Monday, May 2, 2011

On Celebrating bin Laden's Death


I don't do the celebrating death thing, so I won't be joining everyone in today's party. It's just not my thing -- people who cheer outside of prisons when someone is executed always make me feel uncomfortable too, even though I understand how they could feel that way, I just don't.

So, when I hear this morning that people wish the president had been more joyous or more excited, I just have to disagree. Killing someone, even someone who clearly deserves it, is a sober event, especially for the person who ordered the killing. At least it should be. He was entirely appropriate in my view, and I thought to myself when I heard it just how grateful I was that it was he who announced rather than George W. Bush who wouldn't have been able to contain his bloodlust. It's these moments when I am very glad to have "no drama" Obama rather than Mr "Feels Good!" This is serious business and it requires a serious leader.

And TNC in a sort of contrast:

I'm with Fallows:

Hooray. It is almost never right to celebrate a death. Almost.

I think I'll stop noting that Bin Laden was a killer of Muslims. I feel like Giuliani lecturing Harlem on "black on black" crime. Muslim is a big word, and part of the problem with the last ten years has been the unwillingness to acknowledge that fact. What actually sticks with me is Bin Laden killed mass quantities of human beings with almost regard for distinctions. It's not that he killed Muslims. It's that he didn't much care who he killed.

The body-count, in number and means, is spectacular--I think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who video-taped himself beheading human beings. I think about the hundreds of people killed in the bombing of al-Askaria Mosque, with the apparent hope of fomenting a Civil War. I think about the deaths in Nairobi, and bombing of night-clubs in Bali. It really is bigger than 9/11.

Faced with that level of callous disregard for life, I find it a little difficult to lecture 25-year olds who came of age during this time on their varied reactions. Americans are humans too.

If possible I'd say I'm in both of these camps. Most of all, I am relieved, but I'd be lying if I didn't say part of me is content with the end result being bin Laden's death. For the past decade we've been consumed by the mythology of Osama bin Laden. It has radically altered the comfort we take within our own country. It has led to irreparable damage abroad and at home. We've been at war for a third of my lifetime.

As I stated earlier, I don't think terrorism ever ends, especially when it is based in religious belief. How we contain it and prevent it is the mission. However, once the dust settles perhaps some semblance of maturity, whether it's in foreign policy or in our dialogue, will emerge again. So long as President Obama (or someone with a similar approach) is the Commander in Chief I think it may be possible.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

No comments: