10 Years Of Blood

Last modified on May 1st, 2011

As everyone now knows, Osama Bin Laden was killed tonight in what was apparently a US led mission in Pakistan. I watched the entire media surrounding the event unfold, starting with Twitter, moving to some news agencies such as the New York Times, and finally culminating in President Obama’s speech regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden.

In truth, I found it hard to watch. While I am happy that all the families who were affected by September 11th finally have closure, I find it hard to celebrate the death of any one individual. Maybe it’s because I think most wars are pointless, like I thought this war was pointless.

The War on Terror and subsequent military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have reportedly caused over 100,000 civilian deaths. Those are people like you and me who were simply trying to live, to work, to raise children, and to fall or to be in love. It’s easy to be ideological about the reasons behind any war, but those 100,000 people no more deserved to die than any of the people in the World Trade Centre on 9/11. I’ve seen the war justified countless times by countless individuals, yet I’ve still never quite understood the reasons. For ten years soldiers have been coming home in body bags, and the television has shown carnage on the other side of the world. But what was really accomplished in those ten years?

If the war was about reducing terror, are we less afraid now?

If it was about oil, is our gas cheaper or our energy safer?

If it was about retaliation for September 11th, do we feel that justice has finally been served? If not tonight, then when? How many more need to die before the world is safe?

Gandhi once said that an eye for an eye simply makes the whole world blind. I personally find it hard to believe that Osama’s death will in any shape or form be a catalyst for peace. Peace has never been achieved using guns or bombs, but rather compassion, tolerance and understanding.

So on this night, while we remember the people who died in the towers, and in the planes, and on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the soldiers who gave their lives for freedom and for justice, let us not forget the countless innocents on both sides who gave their lives to the pursuit of peace, and hope that the world will indeed be better off for their sacrifice someday.

4 responses to “10 Years Of Blood”

  1. Duncan says:

    I agree. I heard the news very early on on Twitter and expected the media frenzy to follow. I didn’t tune in. He’s dead, but to what end? Revenge? Ultimately the so called war on terror is a sham. Hate breeds hate and the cycle perpetuates.

  2. Bronn says:

    While I’m the first one to agree that the majority of wars are pointless (I’d still argue that the efforts in Afghanistan aren’t as about oil as Iraq was and more about liberation and ergo have some justification), this is one example where the ends somewhat justifies the means. I think that this war was about terror, but while Bin Laden was alive, he was the boogeyman that kept terror alive. While many people have almost moved on, he remained a specter that wouldn’t go away, including those reminded every time they are practically violated at an airport. With his demise, I think that many will feel safer, because that boogeyman is gone. Of course, Al Quida won’t be gone and some other extremist may try and take over, but Bin Laden was the rallying figure and without him, I don’t know how unified they’ll be. There may be cells that commit acts of terror going forward in his name, but the scale will be smaller. And we’ll feel a little safer.

    This was a mass-murdering terrorist. If he didn’t deserve a bullet in the head, I don’t know who does. I suppose it depends on your views. I consider it justice, as I suppose many will. It won’t change the senseless deaths that happened on 9/11 or the deaths of the innocents that these cowards like to hide behind to paint the USA (and its allies like Canada) as in the wrong, but it brings closure to many that saw the man responsible get away with it for nearly 10 years while thumbing his nose at the USA. Good riddance to someone who didn’t deserve to live.

  3. Duane Storey says:

    It’s all perspective. Bin Laden used to have a relationship with the US, and the US gave munitions to Bin Laden to help fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. One of the reasons why the relationship with Bin Laden deteriorated was that he was upset that the US built a military base on holy land. I agree with Congressman Ron Paul that many of the US’ problems are a result of Blowback – reactions to US foreign policy abroad. The US has military bases in over 100 countries abroad, several of which don’t really want the US there any longer.

    Jean Chretien surprised me shortly after September 11th in saying (rightly so) that all nations need to re-evaluate their foreign policy to see if they helped contribute to the events that day. Perhaps occupying foreign countries with military bases and killing innocents aboard isn’t the best way to promote peace and freedom? Seems self-evident, but it’s the norm for US foreign policy.

    Look at it another way – what do you think the reaction of the United States or Canada would be if another country came over here and killed 100,000 innocent people while on a quest for freedom? What if we asked those people to leave, but they refused? What if our children were killed, our sacred religious areas destroyed, and our land occupied by foreign forces. Do you think we would sit idly by and let it happen? Or do you think we would launch missiles into foreign territory and try to force them to leave? If innocents died for that cause, would that be justified? If you answer yes, then how is that much different than a group of people flying planes into buildings and killing innocents? The argument can just as easily be made that Bush is as much a criminal as Obama – in fact, his war on terror has been responsible for almost 100 times more civilian deaths than Osama caused.

    The United States, like many empires before it, has taken up the mantle of trying to spread freedom and democracy, almost always by force. But history has taught us that it’s a futile cause – you can’t make people free using bombs or guns, they have to obtain freedom for themselves, similar to what just occurred in Libya and Egypt.

    The world is probably better off without Osama, but killing him outright seems more like revenge than justice, and it’s hard to call any nation civilized if they preach principles to others but abandon them at will to suit their own interests. Several 9/11 survivors have already stated they can’t in good conscience celebrate the death of any individual, even if it’s Osama Bin Laden. I personally believe the way to peace isn’t military intervention, it’s adopting foreign policies that respect the individualism of nations, their religious and personal beliefs, and adopting a general policy of non-interventionism.

  4. Bronn says:

    The US certainly made their own bed with their foreign policy over the years. The hubris of being the largest military power in the world and thinking they know what’s best for everyone definitely played a role in what happened. The initial invasion of Iraq in ’91 certainly galvanized the Muslim world and provided ammunition for extremists to go to war with the USA.

    That said, one of the common themes in reasons against military action is the death of innocents, but what is often ignored, as I mentioned in my last post and certainly seems to be a common practice in the Middle East by Al Qaeda, is that these people like to hide amongst the innocent so they can claim that their enemy is unjust in their attacks. While I’m sure that many innocents were unjustly killed by careless military attacks and bombings and it should be answered for (especially by Bush for much of the unnecessary Iraq war), I wonder what the real number would be if cowardly terrorists didn’t hide in or by civilian targets. The blame for those deaths falls on their heads in my eyes, not the USA’s.

    I’m not trying to justify military action. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but I do feel that there are times when its justified. There will always be madmen with a callous disregard for human life who provoke war for their own aims. We just have to look at history to see the names. Bin Laden’s name is among them. Flying two planes into the towers wasn’t a military strike into a civilian area where military targets were hiding. It was murder. I suppose one could argue that the attack on the Pentagon could be considered a military strike mind you, but using a plane full of innocents taints that also. Regardless, while I’m definitely no fan of Bush Sr. or Jr. and their war with Iraq, nor a fan of the operations there that killed so many innocents, I still don’t think they fall into the same category as Bin Laden.

    I do agree that spreading freedom and democracy by force works about as well as pushing western religion on the unwashed masses. Ironically, if nothing else has come from all of this crap over the last 20+ years, its that western culture is far more tolerant and accepting of eastern religions than they ever were. That respect for individualism, religious and personal beliefs you mention at the end of your post has become far more prevalent it seems (protests about the 9/11 Mosque notwithstanding), especially amongst younger people that will shape policy in the future and bodes well for everybody getting along better and respecting each others beliefs moving forward. We can only hope it comes to pass.

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