Monday, May 2, 2011


"Ten years ago I went to Afghanistan to report a war initiated by the actions of OBL...and I've been going ever since.  While I'm glad his death provides closure for some...I can't help but wish, that as a nation we were somehow more reflective than triumphalist.  It's not the fear of retaliation, but rather the cold feeling that perhaps we've learned nothing in the process." ~ Kevin Sites
When I saw the news last night that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I found myself more surprised by the euphoria and excitement of everyone in America at this news than any excitement about his death.  And all day long I have been having these conflicted feelings.  Maybe it is because I am more a contrarian by nature these days, but I just haven't felt excitement or euphoria about this news.  And I think the quote above by Kevin Sites helps explains my thoughts.
In Greek mythology there is a monster called the Hydra, in which when one of its heads was cut off, two heads would grow back.  And in the aftermath of the execution of Bin Laden, all I can think of is the scenario in which two will rise up where there once was one.  And that it wasn't just 3,000 lives lost on 9/11 - it is that, plus 7,211 casualties of coalition forces who have been waging war in remote countries for a little over ten years.  And that doesn't take into account the loss of the potential of all the men and women who now suffer from PSTD.  It doesn't even consider the loss of lives or livelihoods of the civilians in the middle of these conflicts.  Nor the impending loss of life in the feats of retaliation to come over the years.
And yet it feels like none of these things are being discussed in the midst of this jubilation over the assassination of an evil man.  That the cost paid in achieving this feat is so high and has been so costly and that it will remain to be costly for the rest of our lifetimes.
I am thankful that a piece of evil on this planet has been removed forever and it is going to be an incredible story as more details emerge about the SEAL operation.  However, to me, this event just seems to be a hollow victory for me to get too excited about without having other conflicting feelings as well.  This event wasn't a systemic change in the nature of American or international foreign policy or history - something which would be a real cause for jubilation (like the rise of democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and the desire for it by the populations of Libya and Syria) - and that is what is most worrisome.

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