What are we celebrating, exactly?

Osama bin Laden’s death doesn’t really solve anything, as far as I can see. I do understand the political and strategic implications. I just find it impossible to celebrate anyone’s death. (“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”) And I don’t think it solves a thing.

It’s also hard to forget that bin Laden was a creature of the CIA, funded by us in Afghanistan, and that he represented many, many people who had at least some legitimate beefs against the U.S.

So how long until another bin Laden comes along?

Now I’m watching people on my teevee asking if we can “trust” Pakistan. Why, about as much as Pakistan can trust us, I’d say. We do have this habit of going into other countries, bombing them and taking them over, after all.

It’s not a football game, we’re not rooting for “our” team. The only team we’re on is humanity, and many, many of our corporate American global interests are on the opposing team.

12 thoughts on “What are we celebrating, exactly?

  1. I respect you and read your blog almost every day. I also agree that I feel discomfort at celebrating the death of anyone (not based on religious grounds but humanistic ethics grounds). However, there are two important points I want to make. Bin Laden was funded by his own family fortunes and by donations from muslims around the world–he was not a creation of the CIA. Others certainly were (Saddam for example), but he was not, so far as I know.

    And the larger more important point, he was truly an evil man. Like Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, etc. he was a man who was perfectly willing the cause the death of others in order to achieve his political goal. The world is better off without him. So no it won’t end this never ending war on Terrorism. But it is definitely individual deterrence and that is one of the goals of Justice. If it provides any general deterrence, remains to be seen.

  2. Well said, I feel exactly the same way, I just can’t celebrate a death, no matter whose it is. I can say this – now Obama can get re-elected since he’s not “soft on terror.”

  3. @tracey, obama was probably going to get reelected anyway, largely because the GOP candidates are so wacky.

    i agree with you, susie, i don’t understand how this solves any problems. if anything, there might be increased danger of a revenge attack. i guess the one good thing that could come out of this is whatever resources the u.s. has put into finding osama over the past 10 years can now be used to do something else. and maybe, once the “ding dong bin laden is dead” euphoria wears off, i guess the fact that there isn’t an obvious bad guy anymore might further weaken the public’s support of the war in afghanistan. but it was pretty weak before yesterday.

    it’s also pretty distasteful seeing people celebrate the death of someone, even someone who i agree was pretty awful.

  4. What we have here is once again our Imperial President, ordering the murder of someone without a trial or due process of law. If he can do it to bin Laden in Pakistan, he can do it to anyone anywhere.

    I like to read about this stuff on Asia Times Online. I picked up this story this morning: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME03Df01.html

    They are saying that this will not end anything but will cause a refocusing of the war against Pakistan which will make things immeasurably worse for everybody.

    Al Qaeda was developed to be a non-centralized system (not even a system but a database of terrorist groups to contract out missions -“al Qaeda” means “base”) that will route itself around any disruption like the internet does. In this way they are far more advanced than we are.

  5. I’m talking about his early days, fighting against the Russians in the mountains of Afghanistan when he was first building his reputation. He was funded by the CIA, we were buying their weapons and supporting them.

  6. We are celebrating the myth that we are still in control of the world, even though it took ten years to catch up with bin Laden, and even though 9/11 led to exactly the sort of developments that bin Laden had hoped for — two ongoing wars that have killed tens of thousands and helped wreck the American economy, and an ongoing attack by our own government on what used to be citizens’ rights.

  7. I think Pres. Obama did it for the sake of vengeance and for justice. Which is okay with me, but not okay with others on this site. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree on that particular matter. but do you think so little of President Obama that you really think he focused on pursuing OBL for anything other than vengeance and justice?

    And in regards to “Pragmatic Realist”, your position is decidedly idealistic –nothing pragmatic about it. While I agree OBL’s death may have little or no effect on Al Qaeda’s decentralized organization, it MAY have some effect on our ability to put some fear into them AND give the Taliban in Afghanistan a good excuse to stop working with Al Qaeda and for sitting down to peace talks. That’s a pragmatic reason for killing OBL, if you’re looking for one. Only time will tell.

    I consider myself very liberal and am anti-death penalty. However, there are times when a very evil person like Hitler, Stalin, OBL, etc. come along and their death is a good thing. I don’t like, however, all the death and wars surrounding it. That was unnecessary. We should have bided our time back in 2001, waited until we had this intel, and then killed OBL with a small insertion team. That is the thinking of a pragmatist.

  8. I’m not the least bit idealistic. I believe in the simple practical truth of cause and effect. Violence creates more violence. Death creates death. Killing this man, and his soldiers, and his family, and God knows who else will not help anybody and it will not create justice.

  9. Osama was a bad human, a man gone badly wrong.
    We’re all better off for his departure — he was a blight on the human race, even if he was an American experiment that went wrong and turned into a blowback hazard. He was an evil fuck and is better off dead. Used his wife as a bullet shield in the last moments. That reveals the essence of his character (as if 9/11 didn’t do that).
    I don’t need convincing and thank the gods for Navy Seals.

  10. It only took two years to track down bin Laden. Bush wasn’t really looking for him in Iraq, he just wanted to steal their oil.

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