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May 12, 2011

Death of an Enemy

Patricia A. Kelly

Use good judgment before killing any living thing. Killing without just cause does honor to no one. – Hwarangdo Warriors Code of Honor


On May 1, 2011, an elite team of Navy SEALS attacked the compound of Osama Bin Laden, killing him. It is said that he showed no sign of surrendering, or he would have been taken captive. His body was removed to a Navy ship. He was washed, wrapped in white cloth and buried, with appropriate Muslim ritual, at sea.


Generally, it is preferred that Muslims be buried in the area where they died, preferably in a Muslim cemetery, shrouded in white and lying on their right sides, facing Mecca, within 24 hours of death. Burial at sea is allowed under certain circumstances.


Certainly Osama bin Laden was the enemy, both of Islam and of the United States of America. Killing him was done with cause, and he was treated with the honor that should be accorded a powerful adversary.


One might call what happened a pragmatic, best-under-the-circumstances decision. Clearly, he had caused the deaths of many thousands of people. He admitted it, and bragged about it. Capture and trial would have been extremely risky, as would holding him as a prisoner of war. Burial on land opened the possibility of creation of a shrine that would lead to more violence.


Osama bin Laden did more harm to Islamic people that he did to the rest of the world. More Muslims have been killed than Christian Caucasians; and, worse, his teaching created for the world a distorted view of his religion. Many people, certainly in the United States, now believe that all Muslims are our enemies. Many believe that the killing of innocents, and acts such as suicide, follow the teachings of Islam. Many believe that Mohammad exhorted his followers to kill non-Muslims, and that the reward for death in pursuit of this goal would a very fine time in heaven.


We’ll never know whether this man believed the virulent nonsense that he taught, or whether followers of Sharia law actually believe that hobbling a woman with a Burka, or killing her if someone rapes her, is the word of God as taught through the religion of Islam. Those of us who know even a little about the religion know that these beliefs do not reflect, by a country mile, the core teachings of Islam.


It doesn’t really matter whether bin Laden was in his heart a person of principle, or a person of evil.


An honorable warrior treats his enemy with fairness and decency, no matter what their character.


For this, I applaud President Barack Obama. He authorized the killing. He treated the body with respect. He has not released photos of the body, and we can only hope he never does. There is no reason, given the presence of DNA proof, for anyone to see them, even top U. S. officials. They should be destroyed.


Any conspiracy theorist, who wishes to deny the death of this instigator of hatred and murder, is welcome to try to find him.


In two instances has President Obama, with whom I usually disagree, acted in a clear, decisive manner in regard to the security of our country and our citizens. The first was in authorizing the killing of the Somali pirates holding an American ship captain hostage. The second was the killing and burial of Osama bin Laden.


It is said that Pakistan is angry with us for performing this mission within their borders. In truth, this is what we should be doing, and should have been doing in response to terrorist attacks over the past 20 years. All nations should be put on alert by us, and informed that we will do the same any time we find a terrorist leader within their borders and can‘t trust them to cooperate.


We should focus on finding terrorists and rooting them out, demonstrating our strength, and our commitment to personal freedom for all people throughout the world. The savings, both in human lives and in money spent, would be enormous.


It is not our job to create democracy throughout the world. It is our job to stand for personal freedom and security for all. It is our job to protect ourselves with minimal risk, at minimal cost and with minimal loss of life and infrastructure in other countries.


For once, we found the enemy and vanquished him. Now, let him sleep in peace, and leave him to God.


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