Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama bin Laden won, even in death

By Bob Confer

Osama bin Laden is dead.

It’s unknown, though, if he ever existed, at least in the narrative by which we “knew” him. Oh, he was a real live human being, but whether he was actually the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks or the figurehead in charge of al-Qaeda is debatable. Some wonder if he was just a creation of our federal government — a well-crafted piece of propaganda, a person to hate, a target if you will — allowing the United States to invade foreign lands in search of supposed terrorists and weapons of mass destruction while at the same time motivating Americans to exchange liberty for security.

Whether or not bin Laden was a someone or a something matters not. Whatever he was, he was victorious.

For starters, the September 11 attacks bred fear. The shock and awe of the destruction of the Twin Towers, as well as the plane crashes into the Pentagon and the farmer’s field in Pennsylvania, have been deeply ingrained in the psyche of the American people. The attacks not only killed thousands that day, but they left millions dreading similar large-scale assaults, as well as smaller ones on public transportation, shopping malls, and schools.

That fear led to the willing abandonment of our constitutional and natural rights of privacy and freedom, all for the assumed salvation of Western Civilization. Too many Americans were more than happy to allow intrusion by the federal government into their personal lives on the slim chance that it might actually catch a foreign or domestic terrorist. Through the likes of the USA PATRIOT Act, wiretapping, domestic surveillance, invasive flight-risk assessments, and other police state tactics, the American people showed their soft underbellies, allowing Congress and the Executive Branch to run roughshod over the world the Creator had made for us and the nation that our Founding Fathers had so wisely bequeathed us. America is forever changed, and we can no longer pursue life, liberty, or happiness without some bureaucrat or agent looking over our shoulder.

Another of bin Laden’s goals was the economic destruction of America. He was, in part, quite successful. He may not have orchestrated a total collapse, but he put us on the precipice. Each of the various Homeland Security endeavors costs all levels of the U.S. government a total of $100 billion per year — a cost that hadn’t existed prior to 2001. The so-called "War on Terror," whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Pakistan, has cost American taxpayers $1.19 trillion dollars so far. These expenses have occurred at a time when the federal government is sinking ever deeper in debt and is unable, or more accurately, unwilling to plan for the future of the vast entitlement programs. The economic hardships spawned by bin Laden, and continuously fed by our military-industrial complex, only add to the fiscal disasters we face.

As of May 1 bin Laden is now “officially” dead. At least that’s what the Obama administration would have us believe, even though a body was never presented and many assume he died years ago when his kidneys gave out. Even so, he’s still victorious. His death showed that there are a good many "ugly Americans," no better than the barbarians we claim to fight overseas. No sooner was President Obama’s Sunday night press conference over than people filled the streets in New York City, Washington, D.C., and college campuses everywhere, reveling in the death of bin Laden. It was a spectacle to behold, with tens of thousands of people rioting in glee over the demise of another human being. If bin Laden and his orchestrations were real, he was certainly amongst the most evil of men, and it was a newsworthy accomplishment that he was caught, but it was classless and totally immoral to throw a party over his death. It should instead have been a somber moment — a time to remember all those he killed and those we sacrificed to find him.

How can parents now explain to their children that it’s acceptable to cheer over someone's death? How can we prove to the world that we are better than the terror cells and Islamic fascists who breed hate? We can’t, in either of those circumstances. We have seen emotionally-charged and very similar uprisings (yet for entirely different reasons) from our enemies around the world in recent years, and every time we have decried their anti-human sentiments. Yet, here we are guilty of doing the same, showing our own lack of civility.

America is better than that and we must prove it. Somehow, we need to make amends for our boorish behavior of the past two days and show that our American values and Christian ethics are real, not just talk — that we understand that the snuffing out of a human life is not reason to cheer.

If we don’t remedy this situation, bin Laden can claim yet another victory, even from the grave.

Bob Confer is a regular contributor to The New American. He also writes a weekly column for the Greater Niagara Newspapers and is the vice-president of Confer Plastics, Inc.

This column originally appeared in the 03 May 2011 The New American at:

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