103 thoughts on “Suddenly That Klingon Proverb Makes a Hell of a Lot of Sense

  1. The proverb, if you are not a geek and don’t know:

    “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

    Also, a small procedural note: Given the possible contentiousness of this thread, The Mallet of Loving Correction has been placed into its warming chamber and will be wielded when I deem appropriate. Don’t give me an excuse.

  2. Much is yet unclear other than the location (Abottabad, Pakistan, slightly north of Islamabad) and method (US special forces on the ground, with Pakistani government assistance).

    However – Something that has been coming for quite some time.

  3. Reportedly Osama got a bullet in the head, otherwise known in science fiction as H. Beam Piper-style justice. From Space Viking:

    “Your dotard king couldn’t rule without Zaspar Makann, and Makann couldn’t rule without me, and neither can you,” he said. “Shoot this gang of turncoats, and I’ll rule Marduk for you.” He looked at Trask again. “Who are you?” he demanded. “I don’t know you.”

    Trask slipped the pistol from his holster, thumbing off the safety.

    “I am Lucas Trask. You’ve heard that name before,” he said. “Stand away from behind him, you people.”

    “Oh, yes; the poor fool who thought he was going to marry Elaine Karvall. Well, you won’t, Lord Trask of Traskon. She loves me, not you. She’s waiting for me now, on Gram….”

    Trask shot him through the head. Dunnan’s eyes widened in momentary incredulity; then his knees gave way, and he fell forward on his face. Trask thumbed on the safety and holstered the pistol, and looked at the body on the concrete.

    It hadn’t made the least difference. It had been like shooting a snake, or one of the nasty scorpion-things that infested the old buildings in Rivington. Just no more Andray Dunnan.

    “Take that carrion and stuff it in a mass-energy converter,” he said. “And I don’t want anybody to mention the name of Andray Dunnan to me again.”

    And now, no more Osama bin Laden.

  4. I keep thinking that, technically, I’m supposed to remember that bin Laden was a human being and the loss of human life is a tragedy no matter what, but y’know, I’m just not feeling it. At all.

  5. Nope. Not feeling that either. Feeling good about the country, the President, justice, and those cool folks in the military and intelligence. We are the USA. Hell yeah.

  6. YES! The
    party is in high gear at our house! I’ve never been so happy to hear about some one’s death.

  7. I keep thinking that, technically, I’m supposed to remember that bin Laden was a human being and the loss of human life is a tragedy no matter what, but y’know, I’m just not feeling it. At all.

    Years ago, I remember speculating on what Amnesty International’s press release would say if Pinochet were facing execution. My husband suggested it would say something like, “Amnesty International will be holding a candlelight vigil to protest the execution of former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet. Champagne will be served.”

    (The son of a bitch died in a bed after a heart attack, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was delighted to hear Osama bin Laden won’t get to do that.)

  8. I hope the soldier/sailor that fired the fatal shot will never have to purchase another drink or meal in his or her life. Normally, I would be hesitant to celebrate the end of a life, but I will make an exception in this case.

  9. I hope the soldier/sailor that fired the fatal shot will never have to purchase another drink or meal in his or her life.

    Team effort. Every single one of the team should NEVER have to buy another drink in their lives.

    And, yeah….deeply satisfying, despite all the blood and death we’ve inflicted ourselves in the mid East. I regret those deaths; not this one.

  10. So, when Obama made the joke about Trump making the tough decisions, like firing Gary Busey or Meatloaf…he had made the decision to authorize the strike in the last week. Wow.

    I am never playing poker with him.

  11. An old, old wound that had abcessed and scarred over has been opened and drained and made clean. I feel as much relief as jubilation. I do feel happy for the people in NY and DC who are celebrating.

  12. For some reason, I’m glad the bastard didn’t get killed instantly by some drone, but had time to know what was coming.

  13. Glad you clarified that, John – I had assumed the proverb you meant was “Today is a good day to die.” Yours works too.

  14. The Klingon proverb “Revenge is a dish that is best served cold” (cited by Khan in ST2:TWoK) is actually an old Sicilian proverb, apparently. But the Klingons have been known to “appropriate” items of culture that fit their philosophies (e.g. Shakespeare “in the original Klingon”). So make of that what you will.

    This is a grand and glorious day. Remember it, as you do 9/11.

    But we would be fools to believe the threat is over. Osama wasn’t the only person out there with capabilities and intentions to harm the United States. In particular, the Pakistanis may very well be upset…and Pakistan is known to possess nuclear weapons. Do we know where all of them are? Are we sure? So we can’t let our guard down. Not for a minute. Not for a second.

    Justice has been done…but the death of bin Laden is only a small part of the interest we’re due for 9/11. The principal hasn’t even been touched.

  15. I knew I could count on Scalzi to cover this. Not even sure why this is the 2nd website I visited after hearing this.

  16. Lawrence:/’angghal: yes, but this would be the most famous one among non-Klingonists. (Although I do like the one about the running man and four thousand throats…)

    (IRL, the saying appears to be of French origin, and the particular English wording used by Khan owes its popularity to the novel The Godfather.)

    I gotta say, I won’t miss the man, and the world may be better off without him, but after almost 10 years and so much fighting and searching, this is more a case of the revenge leaving me cold. I understand the celebratory impulse, but it still saddens me to see so many people happy over anyone’s death. I think that in real life, some of our values could stand to be a little less Klingonlike (though I would love to see more attention to honor among our rulers).

  17. I’m feeling a big “Meh” over this. They killed an old guy dying of kidney failure that, by most reports, had little to do any more with Al Qaeda operations, accomplishing two things: 1. letting American rabidly chant “USA! USA!” like they won the world cup and 2. potentially strengthening Al Qaeda’s resolve by making Bin Laden a martyr.

    What it won’t do is make anyone safer from terrorism or let us bring the troops home anytime sooner.

  18. Well, it’s TIME to change my name. I’ve been usingDirty Wizard Hunter on Scalzi and Stross’s site for years. The DIRTY WIZARD is dead.

  19. I’m another who believes every death can be a loss. I think this one gets a waiver, though. Now that the boogeyman is dead though, can we have some of our civil liberties back?

  20. Let me be the first one here to say that I’m not entirely happy. If I read Obama’s speech correctly, Bin Laden was killed after the firefight (“After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”), which sounds to me like “We stormed the compound and then executed Bin Laden”. I would have preferred that the basic principles of the rule of law would have been followed. He should have been brought before a judge and sentenced to death.

    I also think that desecrating the dead is wrong and unworthy. I cringe when I read all this talk about revenge; are we really still tribal animals that think in terms of revenge instead of justice?.

    That said, the world is a better place now.

  21. alphager @30 local news here (India) based on unnamed sources in Pakistan is that Bin Laden actively participated in the fire fight, challenged the special ops team to come and get him, and was shot once in the head after refusing to surrender. obviously it’ll be awhile ’til it all shakes out, but it sounds like he was given the choice and unsurprizingly given his beliefs, chose martyrdom in combat.

    I’m only unhappy that it took so long, and that so much very unfortunate US policy, both foreign and domestic, has been in response to the attacks he authorized. a trial would have been satisfying, but given how the current spate of WoT trials has not been happening, and the likely security problems it would have entailed, it is just as well.

  22. I hope the soldier/sailor that fired the fatal shot will never have to purchase another drink or meal in his or her life. Normally, I would be hesitant to celebrate the end of a life, but I will make an exception in this case.

    I hope we only find out his name in his obituary. If we ever find it out publicly, then he will have to live his entire life behind protection, as he will be the number one target for terrorists for the rest of his life.

  23. What a great weekend! As a US citizen living in the UK I celebrated along with the rest of the country on Friday for the royal wedding. And then to wake up and hear this on a holiday Monday puts the icing on the cake. For those who carried off the mission – excellent result. I’m glad there were no US injuries or deaths. I hope the President gives you the highest awards America has, even if we never get to know your names.
    The news here is reporting that bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea, so no martyrdom tomb.

  24. I had ALMOST given up hope that this day would ever come. The murdering bastards that follow the piece of scum in question now know, without a doubt, that NONE of THEM will ever be safe.

  25. which sounds to me like “We stormed the compound and then executed Bin Laden”. I would have preferred that the basic principles of the rule of law would have been followed.

    The rule of law (ie every citizen is equal before the law) was followed – or more technically, it didn’t apply in this context. They weren’t on US soil and bin Laden isn’t a citizen. Perhaps you meant that you were hoping ‘international law’ was followed? But he was an enemy combatant, so it’s not clear that even international law would have saved his sorry ass. It doesn’t seem any different in principle than all those drone strikes that Obama has been authorizing (and kudos to Obama for the drone strikes too, by the way).

  26. Pike his head at the gates of Mecca, as a warning to the next ten generations that some ‘victories’ come at too high a price.

  27. Count me in the unhappy camp.

    Not that he is dead, on that subject I could mostly care less, he was obviously not a good human being, but I personally cannot find it in my to celebrate killing….

    What makes me unhappy is both how it happened and the response of the people of our country. If the early reports I have been reading are right (and I am fully willing to admit I may be wrong on this one, and it will probably be a point of much debate in the coming news cycle) it sounds like this strike was undertaken by a US strike team against a target inside of Pakistan with out letting the government of Pakistan know anything about it until after the fact. This seems problematic. Our “world police” attitudes and actions have been linked time and again to the creation of terrorists as much as to stopping them, what does that mean when we play out those “world police” fantasies when killing the figure head of the most well known anti-American terrorist movement?… And justifying it with “yeah but its OBL!” feels to much like justifying the means by the end, and that is a slippery slope I really don’t like sliding down….

    And to our nations response… waving flags, chanting USA and praising god for the death of an enemy… it all seems eerily familiar…

    Yeah, sorry, none of this sits well with me.

  28. “”Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night
    because rough men stand ready
    to do violence on their behalf.”
    -George Orwell

    This is good news.

  29. #37, I don’t feel he would have been in the mansion if we had alerted the Pakistanis. The guy was living in a major city in an affluent area of town in a mansion that had only been built in 2005. You’d have to be crazy to think there weren’t people in Pakistan in the know protecting him.

  30. Well, justice is done then.

    2 thoughts:

    1) Don’t let anyone be fooled into thinking that things will take a turn for the better now. If anything prepare for retaliation actions against American targets.

    2) The similarities between the public cheering and flagwaving from American citizens over this are eerily similar to the reactions of the extremist muslims to 9/11. Humans, eh?

  31. Huh.

    German news are reporting pakistani units were involved in the attack itself, so they kinda must’ve known about the operation, mustn’t they?

    ” Die US-Kräfte wurden offenbar aus Afghanistan eingeflogen und erhielten Unterstützung von pakistanischen Einheiten. Wie aus pakistanischen Sicherheitskreisen weiter verlautete, begann die Operation kurz nach Mitternacht (Ortszeit) und dauerte vier Stunden. Augenzeugen berichteten in pakistanischen Medien, dass mindestens drei Hubschrauber an der Aktion beteiligt gewesen seien. Es habe heftige Schusswechsel gegeben. Einer der Hubschrauber habe beim Landeversuch Feuer gefangen und sei abgestürzt. Pakistanische Soldaten hätten das Gebiet abgeriegelt.”

    from http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/binladen144.html

    Tagesschau is usually very reliable with few political slants. They might’ve gotten wrong info, though, hence the careful wording of that article. Spiegel says Pakistan hadn’t been informed, but Stern sticks to the story that pakistani units had been involved.

    Politics is confusing.

    On the death itself:
    On one hand I’m glad he’s gone, on the other hand that death is going to make him a martyr. I’d preferred to see him rot in an unknown prison somewhere.

    But I’m very wary about the political fallout of that thingy. If Pakistan really wasn’t informed, the “America the World Police” thingy will bite the USA in the butt big time. Again. :/

  32. @35 DA Munroe:
    I’m not a lawyer (and not a native English speaker); you captured my intentions pretty well (though I think even non-citizen tourists in the US enjoy protection under the rule of law so citizenship shouldn’t be an issue). I don’t think that anybody (not even the president of the US) should be able to just hand death-sentences down without some checks and balances. Killing someone during a war is different then executing someone 9 years after a crime he committed.

    “Enemy combatant” is afaik a term redefined by members of the Bush-administration to deny basic human rights to people they don’t like (the basis for the torture-camp at Gitmo).

    I think you are right; it boils down to whether or not you think that outright executing people is right or wrong. I think that the drone-bombings aren’t right (though they are in more grey area. There are certain executions that I like, certains that I can live with and many that seem plain wrong. Bombing people in an enemy-country certainly is better that executing people in an allied country).

    @37 Curtis G.:
    The US has traditionally ignored borders, international law or treaties whenever it was convenient. Kidnapping or killing citizens of allied countries and NATO-partners happened regularly in the last decade (the Masri-case in Germany and the killing in Italy come to mind). I think in this case it would have been justified to carry out the operation before informing Pakistan because of the very real support OBL and the Taliban have gotten from parts of the Pakistani forces. But if we can trust the official version, the operation was approved by Pakistan and Pakistani officers were part of the operation.

    But the flag-waving and chanting because of the death of an enemy is pretty bad and quite frankly undignified. We should be happy that a major terrorist is dead, but dancing in the streets just reeks of the ugly pictures of dancing Arabs after 9/11.

  33. it sounds like this strike was undertaken by a US strike team against a target inside of Pakistan with out letting the government of Pakistan know anything about it until after the fact. This seems problematic.

    Damn right this is “problematic” … he was in a massive compound, in a major suburb of the Pakistani capital that is home to three Pakistani regiments, a hundred yards from a Pakistani military academy …

    Oh wait, you mean it’s problematic that we didn’t warn him them we were coming?!?!

  34. Calven@ #26: like this, apparently.

    Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can still take them seriously as a news agency when this kind of ticker preread fail isn’t even uncommon for them…

  35. Cool, the designated enemy is dead. Party! Also, can we stop blowing random Pakistani goatherds off the sides of mountains now?

  36. Best Monday morning news ever.

    Also, blank you ISI; I figured that our late good buddy was cooling his heels in Pakistan.

  37. Not sad to see him go but I wish I thought this would make a difference in the world. It won’t. As for the “two minutes of hate” we are now generating? Well that will need to be fed on a regular basis, just like his was.

    The Onion ran a story back in the 90’s that with the fall of the Soviet Union the US was holding try-outs for a new mortal enemy. They could change the names & rerun the thing now.

  38. It is my hope that our leader can make good on a promise spoken ca. 2009: ‘Guantanamo will be closed within [the year]‘. Though behind schedule, the delay up to now might prove justified. Might.

    No dancing, no cheers or chants – just grateful tonight. Well done, and thank you.

  39. This also sounds like an example of the dwarven proverb from Discworld: “Today is a good day for someone else to die.”

    In an ideal world, the US forces would have taken him alive to stand trial in the USA. The way things turned out that couldn’t happen. I am also glad that OBL is dead.

  40. @12 Naomi Kritzer:

    Here’s the meat of the Amnesty International press release:

    “Osama Bin Laden took credit for and supported acts around the world which amounted to crimes aganist humanity. He also inspired others to commit grave human rights abuses,” said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.

    “His death will put an end to his role in organizing or inspiring such criminal acts. We do not know the full circumstances of his killing and and the others with him and we are looking into that.”

    They left themselves a little bit of wiggle room there, but a lot better than your husband’s “candlelight vigil” speculation. No real comment on the death itself, but a fairly resounding comdemnation of Osama the man.

  41. I’m not feeling much of anything about this really. No chest thumping. No sigh of relief that the boogeyman is dead. I’m just reacting to it on a purely functional level.

    If you advocate, finance, plan, and act to bring about the deaths of thousands of people, and this is not an unexpected outcome.

    And as much of a huge advocate of rule of law that I am, even putting Bin Laden through a civil (not military) trial in America would have guaranteed this same result, so its kind of a shoulder shrug on the particular outcome.

    I do wonder what intel they may have been able to get from Bin Laden had they taken him alive, but given he’s been hiding and on the run for a decade, I don’t know how much he would know anyway. I think a trial probably would have acted as a continuing recruiting poster for more extremists. And I can’t imagine how he would have survived more than a few years in prison before someone got to him and killed him anyway.

    Functinoally speaking, I’m not chest thumping because very little has changed in the long view of things, and I generally take the long view.

    OBL’s story was that of a supervillian. And like many supervillians, he was created by the superhero of the story, America. Bin Laden came from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a pretty brutal state that is heavily supported by the United States because it is convenient to the US. Certainly, not everyone who lives in under a brutal government supported heavily by the United States turns into the supervillian arch enemy of the US, but there is a pattern of it happening. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

    Given our continued support of brutal governments, one can assume there will be more Osama Bin Laden’s in the future.

    I do grant that OBL’s particular case is extremely rare. Most people living under brutal governments supported by the US are dirt poor. OBL happened to be filthy rich. If you’re dirt poor and as a child you witness your parents murdered on the way home from the theater, odds are you don’t make it into the history books. If you’re filthy rich and watch your parents murdered on the way home from the theater, you use that wealth to become Batman. OBL was filthy rich, and that money definitely changed the dynamic of what he could do in response to living under a brutal government supported by the US.

    The US continues to support brutal dictators. The foot dragging on Mubarak in Egypt, and then the transparent attempt to get Mubarak replaced with Suleiman, hasn’t won the US any supporters in Egypt. And probably created a few enemies. Whether these enemies will turn into supervillian arch enemies who follow OBL’s footsteps, only time will tell.

    If you are creating enemies faster than you can kill them (and it seems thats what we’re doing), then it is hard to celebrate any particular killling.

  42. “not a native English speaker” might explain why you’re reading too much into the word “after”. In context, it didn’t mean “we first did A, then we stopped doing A, then we did B” but rather “we did A, and as during that B happened.” Or in other words, he used American English, not some programming language.

  43. can’t say I’m sad he is gone, nope not at all. I would still have preferred a full civil trial though.

  44. OBL’s story was that of a supervillian. And like many supervillians, he was created by the superhero of the story, America.

    That’s ridiculous. Who the hell are you… Michael Moore?

    The only way you can make that theory plausible is to hold America to a higher standard than other nations. America didn’t create the world’s strongmen.

    The US continues to support brutal dictators.

    Um, Gaddafi, Hussein, and the Taliban all probably wished that the US gave them a little more “support.” In each case, America brought down a dictatorship and there were screams of outrage from certain quarters. Let’s add the USSR. And now you’re holding America accountable for all the jerks that we don’t topple?

    Well, here’s a deal, Greg. The rest of us will go celebrate while you glower and moan about how America “created” bin Laden.

  45. So when are we dismantling Fatherland Security, bringing our boys home, and getting back the Fourth Amendment?

    I’m not sorry the bastard’s dead, but overall it’s kind of irrelevant.

  46. DA: Gaddafi, Hussein, and the Taliban all probably wished that the US gave them a little more “support.”

    Saddam Hussein???

    My god man, is there a letter grade below “Z” to be given for failing history so spectacularly????

    The Shah of Iran was put in power by the CIA and British Intelligence in 1953 by overthrowing the democratically elected government that was running things at the time. He was kept in power for 25 years of American support. According to an Amnesty International (speaking of evil AI) report while the Shah was in power, his secret police had tens of thousands of political prisoners that were being tortured and/or executed.

    In 1979, the Shah was overthrown during the iranian Revolution, radicalized against the US, it was taken over by religious extremists there.

    In 1982, Reagan threw his military support behind your good friend Hussein in Iraq, because Iran had become our supervillian arch enemy and it looked like iraq was going to lose the Iran/Iraq war. In 1983, Donald Rumsfed shook the hand of Hussein as he was bringing military support to Iraq to help them fight Iran. The United States allowed Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weaposn because it would help them win the war against Iran. You know, those WMDs that Rumsfeld was shitting his pants about a few years later?

    Then Hussein invaded Kuwait, and we declared him our super villian arch enemy number 2.

    As for the Taliban, you fail history yet again. We supported, armed, and trained the Taliban to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Taliban were part of the various warlords in Afghanistan that we helped fight the soviets. After the soviets left, and we abandoned afghanistan, the various warlords fought amongst themselves (as warlords do). The taliban took the south, the rest became known in the US media as the “Northern Allicance”.

    The only way you can make that theory plausible is to hold America to a higher standard than other nations. America didn’t create the world’s strongmen.

    Yes, we have. And given how you are so sure of your “facts” and yet are so unbelievably, amazingly, and fundamentally wrong, I doubt the above little history lesson will alter your position one iota.

  47. In the grand tradition of Rocky and Bullwinkle episode names, we bring you:

    “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”


    “Sounds like someone had a case of the Mondays.”

  48. America didn’t create the world’s strongmen.

    Google Operation Ajax, 1953. It was then America put the brutal Shah/puppet dictator in power. And we did everything we could to keep him in power for 25 years.

  49. Greg, DA:

    I think it’s best if you two avoid speaking to each other. You breach the line between discussing facts and going personal too often.

  50. @57 Yep, never was in any doubt of that. Doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with them or that they’re our worst enemy. One good approximation of hell: being forced to try to govern that country.

  51. This is a perfect example of why the public doesn’t need to know everything. Can you imagine that we’d have caught Pakistan with its pants down if Wiki Leaks had righteously released that info in the name of the public’s right to know?

    That said, bravo to the men who carried this out and were smart enough to look for wasn’t there!

  52. All I can say is that I felt a profound sense of relief when I heard the news. First, a flash of anger that it had taken us so long to get him, then a moment of regret that we couldn’t take him alive and hold him on trial and properly convict him, but finally just an overwhelming sense of relief that we finally took him out, such that I almost cried.

    There’s a lot of political hemming and hawing and caveating and whatever that you could do today. But maybe we can save that for tomorrow? Today I’m just grateful.

  53. Glad OBL got to meet his maker.

    As Churchlady says: “Could it be …. Satan?!?!”

    Now if we can stop funnelling support to Muslim extremists in the form of money for oil … End foreign oil dependence! Show Congress your support for thorium power plants!

  54. I’m late to the thread, but here I was thinking that revenge was a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins…

  55. I am decidedly meh on the subject.

    The world is probably a better place without him.

    But basic human dignity demands that we not lessen ourselves by cheering for another’s death. As other have said we don’t want to have pictures of us dancing in the street at his death any more than we want to see people dancing in the streets at our tragedies.

    In the long run I hope it proves OBL was singular in being able to guide AQ and, perhaps more importantly, singular in his ability to raise money for AQ.

    We should comport ourselves with the dignity we would want others to treat us.

    I too wish we had a legal framework that covered OBL’s death rather better than “enemy combatant”. Rules are good and need to be followed when it is hard to follow them just as much as when it is easy to follow them.

  56. It is about %$#@ time! I hope they shove a polish sausage up his backside and cremate him that way. “No Houris for you!” My apologies if this post exceedes the boundries of good taste, but “bin Laden out” doesn’t deserve any respect, either as a person or corpse and should be treated that way!

    Of course, now some brain-damaged schmuck is going to try to take his place and we’ll be laying him out next. To bad these clown always send sombody else out to get blown up.

  57. Headline:

    OBL succumbs to a combination of terminal angst over unrequited love for “Black Swan” star Natelie Portman and ballistic intracranial kinetic enegry transfer, but mostly ballistic intracranial kinetic energy transfer.

    He is officially pining for the fjords.

    Big picture, I hope that this is the outcome (faster, please) for all those who attempt to slaughter my fellow citizens. It’s a marker in a long war. Count me out of the chanting, though; to me this event evokes more the grim feeling of putting down an animal. Had to be done.

    And John, based on the proverb that headlines this post, shouldn’t you keep the mallet on ice?

  58. “We should be happy that a major terrorist is dead, but dancing in the streets just reeks of the ugly pictures of dancing Arabs after 9/11.”

    Oh BS. Those people were celebrating the deaths of thousands of innocent people just because they were Americans.* I celebrated Bin Laden’s death because he’s the murderous bastige who ordered that and other attacks and was responsible for thousands of people who’d never hurt him or his in any dying.

  59. The man inspired and conspired to kill my friend and my shipmates. I will not celebrate his death and I will not mourn him. The first thoughts that crossed my mind after learning the news were Che Guevara’s supposed last words, “You only kill the man.” Yes, bin Laden is dead, but his legacy lives on. Yes, bin Laden is dead, but as always, it falls to the living to deal with the aftermath.

    I was physically ill to see people dancing in the streets and the flash mob at the White House. I saw no difference between those people and the videos of the people in the Middle East celebrating after the towers fell. What’s more, the 1 in 365 chance that this would be announced exactly eight years after George W swaggered across the deck of the Lincoln to declare “Mission accomplished” is enough to make me question my political affiliations.

    It is my sincere hope that this nation and the world can begin to heal and the horrid events of the last 10 years can be at last laid to rest.

  60. You know, I have no problems with being glad he’s gone. Would’ve liked a trial. Would like to think that it will make a difference, but am fairly sure it won’t. Disheartened to see that people are already reducing parts of this to blaming Pakistan, because frankly it is not going to do anyone any good. Might as well start naming pretty much any country living the post-colonial dream, people. There are lots of reasons people might legitimately not love the US. There are lots of reasons people might like the US and even aspire to some US values. You see both in many countries, Pakistan included. That’s ok. The US isn’t the measure of all that is good and right, nor do other countries need to see our interests as more important than their own.

    Do I think it’s a generally good thing that this has happened? Yeah, probably. But do I think it’s a cause for triumphalism or for thinking everything is going to be ok? no. I just hope it isn’t going to be one of those events that really brings out the worst in people.

  61. #81: You do what you can do. I’m not even that gung-ho about revenge seeking, but this is one of those dirty jobs that had to be done pretty much regardless of the cost.

    This is not to mention that this makes a neat bookend to Desert 1; seeing as he’s an ex-USN officer I suspect that Jimmy Carter is enjoying this as much as anyone else.

  62. kevin b@#40 “2) The similarities between the public cheering and flagwaving from American citizens over this are eerily similar to the reactions of the extremist muslims to 9/11. Humans, eh?”

    False equivalence. It’s “similar” by about 3000:1. (Not to say that I’m overly happy at the “cheering”.)

  63. Yeah, Shrike58, I thought that too. A desert operation decades ago finished Jimmy’s presidency. This op may just make Obama’s.

  64. Bryan Larsen@#53 “They left themselves a little bit of wiggle room there, but a lot better than [Naomi Kritzer@12]‘s ‘candlelight vigil’ speculation. No real comment on the death itself, but a fairly resounding comdemnation of Osama the man.”

    Amnesty International press release doesn’t seem much different than what Naomi posted except there was no mention of “champagne”.

  65. Greg@55 “The dig against Amnesty International did seem a little out in right (wing) field.”

    If you mean Naomi@12, go read it again.

  66. I’m not particularly moved by the killing of Osama Bin Ladin; death of a bad guy from 10 years ago = good;
    I understand the need for vengence and closure, but it doesnt stimulate me to fireworks or flag waving.

    I have no doubt that pictures will surface. For certain people, Vengence is not as tasty if there is no tangible evidence; Barack will be mad and demand answers when the images show up, but he simultaneously does the professional thing (no …souvenirs), the respectful thing (treat the body per Islamic traditions), the right thing (bury it at sea so there are no spots for reverence) and the eye for an eye thing (there will be grainy photos with good face recognition)

  67. I’m grimly pleased by the news, but seriously unimpressed that it took a decade of politically-useful fear-stoking and 2+ misguided wars to get around to it.

    I’ll cut actual survivors and families/friends of the victims of the 9/11 attacks infinite slack if they want to be jubilant. (Not that they need my permission, nor do I suspect that most of them would be inclined to jubilation.) Ditto, to some extent, service members and their family. (Again, not that they need my permission.). Other than that, partying in the streets reminds me of losers with “Terrorist Hunting Permit” stickers on their spotless Hummers.


    1) Civil rights will continue to be under attack in the US.
    2) The US will continue to pump as much money into our “defense” as the entire rest of the world. Deficit hysteria will continue to magically not apply to that.
    3) Osama’s burial-at-sea will prompt theories about Obama helping him disappear. These theories will gain wider audience as the media reports the “controversy”. A subset of Republican candidates and pundits will make increasingly less-subtle comments about “reasonable remaining questions” in the run-up to November 2012.

  68. His death is long overdue. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving sociopathic mass-murderer. Now, speaking of sociopathic mass-murderers, Ghadafi is nowhere near stable and he’s getting worse. One might say that OBL victory is something of a magicians sleight of hand away from the issues in Libya. Granted, the demise of Osama made most Americans give, at least, a sigh of relief. There was no ‘good’ way for Osama to be ended. His death while fighting only makes him a martyr, if he had been brought before a court and tried, recruits would have flocked to his banner. life and death in prison, and he would not have lasted too long, would mark him for martyrdom after suffering greatly at the hands of the infidels. Simple execution after conviction, and he’d have had famous last words for his people, fanning their flame of hatred. Killed while resisting arrest seems to be the lesser of evils. Glad he’s gone, but the hornets nest we just kicked is going to give us all sorts of hell.

  69. This is a perfect example of why the public doesn’t need to know everything. Can you imagine that we’d have caught Pakistan with its pants down if Wiki Leaks had righteously released that info in the name of the public’s right to know?

    I don’t think wikileaks has released any operational information. It has all been after the fact stuff. Like the apache video showing US troops gunning down a Reuters cameraman, his bodyguards, a civilian who came to aid them, and apparently some children who were in the civilian’s car. The video was released long, long after the actual attack occurred.

  70. Of course OBL’s demise caused a cascade of emotions.

    I was going to bed around 11:00-ish pm EST when I saw the news. My first reaction was fist-pumping, yelling down the staircase to my husband who also engaged in fist-pumping, and a call to my mother to relay the info. There was some measure of joy in paying that bastige back with a bullet.

    Something along the lines of: “If you hadn’t nailed [Osama bin Laden] to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleedin’ choir inveesible! THIS IS AN EX-TERRORIST!!!”

    There was also some less-than-proper wishes for his bodily desecration, preferably before his demise, including shoving a Polish sausage or some chorizo (the spices make it sting more) up his backside, pouring some cheap liquor down his throat, shaving his hair and beard, showing him the soles of people’s feet, putting him in a windowless room with ten really angry gay men who had lost family on 9/11, and other culturally specific insults, and then shoving his head on a pike at Mecca. (And I’d like to re-order that list to place the chorizo-stuffing after the prison rape. Don’t want to irritate the foreskins of the patriotic gay men. They’re just serving their country.)

    It wasn’t so much WWJD, but more like WWVTD (What Would Vlad Tepes Do?)

    These wishes faded after a few minutes, replaced by a more sober consideration that our country had assassinated a person. I don’t like the precedent, although there were doubtlessly many precedents before OBL. I wish that the world were a better place that such people as OBL had never lived in it to begin with.

    Upon reflection, some ideas about his impending martyrdom and posthumous inciting of revenge has occurred to me, but this was going to happen anyway. If OBL hadn’t inspired them, some other crazed loon would have, and there’s the problem. OBL was just a symbol, and his death is merely symbolic, and other crazed, loonie leaders have all just been promoted one step.

    While I’m no longer so jingoistic about OBL’s death, at least one rich man obsessed with America’s destruction is no longer in the world. Perhaps the next leader won’t be so rich, or so charismatic, or won’t be able to get quite so many followers to do quite so many stupid, evil things.

    TK Kenyon

  71. the hornets nest we just kicked is going to give us all sorts of hell

    If that wasn’t uttered in the inner circle of Al-Qaeda right after 9/11, it should have been.

  72. There’s a Gunship Community proverb that applies here too: “You can run but you’ll just die tired”. I hope bin Laden spent a lot of his last 10 years wondering when he would see an American face above the wrong view of a weapon.

    There was never any chance of capturing bin Laden alive. He was no more willing to be captured than Clyde Barrow or John Dillinger were.

    Hopefully, the terrorists around the world are realizing that there will be only one ending if you make the mistake of targeting the US. We may do a lot of things wrong (like supporting dictatorial regimes) but when the US puts all of its resources into a task that task gets DONE.

    Good on ya to my SOF brothers.

  73. My husband used to photograph award ceremonies for heroes like the ones who took part in this action. They are on record, but never publicly. There will be a ceremony for them at which a high ranking officer praises their work and tells them he’s sorry their families will never know the whole story.

    Not likely to be published in their obits — maybe some time after they’re long dead.

  74. The world isn’t safer, but it is 0.015% better. Is instant liquification of his cerebrum the best of all possible retribution, no… On the other hand I believe in a bastardization of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as they would do unto you, but do it first. If it happens to be a potential friend, this is a quite happy philosophy… In Osama’s case, it would be ideally realized over 45 minutes with a wood chipper.

    Has anyone already forgotten that the Taliban started their spring offensive with a 12 year old suicide bomber? (I know not the same faction exactly, but as factions go, they are soul mates).

  75. For those of you who think that Osama’s death means that our battles all have been won… They lost A retired strategist and patron, one who had been marginalized over the last few years. Al Qaida’s effectiveness has not been degraded one iota. This is a symbolic victory that could (if all goes well) be developed into a strategic victory. That victory is NOT assured and can be sabotaged easily by pretending otherwise.

  76. I just read that he’s been a resident of his little palace there in Abbotobad (down the road from Costellobad, I guess) for at least 6 years. Pakistan has a lot to answer for regarding that.

    Now he’s on his way to being shark poop and crab snacks. Ironically, the 72 sharks that ripped his deposed body to shreds were virgins.

  77. Pakistan has a lot to answer for regarding that.

    Pakistan has been fighting al qaeda and the taliban in their provinces bordering afghanistan for a few years now. Some may recall some shitstorm getting raised in the Swat valley in 2009. There are probably some in the Pakistan governmetn who are sympathetic to al qaeda and the taliban’s strict religious beliefs. Some likely didn’t know where OBL was hiding. And some likely didn’t want to know, given that knowledge would require them to hand OBL to America, and with a large contingent of al qaeda in their country taking over provinces, brokering shakey peace deals, would be like swatting the hornets nest.

    If you could get an honest answer from them it might be something like “We didn’t want to start a civil war”.

  78. [Deleted for gratuitous slammage on Islam. That's not how we roll around here, folks -- JS]

  79. I read a quote by Mark Twain a few minutes ago, and already it’s fading, but here’s the paraphrase…

    ” I have never, myself, killed a man, but I have ready many an obituary with satisfaction!”

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