Monday, May 2, 2011

Now what?

I'm fairly certain everyone on the planet knows the news from last night - Osama Bin Laden is dead. I read the news where I get most of my news now, on Twitter.

Bin Laden (photo from Bing image search)

I was not surprised to read most of the reactions from across the Twitterverse, or those shown on the news this morning.  America as a whole is thrilled at the news. Then came the politicizing.

First of all, I understand the happiness. This is the man responsible for the worst attack on our country ever. Thousands of people were killed instantly, and over the course of the few hours following. But calling for his head or body to be paraded around the country, or at least shown on TV? There is no need. And I find that reaction a bit hypocritical. Every time an enemy's news service showed the bodies of Americans and celebrated their deaths, we threw up a huge outcry of resistance and called it inhuman. It would also be inhuman if we did the same.

Even photographs - there is a question now of whether or  not the pictures should be released to the media. I say no. We don't need to see it. Sure, there are many people who instantly said this was fake, he's been dead for three years and this was all staged, how can we be sure it is really him, things like that. They want proof. But these same people who are so strongly rooted in conspiracy theories will not believe the pictures anyway! They could see an unedited, uncensored picture of the dead body and claim it was faked to further the illusion. The rest of us don't want to see it. There is no need.

Then the burial at sea - oh my goodness I can't believe the controversy already! People questioning why. When it was explained that it was done in accordance with Islamic law, someone I follow on Twitter actually asked how they know it is Islamic law! There are several million followers of Islam in the US alone. I'm sure someone knows the proper way to bury a body. Also a theory was offered that a burial at sea both fulfills the religious requirement and also deprives his followers of a physical gravesite. And do we really want to further enrage those fighting against us by blatantly defying their religious customs? It would only add fuel to the fire and possibly incite retaliation.

I don't even want to get into the aspect of who should take credit. President Obama's supporters will support him, his detractors will say the credit should lie elsewhere. The fact is, though, that the sitting president gets the credit and blame for anything that happens during his (or her, hopefully one day) term in office, even if the events were set in place long before (the economy is a great example).

I'm not even sure (and I don't think anyone is) of what Bin Laden's death means for us yet. Will his supporters lose enthusiasm? Or will this lead to more attacks on Americans worldwide? Saddam Hussein's death did not end our fighting in Iraq, so I am sure this will not end our fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Only time will tell where we go from here.


  1. It definitely is a time of uncertainty. I don't look forward to the ramifications, but I hope as a nation we can come together again.

  2. I do, too. What seems like should have been unifying is caused even more division right away! We seem to forget as a whole that we are Americans first, and political parties second.