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Osama bin Laden Sleeps with the Fishes

May 3, 2011

I always thought he had a kind face. There was no glimmer of menace in that peaceful and otherworldly countenance; he could have passed for Jesus Christ’s darker brother. He was said to be modest and soft-spoken in his comportment. His face bore no trace of weasely worldliness or venality. He didn’t strut like a Qaddafi or a Saddam Hussein or any other cheap Middle Eastern strongman.

He didn’t need to. The late Osama bin Laden enjoyed the tranquil self-assurance of the 24-karat religious fanatic, one who lives and dies by the certainty that the Creator of the Universe embraces him and reviles all those who don’t share his beliefs. Such colossal certainty has to be a potent drug.

Bin Laden’s gentle face belied his monstrous hatred for the West in general and Americans in particular. The ruthless Chairman Mao had a gentle face, too, but bin Laden’s has to be the most extreme disconnect between appearance and reality that I’ve ever observed.

Now the body of the master terrorist lies untold fathoms below the waves of the Arabian Sea. He drifts among the seaweed and the fishes, inert and senseless… no orgasmic Islamic paradise for this waterlogged martyr. Only a gaping eternity of nothingness awaits him — unless a moral God rules the universe and consigns him to some nightmarish netherworld. How surprised and baffled bin Laden would be to awaken in the lowest region of Islamic hell.

When the news broke Sunday evening that a daring U.S. Navy SEAL raid had ended his near-decade as a fugitive, bin Laden couldn’t hear the whoops and cheers of the jubilant American crowds. I find it hard to feel jubilant over anyone’s death, but I can understand the party-in-the-streets atmosphere that prevailed during that memorable night. Obama had taken out Osama, like the Western hero that George W. Bush had aspired to be. What a triumph for our harried, much-maligned and rapidly graying Commander in Chief!

The epochal 9/11 terrorist attack orchestrated by bin Laden had ushered in America’s darkest decade since the Civil War. Disenchantment ran deep as we endured two financial meltdowns and two extended, unpopular and inconclusive wars. Political and cultural animosities sundered us and drove us to the brink of civil discord. Now, with the death of bin Laden, the darkness seems to have lifted, at least for the moment. We feel vindicated at long last, though the Islamic terrorist movement continues to simmer and we undoubtedly haven’t seen the last of it.

Even more important, we seem to feel united — something we haven’t felt as a nation in nearly a decade, something we left behind on the smoking rubble of the World Trade Center.  United in outrage that September, we essentially split into two nations as Bush the Younger led us down the path to war in Iraq. Now the two strands promise to converge again. As much as it seems uncivil to celebrate a death, the demise of Osama bin Laden could prove to be just the salvation we needed. Sometimes the best revenge is revenge.

A few random New Moderate observations…

President Obama would make a world-class poker player. The man can keep a secret — not always a good thing, but in this case it was a crucial thing. Nothing about his comportment, even during the White House corrrespondents’ dinner a few nights before, betrayed any knowledge of the secret operation already in progress.

Residents of Abbottabad were oblivious to the mysterious stranger in their midst... or were they?

Obama hunted down Osama by adhering to Bush administration policies. Surprise! Candidate Obama vowed that he’d dismantle the Guantanamo gulag and remove us from the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. He never made good on his promises. Instead, he obtained crucial intelligence from Gitmo captives and maintained our military presence in Asia, both of which enabled us to raid bin Laden’s compound. Sometimes you have to give the devil his due.

Bin Laden was “hiding” in plain view for the past five years. A walled million-dollar residential compound rises on an acre of land in a bustling town an hour north of Pakistan’s capital, a stone’s throw from the country’s national military academy. And we’re supposed to believe that the Pakistanis had no idea who was hiding inside? That they never wondered about the identity of their new neighbor? (Didn’t anyone in town ever have to deliver a package or a take-out curry dinner to the mysterious complex?) We seriously need to rethink the extent of our “alliance” with Pakistan. Yes, they’ve got the Bomb. No, we don’t have to pour extensive aid into the country. We’ve got what we wanted… now let’s split.

That goes for Afghanistan, too. The elimination of Osama bin Laden hands us the perfect opportunity for a graceful exit from this unwinnable war. We can’t continue to pour American lives and resources into this bottomless pit. To win in Afghanistan, we’d have to kill every Taliban soldier — an impossible task. Afghanistan is a remote, splintered and ungovernable country. Let’s declare “Mission accomplished!” and get the hell out.

Don’t be surprised if conspiracy nuts insist that bin Laden is alive. A motley contingent of “deathers” will undoubtedly question whether President Obama actually got his man. They’ll deny the validity of the DNA evidence, they’ll insist that bin Laden’s “death photos” have been doctored, they’ll claim that he’s been sighted in Yemen, Ethiopia or Buenos Aires… that our government engaged in a massive deception regarding his death. Conspiracy nuts will always dwell among us. Pay no attention to them.

Will the death of bin Laden inflame Islamist radicals or defuse them? Probably a little of both. We’ll need to boost our vigilance in the short term, but al Qaeda has been decapitated. Somebody will take bin Laden’s place, of course, but nobody in the movement can rival his stature and charisma. An icon of the movement is gone. Just as important, moderate Muslims should feel less intimidated when it comes to speaking out against the radicals who pervert their religion. Suicide bombing and the murder of innocents both violate essential tenets of Islam. The moderates need to take the reins, repudiate the radicals and lead the faithful into the 21st century. About time, too.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 3, 2011 8:23 am

    Good for you, Rick, acknowledging the role that Bush administration policies played in OBL’s capture. From what I have read, it was specific information obtained during the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that eventually led to bin Laden……info that was likely obtained by the much condemned “enhanced interrogation techiniques.” Thank you, Dick Cheney.

    I think it is important that Obama and the Democrats in general not be too heavy-handed in their politicizing of this event, which is almost certain to boost the president’s approval ratings – and rightfully so. Even a moderate righty like me is inclined to give Obama big props for his handling of this, but my optimism that he is becoming more credible as a foreign policy/national security president will be dashed if I hear too much more gloating over how Obama got this done and Bush didn’t. In the case of binLaden, this has been a years-long manhunt, that in some ways began during the Clinton administration, and, now that we have succeeded in nailing the guy, it should be a moment where we come together and acknowledge all of the players – and in particular, the military – that helped to get it done….no one more so than Obama, but he was not alone.

  2. Priscilla permalink
    May 3, 2011 8:25 am

    ^^^Me (as if you didn’t know) 😉

  3. May 3, 2011 9:37 am

    Priscilla: I had a feeling it was you, even before I glanced down at your second post. I’m hoping that we gain a little unity and closure from Osama bin Laden’s demise. It really was a cumulative effort. Rush Limbaugh was funny yesterday; he went out of his way to commend Obama — for having the vision to carry out the Bush-Cheney agenda despite his campaign pledges. So it was a back-handed compliment, but hey… when Rush salutes Obama, you know we’ve entered a new era.

  4. valdobiade permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:03 pm

    Priscilla wrote: …info that was likely obtained by the much condemned “enhanced interrogation techiniques.” Thank you, Dick Cheney.
    —–

    Yep, with all that water-boarded info, Bush and Dick could catch OBL long before Iraq invasion. But I guess they needed a little incursion in Iraq, just to settle some family business.

  5. May 4, 2011 12:30 pm

    Valdo: I saw the Iraq war as a classic example of “bait and switch”: Bush & Co. couldn’t track down Osama bin Laden, so they offered us Saddam Hussein as a substitute. It’s more complicated than that, of course: a combination of Bush family vendetta, elusive “WMD,” oil, the security of Israel, lucrative contracts for Halliburton, violations of the “no-fly” zone, plus the suspicion that Saddam Hussein was funding al Qaeda. But what a long and costly detour it was!

    There’s even a theory that Dubya let Osama escape because the Bush family was tight with the bin Ladens. I don’t know if it holds up, because the bin Ladens disowned Osama.

    • valdobiade permalink
      May 4, 2011 3:01 pm

      Rick wrote: There’s even a theory that Dubya let Osama escape because the Bush family was tight with the bin Ladens.
      ———–

      Bush let the bin Laden’s family to escape interrogations immediately after 9/11 by letting them fly when no other planes were allowed to leave the US territory. This is not a theory.

      Rick wrote: I don’t know if it holds up, because the bin Ladens disowned Osama.
      —–

      My spoiled brat who is a demented religious nut is still my family: “Just go find another playground than Saudi Arabia darling, I am telling to my oil customers that if I find you I’ll spank you! Now play safe, my oil customers just went in Iraq”

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 7, 2011 12:48 pm

      “The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.
      The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government — a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.”
      President Clinton
      Oval Office Address to the American People
      December 16, 1998

      Now, I’m not necessarily in favor of nation-building, nor am I arguing that the Iraq War was a great idea, but it just strikes me as contradictory for people to to say that Bush was an evil S.O.B. who invaded Iraq for oil/Halliburton/Israel, etc and ignore the historical context of the invasion, the intelligence that was available at the time, and the belief, held by statesmen and politicians on both sides of the aisle, and throughout Europe, that Saddam was a serious threat to the US and US interests.

      Of course this is an old argument, and one which we’ve all had a thousand times, but it never ceases to amaze me how Obama gets a total pass on this stuff (bomb Libya? Suuuure, good idea, Khaddafy is a bad guy. Demand that Mubarak, our ally, step down, but defend Assad, our enemy? No problem. Tell 15 different, conflicting stories of how the OBL killing went down? Eh, “fog of war,” don’t make a big deal out of it)

      Just sayin’ ya know 😉 ?

      • valdobiade permalink
        May 9, 2011 1:22 pm

        Priscilla, you start quoting Clinton about removing Saddam. Clinton did not do that, just talking… bastard! Then Bush the Young came and didn’t express anything about removing Saddam. Bush did not even talk about it until after 9/11!
        Bush went to remove Saddam after 9/11 when the “intelligence” was so “abundant” not about Osama bin Laden but about Saddam, so the time was ripe for an Iraq invasion to distribute democracy! Go figure!
        Like Lewis Black said about Dick going hunting: focus on quail… focus on quail… focus on quail… then in the last moment change direction and shot the friend in the face!
        Saddam was a serious threat long before 9/11 and the fact that Bush invaded Iraq shows only that he was either that he was incapable of catching Osama bin Laden or that Saddam stared seriously to sell his oil to Russians and Europeans, but not to the US.

  6. Steve Range permalink
    May 4, 2011 6:46 pm

    Finally, Bin Laden will get his 72 Virgins. May everyone be a big burly gay guy with a passion for

    raping skinny arab retards.

    God bless the USA, President Obama and all of the military personel involved in sending this

    diaper stain to a watery grave. Now if we can just get all of his followers to walk to his resting place

    and pray over the site, all will be well.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 12, 2011 5:12 pm

      Do you kiss your mother with that filthy mouth?

  7. valdobiade permalink
    May 4, 2011 8:27 pm

    Steve, I remember somebody saying on another forum:
    “What the hell does the phrase “God Bless Our Troops” means?”

    I had an answer that was categorized “right on spot”:

    “I don’t know what is so hard to understand that we are in a religious war.
    “God bless our troops” simply means that Yahweh-Abraham-Isaac-Jacob-Jesus-Virgin Mary is victorious against Allah-Abraham- Ishmael- Mohamed.”

    Well… until the next religious conflict…

  8. Kent Garshwiler permalink
    May 5, 2011 2:14 pm

    Rick, Bin Laden is gone, but there is still some work to do to get Al Qaeda’s “second” man….Zawahiri. You know the Egyptian!! He is the experienced one…. in rallying the Al Qaeda forces and stirring up the emotions of Muslims to hate. Bin laden was only the financier and bomb expert.

    If Zawahiri is still in Pakistan/Afghanistan we should stay and finish the job and then leave. If a new “head” pops up…like “whack a mole” then we should have some way to come back and get them. This would take Diplomacy of some form or another. It is obvious we can’t trust Pakistan!

    People of the world can be broken down into into three categories for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. People are “For/Naive……Undecided/Against”.

    I highly doubt people will change sides much over his death on the “For/Against”. It will only harden the mind of those who think in those two ways.

    The middle part “Naive…Undecided” is the concern. The “For/Against” are working the propaganda for their case. Much like a trial in court.

    We will have to wait and see what comes out of this ideological war.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    August 12, 2011 5:14 pm

    Perhaps if we hadn’t meddled in the affairs of the ME for so long (and for only two reasons: Israel and oil) we might not have had to content with a man like Osama. But don’t let me interrupt the jingoistic celebration over the death of our #1 bogeyman.

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