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I was 24 years old and living with my family when 19 Al-Qa’ida ( القاعدة) operatives flew two jet airliners into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one was headed for an unknown target, but was taken out of the air by the actions of the passengers, and crashed into a field in Shanksville, PA.  Al-Qa’ida, an extremist Sunni Muslim terrorist organization waging what it sees as a global Jihad, targeted the United States in an effort to advance its agenda, and make a worldwide statement about its courage in striking against any foe it sees as unworthy of existence.  Anyone over the age of about 16 will remember this morning in some way.

Al-Qa’ida was led, at the time, by a charismatic and fanatic Muslim named Osama Bin Laden.  A member of the rich and influential Saudi Bin Laden family, Osama used his contacts, money, and influence to found the organization in the late 1980s.  Al-Qa’ida is responsible not only for the Sept. 11th attacks, but countless other attacks worldwide, causing massive casualties over the years, in an effort to forward their agenda.

In December of 2001, Bin Laden was actually cornered in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, and could have been eliminated, had our military forces been reallocated and allowed to accompany US intelligence operatives in Tora Bora.  However, the leadership of our country, (read: President Bush, Vice President Cheney, et al.) decided that our troops were needed instead to be ready to move onto Iraq.  The military never mobilized for a strike on Tora Bora, and as such, Bin Laden went free.

I mention all of this in order to set the foundation for where I am going with this editorial: this has been ten years of lies and misinformation in the pursuit of a man that could have been captured or eliminated mere months after the attacks.  That’s right; it’s all crap.  At the dollar cost of over 1 trillion dollars (thank you http://costofwar.com ), and  4,452 deaths and 33,023 injuries because of the war in Iraq (thank you  http://antiwar.com/casualties/), the war of Iraq could have saved countless dollars and lives, and not even occurred had the Washington agenda after 9/11 been focused properly and militarily (that is, thinking like a soldier, instead of a politician).

Last night, at approximately 11:35pm Eastern Daylight Time, May 1st, 2011, President Barack Obama addressed our nation, announcing that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.  A small team of US operatives were ordered into the compound bin Laden was living in, and with “care to avoid civilian casualties” they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.  They then, apparently took photographic and possible DNA evidence, and buried him at sea.  This was done, reportedly, to comply with Muslim custom that bodies should be buried within one day of expiration.

Now, here comes the editorial parts, instead of establishing facts to fuel my fire.  First of all, let me address this issue: people showing disdain, claiming Obama is claiming credit for Osama’s death, using the language of his speech.  This is utterly unfounded.  Upon perusal of his speech (the transcript of which can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/02/remarks-president-osama-bin-laden), in no way does President Obama take any credit for what happened, only responsibility for giving the orders for the terms to go in and do the job.  There is an important distinction here.  What President Obama is doing is making a public announcement that he takes full responsibility for the operation.  Never once does President Obama say that he pulled the trigger, that he gathered the intelligence, that he went out and did the dangerous work himself.  What he does say is that he “directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al-Qa’ida”; that “last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed of a possible lead to bi Laden… I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan.  And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.”  He goes on to state that “today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound.”  Of course it was at his direction; he’s the Commander in Chief of all the Armed Forces.  Ladies and Gentlemen, HE gives the orders, period.  Just like the last President gave all the orders for any military actions, just like every President before them, it is his job to do that.  How dare you claim he is taking credit when all he is doing is his damn job?

Next, I want to deal with a large amount of people worrying about retaliatory strikes against the United States given this.  Since the start of the War on Terror, two-thirds of the leadership of Al-Qa’ida has been either killed or taken from power.  This is another tally added to that.  And honestly, you are talking about an organization dedicated to the destruction of our nation, and our way of life.  No matter what we do, they will nurture animosity against us.  Does this mean I approve of the killing of Osama bin Laden?  Not as far as it pertains to the death of another human being.

I was asked not too long ago what I believe in, and I wrote a lengthy note about just that on Facebook (you can read it here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150111400234566).  Within that note I stated the following about my beliefs:
“ I believe that Jesus was right, and those that live by the sword, die by the sword.  This means that those of us who take up the sword so the rest of us don’t have to should be honored for their sacrifice.  I believe that every drop of blood spilled in violence is exactly one drop too many.”
What this comes down to is that while I wish it was not the case that the man died, I still realize that there are those people on this earth that will die before they give up their beliefs, no matter how radical or prejudiced.  In many cases, I am one of those people.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is not that I wished him dead, but if his death can help our nation get past the past, and start working towards a future where our young men and women are no longer dying overseas for the hubris and greed of others, then his death is a cause for celebration.  It is time for our men and women to come home.

I feel more betrayed right now by the people that are celebrating this like it was V-E day, as well as those that are naysaying President Obama, claiming he is a gloryhound.  Let us not forget that the last President pre-emptively flew to an aircraft carrier adorned with a “Mission Accomplished” banner when we had accomplished nothing at all.  He is disclosing to the public that the responsibility for ordering our operatives into Pakistan lies with him, but the glory for the actions performed in bin Laden’s execution lie in the hands of the intelligence operatives and military forces that brought us to this point.

Let me close on a positive note.  President Obama noted in his speech:

“On September 11. 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together.  We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood.  We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country.  On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family…

…let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.  I know that it has, at times, frayed.  Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”

This is a reminder of who we became for a short period; we united once more.  We can still do it, and the President wants us to remember that.  It is not a claim to fame by one man who holds the office of Commander in Chief; it is the proclamation of our Commander in Chief that the victory is ours, as a nation, against those who attacked us ten years ago.  We brought to a sort of violent justice the one who commanded that 3,000 men, women, and children be killed in the name of an extremist, fundamentalist view of a peaceful religion.  The adherents of the peaceful truth of this religion find these extremists as distasteful as we do, as the extremists kill all who do not agree with their way of life.

I wish a man did not have to die in order for this to happen, but bin Laden himself had, for years, predicted his own death at the hands of the United States; he had said as much numerous times.  This means that bin Laden himself had dedicated himself to dying before being caught alive.  As usual, with fundamentalists and extremists, there is no middle ground for peace.

I, for one, stand by and mourn the loss of a human life, but celebrate that a face of evil has been removed from our world.  If we ever stop mourning the loss of a life, any life, we run the risk of becoming just like he was.  We risk becoming the next monster in the dark, the next evil face around the corner.  There always will be more evil in the world to take power.  And while another may step up to take his place, for the now, evil has been beaten.  May God watch over us until the next face of evil arises.

What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. This was a very well written post. Unfortunately, I think the people who really need to hear that message won’t, simply because they still can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that the war they mindlessly supported, wrapping themselves in piety and patriotism, was a colossal mistake. But, then again, many of them didn’t have to fight it. It’s easy to bang the war drum from the safety of one’s couch.

    The only suggestion I have is on the total cost. The number you cite is not inaccurate, but I think the WashPo also factored in the cost of care for treating veterans when they come home, which pushes the total cost of the war to nearly $3 trillion. And, remember, many of these same people who most strongly supported the war simultaneously supported cutting taxes for the wealthiest (which created NO JOBS and quite possibly contributed to the economic collapse ala Argentina 1982). Today, those same ppl lecture everyone else about the size of the deficit and national debt, a debt which they helped create by supporting such stupid policies. It’s also important to note that these are the same people now telling us that unless we pass Paul Ryan’s budget, cut another $4 trillion in taxes for the wealthiest and corporations, and destroy Medicare, the country is doomed. We’d be wise not to listen to them.

  2. Here is the link to the Washington Post article I reference: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR2010090302200.html

    “But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war’s broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.”

    The $1 trillion estimate I think is limited to just operations within Iraq & Afghanistan. Either way, the costs of the war dwarf the amount we were told it would cost: $60 billion. From being told we would be greeted as liberators to the war paying for itself, we were shoveled a lot of bs – and way too many people were eager to eat it up simply because they had “war fever.”

  3. Honestly, there was so much political crap surrounding everything about Iraq to make one ill. It doesn’t surprise me that Bush dropped the ball on bin Laden – it gave him an excuse to go try to advance daddy’s failed (dare I say botched) agenda.

    Unfortunately, the political machine in this country serves only itself, not the constituents it was built to serve. But I’ll save my discourse on politics and the current state of the country to another time :-P.

  4. What a great web log. I spend hours on the net reading blogs, about tons of various subjects. I have to first of all give praise to whoever created your theme and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and honestly you got it. The combining of demonstrative and upper-class content is by all odds super rare with the astronomic amount of blogs on the cyberspace.


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