Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Some reactions to Osama's demise

Kristen Breitweiser in Huffington Post Today Is Not a Day of Celebration for Me :
"When my husband was killed on the morning of 9/11, television stations around the world ran split-screen video. They showed the buildings still burning juxtaposed against young Arabs celebrating in the streets. That disturbing vision left me incredulous; it was forever emblazoned on my psyche.

Ten years later, now fully awake in the bright sunlight of the day, when I contemplate the definition of victory for our country when it comes to the death of Osama bin Laden, I can only think about the damage that has been done.

I think about the thousands of lives lost -- American, Afghani, Iraqi. I know firsthand the sorrow those families have felt. I ponder how the billions -- maybe trillions -- of dollars could have been better spent. I remain alarmed about the continued expansion of absolute Executive power in the name of fighting this seemingly ongoing and never-ending "war on terror." I worry about the further erosion of our constitutional rights. I wonder when our troops will ever be called home. I know all too well, that thousands of young American men and women soldiers will never have the opportunity to return home. And of course, I fear reprisal.

But more than anything, I cannot seem to remove the optics of the giddy, gleeful throngs of Americans who took to the streets celebrating in the early morning hours."

Amanda Marcotte in Slate Bin Laden's Dead, Let's Party (via 3quarksdaily):
"I understand the urge to silence and shame people for being ecstatic that we finally got Bin Laden. The fear that jubilation could turn into nationalism and then to bloodlust has real world evidence to back it up. But I would argue that liberals do ourselves no favors by shushing and shaming people's joy. There's another option that is both more humanistic and more productive in the long run: grappling with this celebratory mood and channeling it toward policy goals such as shutting down Gitmo and getting out of Afghanistan.
One reason the war on terror has dragged on and on with no end in sight is that Americans have been deprived of a victory, and politicians both Republican and Democrat are afraid of being seen as losers who backed out of a fight without obtaining that victory. Well, now we have it. And if you doubt that, we have the crowds of celebrants in the street to back it up. That is, after all, what victory looks like in the American imagination. We think of the end of WWII and we don't think about the bomb or Hitler in a bunker. We immediately think of a sailor kissing a strange woman on the street. We think of joy. Joy provides emotional closure, which we never got after 9/11 and the distraction in Iraq. Maybe this joy at Osama Bin Laden's death can provide that for us. And maybe then we can finally have politicians say that we won, and so we can finally shut down the illegal prisons, the ongoing war, and maybe even the ridiculous security theater at airports. But if we scold and silence the joy away, we'll never get a chance to find out."
More at The Econmist Killing bin Laden: Let's call it a day (via Rajeev Ramachandran's google reader)

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