JEFF NOWAK — EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
As the 10-year anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history continued to near, an otherwise mundane Sunday evening was interrupted with cheers of victory and elation.
American armed forces had found and killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Rumors had been swirling for years that he would never be found, that maybe he was dead due to his poor health, that he was killed years ago and it was covered up. These rumors were dispelled Sunday when President Barack Obama addressed the nation late at night to explain how the day’s events had transpired.
With his stone-faced resolve and a largely emotionless speech that could have been written by Leonard Nimoy, Obama spoke of justice and closure for the families of 9/11 victims. He spoke of a great victory in the war on terror and that the mission’s success had struck a major blow to al-Qaeda and terrorism at large.
Elated and euphoric Americans flooded the streets in Washington. Riots went off on college campuses and raucous street parties ensued.
What seems to be lost in the tidal wave of emotion stemming from bin Laden’s death, is the latter part of this sentence itself: death.
Yes bin Laden and al-Qaeda committed and were responsible for one of the most atrocious attacks on civilians and humans in history. Yes, he took responsibility and boasted about his actions. Yes, he was the impetus for the extensive and overly expensive “war on terror.”
The man, without a doubt, deserved as severe a punishment as could possibly have been served under the law. The question I am forced to pose, however, is when did assassination become an acceptable practice? On that same coin, celebrating the death of a man, regardless of who he may be, does not seem like a healthy way to be honoring the American dead of 9/11.
As a country we choose to hold ourselves as a paragon of fair government, military objectivity and equally fair judicial practices for the rest of the world. We speak out against governmental abuse in nations like Libya and Tunisia. Where has the concept of hypocrisy gone?
The United States military carries out a ground-based assault on a Pakistani compound said to be the home of bin Laden. They kill anyone defending the compound along with bin Laden himself. No Americans were killed or wounded. There does not seem to have been any type of attempt to capture, only to assassinate.
What does it say about the state of humanity in the United States when a political assassination, rather than eliciting questions and checks as to whether the proper steps were taken, causes drunken rioting and celebrations to erupt?
Death should never be celebrated. Death should never be cheered. Death should never be the impetus for revelry.
Relief, solace, general well-being; any of these feelings would be acceptable when hearing the news of a villainous man’s death. The encouragement of murder, however, is a slippery slope to find yourself on as a nation.
The celebration of “anti-terrorist warfare” across the globe is not a far cry from terrorism in our own homeland.
Continue to cheer, continue to drink, continue to celebrate. Just remember September 11, 2001, when we were mourning the deaths of thousands and attempting to save those caught in the rubble of the twin towers. At that same time a celebration was probably occurring somewhere else.
Are we no better?