I won't be celebrating

May 02 2011 Published by under [Politics]

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Many Americans have and will rejoice over this event, seeing it as some form of I-don't-know-what that closes a small chapter in what will undoubtedly be a many volume tome that has become warfare in the new century. Whereas I can understand why people view Bin Laden's death as some sort of victory, I sincerely hope it will rekindle some thought about WHY the 2001 attacks occurred.

No person, group or country sets about to terrorize or destroy another group or country for no reason. It's not a sport or hobby, it comes about through dedication to a cause worth dying for. While many of us spend our lives oblivious of what is going on in many other parts of the world, our country's foreign policy speaks for us in regions we will never see ourselves. Our flag is staked in the heart of global conflicts without our input and it becomes the face of our nation to those who will never set foot on US soil. It behooves us to understand the policies that speak for us and the reasons they can result in the global conflict we are now facing. No foreign policy is perfect and some group will always feel slighted when you meddle in foreign conflicts, but there are reasons why the US was the primary target for something so massive, and it certainly wasn't convenience.

Beyond that, I can't shake the parallels between the celebrations that arose around the world when the towers fell and those that arose around the US at the news of one man's assassination*. What would I tell my daughter if she were a little bit older and asked me why people were celebrating? Should I say "because armed men stormed a compound and killed a few people, including their target" or "our country finally killed someone they had been looking for"? If I've raised her well, she would probably follow her question up with "Isn't it bad to kill people?" I suppose this is why 34 states still have a death penalty - because people feel the need for blood vengeance.

So what have we accomplished in our state ordered assassination? Have we changed anything about the global terrorism structure or have we simply done the functional equivalent of knocking off the Queen in the hopes that England will fall**? Have we sent a message? If so, what is that message and who is receiving it? Is the message one that will discourage people from attacking the US in the future, or have we just penned the newest Al Qaeda recruitment brochure? I understand why the US felt compelled to "bring him to justice", but he likely does more for his cause in death than in life at this point.

Like most Americans, I will always remember where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001, and watching events unfold, but the act of killing the man accused of masterminding the attack is not something I relish.

Have we learned anything from the last decade and all the lives lost during that time? Have the billions of dollars spent to get us to Sunday's "victory" been worth it? Time will tell.

*Let's not kid ourselves about it being a mission to capture. Even CNN is reporting the mission was to kill him, as if there was any doubt.

**Simply an analogy, I have nothing against England or their Royal family, despite wanting to scrub my brain of wedding imagery.

67 responses so far

  • Pramod says:

    I'm a bit skeptical that anything the US does in the near future is likely to "discourage people from attacking the US." Unfortunately, mistrust of America and American foreign policy runs so deep in the Middle East that I suspect a generation or two needs to pass before the inhabitants of that region can be comfortable with America/Americans.

    What I am hoping will result from the killing of bin Laden is a sense of closure in the US itself. Hopefully, the death of bin Laden will be perceived a symbolic and final victory in the War on Terror, which, in turn, will hopefully result in the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe that if this does happen, Islamic antagonism towards Americans will significantly reduce.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that killing bin Laden might provide a politically viable way out of Iraq and Afghanistan for US and _this_ might be something worth celebrating.

  • Dr. O says:

    Well-said. I'm quite conflicted over all of this myself. But I did feel a sigh of relief when I heard the news... mixed in with a little guilt.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that killing bin Laden might provide a politically viable way out of Iraq and Afghanistan for US and _this_ might be something worth celebrating.

    Let's see some evidence before we break out the bubbly.

  • Well said, PLS. I have been feeling rather weird about this whole affair since I heard about it earlier today, and this pretty much sums up why.

  • I've been debating between writing about this, and keeping my mouth shut (finger's bound?).

    I'm not celebrating. I'm terrified. He was found too close to a Pakistani military base for my comfort. Is this going to be an excuse for a "new war"? If that is not politically viable, an escalation of the military action leak over the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan that has already been occurring?

    I don't know what to say.

  • Alyssa says:

    Great post, PLS. As an outsider (Canadian) looking in, I do not understand the celebratory nature of what is going on. I have talked to a few (American) friends who have friends/spouses overseas and they are on pins and needles waiting to see what might happen. One thing they seem to know for sure is that their friends/spouses might not be coming home anytime soon and deployments might be extended. That doesn't seem to be something to celebrate.

  • Namnezia says:

    Well put, PLS.

  • Joe H. says:

    You are right that we should be conflicted about celebrating a man's death, but we should not be conflicted about celebrating the neutralization of a bona fide military threat to the Western world. It's difficult to separate the man from the target, and this conflict speaks a great deal about how our current wars are about fighting people, and not fighting nations.

  • Dr. Dad, PhD says:

    I've been having this discussion all day long, and I can't shake a sense of sadness that seems to be proportional to the amount of elation felt by whomever I am speaking to. It doesn't help that my questions/concerns are met with raised eyebrows puzzled looks. It's a good thing I'm talking to friends, because I'm pretty sure that strangers would outright threaten to lynch me.

    But here's the thing, while I'm not heartbroken at his departure, I can't get over the fact that people are whooping it up over someone's death. C'mon, metaphorically speaking, the corpse isn't even cold yet. Maybe I'm a closet Buddhist, but news of someone's death always turns me melancholy. Life as I see it is to be revered, and buying a round of drinks because someone was assassinated just seems tacky to me.

    And then there's the whole question of whether or not one death will change the world or people's worldview.....

  • UDbutnowUC says:

    Dude, just enjoy the bit of fresh air this news has given us. Leave the sad reflections for later... ugh

  • Dr Becca says:

    Very well said, PLS. Without question, I got caught up in the excitement last night. I wasn't cheering or shouting with joy, but between Twitter and TV, I certainly felt that Something Important was happening. I went up on my roof and looked at the lower Manhattan skyline, and it was incredibly moving.

    Today I've been able to ask myself, was/am I feeling happy that somebody is dead? Is that what I was thinking when I made a cocktail? No, of course not. I wouldn't even describe my feelings as "happiness" or even satisfaction--the closest approximation I can think of is "hope." I know this is likely to have little or no positive effect on US foreign relations or on the time course or outcome of the wars in the Middle East. But this is a concrete thing that the public can at least superficially understand, and if that has even a very abstract effect of making some Americans feel better about their government, and/or means that we may be able to have another 4 years with a Democrat in the White House, then that, to me, is worth feeling OK about.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Show me the fresh air you're talking about and I'll put down the EMO music.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Fair enough. My post was simply a reaction to seeing people get all excited that we pulled off an assassination and wondering if we've learned anything in the course of a decade.

  • samantha says:


    I heard the news, and an overwhelming feeling of... something... hit me. All of twitter was atwitter about this awesome news, and it took me all of 5 minutes to realize that this? Symbolic, yes, but the symbol isn't just for the US.

    Too many people seem to think that bin Laden was still this puppeteer - but it's been reported in more than one outlet that he's had nothing to do with command for quite a few years. He was a figurehead, nothing more. Terrorism *isn't* going to stop. Our war *isn't* over - in fact, we've just given ourselves an excuse to keep our troops abroad indefinitely, because now, we have to worry about retaliatory action. "We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad." Yup. How many more years?

    What does it say about the US that we're so jubilantly celebrating the death of a fellow human being?

  • Dr 27 says:

    AMEN, PLS, A-simply-men. Well said. When Obama made the announcement and then when I saw the images of people celebrating yesterday and today I could not help but shake my head in denial, the same way I did on Sept 11, ten years ago. The guy I was going out with, who thought he was a democrat (the wisdom of the years says otherwise, now) was so enraged with the images of (his words) "those extreme savages, who don't believe in God and are celebrating this tragedy." All I remember telling him was, "hon, think for 1 second what "those savages" wake up to and see and live every morning thanks to the policies and acts we don't question, think of that, then you tell me."

    I don't believe in the death penalty. I honestly can't understand what it feels to celebrate that your enemy died because he or she were the masterminds of the operation and how that is supposed to bring closure ... I honestly don't understand that. I try to wrap my head around it, and I can't. I just hope this whole thing doesn't magnify and help create other bin Laden's ... because sadly, that's what I think will happen. Those are my two cents. But thanks for putting into words what my head was trying to understand. Like I said on Twitter: "Call me unpatriotic, but I fail to see how killing 1 guy and his aids is cause for celebration when more than what, 30, 40K died looking for him?" ... and more importantly, for the casualties in the Middle East and elsewhere and for the scars our kids and their kids will grow up with.

  • Dr 27 says:

    Sheesh, I should have done a bit of proofreading, ya' know? Mastermind, and Ladens, no '. Mondays ....

  • UDbutnowUC says:

    It's simple really.

    My fresh air: You cannot have a mass murderer like him living in a $1M mansion and in impunity while having caused the demise of 3000 people (not including the deaths from the wars that these events erupted) and changing our way of life.

    This kind of person has to be brought to justice and it has nothing to do with whether terrorism is going to end upon his death or not… My celebration is about the end of a cold-blooded mass murderer who brought countries to their knees with his evil. Hell yeah.

  • UDbutnowUC says:

    Big ahhhhhhhhh

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I would never defend anything that Bin Laden did in any way, shape, or form, but maybe if you lived in Iraq or Afghanistan, you might feel the same way about a certain Texan retiree.

    Just sayin.

  • UDbutnowUC says:

    Sure, but it just so happens that it was a certain hawaiian (not the texan lunatic) who took care of business. He did it with the somali pirates a while ago and now with Bin laden. If we reflected on all the what ifs before taking action, the Somalis would still have the american captain kidnapped.

    Good job Mr. Obama!

  • Canadian soldier says:

    "No person, group or country sets about to terrorize or destroy another group or country for no reason."


    It is very east to indoctrinate people from childhood into believing anything. Muslim-terrorists are raised to believe they should kill 'infidels' for the simple reason that their god wants them to.

    In North America we pretty much destroyed the native "savages", because they were different. And, don't get me started on the brainwashing of francophones from birth.

    Why did the 2001 attacks occur? Because in the eyes of the radicals you are not a muslim nation. You are a large succesful nation with the freedom to speak your minds, freedom to decide your personal fates and most of all freedom to choose your own religion. That is why you have a big target painted on your country.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Why did the 2001 attacks occur? Because in the eyes of the radicals you are not a muslim nation. You are a large succesful nation with the freedom to speak your minds, freedom to decide your personal fates and most of all freedom to choose your own religion. That is why you have a big target painted on your country.

    I think I missed the memo that outlawed these things in your own country, along with places like Australia and the UK (which is only a target because it jumped in with us at the get go). I think there is more to it than freedom, and it has to do with a little thing called 30 years of foreign policy.

  • I think changing it to "No person, group or country sets about to indoctrinate people from childhood to terrorize or destroy another group or country for no reason." has pretty much the same meaning.

  • GMP says:

    I am just happy this will score some points for Obama among the moderates leaning ever more to the right. I am scared of a having a republican in the White House again. The state I live in has been bamboozled so royally and so shamelessly by its recently elected republican legislative majority that I will welcome anything that prevents similar horror from happening on the federal level.

  • I'm from Brasil.
    One narrative that it is going on around here is:
    "US finally kills the monster they created themselves".

  • Who knows what really happened, but according to the US Govt this was not an "assassination", and that had Bin Laden made an attempt to surrender, they would have accepted his surrender and taken him alive. Unless you know something more than what has been reported in the news, it is jumping to conclusions to call it an "assassination".

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    No person, group or country sets about to terrorize or destroy another group or country for no reason.

    And if only the Jews had not been such parasitical vermin, the Germans would have never had a reason to destroy them!

    C'mon PLS -- I know you have painted yourself into an ideological corner, but even you don't really believe the fatuous twaddle you are peddling here.

    And if you want to insist that you do, please name -- specifically -- the US foreign policy actions that provided sufficient reason for the 9/11 attacks.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    From CNN:

    "[Updated 6:02 p.m. ET] A U.S. official said multiple options were considered before settling on the assault that killed Osama bin Laden early Monday at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan

    "A bombing would not have risked American lives but it might have left questions" as to whether bin Laden was killed, the official said. National security officials widely agreed "the best option is the one that gives proof," the official said."


    [Updated 8:52 a.m. ET] The operation targeting Osama bin Laden was designed and executed as an operation to kill him, rather than to take him alive, a U.S. government official tells CNN.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    This just scratches the surface, but it'll allow you to catch up with the rest of us.


  • UDnowUC says:

    Going along the lines of this particular thought by neuro, apparently, the action that all of the other countries took during the holocaust, which was none- while allowing the holocaust of 6M jews- is way more acceptable than if a country (president) would have had the initiative to shoot hitler in the head and saved 6M lives.

    Had Clinton stopped Osama in the 90s, perhaps we wouldn't have witnessed 9/11. God only knows what shooting him in the head now has saved the world from. But we want to be so politically correct that we rather see mas murders than one person shot in the head... please

    While the rest of you play your violins, I'll continue my boom boom pow celebration...

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Dude, do you even read the stuff that you link to? That brief essay in no way supports your argument. And I am old enough to independently remember all of the events described therein.

    We helped the people of Afghanistan throw off the Soviet yoke -- why would this make them want to target us?

    You are getting your anti-American talking points mixed up. That essay might conceivably be deployed to support an argument that American policy is dumb and self-defeating, but in no way supports the contention which I quoted above.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    NB: My comment immediately above is directed to PLS, not UDnowUC, with whom I agree.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Hahahaha, fist bump.... BOOM. Way to use flawless logic to bring your points home, boys.

    Good job Mr. Obama!

    And I'm glad to see N-c finally on board the O-train with all his agreeing with UDnowUC. Quite the team!

  • UDnowUC says:

    don't get excited prof, it's still me, but switched to a work computer and forgot to put in the 'but' in the 'Name' field. If I wanted to use another screenname to fool you, I wouldn't be so stupid to use one so closely related... gimme some credit laden lover

  • UDnowUC says:

    oops, read the above wrong, scratch that!

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I recognize that, as a leftist in academia, you are not used to being challenged to actually support your political views with evidence and argumentation. This unfortunately puts you at a distinct disadvantage in this discussion.

    Nevertheless, do try for at least a semblance of intelligibility -- at the very least so that you do not upset Dr. O, who seems a bit shaky.

  • I hadn't seen those anonymous claims, only the official ones.

  • gerty-z says:

    PLS, I have struggled with the same thing as Dr. Becca today. Last night I was caught up in the "holy cow!" aspect of the moment. That Something Big was going down. I have pretty vivid memories of Sept. 11, when I was living near DC. And on one level I think I was pretty excited to feel like "justice was done". But today, I'm not really cheering. I think it is great that Obama has what can be called a "victory" for the upcoming election. But I can't help but think that at least one of the 3 wars we are engaged in right now, which reflect the shortsightedness of our foreign policy, is going to come back and bite us in the ass.

    I wonder what would be required to really change the US foreign policy.

  • Canadian soldier says:

    If you look at what PLS writes in context he actually suggests that 'reason'='good reason'. But there is no good reason to kill six million Jews, or fly planes into buildings of noncombatants.

    Give me complete ideological control of the education of youth and I can have them kill all ginger haired people with *no reason*. Religion and indocrination are the cause of these attacks.

    America gets attacked because it is large and free.

  • Canadian soldier says:

    America is large, you were the *first* target. PLS you obviously missed the memo where the rest of the free world has been attacked or in Canada's case we were almost attacked.

    Half the combatants in Afghanistan are fighting for one reason. Money. The Taliban pay $21 a day and the Afghan government pays its security forces $7 a day. A suicide bomber gets his family $10 000. And what does that money buy? Prosperity, security and food.

  • Canadian soldier says:

    PLS I would like to know what you think the infractions the people of Afghanistan deserved to be ruled by the Taliban. If the Taliban had infalliable logic to attack the US, they surely must have employed it to enslave there population. Maybe it was the evils of TV, kites, and women talking out of turn?

  • Canadian soldier says:

    their not there

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Yeah, if only we could just make up our "facts", like the conservatives. That would be so much easier.

    Don't you have a Planned Parenthood to go protest in front of, N-c? I would hate for you to waste all your frothing at the mouth here.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Wow, that is even more lame than I was expecting. Do you really have no ability to defend your outrageous statement?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Oh, N-c. Your trolling would be so much more interesting if it weren't so predictable and based on the sad Limbaugh model of ignoring anything but what's in your own head.

  • Technically it's not an assassination because Osama bin Laden was a military figure, and in WAR (which Osama declared on the US, and which we reciprocated) killing military figures is a legitimate practice.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Technically we're not at war. Unless I missed the few minutes of CSPAN when congress declared it.

  • Lab Rockstar says:

    I agree with PLS that I wasn't about to celebrate any person's murder, even when it's justified. Bin Laden might have deserved to die for his mass murder of Americans (I'm not going to address the morality of capital punishment here) but even Saddam Hussein got a trial. But we'll probably never know what really happened in those moments leading to Bin Laden's death, and whether or not it was necessary that he was killed.

  • You been living in a bubble? Or does the phrase "war on terror" mean something different to you than it does to every other person in this country?

  • Josh says:

    Stick with whining about grants and students, seriously.

  • Joseph says:

    "Maybe I'm a closet Buddhist, but news of someone's death always turns me melancholy. Life as I see it is to be revered, and buying a round of drinks because someone was assassinated just seems tacky to me. "

    Or Christian.... (http://cnsblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/vatican-spokesman-on-killing-of-osama-bin-laden/)

    I had more or less the same experience as many here. On the one hand, I'm glad that the head of an enemy organization can no longer target my country and possibly also my family. On the other hand, he was still a person and celebrating anyone's death seems inappropriate.

  • NotAnAcademic says:

    In planning this mission, the military was under the assumption that OBL wasn't going to simply throw up his hands and surrender when confronted. So, yes, this was a mission to kill him because it was the only way it was going to go down. The leader of Al-Qaeda was not going to die 20 years from now in a prison cell, he was going to go out a martyr, bottom line.

    SEALs are trained to use the appropriate amount of force to achieve the mission. As soon as they started to take fire, they responded in kind. These guys do not shoot to wound; they don't carry Tasers and pepper-spray. If they are taking direct fire from a target, they shoot to kill. Had everyone in that compound walked up to the chopper with arms raised and no bullets flying, chances are they may have actually taken him alive. Remember, they left witnesses on the ground when they left with OBL's body.

    Is killing him with a bullet to the dome now any different than if they'd have successfully taken him out with an air-strike at Tora Bora nearly 10 years ago? Was it the personal nature in which he died that some struggle with? Would it have been cleaner, less emotional to simply vaporize him from the air versus having him taken out by a human? Is the feeling that killing him now was less necessary because nearly 10 years have passed since 9/11 and some have forgotten the raw feelings that having so many innocents die brought out?

    I do not rejoice in his death, but he brought this upon himself, and in taking him out the US basically tells all terrorists that if you opt to go down this path, there is only one way it is going to end for you, even if it takes 10 years. If they can get OBL, then can get anyone.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I know the Constitution, is like, super annoying when it doesn't support your current argument du jour, but nowhere in the document does it say that calling something a war makes it so. There is something about the powers of Congress, though. Article one, section eight. If you want to get technical.

    That said, the fact that this current threat does not originate from a country, person or even a single organization, does argue for a broader interpretation of what a war can be. I am certainly not opposed to combating terrorism, nor am I actually against the fact that we tracked Osama down. My reaction was simply to the literal "dancing in the streets" attitude that many people had. I view the gloating over a man's death to be part of the reason we are despised and the martyring of him to be something that will cause more problems than it solves.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I do not rejoice in his death, but he brought this upon himself, and in taking him out the US basically tells all terrorists that if you opt to go down this path, there is only one way it is going to end for you, even if it takes 10 years. If they can get OBL, then can get anyone.

    As I have stated numerous times, I am fine with this. Finding Bin Laden was something we said we would do and we followed through. In a lot of ways we had to. What struck me as short-sighted and part of the problem, is the gloating about it afterwards. Is it alright to dance in the streets following the death of someone or does that just completely reinforce our bully image that makes us such a target? If anything we seem more stubborn than ever to rub our victories in the face of the watch world.

  • You honestly believe that there was something we COULD'VE done -- if/when we found his sorry ass -- that would NOT have made him a sympathetic figure/martyr with the various fanatical morons across the globe? And that these fanatical morons would not have raised arms (if they ever put them down to begin with) in response? For this particular brand of fool, we were always in a lose-lose situation, so that we went balls out and put two in his face was as good a result as any other.

    The cheering in the street ... yah, it sends a message that will be used by hypocritical people as an example of "ugly Americans". Meh. I didn't cheer in the street, nor would I have if I were in Times Square, but well ... it's a protected right under our Constitution (since we've brought up the subject).

    If so, I have a couple of bridges to sell if you'd like to look at them.

  • NotAnAcademic says:

    There have been quite a few blurbs about the appropriateness of celebrating the death of OBL. I don't believe that a small number of Americans dancing and celebrating his death gave the US any more of an bully image, just as images of a crowd of people burning the US flag to protest the latest Drone Strike du jour makes everyone in that country look like radical Islamists who hate America.

    The media in all parts of the world like to hit upon the small segment of the population doing something inflammatory and run the story. Somewhere in the middle is the real truth. Yes, there are people out there who are celebrating his death, but I think majority of the population understand that it doesn't mean much. What it did do was give a measure of payback for 9/11.

    OBL is also more than just a mere individual terrorist. He was the embodiment of evil and the architect of the largest loss of life on US soil. He was the symbolic figure in the War on Terror. It would be hard not to revel in his demise, even just a little. The dancing and chanting were largely done by people who don't quite get it, in my estimation, but I'll give it to them for a day or two, then back to business.

    Don't fall for the hype, it's not as wide-spread as you probably believe it is.

  • postdoc says:

    I was shocked when I saw under the New York Times' headline a request to "Send us photos of your reactions" accompanied by pictures of beaming people. It's a sick way to get your warm fuzzies. I don't understand what the rejoicing is about; the whole situation is tragic, and I really can't empathize with people whose views are so polarized as to see Osama's death as abundantly "good"--or who can overlook what a terrible PR movie it is to act like this is a party. I'm not a moral relativist by a long shot, but displays of religion and patriotism make me deeply uncomfortable.

    To its credit, today the New York Times is asking us to plot our reactions on a linear scale. Hooray for asking people to plot anything, and hooray for representing the diversity of reactions.

  • postdoc says:

    "...PR *move*..."

  • Physician Scientist says:

    OMG Pls - you are overintellectualizing. This guy was responsible for killing 3000 Americans on 9/11 and actually killed more muslims over his lifetime than "infidels." Let's not make this political - good riddance and bravo to the president who had the courage to defy his military leaders and make a difficult decision to go with the seals.

  • I'm not celebrating either, I would rather see him in jail. The generous view is that this is as close as we could come to capturing and bringing the man to court. I'm glad Obama did not decide to just bomb the place. One positive thing this event shows is that "getting terrorists" is ultimately based on police work rather than grandstanding and warfare.

  • [...] on the Twitts and blogs that I read were dismayed.
    Dismayed that we should be celebrating the assassination of one
    man. No matter what he had done to [...]

  • CoR says:

    Refusal of prevention and general acceptance of extermination seem to be the American thang. Political theater? I am thinking so.

  • becca says:

    N-c Really? You can't see why they'd want to target us? A lot of people died from bombs labeled "USA". It's not exactly rocket science to see how this could have been bad PR.

    We aren't talking about whether we tried to do a good thing by fighting the Soviets in Afganistan. We are talking about whether anybody could reasonably look at what we did do, and be angry about it.
    Whenever you intervene in a conflict that occurs within a country, you are going to make at least a subset of the people in that country mad.
    The individuals that were part of the Soviet backed government would want to target us. In addition, it's not like the CIA just provided intelligence... they also provided explosives. Explosives that, you know, exploded. In urban areas. Now I could be crazy, but something about an explosive in an urban area suggests strongly to me that... somebody died that wasn't an actual soldier. So all the families of people who died in explosions of bombs that we provided would want to target us.
    Then, the side that we supposedly did help splintered. All that military aid we supplied? That didn't get seemlessly integrated into a functional and just government of the people, kept solely as a deterrent against the Soviets. It got used for blowing people up. So even the side we helped ended up having dead bodies that would not be dead had we not supplied weapons, and they thus have reason to target us.

    This isn't complex. It's not anti-American to trace out these events. We have no way of knowing what would have happened if we hadn't done what we did- maybe it would have turned out worse. But the point is, the Afganistan people don't know either... and I don't think they are assuming they would have been worse off if the US had taken any other course of action.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Becca, even if you use small words and talk slowly, you're speaking to a brick wall. It's a noble effort, but people like N-c only hear decibels generated by the Glenn Becks of the world, like dolphins with brain damage.

  • drugmonkey says:

    As CPP pointed out elsewhere, it is a neat trick to obscure the difference between a *cause* and an approved *justification* by using the term "reason" in this situation.

    Folks on the left generally point out that US actions are part of the causal chain which results in some attacks against us. Folks on the right intentionally mistake this for an argument that those attacks are justified in their usual disingenuous attempt to paint their political opponents as somehow antiAmerican. You know, so they can feel free to ignore the causal chain part.

    Now N-c, how about you name categorically which US foreign policy interventions (payments, arms, military bases, economic strongarm manipulation of local politics, etc) you would accept if just any old country was doing it to us. Any and all? totes cool? or would you be joining up in the local recruiting station* the day a foreign cruise missile dropped in on Santa Cruz to "punish" us for some infraction or other?

    *yes, yes, I realize the odds suggest dear old N-c would be a chicken hawk calling for newklear strikes, not joining up personally. but you get my drift....

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Becca, it would be polite to say that you have an idiosyncratic understanding of the Afghan conflict of the 1980's, and the US role therein. The way you depict the "chain of events" is purely a fantasy lacking any evidentiary basis, even in the rantings of Osama bin Laden. I know you were not born then, but I suggest you do (at least) a Google search on "Stinger missiles" and "MI-24 gunship."

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    If the Soviet Union invaded my country, dropping yellow rain and bombs disguised as toys, I would be extremely grateful to any people who intervened on our behalf. I would not be paradoxically inclined to become a terrorist to "avenge" such intervention. Perhaps you would?

    I think a more parsimonious explanation of al Qaeda is that they are motivated by a depraved medieval death cult based on totalitarian obeisance, gender apartheid, and bloodthirsty anti-Semitism.

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