Friday, May 6, 2011

Are we (water) Bored yet with bin Ladin?

Media overkill alert!

Osama bin Ladin is STILL DEAD.

Now that we've been saturated with all things al-Qaida since last Sunday, it's probably time to put this in perspective. Yes, Osama got whacked. Is that cause for celebration? Not yet. Al Qaida is far from finished, although it will be hard for them to find someone as loathable as Osama to take the helm. But al Qaida does meet some of the criteria for terrorist groups that are highly unlikely to go away: they've been around awhile, they have hundreds of thousands of members and /or supporters in cells all over the world, and they have a religious mandate. So you can put money on them picking, and acting on, many targets already on their list. I hope everyone keeps a level head and realizes that these are NOT retaliatory. We did NOT make a mistake in putting the hit on bin Ladin. But if and when something horrible happens, second-guessing ourselves will be a posthumous victory for him.

Here are some observations:

1. We don't need the pictures released. The picture that tells it all is the one of Hillary Clinton sitting with President Obama and the rest of the Big Dogs while they are watching events unfold live at Osama's compound.( Here's the  link.) You know she's not watching a really tense game of Texas Hold 'Em. She's watching someone die. Proof enough.

2. It still would have been nice if the SEAL team had kept the head. Yes, there would be a lot of crying and complaining from Muslim scholars that this would have been highly disrespectful, but who cut off Danny Pearl's head? (To name just one person.) So, it would have actually been in keeping with Islamic tradition.

3. President Obama ONCE AGAIN instructed the American people as well as the entire world that Osama bin Ladin was NOT NOT NOT a Muslim and that the US is NOT NOT NOT at war with Islam. And then we were told that bin Ladin was buried at sea "in accordance with Islamic tradition." Which is it? Was he a Muslim leader who declared war on the US (as he did) and who therefore engaged us in a conflict with (violent) Islam? And if not, why the respectful burial?

4. I feel sorry for the poor guy on the Navy ship who drew the short straw and had to wash bin Ladin's body. Ick.

5. Getting back to the head--let's all be adults here and recognize that bin Ladin was a Muslim and is considered a Muslim by pretty much all Muslims. Removing the head would have been a way to guarantee he would not (according to Islam) ever reach Paradise. You can only get to Paradise if you have an intact body, although there's a loophole that says if you're a mujahid (martyr) you can strap on a bomb and get blown into tiny pieces and that's okay. If we had taken the head, which we wouldn't do because it would have offended our sensibilities as Westerners, we would have sent a clear message to al-Qaida and all their offshoots: We don't fear you AND we don't respect you.

6. This brings up the issue of inflaming hostility toward the US and our allies, and endangering potential targets. We have to get over that, too.  Our enemies will not stop until a)they are either completely eliminated from the planet or b)they win.

7. Nonetheless we have Muslim clerics bellyaching that it was simply wrong to dump bin Ladin overboard. Boohoo. You would think that since President Obama made it a point to say that bin Ladin was NOT NOT NOT a Muslim, these guys would pick up that theme and shut up. Why is no one directly asking these guys to either embrace or denounce bin Ladin? These "clerics" are operatives for Islamist organizations, and they need to be called to account for this.

8. Did the Allies make it a point to dispose of Adolf Hitler's remains in respectful accordance with his stature as a hero and leader of the Nazi party? Did we honor him and prepare his body with regard to Aryanism?

9. There are Americans who are uncomfortable with the celebrations over the outcome of the raid, and some have even mentioned that Osama bin Ladin should have been treated with the respect we gave to another of our defeated foes, General Robert E. Lee. Comparing bin Ladin to RE Lee is wrong on so many levels. Of course the men, and their situations, have no resemblance to one another, but this is how convoluted everything is with regard to handling our enemies with kid gloves. Osama bin Ladin was a mass murderer who wanted every American dead. (He also tortured puppies.)Why can't we come out and say that he, his organization, those who support it in any way, and those who mourn for him, are EVIL ?

10. I am okay with President Obama getting credit for this successful operation, but let's not forget that President GW Bush laid the groundwork. Obama, in fact, tried to pull back on some of the more controversial tactics that ended up being employed.

11. Some of those tactics ("enhanced interrogation techniques") included waterboarding, about which much has been made. Supposedly, the information that led directly to identifying the compound was NOT obtained by waterboarding, but some of the preliminary intelligence was gleaned from men who did experience simulated drowning at CIA hands. Yet according to NBC and ABC sources, waterboarding was used on a handful of people--possibly as few as three. It has been ackowledged even by Team Obama that waterboarding has never taken place at Guantanimo. Waterboarding is supposedly a horrible experience--this according to the guys who implement it, who also as part of their training have to experience it--but it is a 45 second ordeal. (Or less.) Is one person's forty five seconds of terror worth saving the lives of an entire schoolful of children, or a subway car full of commuters? As a Catholic, I know that the ends don't justify the means, but come on. The "means" in this case aren't really in the category of drawing-and-quartering a person. So I think that 45 seconds of waterboarding some scumbag is totally worth it if the guy reveals where a bomb is planted or who the next victims will be. If you don't think that, I don't want you watching my back.

12. A lot of  Muslims have been getting media attention following bin Ladin's death.  CAIR has been in front of cameras, on the radio and in print saying that bin Ladin did NOT represent them because he "wasn't really a Muslim." So I guess the Vatican should just stop investigating alleged child abusers because any priest who would do such a thing "isn't really Catholic." See how that works? And CAIR is the last group who should be saying that, with all their creepy entanglements! But also notice that the reaction of Muslims has been either a)sad for bin Ladin, like at the prayer services in Pakistan or b)subdued. So in other words, this guy who--according to President Obama--hated Muslims, killed Muslims and was not a Muslim leader, etc etc etc, hasn't evoked any crowds expressing relief that the guy was taken down? Muslims haven't taken to the streets to celebrate this setback to al Qaida? Why am I not suprised?

13. I took the virtual tour where SEAL team cameras panned the compound, and couldn't help but notice the large jar of Vaseline on the shelf in bin Ladin's bedroom. Poor guy, having to live in that dry climate!

14. And one last thing about the head: I think a LOT of people would have paid to see it.  That huge deficit we have? Problem solved!