Reflections upon the death and life of Osama bin Laden

Not that it is “news” to be talked about here in this blog, but as expected more information about bin Laden and his hideout have now been released by the United States government.  Interesting stuff.

One bit of self-referentiality is a video showing bin Laden watching a video of himself being reported upon in the news.  I am reminded of the movie “Smoke Signals”, where the character Thomas Builds-the-Fire remarks that there is nothing more pathetic than watching Indians watching Cowboys and Indians on TV.  However, I do suppose that it made operational sense to be concerned about how one’s efforts to murder as many people as possible are being reported upon in the media.  You know, so as to better tune one’s efforts to maximum effect?  Yeah.  I guess I’d be doing the same thing if my conscience would permit me to blithely go about ordering the death of people who had never personally offended me nor offered my persona any threat.

Pic of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden in dignified pose

I suppose Osama thought he was at war, and since “All’s fair in love and war,” well, then murdering innocents was “fair”.  But I don’t think that is what is meant by that particular phrase.

The picture at left, unattributed because the source I got it from attributed it to “Anonymous”, shows a relaxed, personable-looking and sincere man with a strong, handsome face, who, forgetting for a moment that he is an instigator of mass murder, might have been an interesting person to know.  I don’t doubt that his associates thought well of him — though to this point I have never heard his personality actually described by anyone who knew him well.

I suppose that we are well and truly best off to be entirely rid of him.  If he had merely been captured, then the question would still exist as to what to do with him, but the answer would have been certain.  He could never be let go, of course, and ultimately if brought to trial there is no doubt as to his ultimate fate, and that would have been execution.  No argument could have prevented that; even Hitler, not a mere terrorist but the head of an actual state at formal war with the United States, and adjudged guilty of ordering mass murder, would have met the same fate, as did Japan’s Tojo at the end of World War 2.  So, even if he had been captured, there is no doubt at all that he would have met his end in some form of judicial-ordered death.  There is no doubt whatsoever about his guilt; he freely admitted it himself, even boasted about it,  in publicly-released videos.  So a great deal of pointless legal gyrating was thankfully short-circuited by the soldier who put paid to this man’s life in the town of Abbottabad, in Pakistan, on May 2, 2011. 

I do however feel a great deal of sympathy for those who loved him, those otherwise not guilty with him of violent murder.  Speaking in particular of his wives and young children, I do not doubt that they believed, with him, that what he was doing was righteous and though hard, needed doing and was justified.  I respect those beliefs even if I do not hold them (and indeed strongly reject them and their goals), and were my condolences of any value whatever I would offer them.  It is in any event a sad thing when a human being with the potential to do good works leaves this life before he or she can do them; it is an even sadder thing when such a human being does evil acts instead, and must be forcefully removed from this life before he or she can do more of them.

Removing such an one from this life cannot be seen to be doing anything other than what is plainly necessary. 

May the souls of those whose murders he expedited find closure upon his death; may he himself find whatever mercy God has in store for him.

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