The Meaning of the Execution of Osama Bin Laden
The recent killing of master terrorist Osama Bin Laden has sparked global reactions, both for and against what the US military did, and how it was carried out. I recently read that Bin Laden was not armed when the navy SEALS found him and killed him. His wife had thrown herself in front of him, according to the report I read on Yahoo!, and she was not killed but wounded in the leg as she fell and left Bin Laden open to the gunfire that took his life. Personally, I’m not concerned about whether or not he was armed when they found him within that compound in Pakistan. The fact that he had armed troops on the premises who opened fire on the SEALS tells me that he was ready to kill again in order to stay alive. His death was his own fault.
As a humanitarian, I’ve long called for respect and tolerance for all mankind. Yet there is always what I call the refuse of humanity who leave no room for tolerance for their ideologies and who write their own death warrants by their actions. Men like Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Jim Jones, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden. These people cross the line between right and wrong and they know when they cross it too. Their self induced sense of importance leads them to do things so heinous and so criminal that their deaths are celebrated on a worldwide scale.
I do not celebrate death. Yet when someone like Bin Laden faces his ultimate end, I can muster very little sympathy for him. Bin Laden did the most horrible thing imaginable. He put together the strike on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He sent over three thousand people to an early death, including his own henchmen, and then he cowardly disappeared into the Middle Eastern desert to become the most wanted man in the world. He took a religion that is intrinsically peaceful and used it as the excuse for his terroristic actions. What Bin Laden did changed the world forever and his death, as late in coming as it is, makes almost no difference now in the war on terror that much of the western world is fighting.
In my estimation, Bin Laden’s blood is on his own hands. He’s just as dead as the three thousand plus who were killed on 9/11, not to mention the thousands who’ve lost their lives in the war that has ensued. Bin Laden wrote his own outcome. Sadly, he wrote it with the blood of multitudes of innocent victims of his cockeyed religious views. No, I can find very little sympathy for this man. He did what he did and he reaped the results of it.
The killing Bin Laden was greeted with cheers and hundreds of thousands of people going out into the streets to cheer his demise. I truly believe that he did deserve to die. Yet, when I first heard the news of it, I was torn between feeling glad for those whose family members were taken by his atrocities and the sense of why this one death meant so much. There are undoubtedly thousands of other terrorists waiting in line to take his place. He will be martyred and revered by his fellow radicals. The war on terror will continue because the terrorists will keep coming out of the woodwork to wreak their agendas on the civilized world. Bin Laden is but a small cog in that machine of terrorism that sweeps the Middle East in the name of Islam.
And still he had to die for all the blood he caused to spill on 9/11 and in the years since. He had to die. There was no way around it and no possible outcome for him when he was finally tracked down. Hiding in seeming plain sight, one has to wonder about the motives of our so-called ally Pakistan, and Bin Laden was a sitting duck once American intelligence pinpointed his location. Yes, he had to be killed. For more than just justice for those whose deaths he brought about, for more than vindication for the loved ones of the dead, for more than what he did in the first place, he had to die. Those who argue against what happened to him on Sunday night haven’t a leg to stand on. This man deserved death just as Adolph Hitler deserved it.
I know this and still I feel torn about what happened. I can’t celebrate it. I can’t condemn it either. I am in a limbo of sorts on the subject and I never expected to find myself so. I thought I’d be delighted when the news of his execution finally came to pass. But I’m not. I can honestly say that I am relieved he’s gone. For someone who spent his life plotting the deaths of so many others, to know that he’s been eliminated is a relief because he won’t be around to plan any more abominations against humanity.
Perhaps relief is the only possible emotion I can hope to experience. After listening to the testimonies of the loved ones of those he killed, I know that they feel happy about his killing and I don’t blame them one iota. Put in their position, I’d be just as deliriously happy as they are. And still they are all quick to point out that Bin Laden’s death doesn’t bring back their cherished relatives. The old eye for an eye rule of thumb is all that there is to bring them comfort. Even they admit how sad this is.
I know Bin Laden had to die. I know he brought his execution on himself. I also know that his death is something of an anticlimax. There is no end to the war in the Middle East due to his elimination. There is no cessation in the aim of his cohorts. There is no halt to the intelligence that will continue for decades to prevent another mass killing of innocent people. So is Bin Laden’s death only symbolic?
No, on the contrary, it is a statement that no matter how long it takes justice will be brought to those who choose to ignore it. I am not hard hearted but I do believe that in this instance killing someone as evil as Osama Bin Laden could not be avoided.
I remain a humanitarian at heart. I long for the day when each and every individual can embrace the true meanings of the words tolerance and respect. I want to live in a world where religious denominations, political differences, and human rights can be at peace with each other.
Sadly, I don’t believe I’ll see this come about in my lifetime. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting it so badly that I’ll keep on striving to bring it about as long as I live.