Initial Thoughts on Osama bin Laden’s Death
As much as I’d like to get on the subway downtown and celebrate with the rest of the New Yorkers at Ground Zero, I have a few initial thoughts on today’s news.
- Before bin Laden’s body was buried at sea, did anybody snap a photo? I know I’m just some stupid blogger and the New York Times has already determined that no proof is necessary, but I just figured I’d ask.
- Contrary to liberal Democratic principles, Obama has allowed American forces to flagrantly ignore Pakistan’s “sovereign borders”. This is a good thing.
- Now that bin Laden was shown to be not only inside Pakistan, but so close to Islamabad and relatively out in the open, what are we going to do about Pakistan?
- What are we going to do about every other country that continues to harbor terrorists?
Other than the obvious symbolic value of bin Laden’s death, and despite my annoyance at reading that the body would be “disposed of in accordance with Islamic tradition”, there is one key aspect to this particular military/intelligence operation. That is point #2, above. The fact that Obama has chosen to go along with the usual American policy of operating within Pakistan whether the Pakistani government likes it or not (of course, we and they will claim that they authorized our activities), is a good sign. It’s yet another sign that contrary to what a candidate spews during his campaign, (a) he will be forced to recognize some realities as President and at the very least make some decent decisions purely for pragmatic reasons, and (b) he will discover that there is an underlying military machinery that functions nearly autonomously and will continue to do so whether or not he decides to bury his head in the sand (in Obama’s case, the sand of a golf course).
I am not especially happy about the news of bin Laden’s death. On the radio on the way into work, I heard a woman who was celebrating at Ground Zero, whose relative was a fireman killed on September 11th. She claimed the news was “wonderful” and that there now was “closure”. With all due respect to this woman’s relative who might have been a hero: the operation that led to today’s news is so detached from what is necessary to eliminate the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, that we, as a nation, are as far from achieving “closure” as we were last week.
As to our president claiming any sort of credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: it’s a bit like my local Pakistani deli owner claiming credit for last week’s winning lottery ticket. He just happened to be working in the fucking store.