by Kyle Stewart
I believe we all would agree that showing up to a wedding wearing all black is insensitive to the joyous character of the event, let alone the feelings of those getting married. We might also argue that on a day like today, saying anything that does not flow with the whelming tide of American enthusiasm at the death of arguably our most visible and hated enemy is just as insensitive or maybe worse – unpatriotic. Let me be clear: we Americans have many reasons to breathe a little easier, at least for the moment. Bin Laden was by all accounts a bad person, unrepentant of his evil actions and bent on destroying life. But surveying the media since the announcement of his end, I have a few words of caution to consider before we continue the celebration:
Death should always give us pause
Regardless of who died, death should give us reason to pause and think. It is inevitable, and according to modern science, irreversible. As much as we hated Osama bin Laden (and rightly so), justice if not second chances are deeply ingrained in the fabric of the American way of life. With his death, Mr. bin Laden has neither – at least in a formal sense.
Am I thankful that one less powerful individual is roaming the globe attempting to figure out how to destroy our nation? Yes. But then ask me how, given my druthers, I would plan out his end. I can only imagine the effect that a fair trial before the world – with his crimes documented as evidence, testimony from Americans and non-Americans alike, etc. – would have on our nation’s image. Even more so if given the chance Mr. bin Laden saw his crimes for what they were and made some gesture to prevent them from being repeated.
His death doesn’t mean the end
Even though terrorism has been at the forefront of our thoughts for over a decade now, how quickly we forget that the success of terrorist organizations is not due to any one central figure. Groups such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah are built around a cell model – pockets of operatives that essentially function independently of any single head. Killing bin Laden may weaken terrorist efforts around the world, but that would have more to do with morale than crippling Al Qaeda’s infrastructure. It may also have the opposite effect: stirring the hornet’s nest.
Bin Laden’s death doesn’t bring back dead Americans
Not a single American or foreigner killed through bin Laden’s efforts has been brought back to life by his death. Should that be a somber reminder that whatever victory was won here was won at a great cost to our nation? If that is the case, maybe it is those of us who are wearing party clothes (so to speak) who are the ones improperly dressed for the occasion, seeing in fact that we are witnessing a funeral.