“Remembering Osama bin Laden
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 7:12am
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Osama bin Laden has been killed by a group of American Navy Seals and others who perhaps will not have their names revealed because of the widespread and fairly random nature of the violence in this global war. He was killed in a modest palace in Pakistan in a military area. Clearly he was living as an honored Sheikh and secret warrior and he was killed as he should have been killed by our own black ops elite. He was killed as he should have been killed by forces that came into the country without the full protection of convention and law and did their duty. He was killed as he should have been killed with some civilian deaths of those near and dear to him. He was man who whatever he wished to be was an outlaw and and an unconventional warrior.
I watched a wide range of news sources yesterday and noticed that MSNBC especially kept saying that he had been killed after an almost ten year manhunt. That is part of the great American tradition of lying about Osama bin Laden. Osama was being hunted aggrssively by this country before 9/11. He was retailiating after we had flagged him for destruction. H e deserved to be flagged for destruction we simply failed as a nation to anticipate what he could do on his side of the war.
I remember, less clearly than I might once have remebered watching our country plan operations against the Saudi millionaire. At the time Bin Laden was supporting and financing militants in the Middle East and Africa.There is no doubt that as early as 1998 there was a team of American intelligence experts working full time on bin Laden and no doubt that as early as 1996 there were people giving him considerable attention here in these United States. But our relationship with bin Laden is much older than that he was our ally in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union portrayed in the movie Charlie Wilsons’s war. Osama or Usama fought with distinction in that conflict and all of us who cheered for the Mujahideen were cheering for him among other people. Life is complicated. I cannot really see that the US could have gotten happy about the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. I cannot really see that we ever could have lived in peace with Usama bin Laden. I am grateful the Seal Team Six or whoever it was killed the man and I am glad to have him out of contention to the degree that he is out.
President Willam Jefferson Clinton had been victorious in his heroic invasions of the women and children at Waco and Ruby Ridge was able to marshal enough forces to pressure bin Laden and he was forcred to recreate himself in the Afghan context which joined the Taliban and al Qaeda. In 1997’s later months- he had moved his base completely from Sudan to Afghanistan, and began a worldwide anti-American campaign. His cries for Muslims to organize against us were more effective than our CIA and DOD efforts at the same time to form an expert unit which had formulated plans for Afghan tribesmen to capture him before handing him over to the US. After evaluatingf the mood in Afhanistan, the director of the CIA decided canceled the program, according to a later report issued by the 9/11 Commission’s report.
Bin Laden showed his capacity for mayhem soon thereafter in August 1998 when well over 200 people were killed when bomb-filled trucks and vans drove into the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The hot war with the new Central Asian Usama bin Laden began when US President Bill Clinton ordered the launch of missile strikes against militant camps in Afghanistan, including Bin Laden’s compound. The missile strikes did not kill any al-Qaeda leaders but modified al Qaeda doctrine thereafter and Osama’s habits thereafter. The Saudi rich man who would later offer Kazakhstan millions for a a nuke could afford a series of homes and got them. Bin Laden also devloped mobile camps and a guard and logistics unit that could move quicklyand began changing locations frequently and unpredictably. The absence of this large guard is one of the features of his death they had apparenly been replaced by the protection of the Pakistani governement. He also got the courier system going which changed his method of communication and put the kinds of things the NSA looks for further from home. Nevertheless, despite his history as a hero against the USSR we found many who disliked him in Central Asia and tribal sources were still able to provide regular updates on where he was.
In 1998 and 1999 numerous opportunities to attack and kill him were passed up during his meetings with Afghan officials in areas full of civilians. However, I think it is absurd to say that we surely would have killed him when we attacked. He was more slippery in those days than he has been in recent years. Yet he was quite secret as Special Hero of the Pakistan Military as well.
On the 11th of September in the year 2001 his attacks on the US government at the Pentagon, his slaughter of airliner passengers, the destruction of the World Trade Center and other things made him the man we all know well. This long story has ended with the bravery of the special forces who stormed his compound and killed him. I like George H. W. Bush because he has two beautiful daughters he loves, he likes baseball, he honors his dad, he cares about people and he is pugnacious for America. He is a better man than Usama or Osama or whatever ever was but he also lied about ‘sama bin Laden. He called him a coward. The man was no coward he was one of the bravest and toughest warriors that has lived in my lifetime. As a kill trophy the Seals can claim on of the greatest prizes of our time. Maybe the greatest.
This leader was also trapped by destiny. He was the 17th of 52 children of his polygamous father and could certainly not love a West which singles out polygamists uniquely for hatred and abuse. He believed in Jihad and followed his convictions. But I am not like the Rodney King of the Los Angeles riots. I do not believe that we can all just get along.
People like Jesus and Jesus himself worked very hard at very hard models of peacemaking and they deserved to be taken seriously but not all crackpot ideas of peace deserve such support.
I hated bin Laden’s support of the Taliban that kept girls out of schools, created more dependence on heroin alone and pushed Afghanistan on a path I call evil.
I hated Usama bin Laden’s destruction of embassies where peace is the primary work and the innocent the primary victims.
I hated Osama bin Laden’s involvement in killing Christians and bombing churches in lands I think should be theirs more or instead of Islam’s and were theirs first. I hated his causes more often than I did not hate them.
I hated bin Laden’s antisemitism and cheap hatreds.
Of course I was deeply affected by 9/11. I do not think it was a uniqule morally repugnant act but it was unconventional and murderous and deserves our maximum reasonable vengeance. I had put Osama bin Laden on the list of one hundred people to watch in the second post 9/11 decade which does not begin until September 12, 2011. I did write in that seires on my blog that some might die before the kickoff. He still deserves to be on the list his influence through history will be large and in near years more so then later. But killing him was an important first step. He was seven years older than I am and I will have to wait seven years to see if I have any temptation to gloat over outliving him. In many ways he was a man of great passions and powerful iconography who lived out his goals at a very grand level and after a long hunt we have killed him. I rejoice in the chance to move forward but I find no reason to minimize him. I believe a team of skilled troops can do very important work and in this case they did. As long as he was alive he would have continued to redesign terrorism.