Okay, it looks like the tumult about the claimed assassination of Osama Bin Laden and raiding of his compound has moved past the initial reactions and on to at least slightly more considered responses.
For what it's worth, I give a lot of credit to this Washington Post article for having provided a considered, detailed, and level-headed view of all of this early and in a high profile place.
So, what do I think? Well, first of all, I'm still not certain of anything but that something big happened in Abottabad, that our military was involved, and that there was plenty of shooting and almost certainly dying. That Al Qaida and their supporters look to have been thrown into turmoil. And that our government is saying an awful lot of things, some of which look to contradict each other.
I'll also say that from the looks of it, the SEALs did a fantastic job of some kind of assault deep in a very unsafe location and made a clean break back for home.
But even given that the fundamentals being stated by the U.S. government are true, I agree with this article right down the line.
- Every terrorist or terrorist group we treat as a military rather than police issue legitimizes those we attack and terrorism as a political tool overall.
- Given that Osama Bin Laden was, in fact, buried at sea, our military has a long history of burial of enemies at sea with the full requirements of that enemy's culture. A notable example would be the sailors of a Soviet nuclear submarine who we brought to the surface and then buried, complete with a U.S. military band playing their national anthem and suitable religious observances. If we could do that decades ago and swiftly provide film of the burial to the Soviets then we could have done the same and provided film within hours today. Whatever may be going on, "we're working on it" is a bullsh*t answer and is not only weasely, it undermines the reputation of America and particularly of Americans in uniform and reduces the chances that our soldiers whose bodies end up in enemy hands will be treated respectfully or that their loved ones will ever be informed of what occurs.
- Whatever scale of threat Osama Bin Laden and his people may have been, they pale compared to people like the Nazis or even the Serbian government. If bringing them in alive for trial was the right approach them how can we see him as an exception?
- Given the logistical difficulties there look to have been, I say again, now that we've spent over a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives (at the very least) on the "War On Terror" we should have been capable of finding Pakistani factions to back who could have gotten us Osama Bin Laden alive.
- imprisonment without trial and torture as interrogation technique did NOT get "validated" by this.
- And last but not least, this is yet another brute force attack that would have been far less necessary if we had goddamn well had responded on September 12th, 2001 as many of us begged at the time, by making an absolute full court effort to train as many Americans as soon as humanly f*cking possible to speak foreign languages very, very well and learn foreign cultures and not crippled what expertise we *did* have in right-wing "Bible"-fueled attacks on crucial military and intelligence personnel because of their sexuality and/or beliefs.