Osama Bin Laden is no more in this world.
Sometimes, to succeed, one must fail forward.
Over thirty years ago, the Carter Administration faced the demoralizing loss of Desert One. The loss of that helicopter during Special Ops necessitated the birth of the very department of special forces that landed outside the Bin Laden compound, home to three families, an hour north of Islamabad. Under an order signed by President Barack Obama before his visit to my shaken city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and without sharing information with Pakistan, at 3:30 pm EST the troops---probably twelve to fifteen Navy SEALS---landed nearby, in a final run practiced three times before. This time, the J53 helicopter intended to provide their escape malfunctioned, sparking fears for their safety in the tiny number of people in Washington aware. The troops, Virginia-based secret operatives SEAL Team Six, went ahead. They destroyed the helicopter to keep it from falling into other hands.
Forty minutes later, the firefight was ended. A woman had been temporarily taken as a human shield. Twenty two people were captured or killed. Bin Laden was shot in the left eye. The man for whom the Western world has searched since the 1990’s, a war declared by Bin Laden and engaged by President Clinton and carried by President Bush, lay dead. The remainder of his family was arrested. His body was identified using DNA and photographs, which are certain to be released. Then, in accordance with Islamic law, and with care to avoid creating a shrine to matyrdom, Osama Bin Laden was buried at sea.
At 10:30 pm EST the President made his announcement: an unusual time, late Sunday night. My friend Stephen T. Seagal wrote : "it can't be anything good, at this hour. Unless they finally caught Bin Laden." :-D
The compound had been watched for two years. It was eight times the size of any house in the rather wealthy neighborhood. Information in the works since 2004 ---a nickname of a man for whom a certain courier worked---was used in deducing the code name of the courier. The house had burned its trash daily, avoiding evidence, and had no internet or cable connections. The questions about Pakistani intelligence---a country where jihad is still encouraged in the only thing approximating public schools, in many areas stricken with poverty, people earning maybe two US dollars a day---continue, as the most wanted man in the world lived in the suburbs of the capital. Obviously, our fears that they might tip off Bin Laden are underscored by the mission’s absolute secrecy.
It is true that Pakistan has felt picked over as a country, considering our relationship with India, their traditional foe, after the Indian flirtation with the Soviets ended. We also cut aid in protest of their nuclear program. Nevertheless, Secretary Clinton seems to have been correct: someone had to know, inside Pakistani intelligence. Pakistan is many countries, really, overlapping in resources and intelligence and beliefs.
It all came down to intelligence on the ground, about a man on a motorbike. The President was briefed in August, 2010, leading to several meetings. The Navy SEALS were assembled, in lieu of a bombing, so that civilian casualties would be minimized, and so that a body might be retrieved and identified, to leave no doubt.
The search for Al-Quaeda’s number two, Zalwahiri, their Egyptian strategist, will continue. Yet, make no mistake, this has been a very bad year for Al-Quaeda; the tendencies towards democracy in the revolutions of the Arab Spring deflate the arguments of vengeful religious leaders. Think about this: Al-Queda was founded primarily to remove President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt! The rallying call against the dictator was answered, but not by Al-Quaeda. The reasons why Bin Laden did what he did I believe are largely lost upon Americans. The deaths screamed so loudly. There are few knowledgeable to really tell the tale, how we got here. It is a matter of extensive history. The story, to some, is simple to understand.
There is the danger of those who want to settle scores. Violence in itself will not provide the solution, alone, but violence is rarely alone, as it is part of human character. My friend in Sri Lanka awaits the reaction of the million and a half Muslims in his country. The Hamas reaction, predictably, condemns death of the “holy warrior.” There have been lots of causes for bad blood on either side, and more violence and carnage undertaken for its own sake than any idealistic code has asked. The spiritual leader of the movement, however, has met justice.
This is a time for those who have sacrificed in their service to this country to feel some vindication, though the loss of time with their families, even the loss of limb and life, can never be replaced and remains a price paid. Does this spell the close of our wider operations in Afghanistan? It is also a time for the families of the victims of 9/11 to feel the universe does, as MLK Jr. put it, bend towards the arc of justice. I hope it is the end of silly conversations for a time (this is still America) as we concentrate on the more serious business of living together. There is a wider war beyond even Osama Bin Laden. Thinking about the Muslims who died under his mass murdering hand, by his orders, I cannot help but think of the enemies of extremism, the proponents of cooperation, tolerance, and reason, within all who seek a more peaceful world.
So let Times Square cheer, and the White House celebrate. The war...and the peace...goes on.
Hitler's Death was announced May 1st, 1945 (by Geraldo, a certain librarian said). Thanks Steve. Peace to everyone who's lost someone and let's find something better to do than religious/ profiteering based wars, awright
The Japan Tsunami stories will be available for download this month. Please donate to the Red Cross or charity of your choice. You can find links many times in this blog's archives, recently.
The Tuscaloosa Charity Auctions on EBay are almost set to begin. Anyone who'd like to take part in donating auction items, contact me on Facebook.
Listen, I'm still figuring out integr8dsoul.com, but meanwhile, you can do what Jason (and Aimee!) have done. In Jason's case, he sent us $9 at
C. Lue Disharoon
542 6th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
which was really cool as it covers shipping and handling, at $1.25 each! The issue itself, DNA #1, retails for $3.25.
Meanwhile, our remaining t-shirts are available at Convention Special Price, for $12 each or 2 for $20, plus $5.00 for shipping & handling.
You can do the same over PayPal, at email@example.com !!!
AND!! You can use the button provided; the $15 will cover your postage.
Listen! We got our first e-mail sale today, from the friend who got me to start this blog two years ago: T J Jones..love ya, man!!! DNA #1 011-1A is on the way. It's the 11th of the original 50 copy printing from Angel Printing.
Inhale shop, a few blocks over in East Village, has two copies on consignment.
Not only is DNA #2 in the works, but the Hellcast t-shirt (as well as Puzzle Girl) will be available, in black (AND in XL, L, M & S) is here!
Excuse me one last joke: