Saturday, May 07, 2011

Thank-You Mr. President, CIA, and Navy Seals!

May 1, 2011: The Fanatical Killer Osama bin Laden Is Dead!

"Jihadist Web sites mourn their slain mentor, but few in the Arab street care for a man who brought nothing to the region but havoc and desolation, provoked the United States into waging war and, above all, reinforced the very rulers whom radical Islamists most wished to topple ... From Libya to Bahrain, Syria to Yemen, a pluralistic political system is the goal of a young, urban middle class that is sick of the old order."---NYT (5-7-11)

In this iconic Situation Room photo (click to enlarge), a grim President Obama and his advisers watch as the the assault on Osama bin Laden's lair unfolds. See the NYT coverage of "The Death of Osama bin Laden."

It's not really clear what our leaders are watching. Perhaps the Seals even have video cameras mounted on their helmets. Hillary Clinton's hand covers her mouth. I remember that many women in New York covered their mouths when they watched the Twin Towers burn.

Perhaps our leaders are in the "Surge Room," a smaller room in the Situation Room that is filled with communications equipment and staffed by telecommunications experts. Here is a video about the different rooms in the Situation Room. Many government agencies had to cooperate and keep a big secret to make this great victory possible.

The Seal who shot bin Laden will probably take his secret to the grave. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (5-7-11) has an article about the "Team 6" Navy Seals. Wikipedia also notes:

The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), commonly known as DEVGRU and informally by its former name SEAL Team Six (ST6), is one of the United States' two secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units (SMUs); the other such group is 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force)...In a recent article, Marc Ambinder wrote that DEVGRU's designation had been changed by the Defense Department to a new name. Hovever, the new name is currently classified. [Full text].

In Homer's Iliad, after Achilles finally finishes off his enemy Hector in the tenth year of the Trojan War, Achilles keeps screaming "die, die, die!" Homer's point seems to be that even the bloody, painful, gruesome death of Hector has failed to satisfy Achilles' insatiable lust for revenge.

I thought I would feel elated when they got bin Laden; and I was happy, but I was also left a bit disatisfied. Killing bin Laden wasn't enough. The bloody death of this twisted fanatic can never restore all the 9-11 victims or the victims of these ten long years of war to their loved ones. I felt like the vengeful Achilles screaming to the dead Hector: "Die, die, die!"

I had almost given up hope that Osama bin Laden would ever have to pay for his mass murders. Initially, Wolf Blitzer was afraid to report what his sources were telling him. I could tell he wanted to tell what he had heard, but he didn't want to jump the gun.

Finally, Mr. Blitzer reported that President Obama was about to appear on T.V. and announce that U.S. forces had killed bin Laden.

I think bin Laden's death will damage Al Qaeda, although I know that the terrorism probably won't end in my lifetime. Still, the revolutions spearheaded by young educated people in the Middle East give me hope that a new day may be dawning.

I thought I would feel jubilant when this day came, but we can only kill bin Laden once. The announcement of bin Laden's death mostly brought back all those terrible memories of 9-11. We should remember bin Laden's innocent victims, and not their twisted killer.

I thought President Obama's speech set a good tone. He was serious and dignified. He didn't focus on Bin Laden. He remembered the dead instead of gloating about the killing of this twisted mass-murderer.

I think that's what I needed. President Obama had promised the American people that he would catch bin Laden, and he did. Mr. Obama told people that bin Laden was a terrorist, not a Muslim; he reminded us that bin Laden was a murderer of Muslims. The President's speech diminished the bin Laden that I couldn't kill enough.

President Obama thanked the patient intelligence experts and the brave operatives who tracked down and killed bin Laden. He offered comfort to the bereaved, and he promised to protect us. I was very moved by his elegant, dignified words. He took responsibility for this mission, but he gave credit and thanks to many government employees and military men and women who can never be named and who worked together in secret to make this victory possible after ten arduous years of war.

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