I was watching the Phillies game on ESPN last night when news broke that Osama bin Laden had been killed. As the news filtered throughout the ballpark the fans began to chant “U-S-A, U-S-A” in unison. It was a very surreal event and I strangely found myself unsettled by the way things unfolded.
Let me first get this off my chest and it may come off as crass to some of you. I am personally happy that Osama bin Laden is no longer taking a breath on this Earth. I am glad that after close to 10 years of trying to hunt him down U.S. Special Forces (rumored to be Navy SEALS) were able to infiltrate his compound and kill him.
My brother-in-law is a Navy SEAL and although I don’t know the specifics of what he does (it’s all classified information) I do understand how hard those guys work to protect the interests of our country. It’s a thankless job and I am both humbled and grateful that there are people committed to putting their lives on the line on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our citizens and the protection of our rights and freedoms which many of us take for granted.
I found bin Laden to be a despicable human being and a leader who preached from a platform of hatred and religious intolerance. He is recognized as the leader of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 which lead to the deaths of close to 3,000 innocent civilians who simply went to work one day and never come home to their families. As the head of Al-Qaeda he has also been linked with numerous attacks across the Muslim world as well.
The part that made me uneasy was the jingoism exhibited as the news filtered around the stadium.
Merriam-Webster dictionary describes jingoism as extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy.
I found the mass celebration a little unsettling and I wonder what image it casts around the world. I remember how upset I was as a young child watching the evening news during the Iranian hostage crisis and the coverage from Iran as American flags were burned and our hostages were humiliatingly paraded in front of cameras nightly and broadcast around the world.
Perhaps I’m over reacting but it seemed odd to me to watch so many people celebrating this man’s death. As I stated above, I’m happy that he is no longer with us as I feel it gives the families of the grieving a little bit of closure on the events of 9/11.