Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama and Me

I was in the hotel room on Monday at 8:30am, when I was woken up from one of my friends saying “Bin Ladens dead.”
“What?” I groggily replied.
The news report had paraphrased the President’s speech stating the details. I checked my phone and had a message from a close friend telling me the same.
I remember, still laying down, looking up at the ceiling and saying “now what?”
We checked to make sure nothing had happened to Israel, then we checked other sources without getting much detail. The Embassy was put on alert over here and issued a cautionary message. As I drove in a bus across the city, I could feel my American flag pin digging into my shoulder from my pack. For security reasons, I had to hide it, but it was comforting to know it was there. I felt great pride in my country, and in the men and women I know who were over there.
My father asked me what I thought of all of it. I am still not sure. My relationship with Osama started like many others: on that fateful September Tuesday sitting in a 6th grade classroom watching my world change. A few years later I was part of a team in Jordan, learning Arabic to be of use someday to make sure the atrocities didn’t happen again. I found myself leading a team the following summer in Jordan again, before pursuing a degree in international relations. (I originally had wanted to be a lawyer, but my time abroad changed that.) I went to Drake University, knowing they were picking up a new Middle Eastern studies professor, and had a good Arabic program. I ended up with that professor in Egypt last summer, and then headed back for the semester. There I witnessed more significant change, and ended up in an obscure country called Oman where I sit planning my trip back to the US.
It’s weird knowing the first domino of what I call life came because of someone I never would meet. On the first day of Mrs. Brey’s Modern Global Studies class, she asked us who was the one person either living or passed that we would want to talk to. The Deadhead in the class said Jimmy Page. Lincoln was a popular choice, along with Mandela and Gandhi. I said Bin Laden, when she gave me a quizzical look, I replied “to simply ask why?”
Now that the why cannot be answered, it is still just as important. I am eternally thankful he is gone, and rejoiced with the news. An Englishman in the hotel greeted me with “did you hear the news, it’s nice that there is one less baddie in the world.” I agree, wholeheartedly. We need to make sure this kind of stuff doesn’t happen again. Our foreign policy, and domestic policies need to continue to ensure our safety. I honestly believe that if we hadn’t botched the Afghanistan cleanup against the Soviets, Bin Laden would not have had a home. Something made him tick, and something made enough people agree to follow such twisted distortions of a very beautiful religion. We need to make sure that sort of stuff doesn’t happen again.
Most of the “cool/interesting” stuff in my life came down because of one evil man . I am a forged part of my nations response. After school I will continue the work with a commission in the United States Navy. I don’t know what will come up in the next few years. I do know that we will be ready with whatever diplomacy to prevent and whatever force is necessary to avenge.

‎"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."
-Mark Twain

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