May 3, 2011

Ten Years

After nine or so Sunday night I went into a self-imposed unintentional media blackout - we watched TiVoed stuff Sunday night, went to bed early, and I listened to podcasts on the way to work. So it wasn't until I made it into the office around 7:00 on Monday morning that I discovered bin Laden was dead.

4,438 Americans died at the hands of bin Laden - 2,977 civilians, firefighters and emergency workers on 9/11 and 1,461 soldiers in the subsequent fighting in Afghanistan. Yet despite that, I have a hard time being as enthusiastic about someone's death as others who took to the streets in the middle of the night. It feels counter-intuitive to me. I just wasn't raised to think that way. But balanced by the tremendous amount of deaths he caused - before, during and in the wake of 9/11 - it's hard not to feel some sense of triumph.

I'm glad one of the truly bad guys is gone. At the same time I hope we never forget what brought us to this place that took nearly 10 years to reach. And I'm worried that with each passing year we are. And if we forget - forget the lives that were lost on 9/11 and have been lost since, the pride we took in our country immediate following, the spirit that inspired us as a people to come together and stand united - then it isn't us who has the last word.

What do you think? Did bin Laden get what he deserved? Were you happy with the way it ended?

Posted by Chris at May 3, 2011 7:54 AM

This is what I feel. I am grateful that:

1) No grandmothers or puppies or babies were bombed in this mission;
2) No U.S. soldiers or allies were purported to be hurt in this mission; and
3) We apparently picked up more intelligence in the mansion to help fight Al Qaeda.

I'm sorry any of this happened. But I'm glad that we can say as a country that we went specifically after him, that we didn't just bomb the hell out of Pakistan, and that we're doing our best to remain on good terms with that country.

Posted by: alektra at May 3, 2011 8:10 AM

I saw this quote somewhere yesterday and I think it perfectly describes the way that I feel about the whole thing:

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” - Mark Twain

Got to love the ever-quotable Mark Twain.

Posted by: Elizabeth at May 3, 2011 8:30 AM

Happy, no. Relieved, yes. Bin Laden was like Hitler. A very evil man. The only way to stop him was to kill him. But I cannot run in the streets, yelling with happiness.
D you remember back after 9/11 they showed women and men in the streets of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq all dancing with happiness that we infidels had been killed in such great numbers. There was this one woman who made hideous noises in her celebration, and I was sickened by it.
So, I chose to go about my day yesterday with no grand celebration.

Posted by: Maribeth at May 3, 2011 9:00 AM

I too, think the celebrating was uncalled for. It made us look, as a country, like we stooped to the level many bin Laden supporters did when the events of 9-11 took place.

I'd like to think we would take the 'high road' and just be relieved knowing that a horrendous killer has had his punishment meted out.

Its important, I think, to also realize that this event in itself will not end terrorism.

Posted by: 3jaysmom at May 3, 2011 9:31 AM

Yes, I'm glad he's dead because he is a special kind of evil and would have continued to murder people in masses during his lifetime.

Someone had a good quote from Mark Twain the other day that said something like, "I've never wished for a man's death, but I've taken great pleasure in reading a few obituaries."

Posted by: Brad at May 3, 2011 9:37 AM

Not happy, but satisfied? I guess that's the best word I can think of. I can understand people in New York and DC being extra emotional about this, but I do think the "party" atmosphere was a little inappropriate.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 3, 2011 9:40 AM

My quote above was from Clarence Darrow, not Mark Twain. Either way, it's a proper sentiment for how I feel.

Posted by: Brad at May 3, 2011 9:56 AM

As my husband and I discussed yesterday, how can there not be some relief when a crazed madman is dead? But happy? No. If anything, I think it just makes me sadder than ever for humankind that after however many thousands of years of civilization, we are still killing each other, whatever side of the equation we fall on.

Posted by: Mandy at May 3, 2011 10:31 AM

It had to be done and it was done as well as anything like that can be. No dancing in the streets for me either although I can certainly understand it.

I hope we remember which country funded him (and Sadaam) way back when and don't keep repeating the same mistakes. Here's another quote for you - "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind".

Posted by: Ann Adams at May 3, 2011 11:00 AM

You really do have some great, thoughtful readers. They're all so pretty ;-)
I too find the rejoicing disturbing, and like Maribeth, it reminds me of other gleeful celebration of death. Now, obviously Bin Laden was not innocent, and I am glad that he at least will be able to do no more harm (without getting into the fact that there are surely more terrorist leaders willing and eager to take his place), and feel a kind of justice at his death. I can see how that feeling would be particularly strong for those more directly affected by 9/11 than myself. The best quote I have seen applied, though, is the following from Dr.King:
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Posted by: Heather at May 3, 2011 12:11 PM

I was quietly happy because justice was served. I strongly believe bin Laden deserved to die. I did not celebrate or rejoice.

And now, I'm afraid for our nation. There will be retaliation. And I am afraid they will do it on our home soil. Nothing like a martyr to fire up the followers.

Posted by: Mindy at May 3, 2011 12:35 PM

Agreed. It's a good thing that he is dead, but I had a hard time feeling jubilant about it. I'm more of the "moment of silence" kind of person... a moment of silence to recognize that his death is reopening and healing of that wound we've been carrying around as a nation for 10 years.

Posted by: Erin at May 3, 2011 12:46 PM

I don't think "happy" is the right word...proud that our soldiers and government stayed focused on a task and got it done, Yes. Happy that someone is dead, no. He may have been evil incarnate, but he was still a human being.

I was shocked on 9/11 by the celebrations of his supporters, and somewhat ashamed that many Americans stooped to the same level. Now, celebrations by those who have lost family members and friends because of 9/11 and the wars that have followed, I wouldn't fault them for being happy this murderer is gone.

Posted by: Krush at May 3, 2011 1:48 PM

Did he get what he deserved, yes probably so. Like I tell my children every action will cause a reaction, choose wisely.

Posted by: Kami at May 3, 2011 1:57 PM

I think it is over the top to take to the streets and rejoice. The headlines on NY papers makes the American public look stupid--for lack of a better word. And I would think that celebrating will only attract attention for a counterattack. But that's just my opinion. I try not to judge too much, though, because if it was my mother, father, sister, brother, close friend, etc that died on 09/11 in the towers, I might want to celebrate. I can definitely see that side of it. I live in NYC now but didn't then and I would imagine being right here for it would have a different impact on you. Is anyone out there feeling like EVERYONE I've talked to in NY abou tit--they are calling BS and want some proof. Think burial at sea is a little fishy. Jaded New Yorkers. Haha. Sorry for the long post, I don't usually comment even though I read every day...

Posted by: Susan at May 3, 2011 2:44 PM

I'm just happy it's ended.

Posted by: Jodi at May 3, 2011 3:30 PM

I am kind of relieved to read this post and the comments here because they reflect many of the thoughts/feelings I have had over the past day+. I can't get into all the "dancing in the streets" stuff either.
I am fearful about what might come next but ultimately, the world is probably a little bit better without bin laden. Unfortunately, evil exists beyond him.

Posted by: Jane in Pa at May 3, 2011 8:54 PM

Somewhat relieved. But, I wonder how many will pay for his death as someone is going to want payback. I get why they didn't take him alive, but killing an unarmed man (if this was true) is wrong.

I thought the statement by President Obama was sensitive, but all the information trickling out since--I feel has been a mess.

The dancing in the streets, crowds and selling of Osama merchandise, I feel is overboard. I feel many are acting exactly like his supporters did following 9/11.

I understand the satisfaction that 9/11 victim's family and friends might have. Questions and intelligence might have been better had he been captured and not killed. Time will tell how much intelligence they got from the compound.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at May 3, 2011 10:28 PM

Happy that he's dead? No. But I am glad that there is one less person out there with the intentions and means to hurt innocent people.

And I know what you mean re: people rejoicing in the streets. One of my facebook friends posted a photoshopped picture of the statue of liberty holding up bin laden's severed, bloody head, and it made me sick. I wasn't raised that way, either.

Posted by: Angela at May 4, 2011 8:41 AM

Chris, I have to agree with you. Wow, this is twice in less than a year! While I am glad that he is gone I think celebrating it is in poor taste. I was not brought up that way either. What worries me more is who is going to take his place, and we all know someone will.

Posted by: Jeff A at May 4, 2011 12:06 PM