A Battle, but Not the War
There are changing and conflicting accounts, but let’s go with the first to come across the newswires.
The great warrior, the first soldier of Islam, the titular big guy of al-Qaida, apparently threw one of his women in front of Navy SEAL guns before the American team caught him in the head with one of their bullets. By Thursday afternoon, television news was reporting that the woman in question was bin Laden’s wife.
Even if this account is finally proved to be false, it doesn’t really matter. We already know that women and children are strapped with terrorist bombs, or they are placed in the way of American missiles for propaganda purposes, their lives inconsequential to the cause.
But just pause for a second to really contemplate the horror of a man who would sacrifice his wife in the seconds before his own death, and compare that cowardice with the American heroes of 9/11 — the first responders, who approached the towering infernos and entered the skyscrapers to save the lives of others.
What about Todd Beamer of Flight 93? With the cockpit of his plane already controlled by terrorists and one passenger dead, and knowing that he was going to his death along with every other person on the plane, he and others stormed the cockpit and successfully saw to it that Flight 93 would not be used as another terrorist missile.
Witness the difference between bin Laden’s final act, and what we know about the night the RMS Titanic sank. Its crew knew there were not enough lifeboats on board to save everyone. And while we can speculate about isolated cowards, men who attempted to get on board those lifeboats, in the end, 1,517 people, mostly men, drowned in order that as many women and children could be saved as possible.
There is something so metaphysically foreign, so sub-human, about bin Laden’s final act, and the other ways women are abused by the men of radical Islam, that one must ask, to what extent is an enemy like this willing to go, and for how long?
Remember, we’re not talking about just lives being expendable to further global jihad. We’re talking about our mates. Was Hitler as evil sending 6 million Jews to the gas chambers? Were Mao and Pol Pot for the countless humans they slaughtered?
If the treatment of Muslim woman can be used as a puzzle piece in the larger context of the war on terror, a picture begins to emerge about an enemy that makes the tyrants of history pale in comparison. We are in a battle against pure evil.
That is why it was encouraging to read in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Secretly Adds Strike Teams.” Since 2009, the Obama administration has added 16 new Special Forces strike teams in Afghanistan that “have carried out thousands of raids in the past year.” These raids killed 3,200 insurgents and captured another 8,000.
According to the piece, “officials say the Pentagon intends to bolster the teams and increase the number of missions they are assigned to carry out.”
Many say it’s time for our troops to come home, that it’s time to leave Iraq and Afghanistan. The sentiment is understood. America is war-weary. We miss our children; we want our families whole again.
Leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, not keeping troop presence anywhere terrorists are being bred, will prove very costly. If bin Laden’s death teaches us anything, it’s that we need to be out there and ready to strike at a moment’s notice.
This war against terrorism, the hideousness of the enemy, and his willingness to fight forever, begs us to adjust our thinking about how and where our military is deployed. Our idea that national defense means “from our shores” isn’t suited for this fight.
Bin Laden’s death is a great victory, and praise must be given to our Navy Seals, our intelligence services, and President Obama for his decision to strike. Let bin Laden’s death be a harbinger to terrorists of things to come.
His end is more than sweet justice. It’s the war on terror being fought where and how it should be fought.
But we have only won a battle, not the war.
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at email@example.com.
More like this story