0

JENKINS: Osama bin Laden and some things I don't understand

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

Don't get me wrong: I was as happy as the next guy to see Osama bin Laden get what he deserved. Unless, of course, the next guy happened to be named Barack Obama, in which case, no, I probably wasn't quite as happy.

There are just a few things I don't understand about the whole episode.

The first is why the left is so giddy. Oh, I know that finally getting bin Laden makes their guy look tough and decisive and patriotic -- all the things the right has been saying he isn't. That Obama was able to pull off what the deeply loathed George W. Bush "failed" to do doesn't hurt, either. I get that.

But aren't these the same people that have been hyperventilating for years over the supposed "torture" techniques used on captured Al Qaida terrorists at Guantanamo Bay? Techniques like waterboarding, that inflict only psychological wounds and don't do any long-term physical harm?

Somebody please tell me: How is waterboarding worse than shooting someone in the head?

Another thing I don't understand about the raid and takedown is the way the administration has kept secret things it probably ought to reveal and revealed things it probably ought to keep secret.

"Sorry," the White House has essentially told us, "we're not going to offer any proof that bin Laden is actually dead. You'll have to take our word for it. But if you're a terrorist and you'd like directions to the homes of the men who did the job -- that's Seal Team Six, in case you haven't heard -- we'll be handing out maps."

(No, I'm not a "Deather." I'm convinced bin Laden has shuffled off the mortal coil, if only because I can't imagine him wasting this opportunity to humiliate the Great Satan if he were still vertical. But I don't understand why the administration didn't feel the need to offer any proof, or on what basis we're supposed to take their word for anything.)

Finally, I don't understand why we all can't be a little more tolerant of other people's views, even regarding 9/11. Yes, I know that's still a pretty touchy subject, with good reason. But this is America, after all. People should be able to say what they think, however unpopular.

Take the recent comments by Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who tweeted last week that "we'll never really know what happened" on 9/11 and that "we've only heard one side." Immediately, pundits and the public pounced on him like a pack of steroid-crazed linebackers.

Allow me to point out that, a) Rashard Mendenhall is a football player, not a politician; b) he's entitled to his opinion, just like anybody else; and c) he's a football player, for crying out loud!

So yes, I'm glad bin Laden's dead. I just think if things had been handled a little differently, maybe we wouldn't still have more questions than Mendenhall has Twitter followers.

Rob Jenkins is a local writer and college professor. Email him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.