Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the destructive attacks on the World Trade Center and other sites in the United States, was said to have been killed Monday in a U.S. raid on his compound in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan. President Barack Obama made the announcement. Bin Laden was identified by facial recognition. He had been shot in the head.
Bin Laden's body was swiftly buried at sea, according to the Associated Press. The body was dumped at sea because, officials said, no country would accept the remains. As far as I can figure out from a map, Abbottabad is about 500 miles from the nearest sea. The New York Times reported bin Laden's body was taken to Afghanistan and later buried at sea. Swift disposal of the body, which Obama said was in accordance with Sharia law, saves Bin Laden's enemies from the pomp and circumstance that might accompany a martyr's funeral.

While giving Obama a political boost in economic and political hard times, the story feels thin as it currently stands. Perhaps in time there will be a photo -- the kind of photo that accompanied Che Guevara's death. 

But the central impact will be on the western willingness to demonize a man who was used as a symbol of Middle Eastern discontent with western incursions. Now the demon is dead, but it is pretty clear that the demon lives on. Whom will the West demonize when its presence continues to arouse anger and sorrow? How will it prop up its excuses for war when one of the brightest lights among those excuses was this single man who twisted the Koran to suit his agenda? 

According to Al Jazeera:

Hours after Obama made the announcement, a top al-Qaeda ideologue promised revenge for bin Laden's death. The commentator, going by the online name Assad al-Jihad2 posted on websites a long eulogy for the al-Qaeda leader and promised to "avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam".
The Pakistani Taliban also threatened attacks against government leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan army and the United States.  
"Now Pakistani rulers, President Zardari and the army will be our first targets. America will be our second target," Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The first thought into my head when reading the story of bin Laden's death was a recollection of a quote from Richard Nixon who blamed the press for his losing a gubernatorial bid in California in 1962:

I leave you gentleman now and you will write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know — just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you.

We won't have the much-nourished nightmare of bin Laden to kick around any more. 

Time to create a new and improved nightmare, I guess.


  1. I am sad to hear of his death. A thousand enemies, a thousand reasons. There are no easy answers, easy extrapolations, the whole web is causation. It is sad what he sought to do and it is also sad what we seek to do today. There are no easy answers or even easy insights for me. The Daily Mail published the picture of his blown up corpse, I wanted to throw up.

  2. The invisible enemy is exquisitely useful. No need to look under your bed; you know he's there, because he's invisible.

  3. The unseemly exultation/celebration in the streets of the US last night was very sad on a number of fronts. Now the USA must create a new bogey man. Its easy to be right when you have the power, and people don't ask hard questions. Why aren't people out in the streets of our US cities asking "why?" for the many innocents who continue to be tortured in Guantanamo Bay, held without charge. We throw around the word "Freedom" yet we don't want it for those who MAY have a different view of the world than the standard flag on the lapel view we hold.

  4. All We Are Saying...May 2, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    I dunno....

    "Don't believe everything you read."

    Guess, the supreme oligarchy felt it was finally time for "Osama" to disappear. Doesn't mean the man is dead. Especially with the alleged expeditious disappearance of his corpse - into the sea no less.

    Since the hit team seems to have been sanctioned by Obama, I wonder what the real and intended consequences will be. Could be in the end nobody cares. Like a mob hit on a competitor mob leader. Not that there will not be retaliation. There may be lots. Is that what was desired? if so why? (War! What is it good for? How about unemployment and the economy?)

    At least they made of bit of a show of due process before executing Sadam. Just send a hit team and kill Osama? Dangerous stuff!