• We Faced Monsters Before

    May 4, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Other Ideas

    obama osama signIs it too soon? Can we talk about bin Laden intelligently yet or are we all still fapping away over SEAL Team 6?

    Cool? OK. CNN starts us downhill with a story about “How to Talk to Your Kids About Bin Laden’s Death.” One suggestion was “My kids are little, so I’ll keep it simple and say Bin Laden was a very bad man who hurt a lot of people before they were born and this was the best way our country could think of to make sure he couldn’t hurt anyone else.” Another offered “We told them that there was a mean man, Osama, that killed a lot of Americans. Then explained to them about ‘army men’ and how they captured him and sent him away forever so the mean man will never hurt any Americans again! I told them to be proud of our country and be proud to be an American!”

    It gets uglier in the “comments” section of just about any web site. One Facebooker assured us all bin Laden’s body was covered in pig’s blood before being fed to the sharks. Another commenter suggested it would have been best if the body had been dragged around New York behind a fire truck. Many unclever remarks focused on the virgins who would greet bin Laden in the afterlife (funny comment exception: it’s a typo in the Koran and they are Virginians, not Virgins). Most chanters of USA! USA! would have enjoyed kicking Osama’s skull around after doing keg stands, more Tri-Delt than war on terror as they consecrated Ground Zero with vomit, pizza boxes and beer cans. The scenes on TV looked a lot like the Iraqis in Fallujah dancing over the scorched contractors’ bodies, or militant Somalis hacking at the Black Hawk Down guys, than America’s next generation of academic elites.

    The worst remarks, however, came from the White House, where the word “justice” kept being used. Justice for the 9/11 families, justice for Nairobi and Dar and Khobar, justice for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, justice that supposedly will bring closure to an angry America. Obama will take a victory lap in New York on Thursday, no doubt singing “Another One Bites the Dust” while throwing gang signs at Gaddafi. You’re next!

    We have faced down monsters before. We brought the Nazi’s to trial, evil men who murdered millions, not thousands. We exposed their crimes, crushed them with their own words, and showed everyone who cared to look that we were better than them. Even the Israelis, no sissy boys there, brought Eichmann to trial when they could have, well, shot him in the face while unarmed and dumped his body in the ocean. We didn’t need torture and secret prisons.

    I’m not sad that bin Laden is dead, but there is a bigger issue here. Once bin Laden was found, it was no longer about him. You can kill a man with a bullet, but to defeat an idea you need to offer something better. Stuff like with liberty and justice for all– those words either mean something or they don’t. I want to explain that to my kids, not encourage them to grow up believing that revenge, not justice, is their America.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Gerald Greene said...


      I too am not sad that Osama bin Laden is dead. Yet I was saddened at the typical American’s reaction to his death and the way that he was executed. Seeing all the drunks running around chanting USA! USA! left me with a deep down sick feeling. And that’s not as a bleeding heart type with no experience of war but as a Vietnam vet who has seen first hand how ugly war can be.

      But then when our so called leaders themselves were acting like out of control frat boys and girls what do you expect? The guys and gals in the situation room who watched the event on video could hardly wait to get their version of what took place at Abbotabad out to a revenge minded American public. They weren’t even able to agree on what they saw as each witness had their own spin and agenda to promote and couldn’t wait to throw raw meat at the crowd and to praise the SEALS.

      I fully agree that American values are better, no given the TV images, reporting, and blog comments that followed bin Laden’s death should be, used to be, better than that. But a nation that thinks it is immune to blowback and has already forgotten that bin Laden was once a CIA favorite son, has long forgotten that raw revenge and justice are two entirely different things.

      When shooting an unarmed man in the face at close range becomes American justice I do worry about the nature of the justice yet to come. As you say bin Laden may have been a monster but a minor monster compared to Nazi leaders who did receive justice at the end of WW11. That justice we can be proud of. Justice at Abbotabad, not so much.

      05/16/11 1:59 AM | Comment Link

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