The ghost of Bin Laden

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Irresponsible reporting infers Bin-Laden Gets revenge.

With 38 dying in a helicopter shootdown from a strong Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, and with the deaths including Special Ops forces, the press has been unable to contain itself from bringing up Osama Bin Laden, and his relation to this attack, despite the fact that he's been dead for some time now decomposing in a watery grave.

Indeed there were some SEAL Team 6 deaths, but according to authorities no one that died in this actually took part in the Bin Laden raid. It's almost as if there's some odd desire for Bin laden to still be alive for the sensationalism. Many in the media can't bare to stand that fact that he's actually dead, that you can longer put one single face on terrorism, and in fact quite the contrary - that terrorism can come in the form of handsome blond hair blue eyes Nordic fanatics just as it can hairy unshaven Arabs in caves. Hatred takes no individual form, and of course a media dominated by an obsession with image wants to continue a visual narrative that there's a battle between "us" and "them." That somehow crazy madmen protesting in the middle-east burning down flags is utter madness, but people holding up bloody sharia signs and vandalizing a mosque, in a place quite far from ground zero like Tennessee, somehow isn't the same thing. Lost in all of the extremes of course are the voices of the middle. The people that can have disagreements, but can do it with civility instead of arson.

That being said, Bin Laden for so many was the perfect image of where to direct their hatred. It made the world more black and white, easier to digest from an uninformed American public, easier to sell from a cynical media willing to use scare-tactics to boost sales. The invincibility of Bin Laden is something the media can't let go of. In a sense, it is the media can't let go of the fact that terrorism is and always was a bigger issue than Bin Laden and that on its tenth anniversary 9/11 itself is now history, not actually a present day issue.

Bin Laden attacked America. We killed Bin Laden. There's a memorial opening up on the 11th of September this year. That is the begin to end narrative with regards to that portion of American history. Terrorism still exists, the wars we entered after those events are still draining us, the economic ripples are still felt from the massive expenses of our military efforts, but there is no ghostly Bin Laden laughing in the background. To imply so, is almost in a sick way to act as though he still lives, and still controls our future and our destiny. That we're so unable to let go of a figure that made the concept of terrorism so simple is a real lack of imagination on behalf of our media.

As we forward, as much as we can respect and honor those that died in 9/11, eventually we need to be able to move on without letting an evil laughing floating head of Bin Laden scare us into submission, sacrificing our liberties, hating our neighbors, turning friends against friends. This is what he would have wanted. The best way to fight back against terrorism is to let go. To move on, and not let the hate and the cruelty of the hijackers on that sunny morning ten years ago win by not only taking down some buildings and killing about 3,000, but by searing themselves into our minds in such a way that they continue to haunt us into their deaths. That we still will always shape policy with a fear of terrorism. It makes sense to acknowledge the past, to acknowledge and fight back against present day attacks but at a certain point societies need to move on. We don't mention Nazis every time the Israeli Palestine conflict is discussed - at least most of us don't. We try to focus on today's players, today's situation. Likewise, in order for our world society to move forward and cope with today's threats we have to let go of Bin Laden, accept that he's dead, and focus our attention on today's radicals. We need to be calm, but vigilant, and have a broader view of where hatred and fanaticism can arise. Today, we need to broaden our peripheral vision and let an iconic figure of hatred and madness die alongside the body of a once awful man that has sunk deep into the sea.

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:29 PM EST | More details


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