Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Baaack...

It seems almost anti-climatic to even comment on Bin Laden's capture (everybody who's anybody having already done so and a good many jokes having crossed the airways at his expense).  But, besides the almost guttural feeling of satisfaction that filled me when I realized the words I was reading were not a hoax, two things struck me about the event.

The first was that the Global War on Terror appears to have made a reappearance (for how long, who knows?) with Bin Landen's death.  I mean wasn't it known as the Overseas Contingency Operation for quite a while now?  And yet, right there, on the American TV news, just last night, they stood at 'Ground Zero' and talked about the GWOT. Who'd have thunk it?

The second thing that struck me (again watching American news on TV) was that after Bin Laden's body was taken to the USS Carl Vinson, it was washed and wrapped in a white sheet (as is the Muslin custom) before being thrown overboard. After all, Muslim tradition requires the dead to be buried within 24 hours.
The burial at sea largely followed widely accepted interpretations of Islamic law taking care not to anger the mainstream Muslim community, said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of Islamic studies at Duke University in North Carolina.
Defense officials said the administration reached out to one other country to take the body for burial, but the country refused. Brennan said appealing to other countries would have exceeded the time frame Islamic custom requires, of burial within 24 hours of death.
And yet apparently some still weren't satisfied.
But some Islamic scholars and clerics were divided Monday over whether the sea burial was appropriate or an insult to Muslims. Several said bin Laden should have been buried on land in a simple grave. The body was washed in accordance with Islamic custom, placed in a white sheet, then put inside a weighted bag.

With only a small group of witnesses, a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a "native speaker," the official said. The body was placed on a board, tipped up and then "eased into the sea" from the carrier's lowest deck, the official said.
So here's what I don't get - if you've invested as much blood and treasure as the US has to track this guy down and then double tap him in the head, why on earth would you bother to cater to Muslim sensibilities? 

I don't  know, for me it's kind of a WTF moment ... at best, Bin Laden was a criminal the leader of a terrorist group bent on destroying "the West", at worst, he was ... words I choose not to use on my blog but you get the point, I'm sure.  You've just "invaded" his "home" and shot him in the face ... and now, you're concerned that his customs and traditions be followed?  Lest someome be offended?

Nope, no disconnect there.  None at all. 

I mean, if you capture and kill a nefarious criminal, a serial killer, who happens to be white, who shares my culture and (in name at least) my religious beliefs, I really can't see myself getting all that worked up about how his body is disposed of.  In fact, I might just have a few suggestions of my own ...

Does anyone still think this dude is actually going to anyone's version of heaven?  And, if they still do, given everything he's known to have done, why should we care what they think?  Wouldn't they have to be just as crazy evil as he was?

And if we're that concerned about offending people of that ilk, then why even bother to hunt Bin Laden down and kill him in the first place?  Don't you think those kind of people might just find those acts alone rather offensive?

* As an aside, I note there are a fair bit of conspiracy theories floating around out there about Bin Laden's death (or lack thereof).  That kind of surprised me until I stopped to think about it - which is when I realized it shouldn't surprise me at all.

I really tend not to a conspiracy theory sort of person in any way, shape or form but I must say some of their arguments do make a certain amount of sense.  I'm not suggesting for one monent that I'm on side with them, just that they're interesting.  Worthy of their own blog post, perhaps.  Not that I'm suggesting for one moment that they will actually get one, just that they might be worthy of one.  And such is life. Or death. Some days, we're not quite sure which.


tam said...

the whole thing kinda baffles me. He had no regard for human life and cared not who (whom?)he killed, and yet the US honored his religion by following the Muslim custom. (I think it's whom...see, my poor little mind can't even focus on one thing! Gah - I need a vacation)

Perhaps it was the US way of taking the high road? Who knows, but I find it almost bizarre that they paraded Saddam all over the media and nothing for Bin Laden? Kinda suspicious if you were a suspicious kinda person.....


Kris, in New England said...

I'm going to put my own fine point on this - the Navy SEALs who raided the compound and killed OBL, I'm fairly certain, could have cared less about how the body was disposed of.

I do believe that our president ordered this - his sympathies definitely do lie with the Muslim community. He's made that very clear on many occasions in the past few years.

I'm not saying I think P.BO is a closeted Muslim; hardly. I don't think he has any faith at all, except in the Church of Obama.

And the additional fact is that no matter what we did with OBLs body - bury it at Mecca, parade it around the world on a special tour, throw it to the sharks - those who will be perpetually aggrieved will be ... perpetually aggrieved.

Wicked shocka.

Sarah said...

Hey Michelle,

The rumour that was going around was that they disposed of his body so that there would not be a memorial built with people wanting to pilgrimage to see it. I too was much relieved to hear the news. I am hoping the message that is sent is that if we can find him we can find anyone. No one is safe and we will not give up until our mission is complete. This is not to say the mission was to merely kill him but to attempt to end terrorism. I have to admit... I slept a little better that night but also know its not the end.