Bin Laden: We slayed the monster, they must slay his ghost

Note: The Tuesday print edition of the AJC will include columns by a number of our writers about the killing of Osama bin Laden (I’ll add more links as they’re posted online). The following is my contribution.

On a visit to Berlin three years ago, my wife and I took a bicycle tour of the German capital’s World War II and Cold War sites. About halfway through the tour, we stopped on a patch of grass and asphalt outside an apartment building. There was nothing to see, the guide explained, but she did want us to know that we were standing above the bunker where Adolf Hitler killed himself. (You might say they paved perdition and put up a parking lot.)

When the news hit the airwaves late Sunday night that Navy SEALs had shot Osama bin Laden dead — 66 years and a day after Hitler’s own death — I felt strangely relieved and heartened. The scene of passersby breaking out into spontaneous, patriotic melody outside the White House marked a moment of clear, unifying victory for a nation in sore need of one. But I also recalled a lesson of the Führerbunker:

We can slay another people’s monster, but only they can slay his ghost.

When U.S. officials warn of reprisals against Americans and say the war on Islamic terror did not expire when bin Laden did, this is in part what they mean. Al Qaida did not die Sunday. But it goes deeper, to the streets where al Qaida’s franchises across the world recruit their new foot soldiers.

The bunker in Berlin was sealed and covered so as not to render it a shrine for latter-day Nazis; only in 2006 was so much as a sign posted there. Likewise, bin Laden’s watery grave was explained as a way to ensure no terror-pilgrims could pay homage to his remains.

But the particulars of bin Laden’s death raise a question: What kind of respect could a potential jihadist have for a supposed spiritual leader who lived in relative opulence — bin Laden’s million-dollar mansion in Pakistani suburbia was a far cry from the caves of Tora Bora and Waziristan — and shielded himself from the American bullets with a woman’s body?

A liar and a coward to the very end, this supposed giant who exhorted followers to sacrifice themselves for his false holy war. Let that truth ring wherever bin Laden’s minions are burrowed in.

And let ring, as well, our message to al Qaida’s recruits, via the successful end to a 13-year manhunt for bin Laden: The determination of a free people seeking justice will outlast that of murderous charlatans preying on others’ oppression. Liberty is deliverance from, not through, the likes of Osama bin Laden. The power to bury his ghost is theirs.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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29 comments Add your comment

Linda

May 2nd, 2011
7:18 pm

jconservative

May 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

And the message is also there for the likes of Moammar Gadhafi, that there is no place you can run and hide.

I would have thought this would have sunk in across the world with the attack on Gadhafi by Reagan and the arrest & trial of Slobodan Milošević.

Apparently not.

that's goofy

May 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

nicely written.

Linda

May 2nd, 2011
7:24 pm

Kyle, You need to go to your previous thread & announce that you have a new thread, as Bookman did last night, to get me off of his thread, as I predicted twice that he would.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 2nd, 2011
7:32 pm

The ghost of renditions, the torture ghoul, the black site monster and the Gitmo spook have risen from their graves and are alive and well.

Try exorcising those demons, heh.

jt

May 2nd, 2011
7:37 pm

Kyle’s definition of “free” is state sanctioned/approved.

More and more people ain’t buying it.

jt

May 2nd, 2011
7:38 pm

Got your traveling papers Kyle?

Linda

May 2nd, 2011
7:56 pm

We had the best health care system in the world, until Obama & the Democrats dismantled it. Who would have thought that Pakistan had one better then ours, one in which a dialysis patient could get treatment at home? My, goodness. If he needed xrays, did he meerly go to the local airport & get felt up? Anyone know of a dentist who makes house calls? Was his barber complicit? Never mind his barber. What about his manicurist?

ignored questions

May 2nd, 2011
8:57 pm

“The determination of a free people seeking justice will outlast that of murderous charlatans preying on others’ oppression. Liberty is deliverance from, not through, the likes of Osama bin Laden.”

Goebbels much?

Been to an airport lately?What were the authorities looking for in your pants?In your wife’s pants?Drove around on a saturday night lately?Remember…it is SOBRIETY checks,…not document checks.
What “people”are you talking about?
What does the world’s largest prison population think about “liberty”.?
Is there Helmet laws in Pakistan.?Do the Pakistani police pull you over for seatbelt violations?Can you be fined for not having a Plumbers liscense in Pakistan? Is it against the law to smoke tobacco in a bar in Pakistan?Do Pakistani bars have to comply with state-approved racial minority ratios?Do Pakistani bars have to pay state-approved employee rates.?Are Pakistani citizens forced to buy private products like health insurance?
Do you get paid for your state propaganda?

MrLiberty

May 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

Killing hundreds more innocent Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Somalis, and Libyans will certainly help kill Osama’s ghost. So will spending another couple of trillion we don’t have. Well, at least that seems to be the plans out of Washington.

What this episode really shows is that Ron Paul was right all along. The constitution provided for Letters of Marque and Reprisal which would have allowed Congress to hire mercenaries or the like to work with intelligence agencies if necessary to hunt down and capture/kill Osama. Instead we launched two unnecessary wars with hundreds of thousands of troops costing trillions of dollars and in the end it was still intelligence and few armed med who took care of the job. Criticize him all you want, but his solution might have caught him a decade ago for almost no cost and virtually no loss of american life. But then the military industrial complex wouldn’t have become so darn rich off the gullible taxpayers.

Hey, its only money and human life.

Michael H. Smith

May 2nd, 2011
9:46 pm

Ghost die easy Kyle but religions, even the intolerant oppressive radicalized false ones that serve political ends rather than spiritual ones, die not so easily. The call for vigilance was a wise one, it should be heeded for many days to come: ‘Cuase it ain’t over.

@@

May 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

What kind of respect could a potential jihadist have for a supposed spiritual leader who lived in relative opulence — bin Laden’s million-dollar mansion

Muslims are protesting against leaders who do the same thing. One would think the comparisons would be made.

Perhaps they should join in the Arab Spring and forget Al Qaeda.

One can only hope.

Michael H. Smith

May 2nd, 2011
9:56 pm

Wasn’t the hired mercenary approach or something similar to it tried in Cuba? How did that turn out?

Michael H. Smith

May 2nd, 2011
10:04 pm

@@ – One can only hope they become disillusioned with the false hope that gives them the reason to persist.

The key to bringing this sad chapter of inhumanity to humanity, speaking particularly in the Muslim world, is held in the hands of their women. Et al “The Lipstick Revolution”

Michael H. Smith

May 2nd, 2011
10:17 pm

ignored questions – For the moment the questions are put on hold, though, you are correct: The sobriety of a reality check demands that all our questioned be answered.

Mrs. Bin Laden

May 2nd, 2011
11:27 pm

BOO GOT SHOT!!

BOO GOT SHOT!!

David Granger

May 3rd, 2011
1:01 am

…and now he’s at the bottom of the ocean with a catfish living in his belly. Good place for him.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
1:49 am

Does anyone know if the USS Carl Vinson has a stash of Depends on board the ship? Does anyone know if OBL was weighted down with just a little bitty piece of the World Trade Center?

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

May 3rd, 2011
8:22 am

I’m wondering if the EPA had to approve the polluting of our oceans with that toxic trash.

independent thinker

May 3rd, 2011
8:43 am

Obama promised to make finding Bin Laden a top priority and he did that . .The Obama haters truly do not understand why Obama was successful in getting Bin Laden. He chose to disregard Pakistan’s sovereignty when Bush did the opposite and did not pursue the enemy into Pakistan just like his father did not pursue Saddam Hussein to victory in 1991.. It is no secret that Pakistan openly supports the Taliban and Muslim extremists -what do you think the Mumbai terror attack was all about? For India it was equivalent of 9-11 and they told us Pakistan was hiding Bin laden. And it is no secret that high level Pakistanis were involved in the Mumbai attacks..Funny isn’t it that yesterday Musharaf lashed out at Obama for disregarding Pakistan’s sovereignty.Israel set the pattern for this type of extraterritorial mission when they snatched Eichman from Argentina in 1961 with no permission to violate their sovereignty.
Sorry but the Obama national security team has shown more competence than exhibited by Bush who read My Pet Goat while he knew the country was under attack after ignoring warnings that the attack was coming.Eight years to the day after Bush’s failed Hollywood stunt on the carrier, we can finally say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Coincidentally it was 66 years to the day after Hitler was declared dead.Yes Obama gets the credit.There is a reason all those young people who voted for Obama were celebrating all night.
Glad to see Dick Cheney and the neocons eat crow. Our enemies have to realize that Muslim extremism will be contained and avenged anywhere in the world by us. Obama has learned from the Israelis who know how to gain respect in that corner of the world by carrying a big stick and making it clear terrorism will be avenged-swiftly and brutally.-anywhere they have to go.. Maybe Kyle and his Repub buddys will see the facts over time and realize why Obama and his team deserve the credit.

GTT

May 3rd, 2011
9:04 am

Not that it matters. But, not a mansion. Sorry, not in any place is that a mansion.

LeeH1

May 3rd, 2011
9:05 am

The other myth is the one that the president, being a black man, can’t be an American hero and stand up to tyrants. This event made Obama the Gary Cooper at Osama’s High Noon.

Maybe now, poeple will stop asking for proof that he really is American, or achieved so much in college without affirmative action, or the many other tests and proof that Bush, who was white, was never asked for.

GTT

May 3rd, 2011
9:05 am

If he really did hide behind a woman, release that video, that’ll kill his legacy quick.

Eli Jones

May 3rd, 2011
9:42 am

Obama the glory hound was sure quick to claim credit for killing Bin Laden. That said, let me point something out. It was Bush’s policy of Water Boarding that made Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sing like a parakeet and name Bin Laden’s personal courier. That courier’s name led us straight to Bin Laden’s residence. Yep, it’s Bush’s Fault that Osama was killed.

G'Vegas Dawg

May 3rd, 2011
10:10 am

I, for one, could care less who the US made mad with the way this piece of garbage was buried. The article in the AJC that says the burial was done improper is just another example of the US being too politicaly correct. 3,000 people were denied the opportunity for a proper burial on 9/11/01. Beheading Daniel Pearl was one of many other examples of the way innocent US citizens were denied a proper burial. I hope this is just a front to try to be PC. I hope he was chopped into pieces, wraped in bacon, and fed to sharks.

Dearie

May 3rd, 2011
10:23 am

Good column Kyle

ignored questions

May 3rd, 2011
11:21 am

“and shielded himself from the American bullets with a woman’s body?

A liar and a coward to the very end”……….apparently this has been discredited.

I don’t know about the coward part. Back in the eighties, the drunk federal Representative Charlie Wilson called him brave…And bestowed millions of tax-payer money on this guy.While Kyle was probably picking toy-filled cereal boxes out with his mother at the local market, OBL was recieving gun fire from Soviet airships. He was returning fire from American weapons………..if he could get them.He was our ally then…………..hence brave.

Not so much now…I guess.

Regardless……here is the ignored questions——————-

-If the Washington Federal House leadership had not granted such awesome earmarking appropriation powers to Charlie Wilson, would there have been a covert Czar conducting foreign policy with Pakistan.?

-If there had been no federally endowed “money-bags Charlie Wilson” to hand feed the Pakistan Intelligence Service, would the Service have been able to create the Taliban.?

-If Charlie Wilson had not been able to finance the production and target the delivery of a large number of “Stinger” shoulder mounted missiles, would the Taliban have ever become an effective modern fighting force.?

-If the Taliban had not successfully forced the Russians to withdraw and then defeated all internal foes to overrun Afghanistan, would there have been no anti-western, anti U.S. nation willing to welcome and coddle Osama bin Laden.?

-If Osama bin Laden had not been able to establish a protected sanctuary under the umbrella of the Taliban, would bin Laden have had no headquarters for training assassins and planning violent terrorist attacks.?

- If bin Laden had had no secure base in Taliban controlled Afghanistan would he not have been able to successfully launch the attack on the World Trade Center.?

The least that a state pressitute could ask, instead of calling the man a coward.

ignored questions

May 3rd, 2011
11:57 am

“The determination of a free people seeking justice will outlast that of murderous charlatans preying on others’ oppression. Liberty is deliverance from, not through, the likes of Osama bin Laden.”

One last ignored question.

Can you still get satuated trans-fat in Pakistan?Wash it down with un-pasteurized milk?Eat it in a second-hand smoked-filled room?If a person didn’t mind?

Who is the free?
and who isn’t?

Just curious.

Curtis Rivers

May 3rd, 2011
11:58 am

Fine article. The past tense of slay is “slew,” or you can use “have slain.” Old English leftover word with an irregular form which is daunting. Great article, though.