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Bin Laden Dead

The president was to make the announcement fifteen minutes ago, but he is still delayed and the press has broken the story. Apparently, Bin Laden was killed last week by a U.S. bomb and we have his body.

Just rewards, even if belatedly served.

Obama will take credit (shared with the military), because this event took place on his watch. That's fair. But, as an anti-war candidate and hesitant wartime president, Obama should take care not to overplay his hand. Most Americans will not credit his policies with the kill, but the military's dogged pursuit. It would be nice if Obama also shared credit with George W. Bush, who's policy he has followed in Afghanistan - but don't bet on it.

While of uncertain strategic importance, Bin Laden's death is a long overdue symbolic victory for America. If it also has a positive effect on regional politics, all the better.

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Discussions - 25 Comments

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the operation took place in Pakistan, near the capital, and seems to have been executed by the CIA, not the military. It would appear to follow that our strategy in Afghanistan, whether well or poorly advised, has nothing to do with knocking off Bin Laden.

Obama deserves credit in a number of ways. 1) He has been consistent in expressing his belief that Osama Bin Laden was still alive and that the U.S. would not wait for Pakistani or anyone's approval to capture or kill him. 2) He made a decision based on intelligence, and such intelligence by its nature always carries a degree of uncertainty--even the slam-dunk stuff.

We will some year learn whether he or Bush had opportunities to get Osama earlier based on much less certain intelligence, but refused due to the risk, particularly to our relations with Pakistan. It does sound this morning like our agents had their eye on this house for almost a year.

Obama was only an "anti-war" candidate when it came to Iraq.

Those were brave men who carried out that mission. I hope we never know their names. I wonder if the acceptance of Allah's will by all Muslims is going to apply in this case. I sure hope so; there are so many of our own now, more than ever, in harm's way. I worry particularly about a young friend, Special Forces, living with a tribe in the mountains of Afghanistan.

"But, as an anti-war candidate and hesitant wartime president, Obama should take care not to overplay his hand. Most Americans will not credit his policies with the kill, but the military's dogged pursuit. It would be nice if Obama also shared credit with George W. Bush, who's policy he has followed in Afghanistan..."

Utterly ridiculous. A possible record-setter for you, Justin.

Firstly, Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

Secondly, it is absurd to call Obama "an anti-war candidate" - he was spouting aggressive talk specifically about Pakistan long before he was elected:

Aug. 1, 2007:
""It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005," he said, referring to reports that the US had decided not to launch a strike for fear of harming ties with Pakistan.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Mr Obama said."

In the same talk he also said:
""The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

- which is not so much "anti-war" as anti-unconstructive-war.

Thirdly, Bush had multiple opportunities, over 7 years, to get Bin Laden, the two biggest being a sensible handover deal:
independent dot

and by actually nailing him in Tora Bora. Bin Laden got away - on Bush's watch.

If you were honest, you'd realize that such sharing of the credit is wholly uncalled for.

Kate: Wonderful comment. I strongly suspect that your desire to never know things extends into other matters, as well. I see you're also keen to demonstrate that religious zealots are often the most strident atheists - when it comes to other people's beliefs in wholly supernatural matters (i.e., Jesus and resurrection absolutely real, Muslim notion of Allah's will laughably wrong - as though there aren't Christian counterparts to the mental gymnastics of the "Allah's Will" belief!)

Craig Scanlon: Founder of supernatural relativism?


Huh? You really have nothing to offer but nit-picking.

You misunderstood my comment. I say I hope we never know the names of the guys who took down Bin Laden for this reason: when my son was serving at Guantanamo, in the hospital, the names of the guards were always hidden, no real names were spoken, because retaliations against those guards or their families or anyone of the same name were confidently promised. He slipped one day and used someone's real name and that name was vilely used and spread throughout the prisoner population. Everyone knew it. There were threats against family members. That was just a guard. It could have been a whole lot worse.

That's what I had in mine, what I meant. I would love to know the names of those guys and honor them. I don't want anything to happen to them or to their families. I hope we don't hear their names for their safety.

As to the "Allah's will" part, I was expressing a hope. I was just listening to the Robert Reilly Ashbrook event podcast. Within his explanations of Muslim "theology" I was reminded of something the devout Muslim friends from my college years had said, that no one dies unless Allah wills it and if Allah wills someone's death it must be accepted. I do not see much evidence of that in the Muslim world, but it would be nice if it were so.

I would especially like that to be true because of the many people who are heavily at risk. I could misunderstand, but it seems probable that if some imam(s) declares a fatwa against all Americans because of this, calling for their deaths, things could get really ugly. I think of my young friend who has been living in a remote mountain village and I fear for his life. Craig, do you really think I am being silly about that?

Finally, I don't see how Bush was responsible for Bin Laden's prior escapes any more than Obama is responsible for his capture.

Dear George W. Bush, Dick Cheney & Donald Rumsfield.

Bin Laden is dead thanks to your steadfast committment and moral obligation as two elected officials and one appointed official to keep this country safe and sound as delegated to you by the U.S. Constitution. Thank you U.S. Military and the CIA.

Thank God that your policies were in place and the complete imbecile in the White House followed them.
The imbecile in the White House (I feel good about calling him that as all of you were villifed and
called heinous names and referred to as dictators and stupid by the very people who voted for him and
helped his campaign), wanted to close Gito and blamed all of you for a "stupid war". After he was elected as "messiah" and was going to cure the world of all its ills, he slowly realized (here comes the imbecile part) that he could not magically wave a wand and cure the world of all its ills. He had no choice but to follow your policies in order to look like he had some sense and to keep the poll numbers from sliding into oblivion. All of you, our extremely capable U.S. military (who the imbecile just loathes) and the CIA did the world a favor by sending Bin Laden to his 72 virgins (ROTFLOL). By the way according to some sources (not sure if this is true) the video of the killing shows Bin Laden hiding
behind a woman as the Navy Seals (go Navy Seals) took him out. Wonder what he will do to those 72.
virgins. But don't feel too bad. I have read many blogs and facebooks posts blaming Ronald Reagan for
Bin Laden's actions also. Liberalism is a ........... (fill the blanks).

Also, one last comment: Bin Laden was buried at sea. No country wanted his remains and according to slamic ritual, burial is to be immediate. Funny, there is also a ritual that when Muslims are buried that their heads have to face Mecca. Tough luck Bin Laden. Guess the creatures of the sea had a great meal today.


You are a person of uncommon grace. Others on this site -- me included -- could learn by simply observing the gentle manner in which you write and respond.

Don, you make me feel self-righteous when I merely thought my comment must sorely need clarification.

But I hoped you'd show up. Some former students, now at Christian colleges, seem to be having their "Hooray! The fiend is dead!" celebrations dampened by the insistence of other Christians that no one should celebrate the death of another human being. Ordinarily, I would offer assent, but this cannot be absolute; surely there are exceptions. Christians are not exhorted to mourn and sympathize with Judas Iscariot, for example, are they? Must we spend the day grieving because that man is dead? I am having a bad time feeling bad about not feeling bad about the death of OBL.

Have you an opinion about this?

"Finally, I don't see how Bush was responsible for Bin Laden's prior escapes any more than Obama is responsible for his capture."

By that kind of uber-convenient thinking, one must wonder - are leaders really responsible for anything? Why have them at all?

Then I suppose Bin Laden was not responsible for 9/11, either?

Also, Kate, interesting use of the word "capture."

My general sense is that overt celebrations are inappropriate. I understand the impulse; I'm just not sure it should be indulged.

As I type this I'm scanning my mind for the story arcs of the Bible, and I'm trying to recall if God ever commanded anyone to celebrate the death of others.

The OT has examples of God commanding his Will be carried out ... but that's different from commanding celebration for death inflicted.

And there are examples of the Israelites celebrating victories ... but I don't recall God telling them to celebrate or God participating in even the smallest way in those celebrations. So that's more an example of God allowing something but not necessarily endorsing it.

So I'm inclined to think the better response might be a degree of quiet humility. Just a hunch. I could be wrong. No doubt some (many?) will indicate I am.

In regards to the President's address, a gentle reminder for him the next time he gives a victory speech:

When they said Teddy Roosevelt's book "The Rough Riders" used so many letter "I"s on the first page that it should have been called "Alone in Cuba", they did acknowledge the fact that he had actually fought in Cuba.

Craig, read it again in relation to what you had written. I was not saying they were not responsible for the operations, but that they were not responsible for the success or failure of what they authorized -- either of them. Neither could dictate success in the missions. I suppose in that sense neither was Bin Laden responsible for the success of the planes that he had sent into the Twin Towers of the Pentagon nor for the failure of the plane that went down in PA. But he was responsible for the attack. Both Bush and Obama are responsible for the attempts to capture Bin Laden.

"Capture" is to seize or take. That about sums it up.

Don, I was afraid you were going to say that. I have been thinking it and have to argue. God commanded that evildoers be killed. I don't see where that was abrogated in the NT. In the OT God did command celebrations, mostly in the form of sacrifices and memorials for great victories. Reading about the sacrifices -- He was there. The Egyptian Army being swept away in the Red Sea was cause for singing and shouting and how could they not? David celebrated victories pretty boisterously and God loved him.

I will try to feel sorry for Osama bin Laden: the poor benighted soul. I see the photos of his "estate" with high walls topped by barbed wire and it was a prison. He couldn't safely leave. Has he been in that place since 2005, afraid to go out? See, that makes me happy.

I think people rejoice over this death because of what it means in a greater sense than just the death of this pitiful man. Bad guys get a comeuppance; good triumphs over evil. We have to cheer that. It reminds us that God triumphs over evil in an eternal way. How could we not love that and give it a cheer?

My guess is you're assuming I'm positing a false choice here -- either glum acceptance of events, or joy. But not a kind of joyous relief of justice served, but conducted with proper restraint.

Taking just one example -- the Exodus -- I see:

14:30-31: "That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." [emphasis added]

Then Exodus 15:1-18 has Moses singing a "song" -- really more a prayer of exultation -- to God. I read that and I don't sense anything akin to a joyous, jubilant celebration.

But then in 15: 20-21, Miriam "took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing." So there we have the celebration.

But look what happens next -- 15:22-24: "For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?"

They withdrew their trust in God and Moses his servant.

That's not an isolated incident in the Bible ... it's a recurring theme. Not that God punishes celebration -- I am not saying that. But the Bible does seem to paint a picture of God allowing people to turn from Him if they wish, with God allowing the consequences to flow.

So let's come back to Bin Laden.

Be honest with me -- what's the core of most celebrations we see? Is it that people are celebrating God's providence? No. They're engaging in a kind of celebration of themselves (collectively).

Going back to the Bible -- we (collectively) are free to do this.

I'm just saying that depending on where this celebration goes and how it manifests itself, the consequences that flow may not be as sweet.

Which is why a more muted, humble appreciation of God's reign would be more appropriate. Or, if not religious, a more muted, humble appreciation for the long road that still lies ahead.

I responded on another comment that I don't see TV and therefore have a more muted sense of the national response. I don't really know what is going on out there. Can I believe many Americans are behaving badly? Well....yes.

A young friend in Germany suggested this: ‎"Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth." -Proverbs 24:17 (KJV) I suspect that is a more personal response, not a national one. I think there is a difference. But he doesn't believe Bin Laden is really dead, anyway, because there were not instant pictures.

Your last line brings me back to the topic of worrying about (and therefore praying for) those people in harm's way because the supporters of Bin Laden are angry. I wonder if our "USA!" chanting crowds make any difference in that. At least our folks don't burn mosques or behead people or stone them to death on the streets.

I do not condemn the celebrants. I do not think they are behaving badly, necessarily. I just have a different sense for what response is best in this case.

I like the Proverbs 24:17 citation.

Try also Ezekiel 18:21-24:

"21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.

23 is esp. pertinent to the Toby Keith singing crowds.

24 could be applied to previous discussions...
I'm sure there's plenty of ambiguous, amorphous, and slippery - yet still rock-solid and only open to one obvious interpretation (yours) - theology to put a holy imprimatur on torture, right?


"At least our folks don't burn mosques or behead people or stone them to death on the streets."

Oh, please.

Here's one in Ohio:

or, as you probably consider these to be "[y]our folks":
telegraph dot

In any case, what a sad sort of rationalization for anything - a sure way to pave a fast path for a race right to the bottom. Hey, at least our folks don't....

In any case

Once again, cowgirl, you're absolutely right. It was Bush, Cheney and that gang of morons who made it possible for Obama to have bin Laden killed: if they hadn't failed it wouldn't have been possible for anyone else to have done it.

Man, the education your son must be getting ... Home schooling is a form of ... *honk*

Scanlon - hiding from me? Home schooling yanks your chain. Kind of like Trump yanking Obama's chain. I so enjoy it.

Just a little hint for you. When you reply using your real name Scanlon and then reply to my post using Just another one, you might want to wait and let some time pass. That way it won't be so easy for some home schooling mom like me to figure out the game you are playing. Liberalism is a mental illness.

You are not using Bible quotes to stand your ground and live your life. You are using it as a weapon. Tread carefully Scanlon.

No, cow, not hiding - and not interested.

Yes you are. This isn't the first time I have seen this behavior. You have left a trail.

Trust me, cowgirl, we're not the same person. There's no trail, and if you'd any idea what an inductive argument was you'd probably not have made such a crass assumption. As it is, you don't and so you did.

There are plenty of things Craig and I don't agree on. Most relevantly for you, I think he tries to give you some credit whereas I have nothing but utter disdain for you and all your sanctimonious "tread carefully" home school bigotry.

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