I’m the last person anyone should be asking for advice on how to think about a subject. This country is based on freedom of expression and I fully embrace that concept. It’s why the early pilgrims came here, it’s why we continue to be able to express things that would have you arrested or shot in other countries. I’m not much of a “take to the streets and protest something” kind of guy, but I defend your right to be able to do that, regardless of what idiotic cause you might have.
Now, to the topic of Osama bin Laden.
No matter how you spin it, a guy who orchestrated an attack on our country that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people is our enemy. There are some who hope that love and kindness will win out over the likes of bin Laden, but after ten years of trying that approach (OK, it was only because we didn’t know where he was) we were finally able to end the life of a terrorist.
No, he didn’t go through a trial. Bin Laden didn’t need a trial, nor deserved one. He proudly took credit for the September 11th attack and promised more attacks in the future, all on videotape. Yes, we need to transfer it over to DVD, but we’ll get to that later.
I heard people criticizing the people who took to the streets last Sunday night, cheering the demise of one of the most evil people of our generation. While there was a mob mentality, it was still great joy to know the mastermind of 9-1-1 was finally out of business. I wasn’t going to put on the clothes and go out and join someone, somewhere, chanting “USA! USA!”, much like I didn’t publicly display my happiness over the Boston Red Sox finally winning a World Series or Tiger Woods winning the Masters the first time, but I was very, very elated.
There have been those who said that our celebrations over bin Laden’s death weren’t very “Christian”. As much as Osama was an enemy of the United States, he wasn’t exactly fond of Christians, either. Remember, he was a Muslim extremist, one of those “We’re right, you must die” types. People have celebrated defeating their enemies for as long as we can remember. I’m not going to go all Biblical on you, but, for example, the story of “David and Goliath”. Young kid with a slingshot–the one on God’s side–and a giant warrior from the other side. Did they celebrate Goliath’s demise? Absolutely. David even laid out the game plan: “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Yep, that’s what they had to do back in the days before TV to make a point.
As to releasing photos of the body of Osama bin Laden: seriously, we shouldn’t because they may incite violence? No more than the video of people jumping from the Twin Towers, or the on-line executions and beheadings of Americans or even the JFK autopsy photos. They’re available any time. If you don’t want to look at them, you can easily avoid them. You probably won’t see them soon on any postage stamps (although I’m giving serious consideration for this year’s Christmas card) But to a fanatical group of religious whack jobs, the photos make it real. He is gone. This is what happens when you try to terrorize us. You won’t win.
We even took the high road when it came to disposing of bin Laden’s body. Did Osama deserve the David treatment, leaving his corpse out for the ” birds of the air and the wild beasts”? Absolutely. But instead, we followed Muslim law and disposed of the remains according to their religion. If only the thousands of people in the Twin Towers had been treated with such dignity.
I think those who take a high road from afar weren’t close enough on September 11th. You shouldn’t have to worry when you go to work that this might be the day the building implodes and you’ll never go home to your family again. The death of Osama bin Laden doesn’t end that threat, because there are still those who would like to do that again. But it’s a healthy step in the right direction and if you feel like celebrating the occasion, you’re lucky enough to live in a place that allows that.
Go ahead. It’s up to you.
Absolutely well said, Tim. It’s not a matter of revenge; it’s a matter of honoring all the lives bin Laden cut short.