Make no mistake about it, this guy was an evil fuck and deserved much worse than he got by getting shot in the eye and dumped into the ocean. OK, just to make that clear? I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who planned the mass murder of thousands of innocent people.
So, with that out of the way, here are some of my admittedly confused thoughts about the whole subject.
1. I was rather surprised that the mission statement was to have OBL killed and not captured. For one thing, ordering someone killed, even someone who deserved it as much as OBL did, isn’t really what I thought we did in this country. Yeah, it’s a myth, sure. I understand that. But still, to break with that ideal so easily and not let justice really take its course, as we normally do things even with the most evil murderers, seemed not in step with how we like to think of ourselves. The whole thing felt like it was a lot more about revenge and retribution, rather than justice. I have seen some mention of "closure" as well, which I think is a total rationalization. It's closure by the fact that a mass murderer got what he deserved. That's a lot more about revenge than some sort of metaphoric sense of "closure", in my way of thinking. And if you really want to get down and call it for what it was, that was an assassination, pure and simple. That's what South American drug lords do. That's what the old Soviet bloc used to do. Is that really what America wants to be? I suppose that train has long left the station, as we now seem to be quite fine with the concept of being known for torturing prisoners and holding people for years without charging them with anything. We seem to have already stepped off that slippery slope.
2. I know that the events of 9/11 were devastating to us individually as well as a country as a whole. And I don’t want to tell anyone how they should feel or celebrate the killing of OBL. But the whole deal of large masses of people getting together and chanting “USA! USA! USA!”, like at some hockey game or something, didn’t feel right. It was a bit unseemly, I thought. But then again, I am not in those people’s shoes, so I don’t know how they felt. My own feelings were something like, “Finally. It’s about time… Good riddance.” I really didn’t feel any elation.
3. Maybe now we can get the heck out of Afghanistan. We haven’t really understood why we are there for years. Al Quaida isn’t there anymore. Yeah, the Taliban is there and they aren’t very nice. But aren’t those the same people that the Soviet Union fought for so long and the U.S. was giving them arms to help them fight “The Evil Empire.” And look what it got them, a breakup of their huge country and a complete collapse of the central government. Sure, the U.S.S.R. was already rotten to the core and ready to go anyway, their losing war in Afghanistan only hastened it on. But isn’t the same exact thing happening to us? Let’s get out now while the death of OBL at least gives us some cover of getting out with our “honor” intact, since that seems to matter a great deal to some people.
4. It will be really interesting to hear the rationale from the Pakistani government, our supposed allies, about why they didn’t know that OBL was in this huge compound just miles from the country’s military school and where many retired military people live. Sure, it is JUST within the realm of plausibility that they might not have known he was there, but really, this doesn’t look good. They need to come up with some sort of explanation, and pretty quickly. It is a pretty telling indication about how much we don’t trust the Pakistani government that we didn’t tell them about the raid beforehand. Something is really going on here behind the scenes.
5. Those Navy Seals are really scary.