Was killing Osama bin Laden more trouble than it was worth?
I suppose the Americans had to kill him. Taking him alive could have fueled all manner of fanatical responses and perhaps turned him into a martyr. Dead, his martyrdom seems to be a fleeting thing at best. I suppose the low profile he had to keep for the past decade had created an "out of sight, out of mind" condition.
But now the great feat is turning messy. Osama's wife was in the room with him and one soldier supposedly had to shoot her. Osama himself we learn was unarmed when he was shot, apparently from the side, the bullet taking out both eyes. Now the Pakistanis are saying that Osama's daughter was also present and watched her father being killed.
I know, I know, it was a precision operation carried out under extremely difficult conditions and killings like this are inevitably messy.
What bothered me most on Sunday night was the mob that gathered outside the White House. A mass of young people in a state of sheer ecstasy that Osama had been shot to death. The scene reminded me of similar mobs we've seen in Arab countries, the type we like to denigrate. Maybe we're more alike than we care to realize.
The American Right has been in full-bore damage control over this. Rumsfeld, the architect of the Iraq fiasco, called Obama "wise" for supposedly continuing the efforts of the Bush administration. Wise? Rummy seems to forget that he was defense secretary when George w. Bush's forces let Osama slip through their fingers in the hills of Tora Bora. He'd like to gloss over the fact that he and Bush allowed al Qaeda to recover and metastasize while they went off to play in the sandbox of Iraq.
In a land where so many are utterly detached from sense and logic, the Right wing message will be absorbed as readily as an antacid tablet. I guess that's the one lesson we've received over and over again during the past decade - once people are conditioned to accept, you can feed them just about any garbage. Then again, isn't that at the very core of all political and religious fundamentalism?