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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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219 Responses

  1. Nahida
    Nahida May 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    Why am I suspicious and shocked at the same time?

  2. Charlotte
    Charlotte May 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    How about Lara Logan? She looks great on my CBS (especially in contrast to the male talking heads). Night of her 60 Minutes thing, I salute her.

  3. Stella
    Stella May 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    Yes, there are many buts. And the effect of making bin Laden into a martyr is not the least of them.

  4. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    Nahida: Why am I suspicious and shocked at the same time?

    Well, maybe suspicious because there have been rumors of OBL’s death for years now, and shocked because maybe just maybe it’s true this time?

    I’ve read that supposedly the body is in American possession. How true that is we will have to wait and see.

  5. Shives
    Shives May 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    It doesn’t feel worth it, and I’m hating all the “the good guys finally won” posts on facebook and twitter. More civilian deaths have occurred since our War on Terror began than died in the twin towers. My momma raised me to believe two wrongs don’t make a right. I suppose I’m just a sad girl tonight and I most definitely don’t feel like part of the ‘good guys’.

  6. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm |

    Charlotte: How about Lara Logan? She looks great on my CBS (especially in contrast to the male talking heads). Night of her 60 Minutes thing, I salute her.

    I recorded the interview on DVR. I admire her courage in speaking out now. I hope her time away from the media has helped her begin to heal.

  7. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm |

    I hope this makes the world safer, but deep down I doubt it. I just really wish that this war would die with OBL.

  8. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    Yeah, I’m pretty terrified of retaliatory actions, myself.

    Also, does anyone think it’s hilarious that the last five minutes of Celebrity Apprentice were cut off for the endless wait for Obama?

  9. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm |

    Also, my money is on Petraeus.

  10. Lachrista
    Lachrista May 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm |

    I think it’s pretty disgusting how happy people are about this… Yeah, the dude was evil, but using violence to stop violence, and celebrating said violence is ridiculous.

  11. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: Yeah, I’m pretty terrified of retaliatory actions, myself.Also, does anyone think it’s hilarious that the last five minutes of Celebrity Apprentice were cut off for the endless wait for Obama?

    Yes, I heard about that. It’s awesome, and fitting. It hasn’t been Trump’s weekend.

  12. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm |

    With his BARE HANDS.

  13. Raja
    Raja May 1, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    To think it cost us two wars to do what a team of US Special Forces did in a day. Its about time anyhow

  14. Tori
    Tori May 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    Lachrista:
    I think it’s pretty disgusting how happy people are about this… Yeah, the dude was evil, but using violence to stop violence, and celebrating said violence is ridiculous.

    I’m really having problems with the exuberance (not here — in places like my Facebook feed) people are expressing. Not that I think no one can feel relieved or hope for a quick end to the war now or whatever — But I am reading some pure unadulterated glee at the death of another person. And — especially coming from people I know — that scares the shit out of me.

  15. Tori
    Tori May 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    PS — Lachrista, in case my intent isn’t clear, I’m agreeing with you, not contradicting.

  16. Nimue
    Nimue May 1, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    Nahida:
    Why am I suspicious and shocked at the same time?

    me too.

  17. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    Tori: I’m really having problems with the exuberance (not here — in places like my Facebook feed) people are expressing. Not that I think no one can feel relieved or hope for a quick end to the war now or whatever — But I am reading some pure unadulterated glee at the death of another person. And — especially coming from people I know — that scares the shit out of me.

    I know what you mean, it kind of reminds me of some of the reaction to Saddamn Hussein’s execution. I was disturbed by it, and even a little sad that the man’s teenage grandson was among the dead, but some people were just giddy.

  18. Charlotte
    Charlotte May 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    Imagine the effect in the Middle East of Lara Logan, 3 months after that horrific event, on TV, doing her job.

    Plus, as my boyfriend keeps yelling at the TV, she’s the only one with anything interesting to say — the others are just white guy talking heads.

    Annaleigh: I recorded the interview on DVR. I admire her courage in speaking out now. I hope her time away from the media has helped her begin to heal.

  19. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    1) Sad he isn’t being brought back alive
    2) Sad so many people including thousands of civilians have been killed
    3) Sad we violated Pakistan’ sovereignty to get it done
    4) Sad it took so long
    5) Sad it cost so much freaking money

    With all those things being said. I’m very pleased that this mass murder is dead.

  20. Hugo
    Hugo May 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    When my mother was at boarding school, the headmaster announced to an assembly that Joseph Stalin had died. The students erupted in cheers. And the head gave them a stern dressing down about celebrating the death of another human being. My mother never forgot it.

    Was this a good thing? Yes. But quiet, reflective gratitude is what honors the innocent dead, not unbridled jubilation.

  21. Kyra
    Kyra May 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm |

    Glad he’s not going to be causing any more trouble (himself), worried about his followers using this as an excuse, and hoping that now that “the good guys won” they can start being good guys again.

    Somehow I’m not holding my breath on that last one. Two wars, a multitude of unacceptable military practices, and several curtailed civil liberties are every bit as much a problem as he ever was, and they’re unlikely to die as easily.

  22. Hugo
    Hugo May 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    Jill:
    This perhaps makes me a bad person, but I am pretty fucking happy right now.

    See my post above, and note a “people who live in New York exemption to the call for quiet gratitude” rule.

  23. Hugo
    Hugo May 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm |

    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could follow up 48 hours of intra-feminist conflict over the royal wedding with at least a day or two of discussion over how progressives ought best react to the death of OBL?

    The “somber but grateful” crowd could team up with the “pissed off because this is just an excuse for jingoism” contingent to shame the “whoo-fucking-hoo, let’s drink” division.

    I sense a 300 comment thread.

  24. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla May 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    I’m not sure how we USians have any standing to cheer OBL’s death or to claim that we’re on the high road when we’re murdering 5-yo children with drones. As if OBL’s death will suddenly make terrorism (whatever the fuck that is, given that we don’t seem to consider bombing Planned Parenthood clinics and gay bars and Federal buildings in Oklahoma City to be terrorism) disappear. As if OBL’s death justifies all of the innocent lives we’ve destroyed.

  25. Nahida
    Nahida May 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

    Annaleigh: Well, maybe suspicious because there have been rumors of OBL’s death for years now, and shocked because maybe just maybe it’s true this time?

    Yeah, that’s probably it.

    A part of me is highly doubtful. I cannot be happy until I know this is true!

  26. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla May 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm |

    Hugo:
    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could follow up 48 hours of intra-feminist conflict over the royal wedding with at least a day or two of discussion over how progressives ought best react to the death of OBL?

    The “somber but grateful” crowd could team up with the “pissed off because this is just an excuse for jingoism” contingent to shame the “whoo-fucking-hoo, let’s drink” division.

    I sense a 300 comment thread.

    Man, am I getting tired of your holier-than-thou attitude.

  27. Hugo
    Hugo May 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm |

    Man, am I getting tired of your holier-than-thou attitude.

    And the horses have left the starting gate!

  28. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    Annaleigh: I know what you mean, it kind of reminds me of some of the reaction to Saddamn Hussein’s execution.

    I’m not happy, per se, about bin Laden, but the Hussein thing sickened me. Not because he was an upstanding guy or anything (what’s the opposite of hyperbole?), but because we had absolutely no business being in Iraq.

  29. Nahida
    Nahida May 1, 2011 at 11:40 pm |

    Lachrista:
    I think it’s pretty disgusting how happy people are about this… Yeah, the dude was evil, but using violence to stop violence, and celebrating said violence is ridiculous.

    I wasn’t really disgusted until someone on youtube was like, “he’s enjoying his 72 MALE VIRGINS.” Islamophobia and using LGBT for jokes at the same time. Yay.

    I’m happy because he deserved everything he got. I hope he’s been scared shitless all these years. I’m happy because I’m (naively) hoping this means we can finally stop fucking killing each other. But mostly, I’m just tired.

  30. Megan
    Megan May 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    Jill:
    It’s ok, Hugo, I think your sentiment is absolutely the right one — quiet gratitude is how we should be behaving (and I’m not out cheering in the streets). But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty pleased and cheering on the inside, because fuck that guy.

    Dude … TOTALLY fuck that guy. While i understand how complex this issue is, and while i by no means support how our government has dealt with the aftermath of September 11th, none of that gives Bin Laden a pass.

  31. Nahida
    Nahida May 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    …They killed more people trying to find him than he probably did in his lifetime.

    *headdesk*

  32. Alison
    Alison May 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm |

    Like Jill, I’m not crying over it. He was evil and the world is always made better, by whatever tiny degree, with evil removed. But then…it’s death, via warfare. It’s a hard thing to work through, for me.

    After watching the POTUS speech though, my next move was to make a donation to IAVA.

  33. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein May 2, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    If Bin Laden went down fighting as a fugitive from U.S. and international law, well fine. Taking him alive was never a sure thing, even if the CIA had the noblest intentions of dragging him back for trial. If they decided to kill him rather than capture him, or killed him after his bodyguards had been subdued, that’s a travesty.

    The fact is, Bin Laden hasn’t orchestrated a terrorist attack in years. Taking him out was just for bragging rights at this point. Politically, this is good for Obama. It cuts off a lot of GOP opportunities to demagogue about national security in 2012.

    The ramifications of the CIA killing Bin Laden in a mansion outside of Islamabad are potentially horrible. The stability of the regime in Pakistan is way more important than the head of Osama Bin Laden on a pike. If the Islamic fundamentalists al Qaeda sympathizers in the Pakistani establishment take this as a provocation, the consequences could be dire–as in “nukes falling under the control of al Qaeda sympathizers” bad. I’m not saying that’s likely to happen as a result of the CIA killing Bin Laden in Pakistan, but the downside is so bad that I hope Obama thought this through very carefully before taking symbolic revenge.

  34. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    Well, that doesn’t help my retaliation terror :(

  35. Sid
    Sid May 2, 2011 at 12:14 am |

    I’m not sure what there is to be so pleased or happy about: an essentially neutered bad man murdered? Even leaving aside the considerable War on Terror baggage, in what world should vengeance, no matter the evil of the man, be rejoiced in by adults?

  36. Stoner With a Boner
    Stoner With a Boner May 2, 2011 at 12:18 am |

    Well, this is beyond a mess….

    Pakistan supports the Taliban as a backup plan against India but was giving the US info to take Down Osama. hhahaha, I guess the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing with that government…..

    I was watching The Simpsons so it was on Fox—they called him Usama, I guess that’s so the Teabaggers don’t confuse him with Obummer, ah Obama….

    Hopefully gas goes back to 98 cents a gallon and no more wars in Iraq, Libya, Afgahnistan…..

  37. Stoner With a Boner
    Stoner With a Boner May 2, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    oh, and I think someone can be glad Osama is dead not so much that a putrid human being is dead but that it symbolizes an end to a horrible era….

    Can’t we give people the benefit of the doubt here…..

  38. Raja
    Raja May 2, 2011 at 12:23 am |

    The CIA actually did it’s job for once, which I am very surprised considering historically they don’t have a very good track record as we all know. They wasted endless amounts of time/money/ not to mention a lot of lives from doing everything from running secret prisons to predator drone strikes and in the end none of these things is what led to Bin Laden’s demise rather from what I gather it was doing some good old fashion detective work and following up on a lead which led to his stronghold. I believe we could have gotten him much sooner if we had used different tactics and better intel but i suppose thats all in the past now. I do hope it makes the republicans shut up about Obama but i won’t be surprised if it doesn’t.

  39. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 2, 2011 at 12:26 am |

    Just saw this Mark Twain quote floating around that pretty much sums up my feelings: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

    (If it’s not Twain…my deepest apologies, but the emotion holds.)

  40. Megan
    Megan May 2, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    Lindsay Beyerstein:

    The fact is, Bin Laden hasn’t orchestrated a terrorist attack in years. Taking him out was just for bragging rights at this point.

    Sid:
    I’m not sure what there is to be so pleased or happy about:an essentially neutered bad man murdered?

    I work with victims and survivors of domestic violence, and we sometimes have to bend over backwards to explain that violence is not just physical. Any threat or action that creates fear, that is intended to control another person, is violent.
    While Bin Laden (probably) hasn’t personally, physically killed anyone in a long, long time, he purposefully leveraged his persona and reputation to continue to support and incite hatred and violence all over the world.
    I don’t know if that’s enough justification to kill someone. Personally, I think in this case, it is. But it’s important to recognize that just because he was contained to a cave, or a house, or wherever, that he was a far cry from impotent and harmless.

  41. JTrempth
    JTrempth May 2, 2011 at 12:43 am |

    I have to agree that the celebratory mood is bizarre, but it’s even more surreal seeing many of the faces doing the celebrating in NYC and outside the White House right now – young college kids, many black, Hispanic, or Asian, presumably Obama supporters who would consider themselves progressive or left-leaning.

    I’m not necessarily happy about a human being killed, but the guy was a despicable mass murderer, and I’d be lying if I said I was terribly saddened by it. There are probably about a million other people who have been killed needlessly in the past year whose deaths would make me sadder.

  42. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 12:44 am |

    Random note: we just called bin Laden impotent and neutered in a few short comments. Isn’t that interesting? This would be fun to unpack if it wasn’t 1:40AM here. Also, if I wasn’t still deathly afraid of retaliation.

  43. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 2, 2011 at 12:47 am |

    PrettyAmiable:
    Random note: we just called bin Laden impotent and neutered in a few short comments. Isn’t that interesting? This would be fun to unpack if it wasn’t 1:40AM here. Also, if I wasn’t still deathly afraid of retaliation.

    I think most USians will be holding their breath for the next month or so.

  44. Sid
    Sid May 2, 2011 at 12:48 am |

    Jill: A world in which those adults are fallible human beings who were impacted by that evil. Welcome to it.

    “Fallible human beings” who are “impacted by evil” and seeking to redress those wrongs in the most personally fulfilling manner possible is simply a prelude to a neverending cycle of violence.

  45. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 2, 2011 at 1:03 am |

    Sid: “Fallible human beings” who are “impacted by evil” and seeking to redress those wrongs in the most personally fulfilling manner possible is simply a prelude to a neverending cycle of violence.

    You know…sometimes, people don’t have to be perfect ethical beings. Accepting that people have emotional responses that are perhaps not.the.best.reaction is a kind and loving thing to do.

  46. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein May 2, 2011 at 1:09 am |

    Civilized countries don’t do summary executions. We arrest people and try them. If we unavoidably kill someone in an attempt to capture them, that’s justice denied, not justice served. We all had a right to see Bin Laden brought to justice.

    The whole concept of the “war” on terror is a bogus excuse to kill criminal suspects without trial, and/or to lock them up forever as we’re doing at Guantanamo.

  47. laclopinette
    laclopinette May 2, 2011 at 1:21 am |

    Personally, I do my best to be ethical in as many ways as I can. I’m a pacifist (with the exception of matters of self-defense), I’m anti-death penalty, and I’m vegan. I try my hardest not to do anything that might hurt anyone.

    But tonight, when this news splashed across the Al Jazeera homepage, I and my entire family broke out the scotch and are still celebrating as I type.

    Am I sad that this man is dead? Am I ashamed of that moment of vindictive glee?

    No.

    Sorry.

  48. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho May 2, 2011 at 1:41 am |

    Seriously, Fuck That Guy. But I wish our governments reaction to 9/11 would have been different in the first place, and I wish this somehow meant that it would all be over. I have no confidence in that.

    Also, I’m kind of irritated with the many “God Bless America” posts I’m seeing around the net. I was only a methodist for the first third of my life, but when they went over the ten commandments (which they still want to hang up all over the place), there wasn’t an asterisk next to “thou shalt not kill” with a footnote exempting terrorists. So I posted this photo in my fb feed: http://idigitalcitizen.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/jesus-facepalm.jpg I’m waiting for my extremely conservative cousins to lash out at me, but whatever. Not my problem.

    I’m appreciate that people are finding relief and peace in this. I hope those of us that are still conflicted will find our own peace with it.

  49. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 2, 2011 at 2:02 am |

    You know: if instead of launching an attack on Afghanistan and then starting a new war with Iraq, Bush and Cheney had decided to go after Osama bin Laden with a special forces unit (or, hell, continue to negotiate with the Taliban government to get them to hand over Osama bin Laden for trial) this would have happened sometime in 2004 or even before.

    At least a million people who have been killed in the past decade would be alive today. Guantanamo Bay wouldn’t now have the special meaning of the American gulag. Airports wouldn’t be quite such hellholes for travellers if not for the ten years of increasing “security” every time the US government decided to play with the Osama bin Laden terror threat.

    I can totally understand this reaction from New York, though.

    The man’s friends went onto explain that he had lost several people close to him in the terror attack. “I can’t imagine what he felt. They said he had lost about ten friends that day and had been waiting all these years for this moment,” said Barley.

    Elsewhere in the city crowds of people flocked to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. Many of them carried flags and chanted “USA! USA!” and sang the American national anthem and God Bless America. Some carried candles and milled around the scene in silence, but others indulged in an impromptu party, effectively turning what is usually a very sombre place into one of celebration.

    By 1am several hundred people had arrived in the neighbourhood, which is now a huge building site where the office complex that will replace the World Trade Centre is being built.

  50. JTrempth
    JTrempth May 2, 2011 at 2:04 am |

    Sid: “Fallible human beings” who are “impacted by evil” and seeking to redress those wrongs in the most personally fulfilling manner possible is simply a prelude to a neverending cycle of violence.

    There’s a name for that neverending cycle of violence you mention…

    “What is the entirety of human history, Alex?”

    Celebrating death is probably never really a good thing, but there are some deaths that I think are less wrong to celebrate than others. OBL is certainly one such death. I don’t imagine I would shed many tears if Scott Roeder or Jared lee Loughner met tragic ends, either.

    Perhaps this is wrong, but I don’t believe all human lives are equal. If there’s a burning building and I have a choice to rescue either a small child or Osama bin Laden, and I can only choose to rescue one of them, I rescue the child each and every single time without ever once questioning whether or not I made the right choice.

    Did OBL deserve to die? I don’t know if that’s for me or anybody else to decide. But whatever I think or feel about it, he’s still gonna be just as dead no matter what my opinion is. I would be lying if I said that I feel guilty for not being particularly saddened by it.

  51. Raja
    Raja May 2, 2011 at 2:15 am |

    I agree Yonmei, for example Israel’s response to the Munich massacre known as Operation Wrath of God; took them a lot less resources to get the guys that did that and not nearly as many lives or money as well.

  52. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 2:21 am |

    Dehumanization is dehumanization, whether it happens to someone who is responsible for thousands of deaths or your best friend. Violence is violence, and in no way is this “an end to an era”. It’s just another blip in humanity’s continuing war against itself.

  53. JTrempth
    JTrempth May 2, 2011 at 2:26 am |

    Apparently the United States has already buried OBL’s body at sea, specifically to prevent his burial site from ever becoming a shrine.

  54. Raja
    Raja May 2, 2011 at 4:25 am |

    Also the fact that we threw his body into the sea almost immediately after killing him is going to give conspiracy theorists something to rave about, they could have at least let journalists take a couple pictures of his body to prove that it was him that they killed, but apparently they felt that it was more important to adhere to Islamic tradition even if the man was anything but that. Still goes to show, even if your a most hated enemy of America we may hunt you down and kill you but we will observe your funeral rites nonetheless.

  55. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 4:41 am |

    Not going to miss that guy.

    Not looking forward to all the “gaiz let’s avenge the death of the martyr Osama” operations either. Hope they will all be thwarted in time.

  56. vsm
    vsm May 2, 2011 at 4:44 am |

    Compared to Bush and Blair, Bin Laden was small-fry.

  57. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin May 2, 2011 at 6:26 am |

    I am incredibly conflicted. Part of me wants to rejoice, but the pacifist, non-violent part never should rejoice in the death of anyone. I believe in justice but I wish it was not framed in the context of death.

  58. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 2, 2011 at 6:42 am |

    I’m not sure how we USians have any standing to cheer OBL’s death or to claim that we’re on the high road when we’re murdering 5-yo children with drones. As if OBL’s death will suddenly make terrorism (whatever the fuck that is, given that we don’t seem to consider bombing Planned Parenthood clinics and gay bars and Federal buildings in Oklahoma City to be terrorism) disappear. As if OBL’s death justifies all of the innocent lives we’ve destroyed.

    Just wanted to cosign to this statement by GallingGalla. And Hugo? You can pound those horses and that starting gate square up your ass. Leave your patrician attitude at home for a change. You aren’t the headmaster here, and none of us need a “now, now, children….” lecture.

  59. sophonisba
    sophonisba May 2, 2011 at 6:58 am |

    Random note: we just called bin Laden impotent and neutered in a few short comments. Isn’t that interesting

    Interesting how? Surely you remember the thousands of deaths bin Laden planned, orchestrated and carried out with his testicles. How quickly we forget, et cetera.

  60. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines May 2, 2011 at 6:59 am |

    The burial at sea is *not* Islamic tradition and is very peculiar indeed.

  61. Gretel
    Gretel May 2, 2011 at 7:11 am |

    I heard the news when I heard people chanting. Went outside, and it turned out they were chanting, “Fuck Osama!” (Yeah, I live in Brooklyn). Turned on the news and couldn’t believe it. I try to be a peaceful person and not wish harm on anyone, but I started crying from some sort of relief. Of course I rationally know that this doesn’t mean much, but people should be allowed to have an emotional reaction to this, just like they did to 9/11. I don’t want it to turn into (already is in many cases) jingoism, of course, but let people feel what they feel right now.

  62. Ruth
    Ruth May 2, 2011 at 7:16 am |

    Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather see him brought to justice than executed. Execution not perpetrated in self-defense is neither justice, nor anything to be celebrated by those who claim to give democracy lessons to the world. I understand the visceral reaction, but the “anything goes against terrorism” attitude scares me.

  63. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 7:33 am |

    Well, they ARE saying that there was a firefight, so unless they’re making shit up, he went down fighting. Which is, I suppose, what he wanted anyway.

    The burial at sea is *not* Islamic tradition and is very peculiar indeed.

    That part – yeah. Struck me as odd as well.

  64. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 7:37 am |

    P.S. Odd, but perhaps logical. They don’t want anyone looking for his body so that they can dig him up and, like, give it a proper burial and then have people potentially trekking to the burial site and having it become one of those places, y’know.

  65. Hugo
    Hugo May 2, 2011 at 7:39 am |

    La Lubu, yes, because pointing out that some of these threads quickly devolve into “No True Scotsman” shaming is something only “patricians” do.

    Actually, something Megan said struck me and made me think of the similarity between prescribing a correct response to OBL’s death and telling the victims of rape or DV how to feel about their perpetrators. It’s crass beyond belief to insist a survivor forgive her rapist; and if he is punished or dies, and she chooses to rejoice (or weep, or be numb, or…) we don’t tell her her reaction is inappropriate. And it’s not a stretch to say that a great many people (perhaps particularly in New York) felt traumatized by 9/11. And if they want to stand in the street screaming “USA” as if we just won the World Cup, that’s quite understandable and undeserving of tut-tuts.

  66. norbizness
    norbizness May 2, 2011 at 7:50 am |

    And the final scorecard in the Wound Olympiad…

    Taking the bronze, Wounds Inflicted on bin Laden with 1.

    Taking the silver, Self-Inflicted Wounds with about 50,000.

    Taking the gold, Wounds on Iraqi and Afghan Citizens with about several million.

  67. chava
    chava May 2, 2011 at 7:50 am |

    I was away for the weekend, but I’ll be drinking in New York today.

    Fuck yeah. I *know* it doesn’t mean shit abroad, and I *know* he had very little power. I know we’ve killed more innocent civilians in these wars than he did. But I’m really glad he’s dead.

  68. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston May 2, 2011 at 7:55 am |

    The disagreements over how to respond to Bin Laden’s death — here and throughout the online progressive circles I travel in — have generally been expressed with a lot more emotional generosity and tact than the similar disagreements over the royal wedding. A big part of that is people’s acknowledgment that this is a big, complex, difficult issue about which people are bound to have strong and conflicting emotions.

  69. Hugo
    Hugo May 2, 2011 at 7:57 am |

    Angus Johnston:
    The disagreements over how to respond to Bin Laden’s death — here and throughout the online progressive circles I travel in — have generally been expressed with a lot more emotional generosity and tact than the similar disagreements over the royal wedding. A big part of that is people’s acknowledgment that this is a big, complex, difficult issue about which people are bound to have strong and conflicting emotions.

    With a few exceptions, Angus, I’m starting to see that too.

  70. mad the swine
    mad the swine May 2, 2011 at 8:07 am |

    And it’s not a stretch to say that a great many people (perhaps particularly in New York) felt traumatized by 9/11. And if they want to stand in the street screaming “USA” as if we just won the World Cup, that’s quite understandable and undeserving of tut-tuts.

    After 9/11, news images showed Palestinians dancing in the streets. Did you condone that as well? As victims of an American-backed apartheid regime, they certainly had far more ‘trauma’, and a far better excuse, to celebrate a strike against the United States.

    Looking at how much harm we did to the Arab world before 9/11 – and how much more we did afterwards – September 11th should be a holiday in Muslim countries. If New Yorkers get to celebrate over killing a man linked to some three thousand deaths, how much more should Iraqis celebrate a strike against the regime that killed over a million of their people?

    Or is ‘trauma’ only an excuse, to you, when it’s real people suffering and not Muslims?

  71. ks
    ks May 2, 2011 at 8:08 am |

    Civilized countries don’t do summary executions. We arrest people and try them. If we unavoidably kill someone in an attempt to capture them, that’s justice denied, not justice served. We all had a right to see Bin Laden brought to justice.

    Lindsay, mind if I borrow this. I’m very conflicted about the whole thing, but this is a big part of how I feel about it.

  72. tigtog
    tigtog May 2, 2011 at 8:13 am | *

    Natalia:
    Well, they ARE saying that there was a firefight, so unless they’re making shit up, he went down fighting. Which is, I suppose, what he wanted anyway.

    The burial at sea is *not* Islamic tradition and is very peculiar indeed.

    That part – yeah. Struck me as odd as well.

    The report is that Saudi Arabia refused to receive him for burial, and Pakistan didn’t want him buried there either. Burial at sea became the other option if they wanted to stick to within 24 hours (the bonus of having no fixed memorial point to act as a focus for dissidents no doubt played its part as well)

  73. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 8:26 am |

    Lindsay Beyerstein: We all had a right to see Bin Laden brought to justice.

    Can I just say that I personally did not want another show trial? He was going to get executed anyway if we brought him in alive, and you’re kidding yourself if you thought it was going to go some other way. I’m bored by court theater. It’s fucking expensive.

  74. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 8:27 am |

    Hey, look at that, something the right and left can agree on: assassination is a-okay, and eye for an eye is now official policy.

  75. Shannon Drury
    Shannon Drury May 2, 2011 at 8:31 am |

    Too much collateral damage (troops, civilians) to feel any joy today, though I sincerely hope the 9/11 families feel some peace.

  76. Anna
    Anna May 2, 2011 at 8:37 am |

    Mark Twain sums it up for me: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

    It is what it is. Osama bin Laden was a horrible man. He killed innocent people all over the world, Moslem or otherwise. I’m not sorry he’s dead and I don’t blame a single person who is celebrating his death, especially the ones who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center and the war in Middle East, American or Moslem.

  77. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    Jennifer: Hey, look at that, something the right and left can agree on: assassination is a-okay, and eye for an eye is now official policy.

    Is anyone here happy about the fact that any civilians have passed? No? Great, stop being an asshole. Your reaction isn’t the only correct reaction. Stop shaming people for not being you.

  78. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 2, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    Anna: and the war in Middle East, American or Moslem.

    Ahem. Or even, good grief.

  79. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 8:51 am |

    The reaction where I think murder is wrong, full stop? You’re right, I should think it’s okay in certain circumstances. And I should be totally okay with the fact that this only furthers the cycle of violence. And I should stop pointing out to a bunch of feminists the hypocrisy of being anti-violence, so long as the victim is a good person, and not all full of evil.

  80. William
    William May 2, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    re: Justice.

    While I think there are a lot of good arguments to be made about why we should have tried to bring Bin Ladin back for a trial I think that ultimately this is not about justice, and part of me wonders if it ought to be in the first place. Sure, everyone is going to use words like justice, but our modern system to prison and penalty (flawed as it is) simply isn’t designed to deal with these kinds of offenses. The modern juridical systems are built around discipline, around the idea of reducing criminality and altering behavior through specific kinds of discourse. I’m not sure how we would discipline someone like Bin Ladin, a lifetime in prison doesn’t seem like it would have much of an effect on anything, and a long trial leading inexorably to an execution in half a decade or so feels like theater.

    I think what the hunt for Bin Ladin has been about isn’t justice so much as punishment. It has been about making a mark upon the body of an enemy, about retribution, about symbolism. I think thats why, as Pretty Amiable pointed out, we’re seeing language of impotence creep into our discussion. It seems that one side of the discussion feels that if he can no longer commit a crime, if he has lost his power to offend, if he exists in a space of de facto submission, then justice is basically satisfied and the difference between where/if he lives out the rest of his years becomes one of pride rather than one of substance and import. There are a lot of interesting gender messages in there but I suppose that might be a bit off topic. On the other side you have people who are happy to see him dead and have some trouble explaining why. Its a pull towards punishment. Bin Ladin didn’t attack a person or an institution, there is the feeling that he attacked the group-as-a-whole. Traditionally, we don’t respond to that with justice or with courts, we respond to that with deadly force. We want punishment, not justice. We want to destroy that which threatened to destroy us, we don’t care if it is no longer a threat because it’s mere continued existence represents a challenge to the basic structure of our civilization. To kill Bin Ladin is to vindicate ourselves, to prove that we are the better idea because we have survived the challenge. We’re the bigger wolf, the stronger warrior, the (to invoke some of the language upthread) hard cock to his pathetic impotence.

    We might pretend to be civilized. We might even chastise ourselves after the fact like we are here to prove that we’re better than this or that we want to be better than this (after we’ve gotten the pay-off, of course). We’ll have months of talking heads and activists and man-on-the-street interviews debating whether we should have gone for justice rather than summary execution. Everyone will have an opinion and all the good, enlightened, progressive folks will talk about how complex the feelings are and how they’re less than perfect (but at least we’re better than Those Other Guys), all while carefully avoiding the reality that Obama pulled (and continues to pull) the trigger long after Bush faded back into rural Texas. But at the end of the day Bin Ladin attempted the modern equivalent of regicide and we undertook the modern equivalent of drawing and quartering. We might not realize we’re sending a message, we might even tell ourselves that we aren’t, but I’m willing to bet the rest of the world is hearing it all the same.

  81. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni May 2, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    I’m with Galla, Lindsay, Jennifer and La Lubu.

    Was it worth it? Millions dead, the world economy destroyed as money was funneled to a pointless ‘war’ (which was in reality, terrorism itself), whole countries left ruined and lives shattered.

    This doesn’t start and stop with the US, New York, 9/11. There are plenty of families around here (North-East of England) with missing sons and daughters because of the ‘war’ they fought in. There were victims of the retaliatory attack on 7/7, there are the countless British Arab and Asian (ie. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) people who’ve been killed or injured, or made homeless, or terrorised by racist idiots who firebombed their houses while shouting slurs about Islam (because all Asians look the same, apparently).

    Then there are the refugees, the asylum seekers, who make their way here only to be further abused, kept in detainment camps (including children), denied their rights, to be accused of terrorism. If they’re granted leave to remain then it starts all over again, the abuse and violence as soon as someone finds out they’re from Iraq or Afghanistan.

    The US ‘War on Terror’ has affected and involved the whole world.

    Don’t forget, it was the US that funded the Talibs, Saddam and Bin Laden. I’d suggest watching the documentary The Power of Nightmares to see how the whole thing kicked off.

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-power-of-nightmares/

    I wonder when Blair and Bush will be brought to justice?

  82. Amy H.
    Amy H. May 2, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Maybe in our discussion of this, we should separate out the emotions people are feeling versus the actions taking. Because, imo, that’s what should be being discussed. People have all sorts of emotions to things in ways they and others don’t agree with. Its not the emotion that is problematic so much as the how people act on that emotion.

    Personally, I am glad he’s dead. I’m not joyful or anything like that, just happy he isn’t in the picture anymore. He became this big boogieman that was used to perpetually extend the wars and fearmonger. I’m sure that those who try to use such tactics will find another figurehead to try to use but with both Sadam and Osama dead, its going to be difficult to be nearly as effective as before.

    I don’t find anyone’s emotional response to his death problematic; I do find some of the actions taken to be pretty problematic. I wonder, however, if it isn’t in part because this seems like good news and a success in a time of turmoil in the country when we have so little good news or examples of success, especially governmental success. I think it probably gives people hope again, hope for a change and maybe a little bit more faith in the government. Even if that hope or faith is misguided, I can understand that.

  83. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines May 2, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    Paraexni – Yes, the ‘Power of Nightmares’ is well worth watching and your comment is awesome.

    In short, no it wasn’t worth it and OBL’s death will change nothing. The sad fact is that anyone with a grudge and a bag of explosives can cause mass devastation.

  84. Shoshie
    Shoshie May 2, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    Not that I’m not skeptical of Obama’s speech, but it seems like the US at least tried to do this right. CIA following a lead, cooperation and collaboration with Pakistan, trying to catch him alive, leading to a firefight which got him dead, but without any loss of US lives. I don’t know, I find it very hard to be upset about this. About the stupid “war on terror,” yes, definitely. Am I concerned about retaliation? Yes, definitely. Am I sad that Osama is dead? Fuck no.

  85. Anna
    Anna May 2, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    Shoshie:
    Not that I’m not skeptical of Obama’s speech, but it seems like the US at least tried to do this right.CIA following a lead, cooperation and collaboration with Pakistan, trying to catch him alive, leading to a firefight which got him dead, but without any loss of US lives.I don’t know, I find it very hard to be upset about this.About the stupid “war on terror,” yes, definitely.Am I concerned about retaliation?Yes, definitely.Am I sad that Osama is dead?Fuck no.

    This.

  86. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 9:09 am |

    Have you ever experienced cognitive dissonance? Because that’s what I’m experiencing right now, and I imagine a lot of others are, too. One side: Osama bin Laden was a motherfucker who orchestrated the murders of thousands of people in Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, the US, and elsewhere, and I’m happy he’s dead. Other side: I don’t like violence, and I feel sorry for those who loved him and are grieving right now.

    I’m not proud of the way I feel, but it’s how I feel. I can’t control my limbic system. Give people the benefit of the doubt and give them license to have emotions. As long as those emotions don’t end up hurting anyone, you really have no business telling people what they should be feeling.

    Jennifer:
    The reaction where I think murder is wrong, full stop?You’re right, I should think it’s okay in certain circumstances.And I should be totally okay with the fact that this only furthers the cycle of violence.And I should stop pointing out to a bunch of feminists the hypocrisy of being anti-violence, so long as the victim is a good person, and not all full of evil.

  87. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 2, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    PrettyAmiable: Can I just say that I personally did not want another show trial?

    Who would? I believe Lindsay suggested if he could be brought to justice, which would have required indictment before an international court, since you’re right, he could never have been tried with any justice in the US: it would simply have been a expensively-wrought lynching party.

  88. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston May 2, 2011 at 9:21 am |

    Jennifer: I should stop pointing out to a bunch of feminists the hypocrisy of being anti-violence, so long as the victim is a good person, and not all full of evil.

    It’s not hypocrisy for a feminist to reject pacifism. It’s just a different strain of feminism than yours.

    There are some issues that we in progressive movements know we disagree on, and disagree on amicably. What gets us heated is when we disagree on something we thought we agreed on, or feel strongly that we should agree on. But the lesson to take away from those moments isn’t that some of us are fake feminists, but that ours is an ideologically diverse community.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to convince each other, or even that we shouldn’t get upset about each others’ (perceived) blind spots. It just means that it’s more productive, more useful, and ultimately more intellectually and morally rigorous to approach those disagreements as disagreements that are occurring among people who share a lot of values but diverge on some issues, rather than as deviations from an agreed-upon political line.

  89. On Bin Laden’s Death and Progressive Responses « Student Activism

    [...] from two comments I left at Feministe this morning. Off to teach now, but I’ll try to update with some more thoughts specifically [...]

  90. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig May 2, 2011 at 9:26 am |

    On one hand I’m happy he’s gone. I don’t believe in justice- this is the closest thing we’re going to get. On the other hand, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    Osama bin Laden was a monstrous man, but I’m more concerned in how he turned other people into monsters, even those who were fighting against him. He wounded the US badly, and thanks to him, the US will probably become a theocracy in my lifetime. In summary, I’m happy he’s dead, but the ramifications of his death really worry me.

  91. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 2, 2011 at 9:29 am |

    @Nahida: But mostly, I’m just tired.

    You and me both.

  92. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    Accepting that people have emotional responses that are perhaps not.the.best.reaction is a kind and loving thing to do.

    No it isn’t.

    Recognizing that many people will have an inappropriate emotional response does not rule out trying to point them in a better direction. There is nothing kind and loving about allowing grown adults to perpetuate adolescent reactions.

  93. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 10:07 am |

    Wow. I think that’s the definition of patronizing. You don’t know other people’s life experiences and why they might have a reaction that you deem “adolescent.” And I don’t know what an “inappropriate emotional response” even means. Some people consider crying at a funeral an “inappropriate emotional response,” because it is not how they were raised. I disagree.

    I believe in bodily autonomy, and part of that is having the right to have emotions that other people may disagree with. My body, my emotions. I’m sorry, but this reminds me too much of women being dismissed for being “hysterical.” (And look up the etymology of that word if you don’t know it.)

    Q Grrl: No it isn’t.

    Recognizing that many people will have an inappropriate emotional response does not rule out trying to point them in a better direction. There is nothing kind and loving about allowing grown adults to perpetuate adolescent reactions.

  94. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 10:08 am |

    @ Jennifer – I’m not particularly fussed with your reaction, you’re entitled to your feelings – but I am disgusted by your shaming. This is incredibly complex for many people and being reductionist about their reactions just because they differ from yours? That sucks. And for the record, I’m rather sad that the news is glossing over the two couriers that apparently passed. Those people probs weren’t integral to any terrorist organization by virtue of delivering mail.

    @yonmei, I honestly think the outcome would still be the same in a world court. Granted, I’d be a little happier about the funding in that scenario.

  95. Blacky
    Blacky May 2, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    How very convenient he got killed.

    God forbid he got a trial and gossiped about the times when he and the CIA still where pals.

  96. Vigée
    Vigée May 2, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    And…In the words of the armchair patriots: “Donald Trump has just announced that he is very proud of himself.”

  97. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla May 2, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    Anna: American or Moslem.

    *Ahem*, (1) the word is spelled M-u-s-l-i-m, and (2) being American and being Muslim aren’t mutually exclusive. I don’t know if you’re referring to Muslims outside of America, or if you’re implying that Americans who are Muslim don’t deserve to be considered Americans.

  98. gretchen
    gretchen May 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |

    Osama Bin Laden: responsible for fear mongering and countless innocent deaths.
    Bush & Obama administrations: responsible for fear mongering and countless innocent deaths.

    Vigilante style executions conducted outside of the rule of law: justice or terrorism?

    Don’t get me wrong, i’m not mourning this dude, but seriously? Making exceptions for behaviours disrespecting basic human rights in regards to due process for a wanted individual delegitimizes even the facade of a ‘moral high ground’ and justice being served. And how many executions, invasions, bombings, military occupations and victims of “collateral damage” before exceptions become the rule? Has the rule for US foreign policy now been reduced simply to ‘do as i say, not as i do’?

  99. chava
    chava May 2, 2011 at 11:07 am |

    Word.

    This was vengeance, not justice. The moral and geopolitical implications of that are another discussion. But it was most definitely about vengeance and the symbolic destruction of an entire threat upon the body of one man.

    William: . Bin Ladin didn’t attack a person or an institution, there is the feeling that he attacked the group-as-a-whole. Traditionally, we don’t respond to that with justice or with courts, we respond to that with deadly force. We want punishment, not justice. We want to destroy that which threatened to destroy us, we don’t care if it is no longer a threat because it’s mere continued existence represents a challenge to the basic structure of our civilization. To kill Bin Ladin is to vindicate ourselves, to prove that we are the better idea because we have survived the challenge. We’re the bigger wolf [...]

  100. Jim
    Jim May 2, 2011 at 11:09 am |

    Shannon Drury: Too much collateral damage (troops, civilians) to feel any joy today, though I sincerely hope the 9/11 families feel some peace.

    Down the road here across the road form Ft. Lewis, a bunch of troops gahtered to watch all this were interviewed for the pare this morning. The mood was somber for just this reason you cite. They were celebrating, but in a sober and mindful way.

    William, your whole post was right on the money.

    Paraxeni: Don’t forget, it was the US that funded the Talibs, Saddam and Bin Laden.

    Yes, let’s do forget this – this tired old set of memes has been debunked a thousand times – Pakistan started and funded the taliban, the USSR funded Saddam and that’s why the overhwelming majority of his weapons were soviet, and Bin Laden funded Bin Laden – he inherited huge money and made quite a bit more himself.

    And anyway, it doesn’t matter, unless you are trying to say that New York deserved that attack. There’s a name for that.

  101. Vigée
    Vigée May 2, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    GallingGalla: Moslem

    Wiki says that the word “is sometimes transliterated as ‘Moslem’, which is an older spelling.” But I’m all for snarkaly calling out perceived spelling mistakes in order to implicitly ridicule someone. It’s totally fun!

    Also, I think Anna was trying to be inclusive, not exclusive, even if she did draw a false dichotomy between American and ‘Moslem’. I agree that the false dichotomy should be pointed out, but saying that she doesn’t think Muslim Americans deserve to be called Americans? Going too far.

  102. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 11:11 am |

    Recognizing that many people will have an inappropriate emotional response does not rule out trying to point them in a better direction. There is nothing kind and loving about allowing grown adults to perpetuate adolescent reactions.

    Ooooh, an “inappropriate emotional response.” You sound like a kindergarten teacher speaking about her wee wittle charges.

  103. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 11:11 am |

    I believe in bodily autonomy, and part of that is having the right to have emotions that other people may disagree with. My body, my emotions.

    LOLz at your “patronizing” quip.

    What about “the personal is political”? A private reaction is one thing. Celebrating en masse in public? Then it become political and problematic.

  104. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 11:15 am |

    This was vengeance, not justice. The moral and geopolitical implications of that are another discussion. But it was most definitely about vengeance and the symbolic destruction of an entire threat upon the body of one man.

    Also, the election is coming up.

    “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” But we don’t really live in that kind of world anyway, so whatever. There *are* people who feel avenged today.

  105. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 11:20 am |

    Q Grrl: Q Grrl

    Are you “Lolz”ing because you don’t think you were being patronizing in your comment? Or some other reason?

    I don’t have a problem with people celebrating/protesting/whatever in public if they’re not hurting anyone. It’s their constitutional right in the USA. I didn’t like the jingoistic chants, but I know some people didn’t like my protesting the Iraq War in 2003.

  106. JTrempth
    JTrempth May 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    Safiya Outlines:
    The burial at sea is *not* Islamic tradition and is very peculiar indeed.

    Strategically, it makes sense. I’m sure it was done specifically to ensure that his burial site never becomes a shrine.

  107. Sid
    Sid May 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    Jill: There’s a difference between celebrating the deaths of innocent people and celebrating the death of a very evil man. I’m not saying that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq haven’t killed innocents; they’ve killed many (and many more than were killed on 9/11). And I’m not saying that Palestinians don’t have the right to be angry at U.S. foreign policy. But people in the U.S. last night weren’t celebrating the deaths of all those innocent people. They were celebrating the death of one particular individual who orchestrated an attack on our country that left thousands of people dead. That is very different than cheering because thousands of civilians were murdered.

    Eh, this is moral apples and oranges. I don’t think the difference is nearly as big as you think it is: Many Americans were celebrating the simple act of killing him as evidence of American superiority in general terms, and I’m guessing most of those Palestinians weren’t celebrating loss of American life perse, but rather the hope that the strikes against symbols of American capitalism and government might cripple some support for their oppression.

    And even if they were celebrating the loss of American life, many of them might have viewed American citizen complacency, ignorance, and tax dollars as directly responsible for the loss of their loved ones.

  108. gretchen
    gretchen May 2, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    I agree. Bin Laden was the most loaded symbol of both real and perceived terrorist threats this century, he was the face of ‘terrorism’ itself. But what happens when the victory honeymoon period is over and people with (very often legitimate) grievances continue to be threats – again real or perceived – to the US? Are we simply going to enter into a cycle of reductionism whereby we continually project all of our fears onto a singular face and continually lead or participate in campaigns to execute that symbol in the form of a human body?

    There are so many tough questions to answer, and i don’t feel an iota of happiness in regards to this situation (although i have no desire to shame anyone who does). I just feel that by vindicating ourselves through vengeance on a singular individual that popularly represents ‘evil’, we are also also vindicated from taking responsibility/seeing evil in our actions and those of our governments.

    It just highlights the dangers of demonizing an individual, a sort of ‘that’s what evil looks like and i don’t look like that, therefor i do not commit evil’, which only perpetuates violence because everyone is so convinced that they represent the side of righteousness. And so the cycle continues…..

  109. SeteSois
    SeteSois May 2, 2011 at 11:49 am |

    Q Grrl: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

    Q Grrl: LOLz at your “patronizing” quip.

    What about “the personal is political”?A private reaction is one thing. Celebrating en masse in public? Then it become political and problematic.

    The NY celebrations seemed pretty spontaneous. You’re still trying to dictate how folks whose experiences with bin Laden differ from yours (pardon if you’re a New Yorker) should feel.

  110. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    @those who are talking about the water burial – CNN was reporting that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan didn’t want his body for burial. I don’t know how true that statement is, of course, but I wonder what else they could/should have done with his body (outside, of course, complying with Islamic funeral rites to the best of their ability – since part of that includes burying the body facing Mecca, I’m sure that won’t be achieved at sea). Bury him here? I’m pretty sure that would be the single most desecrated grave in the history of graves.

  111. Natalia
    Natalia May 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    What about “the personal is political”? A private reaction is one thing. Celebrating en masse in public? Then it become political and problematic.

    The concept of “the personal is political” has long ago become just another way to clobber people over during a disagreement. In other words, it’s a crock of shit. And right up there with indignant cries of “check your privilege!” God, somebody come up with some new catchphrases, PLEASE.

  112. William
    William May 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |

    What about “the personal is political”? A private reaction is one thing. Celebrating en masse in public? Then it become political and problematic.

    Meh. We’re talking about real human beings have a real human response to the death of a fairly repugnant example of their species. I don’t think that admitting we have a baser side is problematic. I’d go so far as to say that reveling in it from time to time isn’t problematic so long as we discuss and understand what that means and strive to do so in a way that isn’t dangerous to others. Try to get rid of those feelings and urges which scare us is what got us here in the first place. Denial of our drives is the poison which feeds fundamentalism.

    Saying that we ought to try to use moments like this to point people in a “better” emotional direction isn’t just naive and patronizing and dangerously close to oppressive, it borders on the denial of part of what makes us human. There is a part of us, a part of us which will likely never go away, which wants to see our enemies burn and which will celebrate the death of a threat to the tribe. We’re pack predators with advanced problem solving skills, vengeance is in our blood. Trying to deny that it is there or trying to feel something else is always going to leave us with artifice, ignorance, and utter confusion when we come to feel these things which we have intentionally blinded ourselves to. I think its better that we talk about these kinds of feelings, understand them, critique them, sublimate them, anything so that we can incorporate them into what we want to be rather than try to cut them off in some useless quest to be free of ourselves. What we ought never to do, though, is try to not feel them. That leads us down the kinds of ridiculous moral twistings that end with the Cheneys and Bin Ladins of the world.

  113. Hugo
    Hugo May 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    I think its better that we talk about these kinds of feelings, understand them, critique them, sublimate them, anything so that we can incorporate them into what we want to be rather than try to cut them off in some useless quest to be free of ourselves. What we ought never to do, though, is try to not feel them. That leads us down the kinds of ridiculous moral twistings that end with the Cheneys and Bin Ladins of the world.

    I love me some William.

  114. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    Hugo:

    I love me some William.

    As do I. Nicely put, William.

  115. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

    Gretel: I was laughing at your particular patronizing “look up the meaning of hysteria”. I thought that was rich. And slightly more patronizing than me pointing out that it’s a rather adolescent (i.e, not very mature) reaction to celebrate bin Laden’s death when so many nations/countries are tinder dry and waiting for sparks to ignite them. Sure, it feels personal to everyone who is feeling this. Great! Yaaaaaaaaaay feelings!

    It is interesting though, that the only one’s who seem hell bent on having their feelings legitimated are the one’s that are all feeling the same way. Apparently the rest of us are douche nozzles or something because we don’t want to feel the same way as you do. Funny that.

    Someone else said that I was trying to “dictate” how people feel. Really? I mean, really really? Just exactly how I am able to dictate anything to anyone? And what a weird choice of words; as if I’m some big powerful meanie who can send in the CIA to bomb the fuck out of someone, kill someone, extract their DNA without consent, and then fucking dump their body in the ocean.

    Yup, folks, that Q Grrl, she just dictates all the effing time. And! And! her cliches are outdated! oh noes!

    You folks have some very odd pressure points. But, hey, as long as you have feelings, I guess it doesn’t matter if your political and moral maturity scrapes the bottom of the barrel.

  116. Anna
    Anna May 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm |

    GallingGalla: *Ahem*, (1) the word is spelled M-u-s-l-i-m, and (2) being American and being Muslim aren’t mutually exclusive.I don’t know if you’re referring to Muslims outside of America, or if you’re implying that Americans who are Muslim don’t deserve to be considered Americans.

    I’m implying Muslims outside of America. I’m not excluding Moslems who are American, either–hence my mentioning it after “war in Middle East”. And you know, Muslim and Moslem are the same thing spelled differently.

    Thanks for the spelling lesson.

  117. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Saying that we ought to try to use moments like this to point people in a “better” emotional direction isn’t just naive and patronizing and dangerously close to oppressive, it borders on the denial of part of what makes us human.

    No, William, it’s what makes us adults rather than children. We’ve dumbed down just about everything else in the US. Way to dumb down emotional responsibility. And oppressive? Really? I’ve seen you write some pretty impressive stuff, but this? Not some of it.

  118. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley May 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

    I shed not a tear for this man

    but this honestly makes me a bit uncomfortable:

    The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.

    “This was a kill operation,” the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-kill-idUSTRE7413H220110502

  119. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley May 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    There absolutely should have been a desire to take him alive.

  120. gretchen
    gretchen May 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Sid: Eh, this is moral apples and oranges.I don’t think the difference is nearly as big as you think it is:Many Americans were celebrating the simple act of killing him as evidence of American superiority in general terms, and I’m guessing most of those Palestinians weren’t celebrating loss of American life perse, but rather the hope that the strikes against symbols of American capitalism and government might cripple some support for their oppression.

    This. I live in the oPt and know Palestinians that participated in these celebrations, and it was the destruction of an oppressive symbol that was celebrated, the idea that a seemingly omnipotent impenetrable state, directly responsible for their oppression had suddenly become as vulnerable as they had been for the past 60 years. I know no one who celebrated the actual civilian casualties (although of course i’m not ruling our their existence).

    In addition to a game of moral apples and oranges, without trying to go down the “better emotional direction” route, i think it is important to recognise that vindicating masse celebrations for the death of another human being whilst vilifying others for doing the same is on the same spectrum (albeit different ends) as justifying the killing of more people than modern militant politicized Jihadism ever has for the sake of crusading against it.

    I’m not denying a vengeance seeking side to human nature, but nor do I think we should deny that we don’t have a monopoly on it and vilify others who see us as the enemy and rejoice when we suffer.

  121. laclopinette
    laclopinette May 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    More applause for William.

  122. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Q Grrl: Apparently the rest of us are douche nozzles or something because we don’t want to feel the same way as you do.

    Again, none of us care how you feel. We care about your shaming of everyone else who isn’t bending over backwards to be morally superior by ignoring our gut reactions. See:

    Q Grrl: But, hey, as long as you have feelings, I guess it doesn’t matter if your political and moral maturity scrapes the bottom of the barrel.

    Shaming!

  123. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    And?

    Just expressing my feeeeeeelings about the situation.

    I mean, we can all play that game, right?

  124. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    Yeah! And some of us can do it without being assholes. I noticed you left out “social maturity,” and I can’t think that’s a coincidence.

  125. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    So, you don’t think that a significant amount of people expressing glee and celebration in public will have an influence on other people’s feelings? You think these expressions are happening in personal bubble spaces that just happen to be out in public? You don’t think people will be shamed into feeling they should be gleeful because otherwise it might not look patriotic, or liberal, or like it’s for the common good?

    I’m an asshole because I think people are being immature? I mean, it’s not like you guys are really saying that you *are* being mature — you’re really just looking for an excuse not to feel bad about *being* immature. Otherwise William wouldn’t have had to bend over backwards to justify some really shitty feelings.

  126. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Gut reactions, emotions, and feelings are now apparently created in a vacuum, have absolutely nothing to do with a person’s life experiences, and should be completely free of question. Thank god my psychologist taught me nothing with all that behavioral modification therapy.

  127. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    Q Grrl: So, you don’t think that a significant amount of people expressing glee and celebration in public will have an influence on other people’s feelings?

    … do you think anyone here was featured on CNN last night? Are you lecturing people here because you’re pissed at those people?

    Q Grrl: You don’t think people will be shamed into feeling they should be gleeful because otherwise it might not look patriotic, or liberal, or like it’s for the common good?

    I know it’s sure as shit not happening here at Feministe. If you’ve got some problems with people who ARE doing this, maybe you should take it up with them instead of getting all displacement-y.

  128. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

    Jennifer: Gut reactions, emotions, and feelings are now apparently created in a vacuum, have absolutely nothing to do with a person’s life experiences, and should be completely free of question. Thank god my psychologist taught me nothing with all that behavioral modification therapy.

    And again, I love learning more about how your reactions are the only legitimate reactions. Shaming others for things they couldn’t control is okay, accidental happiness that you couldn’t control is not okay. Got it.

  129. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    Huh? I really don’t understand where you’re coming from. So nobody should express any emotion in public lest someone else feel peer pressure? What kind of society do you want to live in? I don’t think you give people enough credit to think, act, and feel for themselves.

    Q Grrl:
    So, you don’t think that a significant amount of people expressing glee and celebration in public will have an influence on other people’s feelings? You think these expressions are happening in personal bubble spaces that just happen to be out in public? You don’t think people will be shamed into feeling they should be gleeful because otherwise it might not look patriotic, or liberal, or like it’s for the common good?

    I’m an asshole because I think people are being immature?I mean, it’s not like you guys are really saying that you *are* being mature — you’re really just looking for an excuse not to feel bad about *being* immature.Otherwise William wouldn’t have had to bend over backwards to justify some really shitty feelings.

  130. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

    I know it’s sure as shit not happening here at Feministe.

    Psst. Check the thread title, man.

  131. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    I love how reactions are now not only unquestionable, but also uncontrollable. The human race is now suffering from emotional Tourette’s it seems.

  132. William
    William May 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    No, William, it’s what makes us adults rather than children.

    We get better at controlling our impulses as we mature, not at losing them. Kids act the way they act because they feel things intensely and tend not to have the resources to modulate, control, and direct their emotional responses. Adults do not act the way we sometimes act because we lack those feelings. Trying to pretend that we’re past something that we’re feeling is unhealthy and dangerous, not a badge of maturity.

    We’ve dumbed down just about everything else in the US. Way to dumb down emotional responsibility.

    I’m confused as to how being aware of, striving to understand, and seeking to healthily experience and express our baser emotions in pro-social ways is dumbing down.

    And oppressive? Really? I’ve seen you write some pretty impressive stuff, but this? Not some of it.

    Yes, I do feel that telling people not to feel something they feel or trying to point them in what you think is a “better” direction because you’ve judged their emotional experience “inappropriate” is dangerously close to oppression. I’m not going to apologize for that or back away from that feeling. We feel what we feel, we can only control what we do with those feelings. Trying to tell someone how they should feel about something is presumptuous at best and oppressive at worst. Do I think your specific example is oppressive? No. Do I think that calling certain mere feelings “inappropriate” and taking it upon oneself to point someone in the direction of feeling what we feel is right is dangerously close to the kind of bullshit that has justified all sorts of horrific moral oppression in the name of repression? You bet your ass.

    Maybe you don’t feel vengeful. Maybe you wish others didn’t feel vengeful. Maybe you want to live in a world free of vengeance and work hard to help build a society which does not actively partake of vengeance. Those are all fine, the last is even admirable. But to tell someone who feels vengeful that they are wrong for having that feeling and that their emotional experience is inappropriate? Yeah, you can take that moral high horse and ride is straight to hell.

  133. William
    William May 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    I love how reactions are now not only unquestionable, but also uncontrollable. The human race is now suffering from emotional Tourette’s it seems.

    There is a difference between what we feel and what we do with it. We cannot control our feelings, we can control our actions. These are not the same thing.

  134. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl May 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Gretel: PrettyAmiable wanted to say I was shaming folks. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m just expressing my opinion. She seems to think this is a pretty bad thing, so I was just saying that it is just as egregious as people here on this thread, or people in public, assuming that their personal feelings are happening in fucking bubbles without any influence on other peoples’ feelings.

    It’s a two way street. If people feel glee and want all kinds of freedom to do so, go for it. I don’t feel glee and I want the freedom to say that I feel this glee is immature. See how that works?

  135. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    Seriously? We’re down to “I can’t control my feelings”?

  136. gretel
    gretel May 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    Jennifer:
    Seriously?We’re down to “I can’t control my feelings”?

    Can you control your feelings? I wish I could, but I can’t. When a car almost hits me as I’m crossing the street, I’m pissed off. But then on the next block when I see someone walking a dog, I feel happy. The difference is that I can usually control my responses to these feelings. So I don’t kick the car’s bumper, and I don’t head to the pound right away and adopt a dog–as much as I’d like to do those two things.

  137. Diana
    Diana May 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm |

    Damn, so much anger on this thread. I have been making an effort, since it was pointed out to me, to not audit the reactions of others and shame them for feeling or behaving differently than me with regards to this situation. Maybe we could all try that? :) I can’t get happy about the death of any person, but it is a relief to me, to have this great figurehead of terrorism taken out of the picture. No doubt his god will judge him justly.

  138. gretchen
    gretchen May 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    Diana:
    but it is a relief to me, to have this great figurehead of terrorism taken out of the picture.

    problem is he was just the figurehead, a poster boy for fears. And the many people who were feeling relief (or *cringe* rejoicing) a few hours ago are now worrying about retaliations. So do we now have a free ticket to stay in Afghanistan executing people who might retaliate, creating figureheads and executing them indefinitely? I fear so.

  139. Diana
    Diana May 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    gretchen: problem is he was just the figurehead, a poster boy for fears. And the many people who were feeling relief (or *cringe* rejoicing) a few hours ago are now worrying about retaliations. So do we now have a free ticket to stay in Afghanistan executing people who might retaliate, creating figureheads and executing them indefinitely? I fear so.

    Must find new figureheads to justify absurd expenditures and wastes of time, energy, and human life! Must protect economic interests! *sigh*

  140. Citrusse
    Citrusse May 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    There is nothing to rejoice about. This is not good news. The US military forces are to be dismantled by feminists, not applauded. So the US military kill bin Laden. The world is certainly not a better or safer place now. Both US Imperialism and islamic terrorism live on. I am appalled at the festive mood showed off by US citizens right now. The guy is dead. He deserved a fair trial in front of International Courts. Please let me remember you that bin Laden was trained by the CIA in their struggle against the Soviet Union. Now the US is training future terrorists who will turn against them as well. Weapons and wars make people, and predominantly people of color, starved, raped, harmed, mutilated, dead. Again, nothing to rejoice about. Bring US troops home for a start.

  141. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

    Q Grrl: Psst. Check the thread title, man.

    Oh, did Jill rename this thread, “OMG Y’ALL NEED TO SHARE MY FEELINGS OR ELSE YOU’RE A TRAITOR TO THIS NATION!” ? My bad, you’re so right.

    Seriously though: displacement, google it.

  142. gretchen
    gretchen May 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

    Yep!

    *nauseated* stop the world, i want to get off.

  143. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Seriously? We’re down to “I can’t control my feelings”?

    Seriously? Did you miss the part where William continued to say “but we can control our actions”? Or are emotions and actions the same to you?

    FFS. What is the problem in recognizing that you can’t control how you feel but you can control how you act? So: I’m not particularly saddened by OBL’s death but I’m not about to go out and cheer and chant and sing the Star Spangled Banner. I’m also not going to let my knee jerk emotions get in the way of looking critically at what happened (and what’s been happening). If people think I’m a bad person for feeling something “inappropriate” or if others think I’m a bad American for not acting on it and cheering and joining in the “fun”, they are welcome to go fuck themselves.

  144. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    Is posting on here an emotion or an action? Is saying out loud or on a blog you’re happy he’s dead an emotion or an action? Is driving around town chanting “USA” with a flag in your hand an emotion or an action? Are you actually arguing they’re completely separate?

  145. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

    What? Who said emotions and actions are completely separate?

  146. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    Those are actions done by people who are letting emotions guide them.

    I don’t focus on how people feel because that’s something they can’t control. They can control how they act and what they do.

    I do tend to stay away from people who can’t/won’t see the difference, since they’ll justify whatever assholery they engage in with “Well, I was pissed.” Ahem.

  147. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    So: I was livid at the asshole who nearly ran me off the road because he couldn’t be bothered to check his blind spot. However, said asshole was not harmed by my emotion because I did not speed up and ram his Lexus from behind.

    I had a negative, unhelpful, inappropriate, and mean emotion, and I didn’t act on it! Amazing, I know.

  148. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    Also: if I saw that said asshole got into an accident further down the highway, I wouldn’t honk my horn and flip him the bird, or cheer. I’d call 911. Even if I did think to myself, “What goes around comes around, dumbass.”

    Again, amazing. I also manage to drag my ass to work when I’d much rather stay in and watch zombie apocalypse movies.

  149. Kai
    Kai May 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    “I will 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.”
    —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    It’s true that we’re all fallible human beings, susceptible in varying degrees to inner weakness. It’s true of people like Osama Bin Laden too. Who knows what happened to that guy to make him what he was.

    And I’m a New Yorker, I was there that day blah blah blah. I worked in and around WTC for years. My old neighborhood in Battery Park City got destroyed when the towers fell. It is possible to go through tragedy in life without dehumanizing oneself. People do it everyday all over the world.

    For what it’s worth, my fuller reaction here: The Thrill and Artifice of an Operatic Story

  150. Jennifer
    Jennifer May 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

    I’m going to sign out from this thread now. It’s devolved beyond useful arguments and I probably helped push it there. My hope for positive, peaceful, non-violent change is depressed.

  151. tomoe gozen
    tomoe gozen May 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    “The US military forces are to be dismantled by feminists, not applauded. ”

    Ah… way to set your sights unrealistically high.

    What will be fascinating is how (and not if, it’s a matter of time) the right tries to construe this as an error on obama’s part.

  152. Raja
    Raja May 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm |

    We didn’t actually owe him a trial considering he A) declared war on us B) Killed 3000 of are our citizens which was basically a provocation to war itself. Under International law we had the right to kill Bin Laden because he declared war on us and engaged in hostile actions against our country. If we were fighting against another conventionally armed country and we knew the location of one of their top generals you bet you we would try to take him out and we have in the past. As for Pakistan’s sovereignty being violated, there are a number of people within the Pakistani govt who are Al Qaeda sympathizers particularly in the Pakistani intelligence services The fact he was found in a mansion outside of the capital and no one knew about it is pretty suspicious. Al Qaeda is still dangerous but hopefully without their leader they are a little less so and given its decentralized nature it is almost impossible to completely erradicate it entirely however, the way we have been fighting this war has been very costly and inefficent. We need to settle our buisness in Afghanstan as soon as possible and get the hell out, as for the rest of Al Qaeda we can just pick off the cells that are creditable threat with our special forces like Bin Laden.

  153. Nahida
    Nahida May 2, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    Vigée: Wiki says that the word “is sometimes transliterated as ‘Moslem’, which is an older spelling.” But I’m all for snarkaly calling out perceived spelling mistakes in order to implicitly ridicule someone. It’s totally fun!

    It’s not a “perceived spelling mistake.” We know that’s a correct way to spell it. But whenever I’ve seen it spelled Moslem, in my experience (as a Muslim) it’s always been derogatory, regardless of how legitimate wiki feels it is.

    Anna, you are of course free to spell it however you like, and I recognize you had no ill-intention, but personally that spelling sort of makes me cringe whenever I see it.

  154. gretchen
    gretchen May 3, 2011 at 12:57 am |

    Raja:
    We didn’t actually owe him a trial considering he A) declared war on us B) Killed 3000 of are our citizens which was basically a provocation to war itself.

    A) didn’t “owe”? Really? Judge, jury and executioner it is then.
    B) The USA have killed MILLIONS of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, so by your logic i’d say that is also provocation to engage in hostile action on US soil. Not having the resources for a ‘traditional’ armed forces does not make violent actions ‘terrorism’, it shows them to be weak in the face of imperialistic forces with little other option for retaliation or resistance.

    What exactly is “our business” in Afghanistan anyway? Imposing a leader of our choosing that serves our interests instead of the interests of the afghani people? Way to go, yay democracy.

  155. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 3:07 am |

    I can see this is going to be a long night but oh well what’s new. First off, those millions killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were after the organization which he led attacked us by smashing airplanes into buildings killing 3,000+ citizens in a day. The declaring war on us came before that, in fact it came quite sometime before 9/11 in which Bin Laden basically offered us two choices. A) We could convert to form of Islam that he and his followers preached which was basically was Afghanistan under the Taliban which is derived from a sect of Islam called salafist/wahabi which is extremely puritanical and most commonly practiced in Saudi Arabia which Bin Laden just happened to be from coincidently however obviously not all salafi/wahbists are terrorists but this is the ideology which Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda brethren follow in fact I would call it extreme salafist/wahbism because as I stated above not all salafist/wahbists feel the need to go out and commit acts of terror in the name of their religion. The second option upon refusal to take up his religion was to basically to be declared an enemy subject to attacks, in fact Al Qaeda has shown it is more than willing to kill other Muslims that don’t agree with their worldview of how Islam is practiced as they have no qualms whatsoever with committing acts of terror in Islamic countries as well it just isn’t as covered as much in our news except perhaps in Iraq where they tried to come in after the country fell into chaos because our president felt it was more important to go after a man who had nothing to do with 9/11 or Bin Laden at that point in time and get revenge for his daddy + secure some oil contracts for his Vice President and completely ignore Afghanistan; the place where Bin Laden was supposedly hiding at the time and while we spent six years trying to deal with the mess in Iraq the Taliban/Al Qaeda spent their time new operating base in the tribal areas of Pakistan which the U.S could not officially go into without violating Pakistan’s sovereignty although that didn’t stop us.
    Also it should be noted at the Battle of Tora Bora which was our best chance to capture/kill Bin Laden at the time failed partly due to the fact that the Pakistani forces who we thought were on our side were really more sympathic to him and I think to an extent still are considering that’s where we found him in the end. Now to respond to what I think our business in Afghanistan ought to have been and what we should do now. I am not entirely against regime change and there has been times when it has proven beneficial to the people inhabiting said country (best example I can think of off the top of my head is Germany and Japan after WW2) but many times it has not been that way and often been used to serve our own personal interests which I am more than freely willing to acknowledge. In the case of Afghanistan it was clear that the Taliban were allowing their country to be used as a training ground for Al Qaeda recruits not to mention they were sheltering Bin Laden at one point but do I think we used too many cluster bomb munitions on a country that didn’t even really have much of a standing army to begin with? Yes. We have killed a fuck load of people that didn’t need to die. Do I think we have stayed too long in that country than we should have? Yes. It is called the graveyard of empires for a reason spanning back all the way to Alexander the Great who have all tried and failed to hold it for a significant period of time. Centralized rule has never really worked for the Afghan people either as I understand it which is fine and we don’t need it to work, what we need to do is basically tell Karzai that with this lucky break of killing Bin Laden we are getting the fuck out and that as part of our withdraw we would be willing to hold reconciliation talks with elements of the Taliban who want to lay down their arms and join the political process and train the Afghan security forces to deal with the ones who would rather keep on fighting but the focus is letting them take control. After we leave it’s up to them to do what they want and what they make of their future. If they still want our assistance with things like building infrastructure than I don’t see a problem in doing that though that is something the UN forces can handle more than we can.
    Now regarding your comment about not having the resources to fight conventional warfare does not automatically make you a terrorist I will say I am in partial agreement with you however when it comes to Bin Laden and his ilk it doesn’t really matter because Al Qaeda is definitely a terrorist organization in pretty much every definition of the word. And yes they are weak and pathetic taking anti American sentiment in the region and using it to force their own personal version of Islam onto others which pretty much declares war on 98% of the world including their 8 billion or so Muslim brothers as well. They are no more saviors or poster boys for freedom than the wave of Marxist terrorists largely funded by the Soviet Union back in the day were and in the end while they may get their attention now but they will fade. They will die. And eventually they will be forgotten like all the rest of the violent extremists out in the world.

  156. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 4:18 am |

    Raja: in fact it came quite sometime before 9/11 in which Bin Laden basically offered us two choices.

    Why yes, yes he did. Osama bin Laden offered the US the choice – get US troops out of Saudi Arabia or be subjected to terrorist attacks till you do.

    On 11th September 2001 al-Qaeda mounted a hugely successful terrorist attack on the WTC and the Pentagon.

    On 26th August 2003, the last US unit left Saudi Arabia.

    Who can tell al-Qaeda terrorism doesn’t work?

  157. Blimp
    Blimp May 3, 2011 at 4:35 am |

    Way to kill the thread Raja, nobodies gonna read all that.

  158. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays May 3, 2011 at 4:35 am |

    We don’t owe anyone who declares war on us a trial? The people who wrote the Geneva Conventions will certainly be fascinated to hear that.

  159. gretchen
    gretchen May 3, 2011 at 4:42 am |

    @Raja
    I’m not questioning the history, I am however condemning the morality paradox the US and UK governments have constructed that on the one hand justifies their actions and on the other condemns retaliation and resistance by simply coining it ‘terrorism’ and waiting for us all to recoil in conditioned fear and horror whilst yelling “fuck yeah” to our so called victories that also involve killing a hell of a lot of innocent people and summary executions.

    If our governments’ military campaigns continue to justify violence in terms of retaliation, there will never be an end to provocation, the legitimisation of horrors, and the demonisation and othering of those in opposition.

    From someone more eloquent than me:

    “Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.” – Derrick Jensen

  160. gretchen
    gretchen May 3, 2011 at 4:53 am |

    Raja:
    First off, those millions killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were after the organization which he led attacked us by smashing airplanes into buildings killing 3,000+ citizens in a day… in fact Al Qaeda has shown it is more than willing to kill other Muslims that don’t agree with their worldview of how Islam is practiced

    So, um, we weren’t involved in the state affairs or deaths of Iraqi and Afghani people before 9/11? Nothing whatsoever that might lead people to have a legitimate grievance against our foreign policies?

    And its just as easy to replace your last quoted sentence with “in fact [the USA] has shown it is more than willing to kill [anyone] that do[esn’t] agree with their worldview [in general]

  161. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 3, 2011 at 7:59 am |

    To move to a more productive line…I’m still at a loss as to how we *should* respond to terrorist attacks. It seems as if people are arguing that there should be no military response to 9/11. Should there be no police response to a clinic bombing? Should we release Dr. Tiller’s murderer? Should we never have sought McVeigh? What are the consequences of inaction?

  162. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 8:08 am |

    I’m still at a loss as to how we *should* respond to terrorist attacks.

    With police work. (In an international terrorist context, “police work” may include military intelligence, but done to police standards.)

    Also, with political development work: you win against the terrorists by convincing people not to become terrorists. Make peace, not war.

    Should there be no police response to a clinic bombing?

    Should the “police response” to a clinic bombing be to take out the nearest pro-lifer’s house in an aerial attack, perhaps killing a pro-life activist and also their spouse, children, and neighbours? Without even bothering to find out if that prolifer was the one responsible for the clinic bombing? That’s what the US did in response to 9/11.

    Should we release Dr. Tiller’s murderer?

    Should every single evangelical Christian in the US be at risk of arrest, deportation, indefinite extrajudicial imprisonment, interrogation, and torture, because that’s the religious group that tends to throw up murderous prolife extremists and their supporters? That’s how the US has treated Muslims in the wake of 9/11.

    Should we never have sought McVeigh?

    Should McVeigh have been waterboarded to get him to confess? Should his family have been arrested and tortured?

    What are the consequences of wrong action?

    More terrorists.

  163. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 3, 2011 at 8:19 am |

    @Yonmei, I am not trying to justify what we did, I’m trying to figure out what we should do going forward. Police work doesn’t make sense to me in states where there are no cooperating police forces. If you want to engage in this constant implication of bad faith, I am not going to engage with you anymore. Its too damn exhausting.

  164. Crys T
    Crys T May 3, 2011 at 8:33 am |

    @Raja So what exactly did the people and/or political elite of Iraq have to do with Al Qaida again? Cos my memory says, Saddam Hussein & Islamic fundamentalists? Not exactly BFFs.

    And also, Jill: would you be so willing to rejoice in the deaths-by-assassination of Bush, Blair et al? Because they are every bit as “evil” as Bin Laden. How about one of those billiionaire businessmen, whose names we may not know but who are personally responsible for death and misery around the globe at a rate that Bin Laden never came anywhere near to? Should the military–or hell, your average citizen, given that the government is in the pockets of these supremely evil men–have the right to slaughter them at will? If not, why not? After all, they have, beyond any shadow of any doubt, caused quanitatively MORE oppression, pain and death than Bin Laden. Therefore, are they not more worthy of being executed?

    And, also, when the FUCK does a feminist forum condone the death penalty AT ALL?

    I can’t believe that people who claim to be feminist/progressive/liberal are joining in in this jingoistic display of bloodthirsty ghoulishness. If that’s the behaviour you’re going to display, just what exactly makes all of you “better than” people who support the likes of Bin Laden?

    Thank god there was some perspective in my Twitter feed: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    @Kirsten J. The problem with the military action that was taken was that it was taken against people who basically had fuck-all to do with a) the 9/11 attacks and b) Bin Laden. Also, over the years I’ve followed reports of military/police action taken after terrorist attacks in countires such as Israel, as well as living myself in Spain during a period when ETA was fairly active. And you know what I’ve noticed: such action is usually pretty useless.

    The whole point of terrorist organisations is that they don’t follow traditional hierarchical structures. So you cut off the head, so what? Before you’ve finished congratulating yourselves, it’s grown 3 new ones. Killing Bin Laden has achieved nothing, other than giving Obama a few brownie points and giving Al Qaida another martyr. Yeah, well done.

  165. Isn'tTakingThePissAtAll
    Isn'tTakingThePissAtAll May 3, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    Way to kill the thread Raja, nobodies gonna read all that.

    That not true! Some of us won’t just read that wall of text, we’ll analyze it statistically. Did you know that, for instance, Raja’s post had 978 words in it? That the range of words-per-sentence, provided you take one word rhetorical sentences and include them as part of the previous sentence, is between 21 and 193 words? The mean number of words-per-sentence of Raja’s post is 75, though the median number is 63. Five of Raja’s thirteen sentences contained 106 or more words. Fascinating!

  166. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    Police work doesn’t make sense to me in states where there are no cooperating police forces

    In an ideal situation, police work means you try and find out who did it and how they did it. You try to make people feel safe – ensure that the people responsible are caught, and that reasonable precautions are taken against copycat crimes (or by plugging loopholes in security precautions – the 9/11 hijackers got the boxcutters they used brought aboard by cleaning staff, the security presumption when planes were hijacked was that they would be used to gain hostages, not as a missile: the cockpit doors were not always secure against passenger attack: etc).

    In the broadest possible sense, tracking down Osama bin Laden’s location was “police work” – it wasn’t military action. (Sending in a hit squad to take him out was military action, but it was a damn sight more precise than sending a bomber to hit the area where he was thought to be, which appeared to be the US standard for the past ten years.)

    I thought at the time, in October 2001, that if Bush had actually wanted to get Osama bin Laden, he would either have continued to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan, or he would have done what it seems Obama set out to do – figure out where he was by police work and send in a special ops team to capture (or kill) him.

    If you want to engage in this constant implication of bad faith

    I was attempting to answer you sincerely and politely. I’m sorry you assumed otherwise. If you’re find assuming bad faith on my part exhausting, yes, perhaps you should disengage until you can assume otherwise.

  167. Jim
    Jim May 3, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    Nahida: Anna, you are of course free to spell it however you like, and I recognize you had no ill-intention, but personally that spelling sort of makes me cringe whenever I see it.

    Nahida, thank you for this. Ths is a piece information I can use. I had assumed it was just a split between the Arabic and the Farsi pronunciations, with the Farsi pronunciation entering English by way of India, and it’s that but more than that. I had shifted to “Muslim” earlier, but mostly out of linguistic snobbery. Now I know there is a much better reason.

  168. Isn'tTakingThePissAtAll
    Isn'tTakingThePissAtAll May 3, 2011 at 10:23 am |

    In an ideal situation, police work means you try and find out who did it and how they did it. You try to make people feel safe – ensure that the people responsible are caught, and that reasonable precautions are taken against copycat crimes

    I suppose what police work means depends pretty heavily on where you live and how much social power you hold. Where I live police work tends to mean generating revenue, creating the illusion of security in neighborhoods with high property values but already low crime, and finding brown folks to harass/beat up/murder/arrest for consensual crimes. Police work, even in the most enlightened and progressive societies, ultimately boils down to having thugs employed by the powerful hunt down free lance thugs so that free lance thugs learn that they have to give those with power their cut. From that perspective, US foreign policy makes a lot of sense.

  169. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

    Crys T: I never believed Iraq was a good idea, in fact I believed I stated that it wasn’t in my post but since it was a rather a long one I will say again Iraq shouldn’t have happened and had nothing to do with Bin laden/Al Qaeda, it was about George W Bush getting revenge for daddy and securing oil contracts for his Vice President.
    Gretchen: Of course there are legitimate grievances against US Foreign Policy in the Middle East, however that does not make Al Qaeda and Bin Laden heroic freedom fighters rather they are just a bunch of fundamentalists exploiting anti american sentiment to their own ends. Furtheremore, I’m more than willing to believe that while people in the middle east may not agree with our foreign policy they don’t feel the need to resort to terrorism. Also regarding taking Bin Laden arrived some news reports state that while it was a kill mission that officials have said if he had been willing to surrender we were prepared for that as well. He chose not too and I wouldn’t expect any special forces soldier to risk his life to try to get a man alive who would rather go down fighting in the name of some perverted form of an otherwise respectable religion of 1.3 billion people.

  170. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    As for Tiller’s case, the procedures for handling domestic terrorists are different than those operating internationally. We can’t exactly send the local police department after a network which is operating in several amount of countries. For dealing with members of that network who are operating in the U.S that falls under the jurisdiction of FBI which is basically national police and while it does do some overseas operations its duties are still largely regulated to the U.S and most of the work they would do would be preventing attacks which are being plotted on our own soil. That leaves our national security forces whose role is primarily different than the police which include the CIA and our military which have the authorization to conduct operations abroad. Notice that when we are dealing with terrorists here in the US we do not use our military forces to apprehend them but rather our law enforcement. There is a quote from BSG which pretty well why we do this “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.” And this has happened before in other countries; take Argentina for example who was plagued by marxist terrorists; their response was to send in the military which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. So yes there are times when the military is not an appropriate reaction. Terrorism is a quasi hybrid and can not exclusively domain of either law enforcement or the military and one of the things that can go wrong in Counter Terrorism is that the other was handling what should have been the other’s responsibility.

  171. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

    woops doublepost by bad

  172. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    oh wait my bad i guess not. yeah please delete this comment and the one above it. thanks. sorry little distracted right now.

  173. tomoe gozen
    tomoe gozen May 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    It was astounding to witness Yonmei’s display of psychic powers- ’cause now I’m totally sure that that’s just what Kristen meant.

  174. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    Crys T: @Kirsten J. The problem with the military action that was taken was that it was taken against people who basically had fuck-all to do with a) the 9/11 attacks and b) Bin Laden. Also, over the years I’ve followed reports of military/police action taken after terrorist attacks in countires such as Israel, as well as living myself in Spain during a period when ETA was fairly active. And you know what I’ve noticed: such action is usually pretty useless.

    The whole point of terrorist organisations is that they don’t follow traditional hierarchical structures. So you cut off the head, so what? Before you’ve finished congratulating yourselves, it’s grown 3 new ones. Killing Bin Laden has achieved nothing, other than giving Obama a few brownie points and giving Al Qaida another martyr. Yeah, well done.

    Sorry just saw this. And I absolutely agree. I’m just trying to figure out what we should do. Clearly, we should not have attacked random unaffiliated nations. I’m not sure police action works. I’m not sure our approach to the McVeigh terrorism or Tiller’s death was adequate to protect people going forward (although it was all that was legal permissible). Is there a practical and just answer to (even provoked) acts of terror?

  175. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    Is there a practical and just answer to (even provoked) acts of terror?

    I think there is, but it’s not a popular one.

    Make peace.

    Way upthread, I pointed out that al-Qaeda’s initial key objective was to get the US military out of Saudi Arabia, and in fact, within two years of September 11, they’d accomplished their goal.

    In 1991, the US government cooked up an excuse which the Saudi monarchy was happy to take at face value, for installing US military bases in a country which is sacred to Muslims worldwide.

    Suppose that after the first World Trade Center attack, the US government had not only tracked down the people responsible for that attack and brought them to justice (Ramzi Yousef was sentenced to life without parole in February 1998) but had also asked “Why is an organisation which was originally funded by the US to fight in Afghanistan, now turning against us? What can we do to undercut their motivations to fight us?”

    What if the reaction to a terrorist attack was not “How can we punish the people who did this?” but “How can we get to the people who want to do this and make peace with them?”

    Most of the people around the world who hate the United States are not terrorists. Most people who hate the US government for what it does are sanely capable of distinguishing between what a government does and the American people, and hate the one but not the other. But make enough people hate the US and perceive the American people as enemies, and some of those people will take the next step and become terrorists.

    The British government ended Irish terrorism in the UK not by bombing Dublin and not by sending troops to Belfast, but by sitting down with terrorists who were prepared to talk and finding out what they wanted that would make it possible to end the conflict.

    Anything else just prolongs the conflict, indefinitely.

  176. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    @Yonmei,

    Let’s take this out of the macro-geopolitical and into the practical. How do you make peace with clinic bombers? How do you make peace with people who assassinate doctors? How? Specifically.

  177. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    Do you reccomend this approach with domestic right wing terrorists who kill abortion providers too Yonmei?

  178. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    In the case of the IRA whose motives were purely political it was much more easier for Britain to negotiate with them considering what they wanted was rather simple if I understand it which was for Britain to withdraw its forces from Ireland. Not so much doable with right wing christian, violent salafists and any other terrorist organization driven by religious purposes or hate groups like the KK.

  179. andrea
    andrea May 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Completely off-topic but does the trackback thing only work for certain sites? I had linked to this article in my blog but it’s not under the trackbacks.

    (sorry folks, as you were.)

  180. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim May 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    180: How do you make peace with clinic bombers? How do you make peace with people who assassinate doctors? How? Specifically.

    I’d offer a slightly different vision of how governments approach low-intensity conflict. It’s usually not a simple matter of picking one tactic and sticking to it until success is achieved. Quite the contrary, successful state response to low-intensity conflict initiated by non-state actors usually comes through a multi-pronged strategy. In the case of N. Ireland, the UK prevailed on the ROI government to crack down on Republican paramilitaries; they actively aided Loyalist paramilitaries; they isolated the Republicans financially and politically in the US; they used torture, detention-without-trial and extra-judicial killings to target the brightest lights of the Republican movement; and finally they made some big diplomatic plays during a positive economic climate when there was a lot of money and power to spread around.
    The US government could use similar strategies against Far Right Christian & white supremacist actors domestically, and has done so at various points. As in the UK in the 1980s though, quite a few resources for that kind of work are being tied up in pursuing animal liberation activists and other leftwing radicals. Given the way the oligarchy here tends to think, I think it quite often probably does come down to “Who do we want to go after, the clinic bomber or the fur farm destroyer?”, and there are many factors that often suggest that it is the animal liberation side that gets the resources attached to prosecution.
    Is there a peaceful way to undercut support for the Far Right? Sure, but getting the resources to do it is no easy task. When’s the last time you went door-to-door in your neighborhood to talk to people about why reproductive freedom is important to you? Rarely? Never? Same here. I’ve also only quit a single job on feminist grounds. And I’ve hardly even confronted very many friends or family members, (although the fact that I have a reputation as being particularly intransigient about my support for total reproductive freedom might have something to do with that.)
    If we want to build a movement to recapture the spirit of the 1970s, and adequately confront the Far Right, we need to think and talk plainly about what our options are, and commit to seeing them through, despite the personal cost.

  181. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    How do you make peace with clinic bombers?

    We’re discussing what governments can do, or what individuals can do? Because governments have a lot more resources for tackling making peace with terrorist movements than individuals do.

    Clinic bombers are a US phenomenon – while there is a prolife movement in the UK, it never did rise into that kind of violence. I think to prevent people from becoming clinic bombers, the answer is a national health service in which abortions are performed not at specialised clinics, but just in regular hospitals – where any general hospital can and will be an abortion provider, as well as a provider of other general healthcare services. A government that wants to end clinic bombing can do so both by pursuing the clinic bombers, and by removing the need for isolated women’s health clinics that are known to provide abortions.

    Raja: Do you reccomend this approach with domestic right wing terrorists who kill abortion providers too Yonmei?

    Absolutely. Police work to pursue the people who have actually committed the crimes, widespread multi-pronged work (as Natilo Paennim describes) to cut off support and recruitment.

  182. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    Long, jumbled post ahead.

    Hold on a sec.

    Look, I’m no fan of the Bush Doctrine, and I am rather squicked by the fact that we sent a hit squat after that spineless doucherocket Osama Bin Laden, but it’s not as if al-Qaeda stopped killing people once the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia. They were behind the London transport bombing in 2005. They were behind the two bombings in Algeria in 2007. As recently as 2010, they were one of the groups behind the Ahmadi mosque attacks and were also behind the plot to bomb cargo planes heading to the US from Yemen. Just to name a few.

    Pulling out of Saudi Arabia didn’t inspire them to stop. They didn’t say, “OK US, thanks for pulling out, we will stop the killing now, kthanxbai.” And while I think that pulling out of SA was a good thing and I think our Middle East policy is beyond fucked up, some of these bombings/attacks were committed because the targets were practicing Islam “incorrectly” (FFS)–they are not fans of Shias, Sufis, or Muslims who tend to be more secular in their behavior. The only thing that will satisfy these fuckers is if everyone becomes like them–or dies. There are Christians stateside who are like this, and I’m not one to regard them with much respect either.

    That doesn’t mean that we should waterboard them, or torture them, or violate their human rights. That doesn’t mean that I think we should bomb the nations (or towns) where they stay, or do any of this crap. That doesn’t mean that I was out in the streets cheering OBL’s death–I was actually repulsed by it. But I do not think that acquiescing to their demands is going to stop them. I think that’s naive. The Army of God will not be happy if we officially demolish Roe; I’m willing to bet you that they’ll go after pharmacies that dispense EC and the Pill, they’ll go after any BC, they’ll go after women who live or act in certain ways. Al-Qaeda did not stop killing or attacking targets once the US was out of Saudi Arabia.

    Religious fundamentalists of any stripe, who are willing to kill people, pretty much make it clear that they don’t give a fuck about talking with you.

    Having said all of that, there isn’t much we can do. We need to act in principled ways as a nation, something we haven’t been doing. That’s no guarantee we won’t have to deal with violence or attacks. We should be principled and ethical in our national and foreign policy because it’s a good way to be, not out of fear. Doing that out of fear means the minute we think we’ve got the upper hand, we’ll have permission to go haywire.

    Which is kind of what we did, since despite all of Al-Qaeda’s attacks, we have the bigger toys that make the bigger boom and kill far more people. So if it’s violence is a good way to convince people, well, I’m not seeing much of that. Theirs didn’t convince us–it brought out the worst in us. And ours didn’t convince them–it solidified their resolve against us.

  183. Yonmei
    Yonmei May 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

    Sheelzebub: They were behind the London transport bombing in 2005.

    Hold on. I’m no expert on international terrorism, but this is the homegrown variety. The bombers and those conspired with them in London for the July 2005 attack were British – either citizens or legal residents. The ones who lived to be tried ascribe their motivations for becoming terrorists to seeing videos of the US/UK war in Iraq. To say “al-Qaeda was behind it” is true only if you call it “al-Qaeda” whenever Muslims commit acts of terrorism.

    Pulling out of Saudi Arabia didn’t inspire them to stop.

    Pulling out of Saudi Arabia in 1993 might have, though. By 2003, al-Qaeda had Guantanamo Bay to point to, and war in Afghanistan and Iraq, to serve as their recruiting tools.

    As might subjecting the US’s foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere to rather more of a moral analysis, which Im sure you agree to as much as I do.

  184. Crys T
    Crys T May 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

    “he British government ended Irish terrorism in the UK”

    Ended? Slowed down, maybe: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/apr/02/omagh-booby-trap-bomb-policeman-killed

    However, I do agree with the rest of the sentence: “not by bombing Dublin and not by sending troops to Belfast, but by sitting down with terrorists who were prepared to talk and finding out what they wanted that would make it possible to end the conflict.”

    Which is why the US is never going to get anywhere with Al Qaida unless it radically changes its tactics. And I really think that invoking anti-choicers as any kind of equivalent is false. The difference is that groups such as Al Qaida, or the IRA or ETA (yeah, hey, the Iberian Peninsula exists**–and for some purposes other than providing Northerners with sun, beaches, cheap wine and paella–imagine that!), came into existence because they were politically disempowered: they had no real hope of having their voices heard through conventional political channels. Anti-choice terrorists tend to be people are relatively privileged in terms of political power. They’re just arseholes.

    @Sheelzebub: The way the talking to terrorists helps is not by changing *their* minds so much as it is taking away their raison d’etre. The US pulling out of Saudi Arabia may have addressed one of Al Qaida’s demands, but it didn’t address the fundamental issue of lack of real political power. Also, terrorist organisations depend on civilian support–there is no way they can keep going unless a lot of people are on their side. And people give that support when they believe there are no alternatives. If you actually offer them alternatives, they’d generally much rather take those than continue to support violence.

    *obviously, this does not include state-sponsored terrorist action
    **and I want to say again how SERIOUSLY FUCKED OFF I am that, although numbers of people are always quick to bring up the 07/07 bombs in London in these discussions, how NO ONE ever remembers the 11/03/04 bombings in Madrid. News flash: non-English speakers are human, too. O-fucking-le.

  185. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    Crys T: And I really think that invoking anti-choicers as any kind of equivalent is false. The difference is that groups such as Al Qaida, or the IRA or ETA (yeah, hey, the Iberian Peninsula exists**–and for some purposes other than providing Northerners with sun, beaches, cheap wine and paella–imagine that!), came into existence because they were politically disempowered: they had no real hope of having their voices heard through conventional political channels. Anti-choice terrorists tend to be people are relatively privileged in terms of political power. They’re just arseholes.

    I disagree entirely which is why I brought up clinic bombers and anti-choices. They are extremists. You may find sympathizers throughout the US but most draw the line at the extreme – abortion doctors are murders – beliefs that lead to bombings and assassinations. McVeigh is another example. That anti-government sentiment is not mainstream and does not have political will in the US. Having grown up around people like these, I know they feel an acute sense of powerlessness, frustration, and most importantly persecution. And in some ways they experience those things because their views are fundamentally incompatible with the mainstream. Having seen it from both sides, I cannot imagine anything that would get them to sit down and talk.

  186. tomoe gozen
    tomoe gozen May 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

    ETA are an especially sad situation- I can’t understand how they can equate the degree of federalism allowed under the current Spanish constitution with oppression.

  187. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    Speaking of non english speaking countries who have been victims of Al Qaeda I thought I would list a few or rather perhaps a lot. Clearly from this list you can tell that they are quite reasonable and rational people /sarcasm

    October 2002: The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, (including 88 Australians, and 38 Indonesian citizens).[12] A further 240 people were injured.

    November 2003: The 2003 Istanbul bombings were four truck bomb attacks carried out on November 15, 2003 and November 20, 2003, in Istanbul, Turkey, leaving 57 people dead, and 700 wounded. Several men have been convicted for their involvement.

    Feburary 2004: The 2004 SuperFerry 14 bombing on February 27, 2004, was an Islamic terrorist attack that resulted in the sinking of the ferry SuperFerry 14 and the deaths of 116 people in the Philippines.

    July 2006: Mumbai train bombings: The Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai , capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation’s financial capital. The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains plying the western line of the Suburban Railway network. 209 people lost their lives and over 700 were injured. According to Mumbai Police, the bombings were carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

    That’s just a few of the attacks they have carried out internationally on other countries that are non western/english speaking. I think I remember my Counter Terrorism teacher saying they are operating in like 284? countries worldwide. I’ll have to check that number later. But yeah here is a few that took place in Iraq specifically, you will notice that they were not aimed at US occupation forces but but rather other Muslims particularly Shia.

    March 2004: The Ashura massacre of March 2, 2004 in Iraq was a series of planned terrorist explosions that killed at least 178 and injured at least 500 Iraqi Shi’a Muslims commemorating the Day of Ashura. The bombings brought one of the deadliest days in the Iraq occupation after the Iraq War to topple Saddam Hussein.

    April 2007: On April 21, 2004, a series of large car bomb explosions ripped through Basra, Iraq. 74 people died and more than 100 were injured. The attacks were some of the deadliest in southern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

    September 2005: The most deadly bombing occurred when a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle in a crowd of construction workers who had gathered in Baghdad’s Oruba Square looking for jobs. The attack, which occurred in the mainly Shia district of Kadhimiya, killed 112 people, and injured 160.

    November 2006: The 2006 Sadr City bombings were a series of car bombs and mortar attacks in Iraq that began on 23 November at 15:10 Baghdad time (12:10 Greenwich Mean Time) and ended at 15:55 (12:55 GMT). Six car bombs and two mortar rounds were used in the attack on the Shi’ite Muslim slum in Sadr City

    Feburary 2007: The 3 February 2007 Baghdad market bombing was the detonation of a large truck bomb in a busy market in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on 3 February 2007. The suicide attack killed at least 135 people and injured 339 others

    March 2007: The 2007 Tal Afar bombings and massacre took place on March 27, 2007, when two truck bombs targeted Shia areas of the town of Tal Afar, Iraq, killing 152 and wounding 347 people.

    April 2007: The 18 April 2007 Baghdad bombings were a series of attacks that occurred when five car bombs exploded across Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq, on 18 April 2007, killing nearly 200 people

    August 14, 2007: The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred at around 8pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Kurdish towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul. Iraqi Red Crescent’s estimates say the bombs killed 796 and wounded 1,562 people, making this the Iraq War’s most deadly car bomb attack during the period of major American combat operations.

    October 2009: The 19 August 2009 Baghdad bombings were three coordinated car bomb attacks and a number of mortar strikes in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The explosives went off simultaneously across the capital at approximately 10:45 in the morning, killing at least 101 and wounding at least 565, making it the deadliest attack since the 14 August 2007 Yazidi communities bombings in northern Iraq which killed almost 800 people. The bombings were targeted at both government and privately-owned buildings.

    May 2010: The 10 May 2010 Iraq attacks were a series of bomb and shooting attacks that occurred in Iraq on 10 May 2010, killing over 100 people and injuring 350, the highest death toll for a single day in Iraq in 2010.

    Notice that how in several years in a row they were responsible for the highest death toll in Iraq; I am not excusing our invasion of the place or actions carried out by our soldiers in fact they only started coming in after we invaded in the wake of the chaos, under Saddam rule these people were kept out though his brutal dictatorship left much to be desired. But yeah what Sheelzebub said; “they are not fans of Shias, Sufis, or Muslims who tend to be more secular in their behavior. The only thing that will satisfy these fuckers is if everyone becomes like them–or dies.”

  188. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    Checked the number and i was off by a bit. The number of countries Al Qaeda has cells operating that we officially know of is 100 around. Still a quite a big number and the following was found in Al Qaeda safehouse in Afghanstan in a document titled “Goals and Objectives of Jihad”
    * Establishing the rule of God on earth
    * Attaining martyrdom in the cause of God
    * Purification of the ranks of Islam from the elements of depravity
    Nothing about Israel, USA no their first and foremost objective is to purify Islam within; which is basically kill every Muslim who doesn’t agree with us.

  189. Raja
    Raja May 3, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    agree with them*

  190. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm |

    News flash: non-English speakers are human, too. O-fucking-le.

    You’re right, I did forget to mention the Madrid attacks, and I shouldn’t have. However, it’s disingenuous of you to assume that it’s because I don’t think people who don’t speak English are human, since I mentioned attacks against non-English speakers.

  191. William
    William May 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    The British government ended Irish terrorism in the UK not by bombing Dublin and not by sending troops to Belfast, but by sitting down with terrorists who were prepared to talk and finding out what they wanted that would make it possible to end the conflict.

    The IRA is a bad analogy to Al Qaeda though because, as other people have said, the IRA/Britain conflict was primarily a political one going back centuries between very similar cultures living in close proximity.

    You can’t sit down with Al Qaeda because you don’t have those points of similarity. More importantly, I’m not sure why you would want to; I honest do not see the percentage in engaging with this particular brand of terrorist.

    I think that the fight with Al Qaeda ultimately boils down to two things: clandestine operations and security theater. Big wars with big bombs and tragic body counts feed into the same security theater that brings us the TSA. Your average voter of average intelligence and average political ignorance, however annoyed or saddened by the show, feels safer when it looks like people in power are doing something. We’re not in Iraq or Afganistan to fight, we’re there to put on a good show and create the illusion of future security. Its a response to the terror.

    In the grand scheme of things, Al Qaeda is pretty irrelevant. They’ve pulled off a handful of successful attacks against western interests that have claimed a relatively small number of lives and did relatively little damage. 3000 people in a country of 300 million, however tragic, just isn’t a statistically significant threat. The stories we have been hearing about continued Al Qaeda plans seem to be both farcical (setting your crotch on fire by misusing a bomb incapable of bringing down a plane) and shockingly unoriginal (plan after plan involving planes full of people unlikely to be subdued).

    If you really wanted to fight Al Qaeda you would ignore them publicly to neutralize the power of fear while putting a modest amount of money into old fashioned intelligence and clandestine operations designed to quietly kill off the smart ones, misdirect the stupid ones, and turn the promising ones into assets. That makes for shitty theater, though…

  192. Raja
    Raja May 4, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_pyB-L5ci0&feature=player_embedded#at=28 I wonder if i will be hearing on this the radio anytime soon

  193. Natalia
    Natalia May 4, 2011 at 2:54 am |

    Doku Umarov associates with Al Qaeda. He denied it in the past, but the weapons money comes from somewhere. Just sayin.

  194. Crys T
    Crys T May 4, 2011 at 3:19 am |

    @tomoe gozen “ETA are an especially sad situation- I can’t understand how they can equate the degree of federalism allowed under the current Spanish constitution with oppression.”

    They want the right to self-determination. And so does a significant percentage of the population in Euskal Herria. The Spanish government has said FLAT OUT that they will not discuss this. At. All. Ever. In other words, THEY HAVE NO WAY OF WORKING TOWARDS THEIR GOALS USING LEGITIMATE POLITICAL PATHS. What the FUCK does anyone expect, other than terrorism? And I remind you that ETA predates Spanish democracy, so the “federalism” that they are oh-so-graciously “allowed” didn’t even exist when they began.

    Also, the Spanish government can and does impede Basque nationalists’ attempts to work towards their goals using peaceful means: just last month, they declared that the new political pary, Bildu, was illegal, after doing the same to the pary Sortu. Their reason? They claim that the parties are fronts for ETA. Despite the fact that both parties EXPLICITLY condemned ETA’s violence. The government’s proof that this condemnation was false? They “intuited” it.

    Again, I ask, what the FUCK do they expect?

    @Kristen J: clinic bombers are extremists?? Who knew??? But my point still stands: the people who bomb clinics have more political power than the people who join Al Qaida. They also tend to have more political power than the people they’re harming. Which may be true of Al Qaida on some occasions, but certainly not in relation to the US and other Western countries.

    @Wiliam: again, my point that both Al Qaida and the IRA arose due to people feeling they had no viable alternatives to violence still holds. This nitpicking about having to be able to make an exact analogy along all dimensions in order for any particular point to be valid is total bullshit.

    Also, I’m pretty sick of the diversionary tactics, and I’m pissed off at myself for allowing them to distract me: why the FUCK is it ok to jump up and down with joy over the death of a man who, however evil he may have been, was still nowhere near The Most Evil? Especially since his death will do NOTHING to change the relationship between the West and the Muslim world that started this in the first place? No one us has ANY REASON to be happy about this, and Jill’s crowing remains both naive and repulsive.

  195. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 4, 2011 at 3:33 am |

    @Crys T,

    I think you’re simply wrong on your facts wrt the extremist in the US. They don’t have political power, hence their frustration. But I see you’d rather dissect people’s feelings so…eh…who the fuck cares about productive right?

  196. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines May 4, 2011 at 4:19 am |

    Crys T – I think you just like saying FUCK in block capitals a lot.

    As a British/Irish person I always get squeamish when the Troubles are mentioned outside of such spaces, because invariably a hugely painful and complex period is turned into the goodies versus the baddies.

    As someone who has grown up with the Troubles, I hold the (very popular) view that not one single person should have died either to keep the border or remove it. Not one. If I could bring them all back to life, every single one, I would. There’s too many homes where the photographs stopped and I can not listen to you slathering over dead bodies without telling you that the price is always far too high. In otherwords, catch yourself on.

  197. Crys T
    Crys T May 4, 2011 at 6:00 am |

    @Kristen J: So, abortion bombers dont’ have the right to vote, or demonstrate or speak to their representatives. In fact, there is not one single politician in the US who supports the anti-choicers, is there? And not one single state has passed any legislation that in any way whatsoever supports the anti-choice agenda, right? “They have no power” my ass. And (admitting that I’ve also allowed myself to become distracted from the real point) what the FUCK do reproductive rights have to do with Bin Laden being executed? Anti-choicers were only invoked because they are also terrorists, not because this is a discussion on reproductive rights.

    @Safiya: Yeah, I really do. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. See? And I put a FUCK in the previous paragraph….just for YOU! (I liked typing that in all caps, as well) Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve strayed into mainstream Feministlandia, I’d forgotten that the standard response to someone who’s saying something you don’t like is to ridicule them on the basis of their grammar or writing style, rather than dealing substantively with the content of their argument.

    “As a British/Irish person I always get squeamish when the Troubles are mentioned outside of such spaces”

    I understand that, because as outsiders, there are always going to be elements of the conflict that we grossly oversimplify or flat-out get wrong. And I apologise for that. But in a discussion of one terrorist group, it is sort of inevitable that other well-known terrorist groups are going to be invoked.

  198. William
    William May 4, 2011 at 9:37 am |

    again, my point that both Al Qaida and the IRA arose due to people feeling they had no viable alternatives to violence still holds. This nitpicking about having to be able to make an exact analogy along all dimensions in order for any particular point to be valid is total bullshit.

    Its not nitpicking. Not everything is a good analogy and not all terrorist groups are effectively interchangeable. Context matters, not only in the actions of individual groups but in the kinds of responses likely to be effective. There are certainly politically oppressed groups in the middle east engaging in terrorism that you might be able to sit down with. A lot of the local combatants in Iraq and Afganistan, for instance, or the Palestinian groups. Osama Bin Ladin was not one of them. He was not a goat herder caught in a tug of war between a despot and a dunce who now has no real political options left outside of violence. He was not some poor politically oppressed working class Irishman with a couple of centuries worth of axes to grind against an occupation which had lasted for so long that the difference between occupier and occupied became difficult to discern. Bin Ladin was the wealthy son of a wealthy man, politically well connected, socially powerful, and wasn’t really fighting for any political agenda more elaborate than “people ought to do what I think they should or I’ll kill them.” The IRA did a lot of terrible things in the name of a good cause, I would argue that the same could be said of a lot of what gets labeled as terrorism in the world and a good part of why its even called terrorism is because the powerful erase their crimes while highlighting the crimes of the losers, Bin Ladin represents a strain of fundamentalism that is toxic. Might some people support Al Qaeda because they lack political power? Sure, but only a fool would think that Al Qaeda supports the interests of the kinds of people they use to do the bombings and act as human shields. Al Qaeda, like any group of well-funded thugs, represents the interests of investors and ideologues.

    The Irish wanted the British out of Northern Ireland, they wanted political representation, they wanted civil rights, they wanted the same things people all over the West had earned or taken over the last few centuries. Al Qaeda wants to impose, by force, their particular brand of Islam on the rest of the Muslim world and terrorise anyone who stands in the way of that goal (be they local advocates or competing foreign colonial interests) into non-interference. The responses to these groups aren’t going to be the same because their goals are very different.

    To put it in your parlance, al Qaeda is not a politically disempowered group, they’re just arseholes. I agree that we need to change our tactics to deal with them (occupying wars are always a very bad idea), but I don’t think we ought to sit down and try to hear their voices and compromise with theocrats. With some of their local support? Sure, good relations go further than good munitions. But with the actual group of theocrats? Fuck that, call in the drones.

  199. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim May 4, 2011 at 10:38 am |

    Responding to a few different points:
    Re: Political disenfranchisement & recruiting
    The people that non-state paramilitaries recruit aren’t really that much different, in aggregate, from the people recruited by state armies — young men, without a lot of attachments, who don’t have much going for themselves in any other sphere. Non-state actors tend to get the ones who feel most alienated from mainstream society, whether because lack of economic opportunity, a sense of unconfronted injustice, or ethnic marginalization. In the case of Far Right paramilitaries in the US, we have a slightly different situation, where a lot of the people who are the most enthusiastic recruits are older white men who’ve had some sort of setback, or have just come to the realization that the wages of whiteness are being continually cut back.
    Re: Different national liberation struggles
    One thing I’m not seeing in the comments above is an acknowledgment of just how often it is that non-state actors have achieved many or all of their goals through the use of political violence. The Republic of Ireland wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the concerted effort of thousands of people to force the UK to the bargaining table by violence. India would have had a very different path to independence if it had only been Gandhi going on hunger strikes — read up on the history of the liberation struggle there to understand just how minimal his role was until the very end. South Africa? Again, the “terrorists” won, through violence and the threat of violence. Closer to the region we’re talking about, look at T.E. Lawrence’s work uniting the Arabs into a cohesive fighting force against the Ottomans, and the mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers are constantly looking to these previous struggles to guide them. Empires fall.
    Re: Assassination as a tool for resolving conflict
    This one has been around for quite awhile too. The US government has used it in the past, and will again in the future. Whether it was the wisest choice in this instance remains to be seen. UBL was old, in poor health, and significantly estranged from many of the people who were acting in his name. Martyrdom, especially in this particular politico-religious context, is a powerful force. For generations (at least), disenfranchised, disaffected young men in the Muslim world (and elsewhere) are going to look to the story of UBL for inspiration. “The Man It Took The Greatest Empire On Earth 10 Years To Kill” is a myth that can endure for a long time.

  200. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim May 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |

    One other point: People have different conceptions of liberty. This applies equally to anti-abortion forces in the US as it does to Al-Qaeda. For the antis, the liberty of a woman to choose what she does with her own body is subordinate to the liberty of the community to enforce compliance with a particular moral code. Similarly with Al-Qaeda, the liberty of Muslims of different denominations or tendencies to practice their faith in the way they choose is subordinate to the liberty of Wahabbist scholars to lead them to a more righteous path. Here in the developed West, among urbane intellectuals, we often tend to forget that there are many people who massively prioritize the community’s liberty over that of the individual.

  201. Natalia
    Natalia May 4, 2011 at 10:53 am |

    To put it in your parlance, al Qaeda is not a politically disempowered group, they’re just arseholes. I agree that we need to change our tactics to deal with them (occupying wars are always a very bad idea), but I don’t think we ought to sit down and try to hear their voices and compromise with theocrats.

    This.

  202. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines May 4, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    I think the other thing people miss, is that national liberation movements, from the IRA and ETA to the PLO, are a clearly definied group with leadership.

    A.Q aren’t. Do you think OBL had much influence on AQ activists in Morocco for example? All the talk of OBL as a ‘spiritual leader’, is largely a Western invention. There may be some sharing of weaponry and funding, but ultimately, the various AQ, or AQ-a-like groups operate independently, therefore OBL’s death will make no difference, structurally, or idealogically.

  203. William
    William May 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    One thing I’m not seeing in the comments above is an acknowledgment of just how often it is that non-state actors have achieved many or all of their goals through the use of political violence.

    I think this is a very important point to remember. Aside from the instances you’ve mentioned, it is very easy to forget that the US, France, Russia, and China all owe their current existences in large part to violent political action. The difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary (or founding father) boils down mostly to how successful they were.

  204. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    @Crys T,

    Last post because I’m hitting over all burn out today (not your issue of course). I lived this shit. Grew up with it. I’ve been there and smelled the ammunition. No, they don’t have power. They can’t make women stay home and wear ankle length dresses. They can’t beat their wives without consequence. They can’t remake society in their image which is the power they want. So from their perspective they are very oppressed.

    I brought them up because terror is terror. It the tactic of the disenfranchised, but sometimes the disenfranchised have fundamentally incompatible goals (like the U.S. and reportedly, Al Qaeda). Its easier for me to see in the context of domestic policy because – see above – I’ve lived this shit. So when I look for a solution, I’m trying to discover what could work in a context I know. Here’s a context I know…that solution doesn’t seem to be workable…do we have any others that might work? No, its not perfectly analogous, but its at least testable against what I do know.

  205. Raja
    Raja May 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    William: al Qaeda is not a politically disempowered group, they’re just arseholes. I agree that we need to change our tactics to deal with them (occupying wars are always a very bad idea), but I don’t think we ought to sit down and try to hear their voices and compromise with theocrats. With some of their local support? Sure, good relations go further than good munitions. But with the actual group of theocrats? Fuck that, call in the drones.

    Haha yeah second this.

  206. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery May 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    The difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary (or founding father) boils down mostly to how successful they were.

    And how long ago it was. Any government on earth today would do its best to quash the shenanigans the U.S. founding fathers pulled back in the day.

  207. Raja
    Raja May 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |

    yeah, and terrorism in the form as we know it wasn’t really prevlant or as doable back in the day when they were around.

  208. Sid
    Sid May 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Safiya Outlines: think the other thing people miss, is that national liberation movements, from the IRA and ETA to the PLO, are a clearly definied group with leadership.

    A.Q aren’t. Do you think OBL had much influence on AQ activists in Morocco for example? All the talk of OBL as a ‘spiritual leader’, is largely a Western invention. There may be some sharing of weaponry and funding, but ultimately, the various AQ, or AQ-a-like groups operate independently, therefore OBL’s death will make no difference, structurally, or idealogically.

    Yes, this is so often lost on Western audiences and reflected in the recent commentary here. Al-Qaeda and AQ-affiliated groups operating in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and other places can have very divergent goals, aims, and points of emphasis. Some reflect a stronger hatred of perceived heterodoxy, whereas others are mostly concerned with colonialist/imperalist sleights and not as motivated by the establishment of a caliphate. You can’t generalize about all these groups falling under some uniform rubric of fundamentalism.

    William:

    Pretty much sums up how I feel; there’s really no such thing as universal human rights; there are have and have-not’s and the haves get to tell the have-nots what appropriate behavior is.

  209. alessa
    alessa May 5, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to feel about this. I don’t even want to go into the war; there is no denying it’s wrong and we need to get out of there. My thoughts are solely on Osama.

    Making him a poster-child for everything wrong that has happened seems off, but all the same there is no denying that he was a horrible human being. My first response was reluctance to feel happy about his death. My second response was to think of the families of victims of all of the horrible things he did. Yes, I know the media and republicans always mention the need for “justice for the families” yadda yadda but honestly, in light of Osama’s death, it’s a relevant thing to think about.

    I can’t help but feel that it comes from a privileged position to righteously stand on a pedestal and proclaim that those who are rejoicing at his death are acting barbaric and disgusting. It speaks more to how far away the effects of Osama have been on those people looking down on others celebrating, than anything else.

    But then again, celebration for someone’s death isn’t right either. So, I think the best way to feel throughout all of this is an understanding neutrality. Acceptance of those who are celebrating, knowing they have that right, but a refusal to allow oneself to.

  210. ACG
    ACG May 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    Wow, coming into this really late, when the party’s pretty much over. I’m good at that. You should have seen me miss dinner Friday night.

    My personal feelings on the entire subject are mixed: On the one hand, I have this kind of visceral joy that he’s dead, because so much of the shit that’s going wrong right now started with the bombings in 2001. Is much of that shit attributable entirely to the U.S. reaction? Arguably. But 9/11 is when everything started, so the death of Osama bin Laden feels like an end point.

    My not-joy is because it isn’t really an end point. Nothing is actually over or solved, and bad choices are going to be made and innocent people are going to keep dying long after this. The tone of discourse and relationships within the U.S. may well be spoiled for good. Killing a guy isn’t going to help that at all, and will probably in some ways make it worse.

    But there’s still that little thrill, and like Gretel said, there’s the cognitive dissonance.

    Also like Gretel said, I can’t control my limbic system. I can’t control the emotions I feel–if I could, I certainly wouldn’t feel two conflicting emotions at once. I can control my actions, of course, which is why I’m not chanting in the streets or posting gleeful status updates on Facebook right now.

    Another action that I can control is commenting about my emotions on Feministe, since I figured it might be a safe-ish space to talk about our feelings and our feelings about our feelings. If I have something I need to talk out, but as soon as I say something I get attacked for even thinking that way, next time I’m not going to say anything at all and just stay confused.

    It’s the difference between being mad at the Lexus driver and actually smashing in his window–in the middle is going home and saying, “Wow, I really wanted to punch that Lexus driver today.” It’s certainly not a flattering thing to admit, but a response of, “That’s horrible! You’re a horrible, immature person! Feeling that way is why the world is bad, and I never feel that way, and no one should ever feel that way!” is a lot less productive than, “I’m glad you didn’t hit him. Do you want to talk about it?”

  211. ACG
    ACG May 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    (And that Martin Luther King, Jr., quote that’s going around isn’t actually him. The last three lines, about returning hate for hate, were him. The first one was by a girl who was commenting on the topic using that quote. Move the first quotation mark down one sentence, and the whole thing makes more sense.)

  212. makomk
    makomk May 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Natalia: the firefight, and the hiding behind his wife? Yeah, they were making shit up. The current story – unless they’ve changed it again when I wasn’t looking – is that Osama bin Laden was shot whilst unarmed, and the only person that shot back was his courier in a completely different building.

  213. Katie
    Katie May 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    When you guys saw AlQueda cheering over the two towers, shooting their guns in the air and generally having a good time? Yeah, that’s what you’re doing right now.

    Way to go for radicalising a whole new generation.

    Seriously, thanks for that.

    Next time you can sort this shit on your own.

    Love the UK.

  214. Raja
    Raja May 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |

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