So Osama Bin Laden is dead.
As the nation celebrates this momentous news, I can’t help but feel sobered. While I’m in no way sad to be rid of such a vile, reprehensible creature, I can’t help but think past the immediate triumph and resolution of the moment to consider what it really means.
From one of these angles, we need to recognize that a man is dead. The taking of a life, even when necessary, is never a small matter. And, at the risk of sounding flippant, I somehow doubt he found his afterlife virgins ready to wait on him hand and foot.
Meanwhile, from a military aspect, Osama’s death will probably set off a firestorm of retaliatory measures from his faithful following. Hamas has already condemned U.S. military actions “as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood,” particularly that of an “Arab holy warrior.”
One message on a Jihadist forum reads, “Oh Americans… it is still legal for us to cut your necks.” And Omar Bakri, a Lebanese Sunni cleric, boasts that the terrorist’s “martyrdom will give momentum to a large generation of believers and jihadists. Al Qaeda is not a political party… [It] does not end with the death of a leader.”
Still others, such as Iranian shopkeeper Ali Asghar Sedaghat, refuse to think he’s gone at all: “Are we sure that he has been killed? Or is it another game of the Americans?”
I am in no way trying to belittle the courage or proficiency of the U.S. military, and I sincerely thank them and their allies for all they’ve done and are continuing to do. I believe they did what was necessary, putting themselves in harm’s way in order to do so. And I am glad that the world is now plagued with one less heinous person.
But even from a political standpoint, America needs to keep its eyes open. This nation still has a leader who – at best – thinks that logic and kind words can turn aside maniacal hatred. The Obama administration, when asked how Osama bin Laden’s body was going to be handled, was quick to assure that handling the body “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition” is something they “take very seriously, and so, therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
With – sincerely – no disrespect meant, I have to ask why we’re going out of the way to give his remains religious respect, considering the absolute lack of respect he went out of his way to give us. And yet we’re going to take the time and effort to dispose of him on his terms instead of our own?
That makes even less sense than $4-plus per gallon gas, or giving small reptiles precedence over economically hurting Americans.