I was one of many who had stopped even wondering when Bin Laden would be caught. It's not that there was any point where I gave up hope that he would be, it's just that I had come to half-consciously believe that he was either already dead of peaceful causes or would head that way someday soon, a phantom kept alive to inspire jihadists and despirit the West. Well, he was apparently still a flesh and blood man hanging out in more-or-less modern medium-sized city, and we really fucking got him. I remember Sept. 11, I woke up foggy from a slight hangover about an hour after the towers had collapsed. Take that for what you will, and since then have spent the last decade growing slightly wiser and ever more aware of and horrified at those who actively lust and strive for a twenty first century of eternal geocultural strife. This hellish vision of chauvinists in both East and West, who both wear their hatred for each other as badges of purity and need each other as couples do, was something that I had real hope the election of Obama would hope to kill. I have been both satisfied and disappointed in this. And now I feel the same hope with the death of this flesh-and-blood bogeyman. We'll see.
I was somewhat shocked to learn he was only fifty four, born in the same year as my mother. The man was Palpatine.
Did I celebrate Bin Laden's death. No, I thought the presidents response was perfectly appropriate. Somber over the fact that this had to be done, yet openly satisfied that it was done and done so well. I for my part did not scream or shout. I did drink some rum and spit on the ground that would soon hold him, which turned out to be the sea, whatever. Whether a live capture and trial would have been preferable; well it was simply never going to happen. How could this man have thrown his hands up and surrendered after sending so many deluded young mooks to gloriously die? He took what he himself knew was his only option. He was a true believer in what he preached.
And what he preached was quite simply treason. You might remember the dustup over JW Lindh, the 'American Taliban' in the days just after 9/11. People were demanding his death, his rape, his torture, fuck all of them. Me I'm a lefty who cares very little for sacred national loyalties and the betrayal of them. Bin Laden on the other hand was a real traitor, a man who declared the comforts and pleasures of modern civilization to be absolute evil, who insisted that beliefs exist to violently seek dominance over each other and that men exist to die for their beliefs. Osama bin Laden was a traitor against humanity and against life. This fraudulent revolutionary, this silver-spoon hypocrite, was a traitor against all oppressed people who have faced their stunted lives with hope and courage, seeking pools of happiness where they could and resisting to the end the urge to give into despair and murderous rage. And those Arabs in Libya and Syria who now risking their lives for the sake of living should be glad that they have been deburdened of this false prophet of death, stagnation, and the only flavor of damnable treason worthy of the name.
I'm not a big believer in victory. I'm much to cynical to think that winning is any evidence of virtue. But I do know true, moral, meaningful victory when I see it, and this is it. A victory for civilization sure, not to be grand. More importantly a victory for modernity, happiness, fun, a victory for gleeful decadence, for sex with strangers, drunken sing-alongs with strangers, for children playing chaotic games while their stuck-up parents fret that they're not learning the real value of winning. A victory of hearing about how your grandparents had to drive eight hours down a dirt road to town to see the latest pictures and, not being the slightest bit ashamed of your own comparative leisure, but fucking glad for it. A victory for life, and, in the broadest sense of the term, a victory for liberalism.
You've heard the phrase 'Sic semper tyrannis' right? You know, the state motto of Virginia, the thing that drama queen JW Booth said when he iced Lincoln. You've probably heard that it translates to English as 'death to tyrants' but that's not true. It actually translates as 'thus always to tyrants.' Not what should or must be done to them but what by course will happen to them.
So no, I do not celebrate the death of Bin Laden or any other man. But I will go so far as to say that those who believe that infantile games of dominance are magically dignified by blood shall spill their own, those who think that suffering-for-its own sake builds character shall suffer for their own characters, those who think life is lived for struggle shall fail their struggle to live. and those who preach the godliness of death shall quickly behold the face of their god.