Obama Gets Osama

While we can all appreciate a well-executed execution, the death of Osama is cold comfort indeed in the face of the dismal decade after 9/11, and the changes in America we have wrought with our response.  The difficulties around flying alone (which used to be pleasant) are sufficiently expensive and unnecessary Kabuki, but we have a whole cultural attitude coarsening that I lament – with increasing bitterness in my tears, but maybe I am just getting old.  Two wars, burning Korans, and a culture of fear and separation that threatens to undermine the entire constitutional republic that despite its flaws has been, in fact and in deed, a beacon of freedom, opportunity, and easygoing acceptance to the world.

Whoever you think is responsible for 9/11, it is our response to this savage but brilliant crime that has been the sadder if slower offense.

The Abbotabad raid happened while I was in the plane coming back from Japan.  In my last dinner there, the conversation was not about the old days of Ida Rolf as usual, but of a world before computers, with these young people laughing as I described the first clunky small screen Macs and switching out floppy discs every 10 seconds.  All the computers on the Apollo capsule equaled about the computing power of the iPhone – something like that.

These young practitioners find a world before computers worthy of historical, somewhat hysterical note.  Anyone from puberty on down will similarly have no memory of a sunnier, pre-9/11 world.  Thus is the world changed – one funeral at a time, one birth into a new world disorder at a time.

I am no friend of Bin Laden.  Being a strict constructionist of the Old Testament, I am against capital punishment as contrary to the sixth commandment.  It would have been a better idea to take him alive, IMO, and put him on trial in Kenya and Tanzania, where his bombs killed innocent Muslims, and then just keep putting him on trial in various countries for the rest of his natural life.  No martyrdom, no jihad, just the long, slow death of being a perpetual defendant, subjected to the rule of law for his criminal acts of killing the innocents.

And you can say he killed our innocence as well, but I hold our own national response more accountable.  We have done exactly as he wished; we could hardly have answered his call in a way more pleasing to the jihadis.  I applaud Obama for not, as he said, ‘spiking the ball’.  Time to tone down the rhetoric, accept this small globe for the unsafe place that it is, and make the world an impossible place for any new Bin Ladens to emerge – through a return to core, and I do dare say, American values.

Last night, a dinner guest asked: “What will the next generation do for work?  Manufacturing is gone, they cannot all work at Wal-Mart.”  My answer, my hope: “They will stop building weaponry and build livingry.”

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