Day 229: Osama bin Laden is Dead

On Day 229, Mark woke me up saying "So apparently the U.S. just killed Osama bin Laden." Ho-lee, mo-lee. That's a first...and a last.

My first reaction was just kind of "wow." What to say? I mean, his death doesn't mean all that much, really. It's largely symbolic, seeing as how al-Qaeda can certainly function without their fearless leader. It was set up to do just that. He was the mastermind behind rallying the terrorist 'troops' to action, sure, but the hierarchy of leaders and cells and even financing are still largely a mystery. It's most likely organized chaos.

Killing a symbol in this case is probably even worse than killing a real leader, because these unorganized groups of people don't need his marching orders to carry out future terrorist attacks in the name of revenge. It's like killing the Queen of England in a way. She doesn't DO hardly anything, but it's an attack on a sacred symbol and institution that people will respond to.

I also haven't decided how I feel about the US having killed him. There are people on both sides of the argument, and their points are valid according to their worldview--"all killing is bad" and "he caused the most horrendous act our country has seen in modern history so he deserves the ultimate punishment."

I guess I look at differently. The benefits I see on keeping him alive include intelligence that we could have gathered...but that's about where it ends.

I think that killing anyone is a horrendous thing to do, however, why hold him captive and waste more money and effort on keeping him alive? He's already cost our country trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. Why risk him getting out of whatever institution we would otherwise put him in? I've heard of people in maximum security prisons still managing to get drugs smuggled in to them...who knows what kind of communique he might still manage to convey.

Again, I'm conflicted. I certainly won't rally in the streets about his death (it's a really unique sight to see our country do that!), but I don't know if capturing him without killing him would've been any more effective or impactful.

At the end of the day, this news means surprisingly little. We'll probably still be hunting terrorists in the middle east for the rest of my life (and probably the lives of my children, too), and we'll never, ever, ever "conquer terrorism." So long as one terrorist lives, be they from the hundreds of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Irish Republican Army, the USDF of Colombia or what have you we've failed that mission..and always will.

Should we keep fighting? That's another question with ideological answers based on your experience and worldview--a post for a different day and a different blog.

But day 226 brought this very, very, very interesting piece of news.


  1. I think you have a completely valid point. I view this as a symbolic event more than anything. The US set out to find this fearless leader years ago and we did just that; we followed through. The United States have proven a point that we will not give up. And there are many people to thank for that. Not just our current president and not just our previous president, but also every single person in the military, various other government agencies, and our citizens for supporting these people.

    Now, will this event significantly decrease or stop terrorism from this group or any others? Probably not. Our success in winning this round of hide and seek is just the surface. I foresee a long, bumpy ride ahead.

  2. Agreed, and that's a good point too. I guess most of the news speaks to the commitment of the United States (and all it's MANY players in the game) to follow through.