Osama Bin Laden is Dead…Now Watch this Silly Video
by J. Andrew Zalucky
So I don’t know about you, but when I heard the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, this was the first thing I thought of:
My buddy Nick originally showed this to me back in 2001, a couple months after 9/11. I forget what website it was on, I don’t think it’s up anymore. Anyway, I don’t mean to be too flippant about this. In light of my colleague’s post, I figured I’d load something funny about it.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I feel like I should reserve much of my observations until September 11 of this year. We’ve rid ourselves of a man who was not just an enemy of the United States, but an enemy of everything that modern civilization stands for: pluralism, internationalism, and the free and open society (not to mention secularism and human rights)- a detail which makes his death something worth celebrating.
There will be some who say that we should not be so happy to celebrate the death of another human being. “After all, we didn’t even try him, we just killed him”- if the Pakistani government was not such a false partner in this conflict, perhaps this sentiment would hold water. We sent a seal team to find and capture him, and they were caught in a fire-fight, what would you have them do? Don’t fire back? Try and win them over with open arms and cultural understanding? Because you know…that’s a sentiment that the leader of a terrorist organization can really share with you. There I go being flippant again, but I’m sure you know what I’m driving at. Had we been able to bring him to The Hague for crimes against humanity, I’m sure we would have. But with all the money we waste in international aid to Pakistan (where his compound was), I think we prevented that from happening ourselves. For more on that, check out Christopher Hitchens’ article in Slate from earlier today.
I’m also aware that some people may be turned off by the flag-waving, the cheering in the streets, and the whole sentiment of “USA! USA! USA!” I know what they mean. While I’m not the type to get a bald eagle banner or “Don’t tread on me” tattoo, I don’t think one should compare this so easily to people who fire AK47’s in the air and burn American flags on the streets of Tehran or Islamabad with signs reading “Freedom of Speech Go to Hell”. Sure, there are some out there who will take this opportunity to express their own version of ignorance and hubris, but I will not let that dampen the way I feel. I’m especially sure there are a lot of New Yorkers who feel very strongly about the news.
However, it would be wise to tap on the collective shoulder of the celebration, just to remind everyone that this was just one man. He had lost most of the operational control over Al Qaeda and was basically a man on the run. This does nothing to neutralize the threats against us. We should be mindful of the backlash that could come from this, as this event is not only symbolic for us, but also for those who want to us wiped off the face of the Earth.
I’ll leave it there for now. I think this article in The New Republic describes my feelings pretty well.