Monday, May 02, 2011

Good Riddance

So, Osama Bin Laden is dead. About time. Watching the videos of the celebrations outside the White House and in New York was reminiscent of images from V-J Day. The news gave America a sense of accomplishment, a feeling which I dare say has been sorely lacking in recent decades. The last thing closest to it was maybe the landing of the Spirit rover on Mars. Before that, the first space shuttle flight, the release of the hostages in Iran in 1980, the first moon landing and JFK’s presidency. It seems that such a moment comes once a decade. So I’m happy for my country. 

There are those who naysay the victory celebrations, such as this simpleton: Yes, yes I know it’s better to take the moral high ground and contemplate Bin Laden’s death in solemnity and mature reflection, but you know what? Fuck that. The United States has spent the greater part of recent years apologizing for whatever and taking the moral high ground on various issues, swayed by pundits and “celebrities” with their inane ideas against the death penalty or eating meat or wearing fur or against seeking retribution against the attacks of 9/11. To those that seek a quiet meditation session on Bin Laden’s death, fine, do whatever you want. But for those of us that felt the horror and indescribable sadness of 9/11/2001, as we watched our families, firefighters, police and friends perish in that catastrophe which Bin Laden masterminded, not to mention the many murders by him and his henchmen in this and many other countries, and viewed the footage of Al Qaeda sympathizers rubbing salt in our wounds by celebrating the 9/11 attacks, don’t chastise us for appreciating the blood of a man who had no motives for killing thousands other than the desire to see their deaths. In addition, Osama Bin Laden and his cronies wanted to kill you too, dear naysayer. So we will have our blood moment, like it or not. 

Now, one thing which puzzles me is the breathtaking haste with which Bin Laden was buried at sea. It took nearly ten years from the events of 9/11 and the serious start of the epic manhunt for him until Twitter, Facebook and news channels exploded with the news about Bin Laden’s death. I first got word of it around 9:45pm on May 1st. Yet it only took four hours to get the news he was buried at sea already; I heard that news at around 2am on May 2nd. Does anything about that seem fishy? (Pardon the pun.)

Though the circumstances are completely different, a comparison between the death of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein can barely be helped. We all saw videos of his execution, the confirmation of his death and the verification that the man found in the “spiderhole” and the man at the gallows was indeed Saddam Hussein. There was no doubt. But with Bin Laden, there was no visual confirmation, no videos of his body, no pictures of doctors analyzing his DNA, no coverage of the burial at sea. We’re just expected to take someone’s word that he was killed and buried. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt he is dead and buried. That some Muslim clerics are pissed off about the method of his burial confirms that he is, in fact, dead. And I don’t mind that there aren’t any actual, legitimate photos of him dead and buried. After all, people had to be content with simple reports and text newspapers about world events before the advent of photography. But photography has been around for a good while now, and our world is steeped in visual coverage of everything from huge, earth-shaking events to ridiculous video blogs on YouTube of sorority girls’ latest shopping trips. But not of Osama Bin Laden? This, along with the unbelievable speed with which his burial was carried out makes me say "WTF?" Something is rotten in Denmark. Actually, in Pakistan.

At any rate, congratulations to the soldiers who got him, and congrats to America and the world. Keep it going.