In a mid-day press conference on Monday, John Brennan, chief counter-terrorism advisor to President Obama, was asked multiple questions about the burial at sea of Osama bin Laden.
In short, Brennan said that it was done in compliance with Islamic law, including the tenet that burial occur within 24 hours of death, under the supervision of experts and the topic and perhaps a Muslim cleric. We’re told that the US Navy washed and wrapped the body in accordance with Islam, that a sailor read an Islamic prayer, which was translated into Arabic before Osama bin Laden’s body went into the ocean.
This bothers me.
The branch of Islam represented by Osama bin Laden is antithetical to everything good about human life: it’s against liberty of every sort, against democracy, against women, against rational thought; it is fundamentally evil — primarily but not solely due to their tendency toward blowing up people who disagree.
Political correctness has no place in our response to bin Laden and those who think and act like him.
What purpose is served by treating bin Laden as he would have wanted to be treated following his death? Whom would we have offended by showing his body — and then cremating it? And if some Muslims would have been offended, would that be too high a price to pay for the value of the message?
Did we not by the apparently Islam-sanctioned burial at sea increase the argument that the islamofascists will make that bin Laden is a martyr, or even allow the conspiracy theories which already live in the Arab world that we didn’t actually kill him? Perhaps those who believe in the Muslim version of heaven would have thought twice about joining in terrorist actions against the US if they knew that we would treat their bodies in a way designed to ensure they never reach their 72 virgins.
The Bush Administration made a point of saying that we’re not at war with Islam. President Obama has taken that to a whole new level. He apologized around the Arab world for the United States and has now ordered that perhaps the single greatest enemy in our nation’s history (with the possible exceptions of Hitler, Tojo, and George III) be washed and wrapped in accordance with the same “law” on which that most evil of men based his murder of thousands of Americans.
I have the utmost appreciation for President Obama’s ordering a mission which not only allowed us to kill bin Laden but to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we did so. But I would have preferred
that our president didn’t yet again offer even the slightest suggestion of moral equivalence between the civilized world and the barbaric world of Islamists like bin Laden.
Treating bin Laden with respect in death, even if we killed him, is the wrong signal to send to current and would-be members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other anti-civilization Muslim terrorist groups. Although being shot in the head certainly strikes western sensibilities as ruthless retaliation by the United States, the enemies’ viewpoint must be considered. Too many suicide bombers have made it clear that they do not fear death; that they welcome what awaits them in martyrdom. Perhaps we should not put out the welcome mat by conspicuously preparing their bodies according to Islamic law. If the message received by would-be terrorists is that we send them straight to heaven when we’re done with them, are we more likely to persuade them to give up their murderous quests or to proceed apace?
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