Osama bin Laden is dead. I demand to see a long form death certificate.
Half-jokes aside, as most of us know by now, the United States confirmed that the al Qaeda terrorist leader was shot and killed by a C.I.A. operative Sunday in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Reactions have spread across the world. No reactions are as grandiose as those across America. Crowds of people poured into the streets in celebration in front of the White House raising American flags and chanting “USA! USA!” Crowds gathered near Ground Zero in New York City, and sang out with “God Bless America” while accompanied by a bagpipe.
Whether singing or crying, most of the American population is happy that Osama bin Laden, the man blamed for leading the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, is dead. In his late night address to the American people, President Barack Obama called this both an accomplishment and a victory.
“Justice has been done,” he said.
I am not one of those Americans celebrating bin Laden’s death. This is not justice. It is not a victory.
By no means am I sad that Osama bin Laden is gone. I do not celebrate his life. But I will not, for a second, celebrate the death of a person, no matter how evil.
People call this justice. But death is not justice. An eye for an eye is never justice. Some may think that his life cannot even compare to the thousands around the world that have been killed at his hand. They are right. But it is not just bin Laden’s life that has been taken. Over the last ten years, hundreds of thousands of troops and innocent civilians have been killed in our war against terror and in search of bin Laden.
People celebrate as if this is the end. As if terrorism and al Qaeda will crumble and fall without their terrifying leader. But we have not defeated terrorism. Al Qaeda affiliates around the world will continue their crusade against the west and continue to kill. The question arises: is the world really safer without Osama bin Laden? Or, rather, is our safety still threatened by the terrorists that remain? His death will no doubt set a new tone for world affairs, but let us not think we have really accomplished anything.
“Tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to,” said President Obama in his address to the nation.
Obama speaks as if this will end the war, that we have created peace. “Mission accomplished” read the banner behind George W. Bush as he pre-maturely claimed victory. Their actions bare a striking resemblance.
We have killed America’s number one enemy, but the war will not end. Our troops will not come home. Ten years of war for the search of one man? Billions of dollars and blood spilled for the death of one man? If the goal of this war is to defeat terrorism, we have a long way to go. I want this horrific war to end more than the next left-wing hippie, but if the last ten years has been for the death of one man, all has been wasted.
I would like to share with you words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we continue to celebrate this “victory”, I ask you to keep these words in mind.
“Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 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.”