I'm back! The Storm Chaser galleys were successfully gone through in a marathon all-nighter session, by both me and Emily, and sent on back to the publisher. Unless I hear otherwise, the e-book version should be out either June 1 or June 15, with the print version a few weeks after that -- I'll have more details when I get them myself.
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I have little to add to the death of everybody’s favorite terrorist, Osama bin Laden, beyond the obvious: YAY.
Should we celebrate the death of another human being? Well, I’m throwing a great big ol’ toga party for, as a friend put it, Osama was Laden, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.
First off, yes, bin Laden is dead. Why would the Obama administration fake his death now, instead of closer to the next election? Similarly, if Obama made the announcement to draw attention from releasing his birth certificate, why? If the certificate’s a fake, his people had two whole years to make it perfect. If it isn’t a fake, who cares? My theory was that it had something embarrassing on it, like a different father’s name or a notation from the doctor that he had big ears.
The moment I learned of bin Laden’s death I said, “I’ll bet the Navy Seals took him out”. Apparently they sent in over two dozen Seals, which is the equivalent of putting out a trash can fire by diverting the Mississippi River. Did you hear the old story about the mayor who was upset when he called for help during a riot, and only one Seal showed up? The Seal said, “Well, you’ve only got one riot, don’t ya?”
So who gets credit for croaking bin Laden: Obama or Bush? Duh. Both. Bush set the shot up and Obama hit it out of the park, a metaphor I’m sure matches some sport. Bush did downplay the search for bin Laden, probably because he knew it would be a long and maybe impossible search and didn’t want to get hopes up, and he wisely pointed out “Terror is bigger than one person”. However, it’s hard to imagine he didn’t make offing America’s number one enemy a behind the scenes priority.
Speaking of behind the scenes, a lot of people (including myself) were more afraid of Obama’s foreign policy than we were of terrorism. To his credit, Obama sat down that first day, broke open all those folders marked “confidential” (or however they handle it these days – maybe it’s all on a PowerPoint), and after composing himself continued the ongoing policies that eventually led to the Seals venting bin Laden. That’s not flip-flopping; that’s educating yourself.
So they both get credit. What’s more, nobody can convince me that any President, under the same circumstances, wouldn’t have green lighted that raid. Not even James Buchanan. So stop arguing and fire up that pizza party.
Speaking of arguing, the Pakistan government was all upset that we sneaked into their country on this mission.
Oh, boo-hoo. You’re just sorry you got caught sheltering that scumbag.
Was he unarmed? Who cares? Were the 3,000 victims of 9/11 armed?
A lot of fuss was made over the fact that on some news reports Osama’s name was replaced with Obama. Surely it was done on purpose!
Maybe, but I doubt it. A few days later I heard an interview in which a US Senator called bin Laden “Obama” twice. The interviewer didn’t correct him, probably under the reasonable assumption that listeners would understand how similar the names are, how much they’ve been intertwined on the news, and how easy it would be to mix them up. I don’t think we’re seeing Freudian slips so much as … well, just slips. (The mix-up was also made in writing, and in that case is more inexcusable – I did it while writing this column, but there’s such a thing as editing.)
Most of this is nitpicking nonsense, as is the suggestion that it might have been better not to kill bin Laden, because his death could spur terrorists into attacking us. Okay, so maybe it will. So? They were planning to attack us, anyway. Better to cut off the head of one nasty organization and hope it leads to more of the body.
Now, there are very few people in this world who I hate so much that I’d celebrate their deaths. In fact, there aren’t that many people who I personally hate, at all. Sure, there are people worthy of hatred. When you consider the killers, the drug dealers, the rapists, the people who’d put a knife in your gut for the change in your pocket … many aren’t worth the oxygen more decent people could be breathing. But I don’t go around hating every one of them; life’s just too short.
Similarly, most people I become acquainted with reveal themselves to have good points along with the bad, and if you don’t agree with everything they do or say, that doesn’t make them evil. Getting to know someone personally reveals that 99% of them have some redeeming quality.
However, I busted a move right out of Riverdance when bin Laden, despite his fundamentalist hatred of music, got exposed to Heavy Metal.
Here’s why: He wasn’t human.
The first time Osama bin Laden directed the killing of civilians without remorse, as early as 1992, he lost his right to be called a human being. The day he became directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people (for those of you who’ve forgotten, that was September 11, 2001), he became deserving of nothing but being scraped under the boot of an American serviceman, and we should all hoist the cold one of your choice to celebrate the day that finally happened.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put on some Vince Guaraldi music so I can Snoopy Dance.