Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden is Dead

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Most people are celebrating. I am disturbed.

It's not that I think Osama was a great guy who I'd love to have living on my block or anything. He was a bad guy. I know that. I'm not disputing that.

But there's something about celebrating the death of another human being that disturbs me. I'm not saying I'm "right" and you're "wrong" because you feel differently. I'm just saying it disturbs me that we're celebrating and that is the word that has been used by multiple people.

Some say it is "justice," and maybe it is, but it feels more like revenge to me, and I guess I don't have the "normal" amount of desire for that. I don't feel at all qualified to determine that death equals justice. It's not my call to make and I'm thankful for that.

I heard families of some who died in the 9-11 attacks saying it doesn't bring back their loved ones.

At times like this I ask myself the questions I would ask others. How would I like it done differently? Frankly, I don't know. I don't think a trial would be better - I think that could go on forever and be horrible for people on all sides. I don't think him continuing the way he had been would be better - obviously, many have been harmed as a result. I don't think there was any conclusion to this chapter that would be better. But, another human being is dead, and I can't celebrate that - regardless of who the human is.

I realize I am the one who's out of step. I get that. I know that what I'm feeling is the minority position. I'm not saying it's the "right" way to feel, but to celebrate would just make me feel "less than myself."

One thing has been clear - that even this can be political. People who have hated Obama are suddenly celebrating him. I'm not saying he had nothing to do with it - he did order more troops and he did give the go-ahead to do what was done - but it's not like he personally went in and wrestled Osama to the ground and killed him.

Others are saying this is all politically motivated. I think that's a bit cynical, too. If Bin Laden had been found five years ago and killed, would that have been politically motivated? I think it's more about the luck of the draw as far as who the president is when it happened.

I will give Obama "credit" for making it a priority, devoting more troops, and having the guts to say "go" when the opportunity existed. But, lets not give the president all the credit. There were other people involved who were in great danger.

That said, lets not pretend that they weren't thrilled to have the mission. If you're a Navy Seal, would you rather be the one who gets to go after Bin Laden or the one who gets to hear about it?

Apparently Obama, Biden and others were able to watch it live as the raid was happening. I'm guessing that makes people think more about decisions they've making to carry out such operations, and that seems a good thing.

I often realize I'm out of step with the world in one way or another, and watching people cheering in the last 24 hours because Bin Laden was dead is yet another example. I just don't have that inside of me, whatever it is - that feeling that this is the right decision, that it was great it was carried out, that it's wonderful.

Maybe it's as simple as courage. Maybe I don't have enough to state unequivocably that another human being should die, or be happy that it has happened. Maybe I just don't have the guts. Whatever it is, I am lacking in it.


marlu said...

You can see and express the feelings of those who disagree with you so well...

In a discussion, I can see their ideas and disagree but never feel that I can make them see my side.

Your writing is a gift and I'm so glad that you do it!

Patsy Terrell said...

I'm not sure anyone who disagrees with me understands my point of view at all. Thanks for your kind words about my writing.

Judith Robl said...

I think there may be more people in agreement with you than you know. It's just that the celebratory crew are louder and more attention-getting. And that may be a function of the media (ooops, my media cynicism is showing a little).

I've read several blogs of people who find it impossible to celebrate this death. And I totally agree. There is nothing to celebrate here.

Susannah said...

Brilliantly written Patsy, I totally agree with you, and the blogs I have read and the people I have spoken to seem to agree too.

Patsy Terrell said...

Thank you all... I feel a bit less alone in this position.

sigerson said...

Same feeling here, Patsy. I reacted with a sense of... maybe "satisfaction" is too strong a word. The feeling that he got what he deserved is more appropriate. But to celebrate? No.

It seems to have been mainly young people who have led the cheers, those young enough to have had their world largely shaped by 9/11 and its consequences. For that reason, I'm willing to give them a free pass on this one.

Patsy Terrell said...

It is what it is, of course. It's not only young people who are thrilled. To each his own.