California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Don’t Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death

Dear Editor,

When people around the country heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed on Sunday by an unknown Navy SEAL soon to become the most high-fived human of all time, many reached for their coolers, as well as their IPods to play their favorite cheesy patriotic song (Rick Derringer’s “Real American” is a personal favorite).

It was a great excuse for Americans to come together in a show of exuberance not seen since 1980’s “Miracle on Ice.” It was also nice to see that the freshmen residents of George Washington University’s Clark Hall enjoyed their party in front of the White House.

However, air horns and beer bongs are best saved for national championships and Lake Havasu. What happened on Sunday is a much more somber and contemplative affair.

It is difficult to tell what tactical implications bin Laden’s death will have on the day-to-day operation of Al Qaeda forces in the field. Reports have said that his mansion hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan was without phone or internet service—so we know that he wasn’t Tweeting his operatives and that he had not seen the “hide your kids, hide your wife” YouTube video yet.

To use an overstated historical analogy, this is not the case as it was with the death of Adolf Hitler, which led to the immediate surrender of Nazi Germany. The troops will not be coming home.

In fact, most of the troops did not come home immediately after Hitler’s death either. Many were held to be shipped over to the Pacific (a two-front war scenario which may seem similar to but is not the same as the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts). Tens of thousands remained in Germany, and due to the fact that 65,000 U.S. troops are stationed there currently, one could say that they never returned.

Here in lies the problem—it appears that U.S. troops, or any Western enterprise for that matter, will never be able to peacefully occupy Iraq or Afghanistan.

Unlike in Germany and Japan, where the populations quickly began to paint themselves as the victims of power-mad dictators and wanted to act like the whole thing had been a misunderstanding, our presence in the Middle East seems to be causing as much new opposition as it is quelling.

Therefore, a quick end of hostilities or a victory resembling anything like the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on V-J Day will not be seen anytime soon.

Maybe this is a good thing. Even though America finds itself for the most part on the side of righteousness, maybe every time we march home from war with our collective tail between our legs we will become better peacemakers then we are warriors, which should be our true legacy to the world.

But this task should not be placed on the men and women of our armed forces to whom all the praises and cheers should be directed. For those who are serving and who have recently served in the military, along with everyone directly affected by 9/11—such as the New York City fireman disabled as a result of his time at ground zero who told CNN on Sunday night that Bin Laden should “burn in hell”—the feeling of satisfaction is well deserved.

The rest of us need to stop acting like we have any personal reason to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. It is the responsibility of the citizenry whose judgment is not clouded by emotion to see his death for what it is and to do whatever it takes to prevent another 9/11 and the events that led to 9/11 from ever happening again.

Public celebration of violence, no matter how kick-ass it is, perpetuates the cycle that led to 9/11. They hurt us and they celebrate, we hurt them and we celebrate… Eventually this cycle needs to end.

The fact is, America is not fighting against any particular country, race, or religion—we are fighting perception.

The perception that the United States and its allies are so evil that human beings, flesh and blood just like us, can justify the targeted killing of noncombatant men, women and children.

Whatever prophet you may follow—Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, or the Fonz—they would not condone recreating UCLA’s 1995 NCAA Basketball Championship celebration in Westwood after someone has died as the result of a conflict which will claim many more in the months and years ahead.

Even if that person was one of the biggest S.O.B.s of all time.

Richard Duboc

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Don’t Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death