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Bin Laden With Guilt


There was a little bit of news early this morning, you may not be aware as hardly anyone is talking about it, but Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Killed during a US operation to finally take him.  This blog post will be one of the most sanctimonious things I ever write because, in the wake of this news, people appear to have lost their minds.

All over the news and the internet, people are falling over themselves to celebrate Bin Laden’s death, with hordes placing themselves outside the White House screaming “USA!  USA!”, toasting to his death and generally partying.  This has left a horrible taste in my mouth, it’s hardly dignified.  This whole situation is a tough one, as you can’t tell people how to feel, especially those so affected by the events of nearly ten years ago.  But one thing they need to understand is this is not justice for those who lost their lives, this is vengeance, pure and simple.  I’m sure people will tell me “People celebrated when Hitler died and I bet you would have too!”.  Yes, I would have, but there’s a tiny difference there.  Hitler’s death effectively signified the end of a WORLD FUCKING WAR.  Bin Laden was not holed up in a bunker, committing suicide as his forces were overrun, and his death signifies nothing.  Al Qaeda are not the Nazis, and killing Bin Laden will not end their campaign.

He was the face of evil for the west, who need such things to focus their hate on, but tactically his death means absolutely squat.  I’ve seen various people on Twitter say “This is what you get when you fuck with America!”.  What is “what you get”?  If he was the lynchpin of Al Qaeda then “what he got” was ten more years of plotting mayhem as the west fumbled in the dark for him.  If he wasn’t, well then celebrating his death is beyond disgusting.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy he is dead.  The world is a better place without him, but I will not be rejoicing and dancing in the street.  Even those who would oppose capital punishment for serial killers have no doubt been telling themselves that Bin Laden is different.  I’m sorry, but he’s not.  Evil is evil and murder is murder.  You cannot condemn one and not the other, unless you are a huge hypocrite.

This is the culmination of the events of the last ten years.  The erosion of a national conscience.  Think of all that has happened since that fateful day ten years ago.  The clusterfuck wars started because Bin Laden could not be found and America (and I’m including the UK in this as well) did not want to appear weak, well instead we looked dumb.  Soldiers’ and civilians’ deaths.  Guantanamo Bay.  Torture and humiliation of prisoners.  Surrendering of civil liberties.  Air force personnel laughing as they lay waste below them.  Jumping at our own shadows.  The mistrust and mistreatment of an entire religion.  The radicalising of youth.  Think of that and ask yourself, ‘Was Bin Laden’s death worth it?’.  Ironically, all this, done in the name of retaliation, was beyond anything Bin Laden could have hoped to achieve when he masterminded 9/11.  He didn’t just take lives that day, he took the west’s soul and today proves it.

You can celebrate all you want, I just don’t think there is much to be joyful about.

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  1. May 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm | #1

    Frickin’ yes.

  2. May 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm | #4

    sums up my views perfectly. beautiful.

  3. May 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm | #5

    Perfect. Sums up my feelings exactly.

  4. May 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm | #6

    Dude! There is such a thing as closure. Whether or not this provides it, a lot of people have hoped for it. You’re talking about this like he was hung, drawn and quartered.
    “All over the news and the internet, people are falling over themselves to celebrate Bin Laden’s death.”
    Similarly, all over the internet people are “falling over themselves” to provide a dissenting voice. There are a range of opinions. I can read them, and it’s heartening. I presume you can too but you’re choosing not to report on them.
    “This is the culmination of the events of the last ten years.”
    Is it? As one commenter on the pop culture blog videogum.com (under the post “Osama Bin Laden Dead OR: Animated GIFs Of Animals Falling Asleep”) put it “There’s also the historical lesson that he was not killed by one of the long ass wars that we got into, but by tactical special forces with the cooperation of the goverment of the country where he was living. Does this end terrorism? Nope, but it could be an important lesson on how to handle it.” Now maybe they’re wrong. But it’s cause for celebration if so.
    And finally “He didn’t just take lives that day, he took the west’s soul and today proves it.” I’m sorry, but everything about that sentiment is stupid. What the hell is “The West’s Soul”? because in this evidence I’m assuming it’s a comfortable feeling of untested moral superiority over some brown people.

    • May 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm | #7

      When I said “the culmination of the last ten years” I meant the disintegration of morals that has been occurring in that time.

      Of course there is a dissenting voice, but it’s much quieter than that it opposes.

      And what I mean by ‘the west’s soul’ is before 9/11, there is no way there would be the almost unanimous celebration of death there is now. Think of the disgust aimed at pictures of Al Qaeda celebrating 9/11, and yet here we are doing the same. That’s not previous moral superiority over “some brown people”, it’s moral superiority over a terrorist organisation, which I’m happy to have.

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

  5. May 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm | #8

    You say there’s no way before 9/11 that there would be almost unanimous celebration over one death, but (passing over the “almost unanimous”… clearly you’re not reading what I’m reading) my point is that before 9/11 there was nobody so hated. This “soul” was untested. Bin Laden was hated because he organised the murder of three thousand people in a single day. Celebrating his death might be tasteless, but is it really the same as celebrating the death of the 3000 people he murdered? The answer’s very clearly no, isn’t it? Also it does look like your explanation now defines The West as “anyone who isn’t a terrorist”.

    • May 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm | #9

      Ok swap “almost unanimous” for ‘majority’, as it is the majority. As I said, the dissenting voice is far quieter.

      So at the first sign of being tested, everyone descends into bloodlust? Well that’s more depressing.

      One person or a million, neither should be celebrated IMO, and it’s not something I would do.

      I say ‘The West’ because it’s easier than saying ‘The West, except for them, them and them’. Living in Northern Ireland, I know there are bad elements throughout the world, but ‘the west’ is how it’s seen. A generalisation, yes, but it’s out of efficiency rather than ignorance.

  6. May 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm | #10

    “On September 11th, 2011, people around the world watched as 3000 people were murdered and then everyone descended into bloodlust at the first sign of being tested.”
    History Book, Paul Chambers

    No, sorry, my complaint is that you’re actually equating the East with terrorists. Apologies for continually failing to make that clear.
    Also “Everyone descends into bloodlust”? “Everyone”? You keep doing it.

    • May 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm | #11

      Where have I equated the east with terrorists?? I’ve specifically said Al Qaeda all along! For some reason you want to try and make me appear ignorant, based on nothing, and I don’t know why? If anything, it’s you who is making that leap.

  7. TJovian
    May 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm | #12

    Finally, another voice of reason amid all the madness. Thank you for writing this blog post.

  8. randall
    May 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm | #13

    Amen well put. I can’t quite explain it myself I’m no word smith but something seems fucked up with people and their reactions, its embarrassing

  9. May 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm | #14

    I’m sorry but IMO you just can’t defend a generalisation like this – a blanket damnation you admit is false – in terms of “efficiency”. Of course this is an emotional subject but as you write “I know there are bad elements throughout the world”. Exactly! East and West. And I would say you appeared to equate the East with terrorists when you clarified that what you meant by “the west’s soul” was “moral superiority over a terrorist organisation”. The moral superiority felt by what? An entire hemisphere? If you mean then that the soul of the East (mathematically that group that is not the West) is clear, then fine but it doesn’t read like that. Do you see? It’s not you I’m complaining about, it’s what you’re writing. Can’t you see the flawed logic in your comment “I know there are bad elements throughout the world, but ‘the west’ is how it’s seen” beneath a post that expressly perpetuates exactly that generalisation? No. Some people see it like that. Some don’t. I don’t.

    • May 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm | #15

      I said “Al Qaeda” each time, who are predominantly based in the middle east and have waged war against ‘the west’, their own words. What you seem to be stuck in is a mire of pedantry over language, then making leaps to a meaning. I wish I were more eloquent than what I’m about to say, but you’re talking utter bollocks.

  10. May 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm | #16

    “Their own words”. Yes. So let’s not use their words. It is not pendantry to repudiate Al Qaeda’s simplistic world view. Sorry this is dragging on and utter bollocks.

  11. Michael
    May 3, 2011 at 10:33 am | #17

    Well put Paul.

  12. Jen
    May 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | #18

    Your blanket assumption of what capital punishment opponents feel is dismaying to me. I won’t be so presumptuous as to speak for all of us, but you can count me as one opponent of the death penalty who isn’t justifying Osama Bin Laden’s death as somehow being ‘different’ because of who he was. I didn’t agree with Saddam Hussein bring put to death with a trial, and I don’t agree with Osama Bin Laden being killed. For one thing, it robs all the places he has attacked (which he has claimed responsibility for) their own justice. I would have liked to see him serve a long series of prison sentences.

    Otherwise, I agree with you. I can understand some are happy and some even have a sense of closure, but dancing on the streets because someone is dead? We’ve criticised other places for doing that.

    • May 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm | #19

      Well actually I said that I was sure there are SOME capital punishment opposers, but the rest of your comment I agree with completely.

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