Conflicted about Osama

I know as an evangelical Christian and American, I am supposed to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden but I feel conflicted over it. I see some Californians interviewed about his killing and they say things like, "Well, I don't approve of killing but this is a good thing". That's kind of like of saying I'm a vegetarian but I love me some dead cow when the occasion warrants it. I think my problem is I'm not sure if killing is ever a good thing.

Part of me definitely admires killing in the manly sort of way. For my ten-year old birthday party, we watched my favorite movie, "Delta Force" with Chuck Norris. I love that scene where his motorcycle launches into the air and he lands it in the cargo hold of a military transport plane as it is taking off. Completely ludicrous and awesome. Chuck has two facial expressions in the movie - stoic and stoicer.

My tension with killing though is really about public perception. I don't want to be labeled a conservative war hawk rightist fundamentalist narrow-minded, blood-thirsty Christian guy who wants America to kill Islamic extremists. I don't like the association. On the other hand, I don't want to be labeled a granola-munching, emasculated, tree-hugging liberal. So deep down, I would say I'm pretty happy about Osama being killed by the members of an elite special forces unit - I just don't want to say it too loud.

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  2. Perhaps this comment maybe a year late but I feel it's no less relevant. I think being conflicted over the death of OBL is actually a good thing. The celebratory part is that we finally got the major terrorist figurehead who is linked to not only the 9/11 attacks but also the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, the US Embassy attacks in 1998, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and the first attempt to bring down the WTC in 1993. However the conflict in feeling is where it gets interesting. You recognized that a life was taken. Perhaps you may also recognize that considerable sacrifices were given to make this happen.

    This brings me back to witnessing all these young folks crowding around the White House celebrating, hollering like it was New Years Eve or some Spring Break in Cancun or whatnot. I'd be willing to bet good money that none of these clowns have ever served in the military or any sort of a capacity that calls for that type of sacrifice. What this reflects is what I fear a lot of Americans think.

    I think that these fraternity-esque celebrations after the take down of OBL in Pakistan shows that we like war. To be more specific, it means we like war in the abstract sense. Needless to say this is perpetuated by the popular media in movies and in video games like Call of Duty. But, when you look at it from a more concrete perspective (as opposed to mere abstract generalities) certain realities appear...and often unsettling. To make these actions happen, tremendous sacrifice is needed. You might have heard the term: "All gave some...some gave all."

    The concrete reality is that even if your job is allegedly removed from combat, you still stand a chance of getting killed in some random event (that or a close friend). There are are Service members who deploy repeatedly while being away from families for extended times. Another reality is that the young Soldiers who have never seen combat seem to want to go into it the most while the guys who have wouldn't wish this on anyone if it can be helped at all.

    Mind you, this isn't some pro-military post where I'm portraying all service members as gallant superheroes without blemish. In fact, I have my own issues with "the system" as it seems that in the end it is still a heavily political and inefficient bureaucracy that seems to care far too much about its image than substance (unless Congress gets involved). What I'm saying might behoove what popular culture of the military does not see. I'm certain that after the exultant celebrations by military folks worldwide, there's a somber chill that floats over them that a life was taken along with tremendous sacrifices and risks in the form of blood and treasure for years made this happen. I doubt they would be among the crowd of these revelers around the White House. These revelers only seem to know warfare with the gravity and expertise of arm-chair strategists who might be more familiar with the prime time TV line-up rather than geo-political affairs. Worse yet, I think it did more to dare these extremists crazies encouraging them to perpetuate their hatred for us.

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    1. Geoff, great to hear from you. I have no problem with people celebrating in front of the white house. I think its appropriate act of patriotism but not one I'm personally comfortable with. What's not patriotic is to dismiss the whole thing as irrelevant or be apathetic about it. I think people who celebrate have in mind the sacrifices made to get OBL but I'm just not going to be as vocal about it. In the end, I don't think it matters how we celebrate. Haters will hate. Extremists do not need any more encouragement. And they certainly will not distinguish between US celebrants vs. US non-celebrants.

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