Bittersweet Thoughts on Bin Laden

One more bad guy bites the dust,
Yet the moment’s bittersweet,
When people whoop and cheer for blood,
The victory’s not complete,
When ideologies come to blows,
Push sometimes comes to shove,
We’re drawn onto the path of war,
Though we’d choose the path of love,
Lennon, Ghandi, Martin Luther King,
All had good points of course,
But the truth is sadly sometimes,
Force must be met with force,
That truth is somber, sobering,
And as such should be met,
Not with joy and pleasure,
But some measure of regret,
The hawks and doves will argue,
Neither one completely right,
There are times though that safety,
Must be shielded with might,
We wish for peace, and work for peace,
Still this must be reconciled,
With the fact that none would hesitate,
To give their life for their child.

“USA! USA!” is the wrong response

By David Sirota via Salon

There is ample reason to feel relief that Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the world, and I say that not just because I was among the many congressional staffers told to flee the U.S. Capitol on 9/11. I say that because he was clearly an evil person who celebrated violence against all who he deemed “enemies” — and the world needs less of such zealotry, not more.

However, somber relief was not the dominant emotion presented to America when bin Laden’s death was announced. Instead, the Washington press corps — helped by a wild-eyed throng outside the White House — insisted that unbridled euphoria is the appropriate response. And in this we see bin Laden’s more enduring victory — a victory that will unfortunately last far beyond his passing.

For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death. When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. Instead, we have been rightly disgusted — not only because they are lauding the death of our innocents, but because, more fundamentally, they are celebrating death itself. That latter part had been anathema to a nation built on the presumption that life is an “unalienable right.”

But in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys. Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head.