Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – May 6, 2011

The week began with the announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Amidst the jubilation there was reflection on the true import of the event. And within moments the G.O.Tea Party chose finally link George W. Bush to current events in America thereby raising the question, what about everything else? This being America, even the death of a certified villain is a cause for controversy – should the photographs of his shattered corpse be released? Once again, President Obama had the right answer.

The Death of Osama bin Laden – cont’d

The death of Osama bin Laden is full of ironies, both large and small. Having French fried and barbequed Doubting Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents dinner, President Obama managed to time his announcement of bin Laden’s demise in such a way that it preempted the showing of Doubting Donald’s “Celebrity Apprentice” show/sham.

On a much more serious note, President Obama’s decision to kill the mastermind of 9/11 revealed an iron will that many of his critics doubted existed. These critics were then required to eat a heaping portion of crow as they lauded Obama’s actions.

Predictably, some members of the G.O.Tea Party could not resist sipping from the cup of partisanship and promptly announced that the killing of Osama bin Laden was the direct result of former President George W. Bush’s so-called war on terror, in the process trying to minimize the leadership role of President Obama.

It is fair to state that the apparatus that ultimately killed bin Laden had its beginnings during the Bush Administration. But if we are going to dredge Bush 43 out of the dustbin of history the G.O.Tea Party needs to also recognize that nearly 10 years, thousands of lives and billions of dollars were wasted fighting bogeymen in Iraq while Osama bin Laden lived in relative safety and comfort in Pakistan.

We will never know if bin Laden would have been captured or killed sooner if the United States hadn’t spent almost a decade trying to exorcise George W. Bush’s oedipal demons in Iraq. What we do know is that enormous amounts of resources were focused away from bin Laden and that the focus on the al Qaeda leader became an American priority from the very first days of the Obama Administration.

The results of this change in policy are there for all who care to see. Now the question arises as to whether the event of bin Laden’s death will occasion a further change of policy that will get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan on a more accelerated basis than originally planned.

It would be shames to see over 100,000 American troops continue to be mired in the muck of needless, pointless war without end.

To See or not to See

This being the second decade of the century of connectivity and communications, within 24 hours of the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden there was a clamor for the White House to release the presumably gory images of the dead villain. Some calls for the release were based on prurient motives to be sure.

Some sought the release of the photos to “prove” that bin Laden was truly dead. This motive was accompanied by the musty odor of the recently deceased birther controversy.

Opponents of the release reasonably argued that it was, in the first place, inappropriate and unnecessary to display images of this dead man. Further, and also reasonably, there is a real concern that the release of the photographs by the White House will inflame many in the Muslim world, not only al Qaeda supporters and operatives.

President Obama made the decision to withhold the release of the photographs. His statement that “there is no need to spike the ball” says it all.

This should remind us that George W. Bush proudly made his decisions with his famous “gut”. President Obama clearly thinks before he acts. The difference in results could not be clearer.

Mother’s Day

Sunday marks Mother’s Day and I would like to send a special greeting to all the mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, foster mothers and caregiver. It is wonderful to celebrate this day. Of course, we should honor and celebrate mothers every day of their lives and ours. A special blessing to them all.

Have a great weekend!