What Will the Dawn Bring?


“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” ~ William Shakespeare

I confess, I’m happy that the face associated with wars on two fronts is dead. Relieved that the world’s most wanted terrorist has met his end. An angst is sated, now that the mastermind of the September 11 attacks is no longer breathing. He went down in a blaze of glory—and will now be a martyr to those who follow his extremism.

I worry about that.

I was relieved when I read that the Navy Seals first asked for his surrender. I would have liked to seen him stand trial. De-mythologized. Publicly demonized for the monster he was. A man in shackles, defeated, someone who would lose his standing in the community. The veneration would cease, or at least diminish.

But he refused. Damn the torpedoes, fire away.

The residents of the house in Abbottabad, thirty-one miles north of Islamabad, opened fire first. Apparently, the intended target fired the first shot at American servicemen. Several people died—no American troops. Which, in and of itself, is kind of odd, at least to me. (house attacked, those inside, from a fortified/protected position die without killing any of the invaders). It has a Hollywood-bumbling-bad-guys feel to it. Almost makes me wonder how, as an organization, they induced so much suffering.

I’m grateful that the families of the 9/11 victims can feel some small measure of closure. I’m grateful that our troops have this victory from which they can to draw strength. I’m grateful that as a nation we were successful in, finally, tracking down a murderer. It’s good for self-esteem and morale.

I think the Pakistani government and military leaders have some questions to answer. Abbottabad is a military stronghold. Five years ago, a mansion with 12-ft tall walls was built, obviously a stronghold, obviously to hide someone; and no one takes note? These are our allies?

I hope the revelers stop to take stock of their actions. The man is dead. But his followers are watching; an organization of millions, world-wide. The idea, their ideal, lives on. The war continues. This has been a momentous moment—morale for our troops has been bolstered, and that’s a good thing. But, please, try to remember, that actions at home may keep them in harm’s way for a long time to come. Our soldiers are not coming home today—and this one death may put them in more danger. Do the right thing, moderate your reactions. The world is watching.

A high-alert has been issued to all American citizens abroad.

Whilst we have placed a face on terror—its menace has no name. We cannot, with two helicopters in a Pakistan neighborhood, eradicate the hate, the brutality, the intolerance, the danger. Justice has been served; at what price remains to be seen.

Word Count: 488

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3 thoughts on “What Will the Dawn Bring?

  1. Osama Bin Laden was cocky, daring detection in open view; he likely had grown complacent, rendering himself the “easy” target. An abrupt assault on the compound–the eagle swooping in to snatch its prey–brought a stunning, decisive end to the rogue vermin. I never expected him to be taken alive; his death-by-combat was a foregone conclusion in my mind. There would be no Saddam Hussein treatment here; no shackles, no shameful shuffle in the hands of the Americans, there would be no trial and subsequent hanging. Justice would come swift as a bullet and I thought then as I do now, it is too merciful.

    I think his death is inconsequential, as you point out, to the currents that swept him to infamy. Their hate persists, but it must do so without its primary benefactor, without its presumption of invincibility. While the sense of danger remains, the sense of closure is nonetheless palatable; and while it is hardly sustenance, it is a satisfying taste.

    I can’t recall the first time I heard Bin Laden’s name, it was around the time of the Gulf War. It seemed significant then that the former Afghan rebel had denounced the U.S., turning against the onetime compatriot. On the morning of 9/11, 2001, Loretta and I watched the news coverage of what was thought to be a tragic accident at the World Trade Center, suddenly become an act of war, on our soil, during live television. American invincibility instantly shattered and raining in fiery shards onto the streets of Manhattan.

    I was on my feet eager to react—to physically strike back and take up arms, exclaiming, “We’re under attack—this is intentional! Osama Bin Laden did this!” I feel as suddenly effected today hearing his name in this new, thankfully final context. Bin Laden is dead. “Let the bells ring out…”

    • Jeff,

      I never expected that he would surrender; the idealist in me wanted to see it that way. It would have been better for the world that way. It would have been more satisfying.

  2. As I said, a bullet was too merciful. I appreciate what you’re saying, ideally. Much could have been gained through jurisprudence, moreover, we should be careful dancing on his watery grave. (Did that just conjure up a disturbing image for you, as it did me?) But personally speaking, waking today and knowing the man is dead, I find myself relieved–happy that my world is no longer occupied by this particular human being. This is a rather ideal feeling to me. He is already relegated to afterthought and doesn’t deserve one more minute of my time or consideration.

    If there was any greater satisfaction to be had in his capture, it’s moot at this point and any potential ramifications are speculative. Alas, it was not ours to choose; bin Laden chose death over capture. I think it’s safe to say that we weren’t going win any new friends in the matter, and that he was bound for martyrdom no matter how he met his end. And while it is a minor point, I’m glad we won’t be incurring the expense and the risk of his trial and incarceration; too many lives, too much money, and too much time is already wasted in pursuit of this–former–assclown (stain on society).

    To echo Mr. Cook, good riddance!

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