Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rejoicing In Death

Yes, I was happy that bin Laden was killed. I’d fallen asleep before the networks broke in a week ago Sunday night, and woke up Monday morning May 2nd to read a headline crawl on Channel 3 that said bin Laden had died. A few seconds later, my wife popped her head out of the door to the bathroom in our master suite, and said “did you hear that bin Laden is dead?” I said I’d just read the headline, and assumed the bad kidney got him. A moment later, just after 5:30 AM, my friend Rob Starbuck delivered the stunning news. I got out of bed and told my wife about the SEAL team, just before she jumped into the shower, and she did a quick fist-pump.

Had I been writing headlines for radio or TV that morning, I would have said it the way the State Journal did that morning: bin Laden KILLED. I believe it is safe to assume that there was never a plan to capture him. No possible good and a great deal of bad would have come from his capture. I’ll go to my grave believing the SEAL team shot the sonofabitch in cold blood the minute they entered his bedroom. But, there’ll always be cover stories that will obscure the truth, which we’ll likely never know.

Then there were the predictably stoopid comments about how bin Laden was unarmed at the time; and the massive hand-wringing on social media about whether or not it’s OK to rejoice in someone else’s death, and the flurry of false quotations (the fake Martin Luther King quote about not rejoicing in someone else’s death is just one of the many that circulated), and the spate of fake photos that surfaced purporting to show the dead terrorist’s mangled face.

He’s gone and good riddance. I have no compunctions whatsoever about taking pleasure from the result of the meticulous planning and incredibly courageous action of our intelligence operatives and Special Forces. Job well done.

I do take issue with the scores of louts who made the most noise, pounding their chests, chanting “USA, USA, USA” as though we’d won a World Cup Match and acting like they had some connection to it. As Bill Maher said, these are the people who were in their underwear, drinking beer and eating Cheetos, watching Celebrity Apprentice when the news broke, and act like they had some personal connection to the mission.

I’m old enough to clearly remember what happened after Jimmy Carter’s failed mission to rescue the Iranian hostages. There was plenty of courage demonstrated by a lot of people back in 1980 during Operation Eagle Claw. It was the failure of that mission which gave birth to the Special Operations Command that made the mission to kill bin Laden a success.

And I am unabashedly happy they succeeded.


  1. Unabashedly happy they succeeded? So am I.

    I was on the front lines of the news the day he knocked those towers down and killed 3 friends of mine. They were unarmed, too. I was not going to miss that story. I got the word just before the president spoke to the country. I was up past 3 a.m. writing about the event. I now know how the Munchkins felt when the house landed on the witch. If taking him alive was ever really an option (I doubt it was), it should not have been. I agree with our blogger. Good riddance. If there is no Hell, we should invent one for this monster.

  2. Hieronymous' comment about inventing Hell reminded me of the brilliant Onion story published in September 2001. OBL has joined the throng.

    The Town Crank

  3. Well....

    There ARE such things as moral questions, you know.

    It's significant that the SEALS are (unofficially and anonymously) VERY unhappy with the story-line that they simply flat-out killed OBL. They consider the "stone-cold killer" narrative to be offensive to their honor.

    Honorable military men do not deliberately kill unarmed and non-resisting targets, no matter the circumstances.

    You may recall swearing to live by the UCMJ's code. I certainly do. That included 'laws of war,' which are very specific.

    We may never know what, exactly, occurred in that room. But the unhappy and forceful reaction of the professional military should be a signal.

    Having said that, I think that OBL would have been put to death by any military court--which is precisely where he would have been tried had GWB's legal prescription been applied.

  4. I’ve simplified my beliefs on OBL and America’s dilemma. According to research, American voters now have a choice on the ideology of the two party systems. “One party favors torture; the other favors planetary death squads. Here’s the difference: one party favors capture on order to be able to torture; the other doesn’t. Quite a choice. Ill have to go with the Capture Party…no wait , the kill party… no wait capture… no wait kill. Capture.Kill…” Steve
    Sorry I’m still uncomfortable.