Looking Back on Osama bin Laden's Alleged Death One Year Later
I remember it like it was yesterday. First the email alerts started coming in that Obama would be making a very important announcement at 10 pm on a Sunday which was weird in and of itself. The economy was still sputtering on and a new election year was fast approaching. What on Earth could it be?
Unfortunately, I found myself splayed out on the couch with a major back injury (I inherited a series of crappy discs from my mom's side and it just happened to go out on me that weekend, leaving me hunched over and skulking through life) the night the news came in that they killed Osama bin Laden. Navy SEALs, a Pakistani village and the most wanted man in the world. It was like a movie script. I remember calling my grandfather and asking him, "Are you watching this shit? Can you believe it?!" He couldn't. A lifelong Democrat, he's the one who taught me to be skeptical of everything. We shared a moment on my porch reflecting on the ridiculousness of the whole thing, this staged announcement and Obama marching out in front of America to announce that we finally got the bad guy. Oh, and sorry, there would be no body to gape at, no gruesome photos passed around the Internet.
Having only lived in Washington for 6 or so months at that point, I debated hopping in my car and shmobbing down to the White House to see this celebration for myself but couldn't due to my unfortunately timed back injury. So I stretched out there on my couch and watched as hundreds, possibly thousands of Washingtonians and tourists swarmed the White House, yelling "USA! USA!" on the lawn. They threw beach balls. They chanted. They climbed trees. They showed up in full body spandex American flag outfits. They draped flags around their shoulders, strangely equipped with all manner of stars and stripes decor, despite the fact that most young Americans likely own a single Old Navy 4th of July American flag t-shirt at most.
Was this some proud American moment we all shared by the light of our television sets? Or was it all one big farce?
As I watched college kids scaling the trees in front of the White House, I couldn't believe my eyes. On any other day, there's no way they'd allow this kind of celebration that close to the lawn. But no one was getting shot, no one was getting dragged away, no one was even cattle-prodded into a safer area. They were out there celebrating, chanting "USA! USA!" all the way, nary an uncomfortable Secret Service agent in sight. It was at that moment I knew this was all bullshit.
What a touching photo, right? Well right... but, uh, since when are you allowed to scale the trees out there? What if I drove out there right now and did the same, what do you think would happen to me? Don't answer that, I already know the answer and so do you.
pic credit: theqspeaks via Flickr
Or how about this? Am I really to believe these bros just so happened to have a bunch of American flags and American flag bandannas lying around the frat house that they grabbed on their way to go celebrate the death of America's number 1 enemy? I'm sorry but I don't buy it. No, fuck that, I'm not sorry and I don't buy it. There, I said it.
Even on the off chance these kids were real, how shameful it was to see my fellow Americans chanting "USA! USA!" over the death of a human being. Fine, a horrible human being by all accounts but still, where's the decency? Where's the satisfaction in knowing we won, why make it an excuse to put on a stars and stripes bandanna and party in front of the White House? We were supposed to be better than the infidels.
Why dump his body in the sea? Why not simply cremate the guy and bury him in Fort Knox with the non-existent gold? Why not at least hang onto him long enough to silence the conspiracy theorists who they had to know would be all over this suspiciously timed story?
If you believe "anonymous sources," perhaps the plan wasn't all that well thought out after all:
The reason [bin Laden was buried at sea] is bound up within Islamic practice and tradition. And that practice calls for the body of the deceased to be buried within 24 hours, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters.Well that's fantastic except the Muslims insist that's not cool according to their law:
“We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition,” confirmed the official. “This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's grand mufti, said of Bin Laden's burial: "They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam. Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances. This is not one of them."My thought? The guy died a long time ago. Maybe naturally, maybe not. Maybe he never actually existed at all. There was no trial, he was guilty of the atrocities attributed to him and we were expected to celebrate that. No question. Just like when they hanged Saddam Hussein. It was just the right thing to do and if you ask why, you must be a bad American.
Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad's Abu Hanifa mosque, said: "What was done by the Americans is forbidden by Islam and might provoke some Muslims.
Never forget, America, never forget. You are well within your God-given right to question everything if you doubt the official story. Your skepticism might just save you.