Thursday, May 05, 2011

Hiding Behind Quotes and bin Laden

Looks like a lot of people are mis-attributing a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote in an effort to claim the moral high ground in reference to others’ spontaneous happiness (or grim satisfaction) about the death of Osama bin Laden. This is not to any one person, but a response to many that have posted similar thoughts to this.

My take: If you have an opinion, share it. Give the reasons why you have that opinion, and don't share if you don't want someone to disagree. To use the moral authority of someone who's quote is not applicable is just lazy. If you think it is applicable, share why.

I cannot claim to judge anyone's opinion, other than through sharing my own. I can appreciate someone's else's honest belief that all killing is wrong, but if they also support abortion, or the death penalty, then they clearly don't think all killing is wrong. One who feels no connection to anyone who has ever been victimized, even indirectly, by a monster of a human being may not be able to empathize with one who has. And vice versa. I do have such connections, and admit to my own bias.

My opinion is that there are millions around the US, and the world who have had their lives taken, or ruined as a result of the ideology that bin Laden espoused, or the actions of his followers. A quote that stands out as epitomizing his philosophy is "“We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two." I am happy that we gave him what he loves.

Someone who caused the deaths of almost 3000 civilians on the soil of my country deserves the very death that he craved. He was quoted by CBS News on September 12, 2001, as saying, “I’m fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans.” The family of every soldier that died in the search for this man deserves the knowledge that their son's mission was eventually accomplished, in person, by American forces staring him in the eyes before they gave him fatal lead poisoning.

The mythology and symbolism of Osama bin Laden still being alive, after billions of our hard-earned dollars, and worse yet, thousands of our son's lives have been sacrificed in defending our country in the war the he and those like him have declared made him worth killing. He can no longer be held up as an icon  for the enemy, or a boogeyman for our political class. He's gone.

For me, this is personal. I took it personally when we were attacked on 9/11, but also when our embassy was taken in Iran, and our countrymen held for 444 days while the world watched, and our brave warriors perished in the desert in an aborted rescue attempt. I grieved when someone drove a 2500-pound bomb into our compound in Beirut and killed my Marines, who were there to restore peace and order. But September 11, 2001 was different. I was working near DC on that beautiful day, and we were attacked in an act of war by a man who had made his intentions known years before, and whose plans for that day included much more death, and much more destruction, but for some heroes aboard a plane over Pennsylvania. My mother was working in a Capitol Hill elementary school, and was unreachable during the time of the Pentagon attack. We believed that the U.S. Capitol was next, but no one knew. I have friends who responded to the Pentagon with lights and siren, and felt the heat of the fuel while they attempted to recover the dead and account for the living. And I felt a moral obligation to go to war, if only in my own way, via my work with law enforcement. That’s my bias. Osama made an enemy of me personally, but of my country, and we went to war.

So if you object to someone being happy that he's dead, do you understand it (the happiness)? If it is wrong, why? Explain yourself. If not, keep posting quotes and hiding behind them, but I’ll pay no mind. Oh, and verify them first.


My statement that, “He can no longer be held up as an icon for the enemy, or a boogeyman for our political class. He's gone.” May not be true. The Obama administration, in their wisdom seems to believe that displaying the photographs which will prove bin Laden’s death would be “inflammatory” to some. Which, as someone else wisely said, makes no sense. To paraphrase, they think showing his picture would be more inflammatory than killing him? Huh? So, the President has, at this point, assured that the cult of bin Laden can continue, and so the mission is now a failure from a psychological warfare perspective, whereas only hours ago it was a great victory. Nice job. And yes, that is sarcasm.

You may also like:

Nation honors SEAL with Medal of Honor
Ultimate Differential Theory of US Armed Forces (Snake Model)
House to House I
Withholding Evidence
Should We Be Profiling?
The Case for Tough Training
Example of all ranges of combat

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