Hey, does this mean we can get out of Afghanistan now?

Today in class we talked about the assassination of Osama bin Laden. (My students were 3 or 4 when 9/11 occurred.) Some students were very excited by this turn of events. There were others who felt weird, I think “awkward” was the word they used, about the cheering crowds outside the White House and at ground zero–that though he may have been a horrible person, he was a person and the cheering of his death was not right.

“Wasn’t bin Laden just following his vision? His tactics were wrong, but wasn’t there a justification for his actions, warped as they may be? I mean, he has, uh… had, lots of followers.”

“C’mon. He killed 3000 people. And a bunch more muslims. What’s justifiable about that?”

“So is this like in All Quiet, where each side feels they are right?”

“But why didn’t they just capture him? Why did they kill him?”

“Can you imagine if they did capture him? What a media storm. He would have been in the news for a couple of years. That certainly would have kept emotions high.”

“So did they justify his killing by saying he had a gun and put a woman in front of him as a human shield? Is any of that even true?”

“I heard that woman was his youngest wife.”

“He was shot in the head.”



“Then they dumped his body at sea.”

“I heard they still have his body. And they took samples of his DNA.”

“They dumped it at sea because bodies must be buried within 24 hours in the Islamic religion.”

“I heard it was because they didn’t want his burial place to become some sort of sacred shrine that terrorists would want to visit.”

“I am very happy they killed him. He deserved to die. He was crazy. I totally understand why everyone was cheering.”

“But wouldn’t that look just as scary to people in other countries as the cheering in some places after 9/11 looked to us?”

“You mean some people were cheering the falling of the towers?”

“I think that the USA had every right to kill him. He was responsible for all those deaths. I mean, what if your mother was in the towers. Wouldn’t you want to seek revenge?”

“Boy this sounds familiar. Didn’t we talk about this before?”

“Yeah, the state of nature and John Locke.”

“This is why we are a nation of laws. You can’t just go around and decide who should be punished and who shouldn’t. You can’t just take the law into your own hands. Might does not make right.”

“In international politics it does.”

“Here too– the vigilantes, the KKK, like in Reconstruction.”

“With a long drawn out trial, it could fan the flames of all this terrorism even more. Make people even madder. He could be found innocent. At least killing him was a way to put a lid on all the feelings around this.”

“Yeah and if there were a trial he might have escaped. Or his followers might have bombed the buildings where the courts are.”

“They can still bomb buildings with him dead.”

“And what if there are reprisals?”

“There are lots of people who believe in his ideas. Those people didn’t die. Killing him doesn’t really mean anything.”

“It’s a symbol.”

“It brings closure to all the people who had friends and loved ones in the towers.”

“Hey, does this mean we can get out of Afghanistan now?”

It’s our 8th grade trip to DC tomorrow. We leave at 6:00am. Should be an exciting time to be in our nation’s capital.

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2 Responses to Hey, does this mean we can get out of Afghanistan now?

  1. Is this Obama’s “Mission Accomplished”? Let’s hope that there is more to the story.

    Be safe in the most heavily guarded city in the country!

  2. Hi, I have a Versatile Blogger Award for you. Stop by my blog at http://www.widowsphere.blogspot.com, mention my blog on yours, list 15 other bloggers who deserve the award and list 7 to 10 facts about yourself. This takes a lot of time. Happy blogging.

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