaeda – we may have even killed it – in many ways, the terrorists won. We’ve given up many of our freedoms and being realistic I don’t think we’re going to ever get them back. Our way of life has been altered. We have even violated who we are as a people by torturing prisoners.

That isn’t supposed to be who we are. We’re the good guys, the white hats. We don’t shoot unarmed people in the back. We don’t torture prisoners and hold them indefinitely. We don’t violate basic human rights or the constitutional rights we ascribe to. We’re supposed to be the ones who do things the right way.

We have conclusively shown that isn’t who we are anymore. For that I mourn, because that was the worst thing about 9-11 – we didn’t only bury three thousand innocent people, we buried our soul there as well.


One Response

  1. I agree with much you said. Terrorism is not war,it is carried ou against innocents as you said. The victims were not armed so justice prevails. i also think we are naive to think war is carried out with rules. To win is everything. I am also so ashamed of our post behaviour, busy pundits wondering how this affects the politics of election, whether this or that, nit picking. I havee never thought of us as nitpickers. For goodness wake up celebrae justice without asides. Something good occurred.

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