Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On celebrating

The local children said that they (the people who lived in the compound in Abbottabad) were very strange. That when they would play ball in the street and it would accidentally go over that wall, it was never returned. So, apparently, OBL was the cranky old man of the neighborhood who not only yelled at the kids to get offa his lawn, but wouldn't return the balls kicked through his windows. The bastard. I wonder if the kids stormed the complex to get all their red rubber balls back?

So, I feel I need to explain things a little. Am I happy Osama is no longer counted among the quick and is tallied with the dead? Yes. I'm still smiling.

Do I believe his death should be celebrated? Yes. Yes I do. I think some of what happened Sunday night was a little over the top, but that goes to the concepts I was trying to get across when I said I was sorry we screwed up the next generation. Am I going around singing, "Ding dong the witch is dead" or "God Bless the USA"? No. I am going to hoist a beer in celebration tonight.

And, as I've said elsewhere, if being happy at the death of this sad sack of protoplasm is the sin that sends me to Hell. I'm good with that.

I'm a cold warrior, thanks to your tax dollars. I do not love the Russians. I do, however, have respect for them. I hate some of their tactics, but I can understand them. Their military is (for the most part) professional. Their tactics and defensive posture is based around two centuries of being invaded and watching their children starve and die at the hands of those foreigners. Some of the individual members of their military I can admire, even while I would have done everything in my power to see them brought down.

I have no such regards for Osama bin Laden and his likes and for those of his kind who have come before. Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, Abu Nidal, Brian Keenan, Mario Moretti, and others of their ilk. These are people who long ago stopped paying their dues to humanity. And when they pass (if they haven't already), I will be glad. That they've created and inspired a new generation to follow in their footsteps (some of the directly, some by example) is their most damning crime.

Those people who went out and sang and danced and basically behaved like idiots, I don't really blame them. They haven't known any other way, for the most part. Look at the media. Empire Strikes Back, the evil Emperor is defeated and it sparks (in the updated version they saw) galaxy wide parties with fireworks. Voldemort is killed and people rejoice. Saddam Hussein is found and the President and government celebrates. They're a generation that had grown up seeing people beheaded on internet video. They've seen combat videos, Abu Garrab, Gitmo, the illegal videos of the hanging of the Iraqi tyrants, lived in a world that seemed very hostile (only because the adults weren't in charge at the time), and were told they needed to be afraid and were given a face and name to their boogeyman.

I am happy because a tumorous cancer on humanity has been eradicated. Now the question is will the chemo handle the attempted metastasis. And will we be able to handle the others spots.

I have known the names Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar for over two decades now. When the Taliban destroyed the Standing Buddhas, it was just a sad addition to a history I knew of them. When Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated on what would end up being two days before 9-11, I had a bad feeling. So when the Towers fell, I knew then who the architect was.

His death is an ending. Not the ending. There's still way too many left, bin Laden had time to decentralize al Qaeda (which was the original plan, after all, al Qaeda is "The Base", as in foundation).

However, his death does not mean nothing. It is both a psychological boost to our side, and a blow to theirs. It also sends a strong signal. No matter where you hide, no matter how long it takes, we will find you and you will not survive. The last time that message was sent was in 2002 when we killed Qaed Senyan al-Harthi with a Predator fired missile as he drove a car in Yemen. The capture of Saddam was a man hunt for no small potatoes, but it wasn't the same. These two strikes are unique. They are even more beyond the pale then rendition. After all, they ended with the death of the targets.

So, yes. I'm happy he is dead. By our hand, at the direct order of the President. I am also happy that this is the exception, is couched as the exception, and is still reviled enough that people are shocked that others would be happy about it.

Yes, I am happy that some of you can't understand my feelings. I'm happy Hillary looks shocked in the Situation Room photo. That some of the others look uncomfortable watching. That even my measured celebration isn't proper for a human to celebrate the death of another in such a matter. How I can think of Osama as a target/obstacle that needed to be worked through. It gives me hope that we haven't truly screwed up. Please be shocked I'm going to have that beer now and give thanks to my President, the Navy, the 24 men who did the wet work, the hundreds of other fathers and mothers of this event, and the various alphabet soup organizations that did their thankless job in a professional manner. My last few swallows will salute those who think my toasts are inappropriate.

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