Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts On OBL

I'm not going to deny it. My response to the death of Osama bin Laden is not elation. Had he been captured I would have been very pleased. That's because I care about answers. I care about understanding things. His death means we won't get answers.

And we need them. Let's recall a few historical facts. In the immediate wake of 9-11 bin Laden denied involvement. A war in Afghanistan was launched, despite the Taliban's repeated efforts to turn bin Laden over (reported in The Independent and also buried within the text of a Washington Post article). In November a video tape was discovered in Afghanistan which claims to show bin Laden talking about advanced knowledge of the attacks, though he appears to be talking after the events themselves (transcript here). In June 2002 Robert Mueller, then FBI director in testimony before the Senate, a full 8 months after the bombs had begun falling and after one of the most intensive investigations ever undertaken in the history of humanity, tells us that he does "believe" that the idea for 9-11 came from Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan though the actual plotting was done in Germany and the financing came from the United Arab Emirates from sources in Afghanistan. In 2004 another video surfaces in which Osama bin Laden takes responsibility (transcript here).

He may have been responsible. That's probably a best guess. On the other hand he may be boasting. He may want to take credit even though he didn't do it. What would be nice is to capture him and use him to fill out the missing pieces of the puzzle. I'd like to understand what happened as well as possible. That gives us the best chance of actually identifying the culprits.

Osama bin Laden is a murderer and deserves punishment, but the legal process is important, even for the most heinous crimes. Actually I'd say especially for the most heinous crimes. What if you wrongly identify the culprit? What if some of the plotters escape? This is more likely at this point because instead of getting interrogation we got bullets to the head. Was that necessary? We are talking here about the world's most elite fighting force. They can put a bullet anywhere they want. They can go with left eye, right eye. They can take out a leg or an arm. I don't know what happened. I don't know if they had no choice based on the resistance they encountered. But capture would have been nice.


We now learn that bin Laden was unarmed when killed, yet resisted, and had a weapon? Makes little sense. Also the earlier rumors that he had a woman as a shield look to be false. He was with a woman that ran towards the soldiers and she was shot in the leg.


HispanicPundit said...

I wish they would have captured and waterboarded him instead! I feel ripped off that he died!

Dr. Brian Oblivion said...

HispanicPundit hopefully is being sardonic. It cannot be denied that there are all kinds of people in the world and not all of them are carrying a full deck. People who don't experience some backchatter from their conscience and lack the ability to introspect and conclude that seeing a photo of a corpse with gunshot wounds to the head is not a sight that should accompany a euphoric rush of neurotransmitters that make them feel elation are missing a very important feedback loop. There is something broken in these people. Seriously. Not that their learned ability to experience the world as a semi-sociopath isn't encouraged to a certain degree.

Like or not, we do have a bloated system of laws and quite a number of them are actually justifiable. We also have a legal system in place that is used to route suspects -- I mean convicts -- into appropriate cages, no matter how much the system itself has been used for one's own personal 10 minute hate sessions. Laws and courts do not exist solely for simple things like redistribution of wealth from the poor through a maze of fees, they're actually designed for more difficult disputes that can't be handled with an angry mob and strong hempen rope.

Those who point at OJ or some real or imagined lawyer with pockets full of money and a mad bomber back on the streets bludgeoning kittens or whatever fantasy suits their paranoia, deal with the problem somehow but don't use it as an excuse to occasionally spatter someone just because you're in a hurry. Justice, flawed as it is, for all or none. Spattering Osama or a wax figurine or Osama's mama cheats all of us, even if you got a free rush out of it, you sick junkies.

We have all the time in the world to choke the life out of a hated individual or scapegoat and there exists even the possibility of separating lies from truth when the target in question is trapped in a somewhat humane iron cage assuming the non-torture funpunching and justiceslaps haven't caused too much brain damage. Whoopsie! But you only get that neurochemical rush once and when your internal baggie is empty, sorry that was your reward. And all we collectively have left is state propaganda which is empty as well.

You can't wait 30 seconds to start a vapidshare[TM] download, and after 10 years, who can wait five minutes to pass around the crack pipe in black celebration of Goldstein's death? True, when a serial rapist has finally tired of defiling the corpse of his once warm and resisting victim, there's not much to do but employ the bleach, the quicklime, and dispose the tidied up and spent corpse. Somehow I lost the track there. But obviously there's nothing weird about dumping a smelly hippie in the ocean? Happens all the time.

Only a conspiracy theorist would dare rain on the parade of tailgate celebrations and dead Osama photo swaps to worry over a pound of flesh. What an asshole that guy is. He's probably an Osama lover.

War porners, death penalty fans, all of you who whine and gnash teeth when it takes to long to pluck out those coveted eyes and teeth, please realize there is something twisted inside yourself. Lust for death is not something that I look for in a trusted friend. So please keep your distance.

In the grand scheme of things there's all the time in the world to do what's not only right, but also just. It takes seconds to fuck everything up and karma will come back to bite you one way or the other. Slow down, there's no rush. Justifying torture, assassination, justice via the death penalty, this lust for death that lurks over our nation... let's dial that back. It's creepy beyond words.

I know history always lies, but why not pretend to be interested in something close to what probably happened. Assuming that Osama had no useful information and that spattering his brains was too delicious and cathartic to be denied is shortsided and frankly ghoulish. I think shame is supposed to kick in at some point.

Sheldon said...

Yep, I definitely with you. Capture and a trial would have been a great historical asset.