I don’t know what to make of my reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden. I’m struck by the unseemly reaction of all the people cheering etc. I happen to think this is very unattractive and isn’t the way I would like America to be. It’s important that justice is served but revenge and hate aren’t pretty. War and killing aren’t pretty. Celebrating them is disturbing. Taking a life is not a joyful affair.


9 thoughts on “Ugly

  1. cmaukonen

    I am rather suspicious of this. Not that I doubt that it went down the way it has been reported. It most likely did.

    What strikes me is how “neat and clean” the operations was supposed to be. I am of the mind that Osama bin Laden was set up either by an apposing faction with in the organization or by Pakistan security forces.

    He became a liability to someone and we got to do the dirty deed and they keep their hands nice and clean.

    And the president gets 100 political points.

    1. This is up in the air for sure. Reporting states there have been several recent tries at getting bin Laden but in each case the attempt was compromised by Pakistani intelligence forces with terrorist ties.

      This operation was different because the US did it entirely on their own. The plans and operational status were completely withheld from any forces outside our own intelligence services. It was different in another way too because the team was supposedly boots on the ground Navy Seals as opposed to CIA operatives using unmanned aerial attack vehicles. Operationally, this was a major departure from much of what we’ve been doing.

      1. cmaukonen

        Oh and rest assured those unmanned attack vehicles hit the targets they were supposed to. That is the targets we were told to hit.

        There was some lengthy report a while ago from someone who had been in Afghanistan and part of it was that a lot of times we were getting intelligence from the locals to strike a particular site or area. Only that this particular target did not have any of our bad guys but rather some one or some group that some other tribe wanted out of the way or revenge upon.

        A rather old tactic but effective.

  2. ~flowerchild~

    tpc, you hit the nail square on the head for me. Ugly. An ugly win. I cannot detect any honor in this vengeful deed. I am not joyous at all. Relief is mostly what I feel. That, and maybe a little bit of hope that the wars in the ME that we involved ourselves with will end.

    1. I just saw some footage from this morning from in front of the WH. I see a lot of people cheering. I saw mostly youngish faces in the crowd.

      We have this terrible catch 22 I’m afraid. You don’t really learn about war and killing until it touches you directly. Our generation had Vietnam with a lot of persons like myself drafted and given a firsthand look at war. With our all volunteer force of today too few Americans really understand this at all. Frankly, I think this is how the establishment wants it. Without citizens having intimate knowledge of war that leaves the Pentagon, the MIC and wingers to pursue unchecked whatever course they want. Assuring our freedom really has to be participatory.

  3. Barth

    It is unsettling; these cheers and chants.

    Yet, sadly, this event is important in asserting that an attack on our country will not go unpunished.

    I will not chant USA, USA and not cheer a death, per se, but, as with so many people, the evidence that my country will protect me and the rest of us, is very important.

    Yes, I may be a hypocrite, but that this was accomplished while the presidency is occupied by a person with a sense of what military force can do, as well as the limits of force, is also reassuring to me. The sense that this was carried out in a more surgical manner than simply dropping bombs on a place we think might hold the target, also resonates for me.

    Our current president said this minutes after being sworn into office:

    He said it minutes after being sworn into office: “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

    Outlast is the word. Instant gratification—what many Americans think to be important—-is not.

    Our mission as a nation is clear, and it is not one of conquest, as another president said in a different time, but one not all that long ago:

    “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it….

    In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

    Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”

    It can be a great day in our history without cheering one person’s death.

  4. MSNY

    A very apropos quote has been circulating over the past few days;

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

    On the one hand, I understand the visceral reaction to the death of someone who murdered so many innocents and cast himself as the primary enemy of the nation. On the other, I was also saddened by what appeared to be rejoicing in death.

    And what saddens me the most is that many people that I know and respect reacted with unabashed glee. These are people that I know don’t have hate in their hearts. Have we become so immune to violence and hate? Where have we come as a nation when an event like this not only celebrates violence, but serves to many, as vindication of the use of violence to fight hatred?

    Where is our Dr. King of today?

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