Twitter, Facebook and probably every other social media site are sizzling with details of the operation that took Osama bin Laden down. There’s no way to verify any of the information, but it is interesting to see how people around the world react to the death of a man whose actions directly drew the U.S. into long term wars rife with politics and passion. The killing raises as many questions as it answers.
Michael Yon, an author and war correspondent whose dispatches and photos have been published worldwide, has a very intriguing discussion going at his public Facebook page. Some of the commenters, like many on numerous other sites, claim the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was staying was near a military academy. One commenter said the academy was similar to West Point. Another pointed out the helicopter that allegedly went down was not shot down but had mechanical problems. The commenter said US military would have then destroyed the chopper.
There’s a link to a Google Earth map purporting to show the compound, and there are a few interesting observations at the Google site.
BlackFive has some content up about the kill—most substantive is an excerpt from an unnamed news source saying the raid was conducted by the CIA with a Navy SEAL team.
Various media are reporting bin Laden was buried at sea in order to prevent a shrine from being erected (formally or by circumstance).
Yon, however, has a different perspective: “His body should have been displayed. The only thing more powerful than a living cult leader is one who disappears off the face of the earth. Making his body disappear was a deadly blunder that plays straight into the hero myth. Joseph Campbell couldn't have written a more terrible ending.”
Campbell is a widely known expert on the subject of myth, particularly as it relates to religion.
The news reports raise many questions. Why, after so long, did the U.S. finally take decisive action many believe could have been taken much sooner. What will the consequences of the action be? And most troubling: How long will it be before the operation receives a response from al Qaeda, an organization that continues to grow in a fractured yet widespread manner?
Considering what I learned from reading Michael Scheuer’s book ‘Osama bin Laden,’ and considering the organizational skills Scheuer pointed out for the terrorist mastermind, it’s not likely this operation will have a serious impact on the terrorist network. In essence, one man has allegedly been brought to justice. Scheuer was the first head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit.
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches. Hopefully the celebrations we are seeing in the U.S. are not premature, especially when you consider the lack of control over the number of undocumented foreign citizens and criminal aliens in the U.S. at present.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 2, 2011)
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