Osama Bin Laden is dead – stream of consciousness

As I am sure you all heard, the US killed Bin Laden last night and buried him at sea.

While I am comforted that the world is now free from this evil man, how can we celebrate the death of anyone? The world is a better place for sure, but it’s not like with his death there is no more terror.

And what am I supposed to explain to my son who asked me why he was executed without a trial? “Even Eichmann had a trial, Ima”. That some people are so evil they don’t deserve due process? Who decides that?

We cannot celebrate the murder of anyone – we criticize those Palestinians who celebrate the deaths of Israelis murdered by Hamas, and pass out candies to show their joy – is that who we want to be?

His death needs to give us pause, time to reflect, time for those who lost family members, friends and coworkers at his hands to feel a sense of closure and finally move ahead with their lives.

22 responses to “Osama Bin Laden is dead – stream of consciousness

  1. Beautifully put. I was a red cross volunteer after 9/11, and recall the calls the hotline got about hate crimes against muslims and anyone who looked vaguely arab. I remember the harassment against muslimas as they walked their children to school. Red cross volunteers from the south were hateful against the muslims who risked their health to recovery bodies from the pile. What scares me now is that this “patriotism” may spark some truly hateful behavior.

  2. I, too, initially thought I would have preferred a trial, then realized how many people al-Quaida would have kidnapped and executed in order to force his release. When Eichmann was captured, the Nazis were finished. His trial was critical to the execution of justice. In this case, swift justice was the best justice, the only justice.

    Tell your darling son, who is wise and who thinks, that this was not a criminal act, where we arrest and prosecute, but an act of war, and thus different measures were required.

  3. batya from NJ

    I posted a good article earlier by Shmuley Boteach from the Algemeiner newspaper which was exactly on this topic.

  4. “A senior administration official said Mr. bin Laden “did resist the assault force” and was killed in the firefight that ensued as the strike team entered the compound. “- WSJ
    It would seem that this is the reason he was killed and not because he didn’t deserve due process.

  5. And what am I supposed to explain to my son who asked me why he was executed without a trial?

    As far as I know, he wasn’t executed. The soldiers arrived, began their raid, neutralized the security, and approached the area of the house where OBL was located. The people with OBL in that part of the house chose to shoot it out with the soldiers. Had Obama captured OBL alive, it would likely have been an even bigger coup for him politically.

  6. Aside from Lori’s point, Eichmann was kidnapped/captured. I don’t think that was much of an option when it came to Bin Laden. There was a shootout. He was treated like any other enemy combatant: he shoots at you, you shoot back. Our boys are apparently better shooters 😛

    Tell your son that he was killed in a firefight, not executed. Or what Lori said 🙂

  7. lady lock and load

    If this is the way you feel, not to celebrate the death of wicked people, why would you make noise with a gragger upon hearing Haman’s name on Purim? Or let your kids make noise? just curious.

  8. I don’t know about hsm, but for me, haman is just a mythological figure, not real, so it doesn’t bother me (ducks flying objects).

  9. *is the one behind the flying objects aimed at Rubyv*

  10. *And what am I supposed to explain to my son who asked me why he was executed without a trial?*
    Methinks that this is one of our problems today. This is pc and pomo obfuscation of the fact that there is a war going on, much as we don’t like to admit it. Maybe also tell son the story about Shaul ha-Melekh’s reluctance to eradicate Amalek and the consequences of that. And it doesn’t matter whether or not this is factual or ‘fictual’ – it is the thought, the approach to real life choices and decisions what is at stake. As was pointed out, we didn’t really have the ‘luxury’ of putting OBL on trial. Could anyone imagine THAT circus and the resulting terror of getting him out by his friends? This was never an issue with regard to Eichmann y”s. There will, for sure, be repercussions anyway – which is lamentable enough – but it is so much better that he is no longer among us to do his dirty plotting. BTW – also point out to son that the timing of this event is more than just a little cosmic: Yom HaShoah and the date on which hitler y”s departed this world. Maybe it was not just the Americans who acted …..? Last, whether or not it is acceptable to show gladness (or is it relief?) at his removal – this has nothing whatsoever in common with Arabs/Muslims dancing on the graves of our righteous dead! These are reprobates who thrive on the murder of innocents, including babies!! So, it’s quite insulting to even begin to compare the sentiments. Sorry for long rant – but finished now.

  11. Just came across this post in the same vein on another site:
    What to tell your son: Eichmann (Y’SH) was captured and tried; ObL could not be captured (not as if the US hadn’t been trying for nearly 10 years), so this was the next-best thing. And of course Mossad does it to protect Israel.

    • BB – how-do-you-tell-your-kids-it-is-okay-to-celebrate-murder

      It’s never okay to celebrate murder. Killing though might be a different issue.

      One of my pet peeves is the mistranslation of the word “tirtzach” (תרצח) in the Torah to “kill” instead of the correct “murder”. And this mistranslation has been promulgated far and wide by almost all Christian (and many other) translations of the bible.

  12. I think many of us are on the same page as you:

    Lori Palatnik


    and many others I read or heard today.

  13. As for the comparisons of dancing in the streets; we should never compare the celebrating of heinous and despicable killings of innocents as seen in the Arab, world time and again, to the celebration of killing of a Master Mind terrorist who inflicted suffering and killed innocents.
    Every year on Purim we dance and rejoice and thank Hashem for the death of Haman.

  14. batya from NJ

    But Z!, I’ve heard that we rejoice on Purim not b/c Haman was killed but b/c the day of death & destruction for the Jewish ppl. was reversed & we are celebrating that our lives were spared.

  15. Surely, we dance a bit for the death of the wicked as well?!

  16. I get a weekly e-mail from Rav Aviner. This is a direct quote of his reaction to the death of Yassir Arafat: “It is true that it says in Mishlei (Proverbs)(24:17): “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice,” but there are enemies and there are Enemies.” He later goes on to quote Mishlei again: “when the wicked perish, there is joy” (Mishlei 11:10).

    I’m not into dancing in the streets, just because there is plenty more evil where that came from. But I’m glad he’s dead, I’m glad they tossed his body in the sea and I sure as hell know there ain’t 70 virgins waiting for him where he is now.

  17. After Hshm split the yam suf and the jews crossed safely and the mitzriem died Klal Yisroel sand shira. At the same time the malachim wished to say shira but could not because gds creations were dying so how can one sing shira. (and this is one of the reasons given for why we say part hallel for most of pesach) This is seemingly a contradiction. One of the answers given is that there is a distinction between when an enemy of gd and the torah gets killed or a bad person gets killed and when your enemy gets killed thereby saving your life. When you are saved you can say full shira but when a bad person dies then we must temper our celebration and even our praise of gd.
    In regard to OSBL it would depend on his current powers. Of course he caused the death of 3000+ ppl 10 years ago. However, we must determine what his capabilities were recently. If he continued to inspire and remained the Gang leader calling the shots then we can celebrate. However if he was only a figure head in hiding with real no capability of influencing current day terrorists then it would seem that we must temper our celebration. As he killed many ppl but we are not celebrating our direct salvation but rather the destruction of evil.

  18. Osama was still a threat. Eichman wasn’t.
    Hamas rejoices at the death of innoccents. Osama wasn’t an innoccent.

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