When the hunt for Osama bin Laden began years ago, I’ll tell you where I thought he probably was: Vegas.
I figured, he keeps releasing these videos of himself in front of a cave wall, and that’s all we know about where he is, so that’s probably false. He’s probably kicking it in Vegas in a big crazy suite, and they put up a little cave wall sound stage and filmed videos once in a while, and then when he’s done, he takes off his turban and puts on a suit and some shades, and heads to the casino. Who the hell would think to question a billionaire in the VIP lounge?
I remember the rumor even surfaced – is bin Laden in Vegas? And then the Vegas police wisecracked, “We’ve checked all the caves in the area.”
Which of course, they hadn’t. And also, of course, that would be a stupid place for a billionaire in Vegas to hide.
Suffice it to say, like most people, I’ve thought about this day and how it would play out. How we’d react to the inevitable capture or killing of Osama bin Laden.
And now it’s here – and I don’t know how to feel.
Sure, no doubt – if anyone deserves a bullet in the head it’s this guy. I’m not sorry we killed him, and I’m as always enthralled to the point of awe by our Navy SEALs and their mythical badassery. But the problem is, nothing ever ends with a bullet in the head.
Murder – even the murder of a murderer – is always, always, the beginning of something else. We have not convinced any terrorist networks that they should leave us alone, of course we haven’t. It’s the opposite. And did we freeze any assets? Disassemble any command structures? Let’s be clear – I don’t know any of this, but neither do you.
And what can I say? I’m never comfortable celebrating death.
I’ll tell you where I was when I got the news. I was waking up this morning after a Nyquil coma, and my pal Shawn had texted me, and he said what I said already – Osama bin Laden is dead, and I don’t know how to feel.
Click on the television, log on to Facebook, walk out into the street, and I find all my reservations and fears walking the Earth in human form. Mindless cheering and Super Bowl chants – USA! USA! Conspiracy theories hot off the presses. And yes, you bet your ass, allegations that Obama not only does everything wrong including poop, he also kills bin Laden incorrectly, yes he sure does.
“I just think the timing is suspicious,” I must have heard a dozen times, and you know, it’s hard not to crack my skull in half screaming at a statement like that. Because think about it for a half a second and you’ll see that in order to be suspicious about such a thing, you must believe that Obama or the United States in general had some kind of choice with regards to the timing. That we could have killed Osama bin Laden any time, and chose to wait until right now because it made so much sense.
Except it doesn’t. Politically, if this were a stunt, this is the worst possible time for Obama to drop the head of Osama bin Laden before the America people. A better time would have been right off the bat, say, Day One. Or if he needed time to get his staff in place before exercising the – in this theory – simple Kill Bin Laden Option, right about six months or so, when Health Care Reform was clunking through.
Or the midterm elections. Or the 2012 elections.
There’s nothing going on right now, politically, to make this a good play – even if it were a “play.”
It would be awesome if bin Laden were the Joker and now we got him, and Gotham City was safe for all time, but all of that is comic book and silly. Bin Laden was one head of a globe-spanning hydra, and make no mistake, two more heads are sprouting as I type, right from the stump.
Not saying he shouldn’t have died, and not saying I’m sorry he died – just that I draw the line at doing a little dance about it, because it isn’t the end of anything, and it doesn’t raise the World Trade Center from its ashes or thousands of innocent victims from their graves.
The bottom line is, we got the guy we were looking for. But what that guy wanted more than anything was to divide this nation and watch it fall, just like the Twin Towers fell, and here we are, ten years later, and yes, we got him, but yes, we’re still divided and still falling, and how far away can we possibly be from hitting the ground?
If I had a couple of wishes it would be that we reflect with more solemnity on what it means to deal death from this patriotic deck of cards we hold, and that we all for once get behind our legally and decisively elected leader, and stand as a nation not just for revenge, but for an end to a need for this kind of killing. For a real, introspective revolution to take place among every American, about what exactly we’ve been doing as a nation that makes people want to destroy us, and for us to reserve our cheering for the day when peace rears its head, instead of these horrific, gruesome touchdowns.
Videos of blood splattered on walls, American citizens chanting like WWF fans – I have to tell you my friends. I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed by us, once again.
And I’m probably as terrified as I’ve been since actual 9/11, because there are far worse things than airplanes in this world, and one thing is certain: This. Is. Not. Over.
You want to try and score points on Obama on this historic day, go ahead. I’ll tell you what I would do if I were him – I’d be so sick of hearing it from the people I’m protecting that I’d decline a second term. I’d just say you know what, I showed you my birth certificate, I ordered the strike that killed bin Laden, and I’m moving to Kenya now, and I’m taking the Secret Service with me, cause I get them for life – how do you like those apples?
That, in my opinion, is the level of respect we deserve from this guy. It’s fortunate for every man, woman and child in America that Barack Obama is a better man than I am.