I didn’t want to write this particular posting.
Not at all.
Because frankly, i think we’ve all had enough of the news.
He’s dead. got it. I will not add anything new at all.
And there are no photographs this time.
But…i am super pissed off about something and i need to write it down.
Don’t really care, on this one, if anyone reads it.
It’s for myself.
First, it was a call from my cousin.
“Have you turned on the news?”
“Osama Bin Laden is dead.”
I turned on the news. My parents, husband, and daughter all there, all fully engaged in the moment.
Then i allowed my fingers to take control, to type this to facebook: Bye bye, Bin Laden.
Then i watched. Status update after status update, they came.
“Ding dong, the witch is dead,” said 2 of my friends.
“there is now less evil in the world.”
“As someone who dealt with 911 first hand i have to say i am breathing a sigh of relief!”
“I’m so happy. Fuck you Bin Laden.”
And then the posts started rolling in, as the sentiment grew, on the role of the military in this operation… not just the amazing Navy SEAL Team Six, but of the amazing sacrifice of our entire military:
“Proud to be an American.”
“thank you to all soldiers! it’s a great day!”
“your tenacity and payoff for your continued efforts appreciated, honored, and praised.”
and so on, and so on… forever.
Then onto NBC this morning. Can’t help it. its a ritual.
Then NPR while driving into work. more habit.
All about Bin Laden. Theories, opinions, and facts all went on for so long i actually finally got tired of it all.
New threads started surfacing today.
Condemning the death. that no matter what, no person should celebrate the death of another, no matter how cruel. That, as i believe Gandhi said, if we stoop to the level of “eye for an eye”, we will all go blind. That, as one of the greatest leaders of all time, Martin Luther King, once said, “I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” (EDIT as of 6:50 pm, 5/3/2011… MLK never said that).
I have huge, tremendous respect for both these men. And i am reading these quotes throughout postings tonight.
I consider myself a loving, forgiving human being. But there is no part of my being, no amount of forgiveness in my soul that can wish this man alive.
I have never known anyone affected by 9/11. I don’t even know a relative or friend who had anyone who died in those attacks.
But here’s the thing.
I don’t think i need to.
I was laying in my bed at 7am on September 11th, 2001 nursing a 4 month old baby girl, when the Today Show came on and i heard the news. I will never forget that moment.
I take one look at my daughter today, every day, and think one thought about someone directly targeting her death, and i can immediately get to the depths of despair and sorrow that this evil man has caused so many families, and it becomes easy, simple, and natural to rejoice, firmly, in his death.
this is not judgement against anyone who differs in this opinion. This is not for debate, for me. It is simply this.
You take someone away from me that is a part of my soul, and i will wish you dead.
So to the Navy SEAL Team Six, to the men and women that fight every day for our freedom and kill the motherfuckers that condone terrorism, and to the families of 9/11 whose entire lives were altered in a moment of sheer evil, just know that you’ve got one pissed off girl that is celebrating the bravery of the men that held the weapons that shot the bullets that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Here Here, Sister! I will never forget my almost four year old daughter, after seeing the image of the buildings collapsing that morning, asking me if a plane was going to fly into Daddy’s building! Horrifying!!!! I am not ashamed to have wished this scum dead since then!
Full disclosure to all reading this – I am AC’s sister, but I also have a MA in International Human Rights (concentration in International Law)…my initial thoughts…
Why not kill Hussein when we captured him? Why did we give him a medical exam and eventually turn him over to the Iraqi court system? I don’t support the death penalty but at least some semblance of a justice system was observed while dealing with him. In the 1980s more than 50,000 Iraqi Kurds were murdered by Saddam (some numbers put it closer to 100,000); are 3,000 American lives worth more than 50,000-100,000 Kurds? Evidently. Bin Laden is responsible for only a fraction of the deaths Saddam was responsible for but we have to make sure that he’s murdered, not captured. What about the life of the woman being used as a human shield – according to our celebrations her life is worth less than one American life. Why not murder Charles Taylor or al-Bashir? Why didn’t we murder Mobutu or Milosevic or Pinochet (Pinochet’s government was backed by the CIA and he is responsible for the same number of deaths as those who died in 9/11, but most known for widespread torture)? The ICTY and ICTR were created to avenge the death of millions of people. Certainly an ICTA or its equivalent would have been appropriate for someone responsible for 3,000 American deaths. After all, the Hutu government was responsible for 800,000 Rwandan deaths in 90 days. The difference between our lives and the other lives lost is that they are black, brown, Muslim, non-Christian, poor, undereducated, savages, need I go on?
We all know that bin Laden was not going to get out alive. But why not try to capture him alive? His death isn’t going to end the wars or bring back anyone who died in 9/11 – including my good friend’s uncle who worked in one of the towers – , in Mogadishu, in the USS Cole, in embassy bombings. If it did then I’d say we absolutely, 100% did the right thing, but until all the troops are home and the media stop talking about increased security threats now that bin Laden is dead, I can’t say that.
your comment is adored. Of course you know i did not write it as a Human Rights MBA grad, which of course allowed you to provide me, us, anyone with incredible perspective and quite some amazing fact. I wrote this as a mother, focused on this evil man, on this singular topic of my anger over the comments that Osama’s behavior did not warrant his death by a number of people. It does not take away or rectify our actions elsewhere, i agree with you 100% (your comment on the female human shield hit hard). So, given the way we (as governments/people/etc) consistently speak out of both sides of our mouth on many issues of right & wrong, and human rights NOT being an area in which i am any way a specialist, i looked at it through a lens that i did know, that of a mother, and i did not expect nor want support or agreement on it, just needed to write it down for myself and let it spark what it does… thank you, sis. Love you.
Interesting, though provoking post AND commentary (KC).
Full disclosure on my part – I dont have any advanced, much less undergraduate, degrees in Human Rights or International Law.
What I am; is a Surinamese born, to Dutch and Dutch Caribbean parents, married to a Muslim Pakistani, herself born to parents from India and England, father of two young girls I call my little “Suristanis”. We are many races, religions, and cultures melded together in our house.
When I was nine or ten years old, living in Suriname, the military overthrew the government, murdering anyone of influence who they considered to have had an opposing point of view. One of those individuals with that opposing point of view, a friend of our family, hid out in our house with his family (including his young daughter) for over a month before escaping the country.
We (Dad, Mom, and their three kids) left Suriname soon thereafter to start our new life in the US. It’s been over 30 years since that day.
Which leads me to the other thing I am. American. A very proud American.
And granted, there have been times where I may not have agreed with everything said and done by our government (although that disagreement was strongest with the previous administration), I am so thankful for living in a place where I can openly express that opposing point of view.
For my girls, I am thankful they will be raised in a place that will afford them all the opportunities to attain goals they aspire to.
And, therein, in my humble opinion, Katie, lies the difference between “our lives lost and the other lives”. As a multi-racial/ethnic/cultural family, I believe it has nothing to do with race and everything with protecting my and my families right as an Americans to live the life that meets the ideals my parents came her for.
Doesnt mean I dont value the life of others who are not Americans – most of my and wife’s family still live in Suriname and Pakistan.
But just as parents have an obligation to nurture and PROTECT our children’s future, I believe our government has that primary obligation to it’s citizens.
Peaceful world coexistence is something I hope will come in my children’s lifetime.
But while others conspire to harm us, I rest a little better knowing that they now know, not to F with the USA.
Patrick, as i stated on FB.. i am so honored and humbled you shared your story. I don’t have anything that could compare to that. Thank you, thank you. And i also need to say i really appreciate how you honored my sister’s POV. she is, in many ways, MY teacher, though she is over a decade younger. So on so many levels, this runs deep. AC
I think that we should celebrate the death of any leader of terrorism. I’m sure there was celebrations when Hitler was finally dead and gone.
I agree with you. Yes, as your sister pointed out, Saddam was a lot worse, but at the time we went to war after 9-11, it wasn’t him who masterminded the attack on our country. I’m glad that Bin Laden is gone. People need to stop and remember that there were husbands, wives, AND CHILDREN that lost someone on that horrible day. It could have been your husband on one of those planes or in the Twin Towers.
If someone killed one of my family members, or one of my friends, I would be thankful that they had been killed and not brought to court. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
I really just wanted to say I loved your post. Gosh, sorry about the rampage.
Donna… it was not a rampage. no apologies. i really appreciate the comments. not because you supported my blog, nor hated it. i’ve had both! it’s that you spoke your mind and wrote your feelings.. and you are free to do so and not be condemned. thank you, thank you. Sometimes a soapbox is the most freeing place we have on which to stand. AC.
When i think of Bin Laden, I just see flashing shots of flames shooting out of the twin towers. I see flashing shots of bodies jumping from those towers. I see flashing of those twin towers crumbling to the ground. Mostly, i try to figure in my mind the final minutes of my best friend’s life before his plane hit the 1st tower….
This isn’t about cheering a death, it’s about the hope for something good to come. And for those like myself who lost someone very close on 9/11, it is the ultimate relief to be able to put a small measure of closure on a tragic situation.
We should applaud the aggressive pursuit of justice and the relentless protection of innocent life. There is no easy answer to the tragic results of war, but applauding our president’s response to Bin Laden and his poisonous philosophy of death seemed to me like the righteous thing to do.
I’m not sorry Bin Laden is dead, and that’s not the same thing as celebrating his death. I am well aware that we simply cut the snake’s head, and sadly there are many more lunatics who think just like him.
So without apology, I will sleep better tonight knowing that Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to me or my family.
Thanks for the great post Andrea.
Elizabeth, i have no words, other than to say i am honored to know you, and by knowing you, be one degree of separation from your best friend. I will not cheer and chant in the streets. Same as you, i do not celebrate is death. there is too much we have NOT done right (per my sister’s comments). BUT.. but. there is a difference. In my humble opinion, we did right by your best friend. no one but no one can change my opinion that we should rejoice (so much different than “celebrate” in following through on our commitment to kill Osama Bin Laden. thank you for sharing your story, my friend!
Thanks Andrea. I will blame the fact that English is my 4th language to justify that it may have come off in my post a bit different than what i meant to say… I was EXTREMELY HAPPY that the motherfucker is dead, i actually wish i could have done it myself…
When i said “This isn’t about cheering a death” i meant that all the “rejoicing” was not because a human being was dead, but because it signified the end of something really evil. The cheers are for a victory against evil and terrorism. And a little closure as well, though you can never forget….
I know that I will remember that day for as long as i live, and I will forever be thankful to all those brave Seals who made my heart a little happier today.
Actually, you do know someone who lost friends/mentors on 9/11. One of my personal heroes, LTG Timothy Maude, died in the Pentagon on 9/11. He was a great man who cared about others more than anyone I have ever met. One of my Soldiers from Germany, and a dear friend, was with him in his office when the plane struck the building, SGT Tamara Thurman. She was bright (intellectually and personally). She was only 25, had never been married, and had a wonderful future ahead of her until that horrible, horrible morning. None of their remains were ever found, they burned away to little more than ash in the jet fuel fire that engulfed their offices.
And you’re welcome, from all of us in the military. We appreciate knowing that there are those of you out there who appreciate what we do for them every day.
Peace to you and your family, and perhaps a little more today than a few days ago.
by the way, your brother is the one who called me that morning, and had me turn on my TV. I can still remember almost immediately seeing the second plane hit the second tower, and that the only thing I said to him was “I’ve got to go to work.” It was a horrible day.
wow. that quote just gave me incredible chills. I know a lot of people love to love the military in times like this. and in many ways, i’m no different… i work on sneakers for a huge company and don’t spend any of my time saving lives. HOWEVER… i have come to know a very special person in Delta Force that has helped us develop a military boot that will enable men & women to move faster, yet still have the visual aesthetic and durability needed to cover ground in the Middle East (often compared to the surface of the moon with all the rocks/sand/craters/etc.). through him, i have learned the impact of committing to the military life, and the impact it has on family. And now, thanks to you and a few other friends who have left comments of very close friends and family they have lost, i can honorably and humbly say i am closer to the evilness of Bin Laden than i was 24 hours ago, and i am thankful for that. When i go to work, it is to provide athletes with innovative gear. when you go to work, you protect the values of our Nation. THANK YOU.
Well said Andrea. I totally agree with you. There are two more people that I’ve wished death on and that’s the man that raped my grandson, and the man that raped my daughter. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to eradicate the world of evil and those that choose that path. To me, they gave up their rights when they took the lives, rights, freedom and innocence of others. But what do I know, I’m an evil conservative. 😉
You may be an evil conservative… but as previously worked out between us, i still adore you. we are SO damn different, but by your comment, i have found yet another tie that binds us… i would fully support the execution of the rapists of your grandson and daughter. I would not go into the streets and dance. I would not celebrate death of a human. But i would rejoice in the execution of a criminal that ripped the family of an innocent child apart. And if you had the opportunity to pull the trigger yourself on that rapist, i would have your back to make sure you were stable in your aim. xo.
If I were in the International Security program at University of Denver I’m sure I would believe that we absolutely did the right thing. As a human rights student, however, I’m happy to say that my $86,000 in debt was not accrued in vain. But we felt disgusted when Afghans paraded in the street at the sight of dead American soldiers (and I absolutely 100% support all the soldiers who have fought and are fighting, including several of my friends who recently returned or are still in the ME), or when our marines were dragged through the streets in Mogadishu, or when the charred body of soldiers and Blackwater (Xe) contracters were hanged in Baghdad and Iraqis paraded around them. 9/11 profoundly affected us all and those who lost friends and family should absolutely be emotional – I expect nothing less. But what now? His death is going to trigger more terror threats and propagate the anti-American sentiments that propel terrorism. Had he been captured alive, or had he committed suicide (the likelier scenario, much like Hitler), anti-American sentiment would remain as-is, not become stronger which it absolutely will become. When Americans are attacked the only acceptable punishment is death. When anyone else is attacked Americans complacent at best, but mostly ignorant. There’s a reason only that half of the original defendants at Nuremberg were sentenced to death…
It absolutely does come down to race/religion/ethnicity and, most importantly, politics. Bill Clinton decided to go into Kosovo because he didn’t want to appear anti-Muslim after failing to go into Bosnia in 1992 and Rwanda, and after the atrocities in Mogadishu. Samantha Power’s book, “A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide” is a must-read for everybody.
The United States cannot continue to insist on other countries upholding human rights when the US is one of the grossest human rights violators. Since the founding of this country we have committed genocide within our own borders and violated numerous international laws – and we refuse to sign UN treaties like CEDAW, Rights on the Child, and several others, many of which are only unsigned by the US and Somalia. If we are going to continue violate human rights at the level we do then we must accept the fact that we will always be targeted and that’s our cross to bear. Based on the reactions after bin Laden’s death we are still not willing to accept that. I don’t take issue so much with bin Laden’s death, rather the celebrations that followed that closely resembled the patriotism shown after 9/11. I also know that I’m in the minority which I’m perfectly fine with, and expected to be…
Katie – re: your coment about a trial for Osama similar to Saddam: it’s my understanding (clearly difficult to determine the turth through the media), Osama was given the opportunity to surrender, but instead opened fire on US Navy Seals. How would you have suggested the Navy Seals take a man alive (and consequently to trial) who opened fire on them? You know the rules of engagement. I don’t doubt they would’ve captured him alive, if at all possible.
Just my thoughts.
The US government has confirmed bin Laden was unarmed when Team 6 stormed him. After his wife was shot in the leg, he was shot over his left eye.
And, neither the Taliban nor al Qaeda are recognized by the US as an organized military so the virtue IHL/LOAC is disputed. Of course bin Laden was considered a military necessity but the US can’t have both.
how does an unarmed man fire shots? are you telling me the US military fired on and killed an unarmed man, under no fire from anyone in opposition ie their lives were not at risk?
“U.S. forces then moved upstairs where they found bin Laden in a room with a woman believed to be his wife — both unarmed, Carney said. She rushed the U.S. forces and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden resisted and was shot and killed, Carney said.” (http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/03/bin.laden.dead/index.html)
When Al Jazeera says it I believe it. And when the White House announces he was unarmed I also believe it.
I love all these comments. to be perfectly clear, i stated that i was “celebrating the bravery of the men.” I am not parading in the streets. I am not joyously celebrating at all, as i know many Americans are. I actually support the Huffington Post article my sister just posted, on my FB page as well. I simply said that i support the order, by our President, to kill Osama Bin Laden. So yeah, for those of you that feel he should still be alive, we’re going to really differ in our opinions.
I am exhausted and too much on my mind to write a novel so here it is short and sweet. I don’t know you but I’d like you to know I admire your passion towards all things. It’s very admirable. I just read your blog and I’m not agreeing for the sake of agreeing but in the last day I had to call my own self out. I think I had posted that very quote from MLK which I now realize he didn’t say and for a brief second maybe I believed it. However at 5:30am on September 11, 2001 I was opening up a golf pro shop and I turned on the news. The rest of the day was a blur and all I wanted to do was to get home to my wife who was pregnant with our first child. Whenever I see footage today I am outraged. God made us in his own image and there is a heaven and hell as my faith tells me. Therefore I do not feel the least bit guilty that this man was killed. In fact I could take a very unchristian like view because when I close my eyes I wish I could have been on that seal team. However the sick part of my brain tells me that this disgusting human being should have been torchered for days if I had it my way. Anyhow that’s my two cents.
I love love lOve this reply in so many ways. Mostly because you and I are so incredibly different in our religious beliefs, yet we still find grounding in our love for our children and our nation. Thank you, Luke, for your perspective!
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