Earlier today, I made a Facebook post in which I expressed disgust with the American and world publics over some reactions I've seen concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden. I admit that post was unfair of me... I know that there are certainly many more who fully appreciate what actually went on in the late hours of Sunday/early hours of Monday in Pakistan than there are those who don't, the images of the people cheering in the streets of Washington, DC and NYC are evidence of that... but to read comments like I have on articles and other things related to the death of Bin Laden... it is a little demoralizing. Seriously, when did critical thinking become such a luxury item, and common sense become such a rarity? Apply even a little bit of those to these events and the reasons things were done the way they were is very apparent. What follows are some of the main questions I’ve seen in regards to what has happened, with my own personal answers, that I came to after thinking long and hard about much of what has happened.
Q.) Why did it take since August when the first bits of intelligence started coming in for them to go ahead and carry out the attack?
A.) Bin Laden, let’s face it, has been really good at hiding. There's just no denying it. He's had many supporters in many places that have been perfectly willing to help conceal him for over a decade (I say over a decade because we've been hunting him much longer than Sept. 11, 2001). Even the most zealous proponent of killing him would have to admit that going in with your gun half-cocked when you only had a suspicion of where he was could have been disastrous. It could have greatly increased anti-American sentiments in Pakistan and in the Middle-East in general if US forces went shooting people up or dropping missiles in a major metropolitan area in the event he wasn't actually there at the time, or there at all. With something of this magnitude you want to be absolutely and utterly 100% sure that the target is there before you act. If we'd squandered that, we could have lost the chance forever because he would learn from the mistakes.
Q.) Why didn't we use a drone to kill him?
A.) Recent events (or at least the past decade) have proven that drones and bombs/missiles are an extremely unreliable way to carry out something like this. Plus going in with Special Forces allowed us the chance to capture him as well if it had been possible. He could have very easily survived such a missile strike and escaped. Or we could have turned him into vapor with such an explosion and we would just never know. And then where would we be? No, we had a real chance, we knew with absolute certainty he was there, and we finally acted. In a way that allowed us to verify we had his body and that he was dead and to dispose of him: plain and simple.
Q.) How did we verify it was him?
A.) With DNA from the brain of his sister who died in Boston a few years ago. Not going to elaborate on this one, it's not necessary.
Q.) Why did we so quickly bury him at sea?
A.) Yes... one has to admit that this does give conspiracy theorists some fodder (no, not admit it's suspicious, but admit that some would find it suspicious because that’s just what they live to do, find things suspicious), but I think the good done in going about it this way is much greater than the harm done in feeding conspiracy theorists. After all, these people are so obsessed with trying to catch the US lying that the SEALs could have taken them all along when carrying out the raid and they still wouldn't believe it was real. However, Bin Laden has been the symbol of anti-American terrorism for nearly two decades, on both sides. Imagine the spectacle that would have been made of having his body make it to the US and have pictures and videos of the body make it out to the public. It would have been another Mussolini, but worse, much worse. Instead of a joke, he would have been turned into an even bigger martyr than he is now. If he'd been buried his grave would have undoubtedly been turned into a shrine. Now only those who pushed him over the side have any idea where he was laid to rest. And even images of his dead body would have been turned into rallying symbols for his followers. After all, isn't the primary image of Christian martyrdom the image of Jesus hanging on the cross? Giving them a symbol of that magnitude, of the man who "died for his cause" could have been disastrous. Now we have left them with doubt, without a leader and without a symbol. Now all they know is that instead of in a cave in the middle of nowhere, working out a measly living for his cause, he was killed in a veritable mansion fortress surrounded by guards and barbed wire. That is very damaging for his image, I think, in the long run. So, let’s agree to leave martyr symbols to those who died trying to do some actual good in the world, not mass murderers, agreed?
Q.) Does Obama deserve credit?
A.) Of course he does. But yes, our forces do deserve more of it, as they always do in conflict. However, they could not act without his say so. From all I've seen, Obama and his advisors handled this situation exactly the way they should have. And that's not being an Obama fan-boy, that's just thinking about the situation critically. Obama said, "We will kill Bin Laden", and on his watch, it happened, and with his go ahead. Of course much of it had to be kept secret because this was too big an opportunity to let go to waste or, again, screw up by going in without complete intelligence. But Obama got the information, got the confirmation, and gave the go ahead. Even then, after he received word the attack was successful, even making the announcement was delayed until they were 100% sure of the information they had that Bin Laden really had been killed and we really had his body. Obama could have waited longer and missed the chance. He could have acted too soon and missed the chance. He could have spoken on it too soon and been wrong. Caution is not a sin. But now Bin Laden is dead, and Obama was the man who said "go". We praise Roosevelt and Truman as being the presidents who won the Second World War. Why do they deserve more credit than Obama when really they did the same as him? They didn't go over there and fight the Germans/Japanese themselves, but they definitely made most of the decisions and gave the go ahead to carry out campaigns. I don’t recall any tales of Lincoln marching off to battle with his soldiers to put down the Confederate uprising. To praise others for one thing and denounce someone else for the same action speaks of a prejudice. Exactly what prejudice can only be speculated, but it is evidence that one exists. Be careful of that. Especially when some are claiming the credit should go to the last president, George W. Bush, who had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what just happened. This all certainly speaks of a lack of critical understanding and critical thinking and common sense of a situation. Critical thinking and common sense break down when thoughts and ideas become “beliefs”. Those are perhaps the most dangerous things of all. September 11, 2001 was proof enough of that.
No matter how much some people don't want to give Obama any credit for anything, he did it. He did what Bush didn't in nearly two terms of office. Maybe it was just luck, but that doesn't change the significance at all. Some of the greatest and most significant events in history have been the product of luck. Reality and history really do not care whatsoever about what you want to have happened. And pissing and moaning about it when you should be celebrating with the rest of the world that a man who acted out horrible genocide and plotted more genocide, and worked to inspire countless others to plot and carry out more genocide has gotten what he had coming to him... is just counter-productive. Join us, and smile that a symbol of hatred and death is gone. This is not a time for partisanship and mistrust and more hatred and prejudice; this is not even just at time to be Americans. This is a time for the world to come together and realize that those who plot great death and murder get what's theirs in the end. We can all at least unite under that banner I'm sure, can't we?