Barrack Obama, Osama bin Laden, and the Kids Eat Corn Pops

May 2, 2011 | 75 comments
By

I’m sure you’ve heard the news — Osama bin Laden has been killed, and his body is held in the United States. I’m not someone who can speak insightfully to the political, military, or diplomatic facets here. I’m just a guy who was on the phone with his wife when she said, “Hey, it looks like bin Laden is dead. They say the president will be speaking in a few minutes.” I’m visiting my parents tonight, so we turned on the TV to ABC News and waited for about half an hour.

During the wait, ABC showed video footage of bin Laden while the commentators talked about what this means. My first emotional response was when I realized that he was just a guy too, walking through the mountains, hugging his friends, sitting in a room, etc. That’s not to say that he wasn’t a terrorist mass murderer. He killed thousands of innocent people. I have no sympathy for him here. I just recognized that in addition to being a terrorist mass murderer, he is also a human being, living life like a human being.

Then, just as President Obama came on, my kids ran in and asked for their bedtime cereal. So I grudgingly got up from viewing the president’s historic address to pour two bowls of Corn Pops. I took the kids their cereal, and went back to listen to the president’s speech (which was, in my opinion, just great). While listening him, I looked at my kids and I suddenly realized that they are why this event matters. They are the reason that the nation is gathered to their TVs and computer screens tonight.

In Silverton, Oregon, where I lived for a year, there is a building that has four murals painted on it — Norman Rockwell’sFour Freedoms, depicting the four freedoms identified by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. We in the USA are familiar with the first two freedoms, since they come from our Bill of Rights. The other two — freedom from want and freedom from fear — however, aren’t enshrined in any constitutional documents.

Bin Laden’s death represents a world where my kids can eat Corn Pops, and where I can be irritated that I have to get them Corn Pops when I’d rather be watching TV. His death symbolizes a world where my greatest inconveniences are measured in seconds rather than years; where I can participate in a nation and global economy of trade, peace, and emotional security. It’s a luxury for me to listen to them whine when I put them to bed, just for the fact that I have warm, safe beds for them, and for myself. It’s a luxury for me to complain about gas being $4.16 a gallon, since that means I have a car and places to go. Bin Laden’s death won’t bring back the lives of those he killed. My hope, however, is that it will serve as a reminder to us that we can be grateful to have the luxury of dealing with the kinds of inconveniences we face here in America, to remind us that early morning seminary and burned cookies are blessings, because they mean that we’re not facing ideological repression and physical starvation.

75 Responses to Barrack Obama, Osama bin Laden, and the Kids Eat Corn Pops

  1. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Dane,

    Osama bin Laden has been killed, and his body is held in the United States.

    I would probably just correct this. As this event occurred yesterday, I’m highly doubtful the US has Bin Laden’s body in the United States. It’s probably at one of our bases in Afghanistan at this moment if anywhere.

  2. Carl Youngblood on May 2, 2011 at 2:32 am

    I don’t buy the implication that the world was not a place where you could freely get cereal for your kids before Bin Laden was killed, nor do I buy the assertion that it will be such a place after his death.

    I worry a lot more about “security theater” being increasingly used to placate Americans while we squander our time and resources on relatively worthless pursuits.

  3. Peter LLC on May 2, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Word has it he has been buried at sea already.

  4. Don on May 2, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we can say the same about Saddam Hussein.

  5. SilverRain on May 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

    If they ran a DNA test already, the chances are likely he didn’t die yesterday.

  6. Left Field on May 2, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I do DNA work myself. If they already had a sequence for comparison, they should be able to isolate DNA, run the sequence and get a definitive answer in a few hours.

  7. Mark B. on May 2, 2011 at 8:22 am

    The real tragedy is that your children don’t have the freedom to eat Sugar Pops.

    Back in the good old days, our parents wouldn’t let us eat them either, but at least we could hope. And when we went on vacation and got the variety packs of ten small cereal boxes, we could fight over who got the Sugar Pops. The consolation prize was the box of Sugar Smacks.

  8. SilverRain on May 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

    True, Left Field, but I also factored in the time it would take to retrieve the sample, get it to a DNA lab, process the results, analyze them, decide what to do about it, organize the necessaries, and then actually disseminate the information.

  9. SilverRain on May 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

    And note I didn’t say IMPOSSIBLE, just not likely.

  10. Kent Larsen on May 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I’m very sad today. This event brings up a lot of feelings and memories, almost all of them sad and difficult.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this as an ending point, both because terrorism isn’t one man, and won’t simply end because of this, and because achieving justice does not end the pain and suffering that victims feel.

    Indeed, the celebrations covered in the news bother me to no end. As just as this accomplishment is, I don’t think we should be gleeful in someone’s death. I don’t celebrate executions, and to the extent that the celebrations in the news are celebrations of a death (as opposed to recognizing a symbolic achievement of justice), I think they represent an ugly side of humanity.

  11. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Kent,

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am happy he is dead because he represented an evil that needed to be killed. While others may step in his shoes, he made himself that face. We’ve killed a lot of people who may or may not have deserved their deaths, but his mattered because he dared challenge the freedom and openness of the United States of America. I am not meaning the country. I am meaning the city on a hill that cannot be hid. He was trying to destroy what America stood for. While we helped him along on that path by invading Iraq and by torturing detainees, he was still the one who began it. I am relieved he is dead (and I did shed a tear last night while watching footage of the 9/11 attack in remembrance of what he caused) and I think a weight has been lifted off the nation. That’s worthy of celebration. We’re not celebrating that one guy was killed, but what he stood for was killed.

  12. Kent Larsen on May 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Dan, you seem to be missing my point. I am also relieved that he isn’t in the picture any more. And I’m happy that some form of justice has been achieved.

    But too much of the celebration I see doesn’t seem to be about that at all. It seems to be more about retribution and vengance.

  13. Jax on May 2, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I just heard the news now….No TV. I’m glad to know he is gone, not for retribution. It wasn’t worth the money or time or lives spent to find him just for vengance. I’m glad because I hope it will disrupt the organization of terror. I hope it will cause confusion amongst sects and cells about who is giving orders. I hope it will give doubt about the likelihood of success and lead to reduce recruitment. I hope it will disrupt the flow of money for operations. If those things don’t happen then it is a sad day because a person didn’t without repentance, and that is always sad no matter who they are.

  14. Jax on May 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

    correction *** If those things don’t happen then it is a sad day because a person died without repentance ***

  15. Dane Laverty on May 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Carl, of course my kids ate Corn Pops happily before his death. It’s not that the world is magically a safe place now. Rather, as Dan says in his #11, it’s a symbolic victory. I think symbols are powerful, and symbolic victories are valuable.

  16. Bob on May 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @Dan:”… worthy of celebration. We’re not celebrating that one guy was killed, but what he stood for was killed”. I agree, well said.
    @Dana: ” it’s a symbolic victory. I think symbols are powerful, and symbolic victories are valuable. I agree__also well said.

  17. Joe on May 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    First thought sadness, second thought, he is now receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  18. nat kelly on May 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I think some people here in the States, particularly white people, have had those freedoms for a long time. Bin Laden threatened those for one day, and it was terrible.

    But compared to the insecurities we bring to millions of people all over the world, I just can’t drum up a lot of emotional pity for privileged people here. There are plenty of people in America who do not have the freedom from want and fear that FDR said was a right. And for those people, Osama had nothing to do with that threat.

    I think calling an end to all our wars, and changing our warlike ways in the world, would help a lot more people achieve those two freedoms than Bin Laden’s death ever could.

  19. Mike on May 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

    How long will it take to find Bin Laden’s birth certificate and publish it, proving he is/is not eligible to be President of the United States?

  20. Grant on May 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    It is a horrible thing in many ways to look at it. But I see a positive in the sense that we did it. I mean, if this is really all true that our special forces found him and he died at their hands because I’m sure he would in no way allow anyone to take him alive, consider the alternative of him dying in bed someday tucked into white sheets. I’m not sure I condone the violence either even if he, if anybody, deserved it. And we have been failing at so much these almost ten years. But if were to die at peace, the US would look powerless and he would be a symbol of at least mortal heroism which I think is a lot worse than the martyr figure some will try to make out of him. Remember, he was a bigger enemy and threat to Muslims than he was to us. My feelings are definitely mixed. But there is a great sense of relief that he is gone and will not be able to encourage or mastermind such horror again, even if others may very well try. We know what he did. He attacked us more than three times (Sec. 98). I felt a weight go off me last night and I slept pretty well.

  21. Matt Evans on May 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Nice post, Dane.

  22. Jax on May 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Despite what FDR said, there are no rights to freedom from want or freedom from fear. Everyone has wants, even “priviledged white people.” Everyone is afraid of something, at some time, either rational or not. And no one is under obligation to eliminate those wants and fears, especially the government (as Mr. FDR suggested).

    It is immoral not to care for our fellowmen, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. But the only program that can or ever will eliminate all wants and fears is the celestial one and it only works because of the righteous desires of the celestialized people. That is why freedom to do what I want with my property is a higher good than allowing the gov’t to take it in order to eleviate someone elses wants.

    If we don’t want to take care of each other, than gov’t coercion won’t work and will only induce more misery. If we do want to take care of each other, than the gov’t involvement won’t be necessary. That is what FDR had wrong. We achieve his goals not by implementing taxes and programs, but teaching about Christ and eternity.

    Not sure why Dane’s FDR paragraph was included, since his post makes perfect sense without it. OBL’s death doesn’t eliminate want of fear. Like Dane though, I feel very grateful that my big concerns in life are the amount of rain falling and trying to get the kids to school on time. The fact that those are my concerns mean I am truly blessed of God and I am extremely grateful for it.

  23. SouthernMan on May 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Nat, you get around and seem to read the same blogs that I do.

    Kent, I can feel for you. I have the same depression, same down feelings. Can’t imagine any reason to celebrate. I keep thinking of satan reigning with blood and horror on the earth, and knowing that another man will rise up to take his place. Funny how much difference one man can make in the world. If I had inherited $300mil, maybe I would have more of an impact than just making my comments in an occasional blog.

    Take a deep breath, and resolve to try and make a difference in the circles that you are in. Cheers!

  24. Zarahemna on May 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I’m not too pleased to wake up today with a fresh reminder that there are people out there who can order the execution of a person without arrest or trial, nor that there are people who are happy to see this sort of thing happening.

    Why was he not arrested and made to pay for what he did?
    Why has it taken ten years?
    What good has killing him done?

  25. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Zarahemna,

    Interesting choice of name seeing your questions. Wasn’t Zarahemnah unwilling to “be arrested” by Captain Moroni?

    1. OBL was unwilling to be arrested. Going solely on the accounts from the US (and we can only trust those accounts as far as we can throw them), OBL used a woman as a human shield and then got shot in the head.

    2. It has taken ten years because the previous president chose of his own free will to refocus our efforts from capturing OBL to some dude in Baghdad. see here.

    3. It has removed the symbol of evil and hate against freedom loving people. He was where our focus should always have been. He should have been captured or killed far earlier. His death at American hands sends a message that if you attack the United States, expect to be killed in return. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. Few nations or people have chosen over the hundreds of years we’ve been around, to actually do that, whether because the two oceans work as a massive deterrent from invasion, or because we’re vastly superior militarily for anyone to attack us. When OBL attacked us on 9/11, it sent a message to the world that America can be attacked, hurt, and even come out the loser in the conflict. Taking him out sends the message back that this is not the case. If you attack us, you will be the loser.

  26. Ardis E. Parshall on May 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Jax, I’m launching off a sentence from your comment, but this is not an attack aimed personally at you. Yours is simply a handy repetition of an oft-expressed sentiment.

    That is why freedom to do what I want with my property is a higher good than allowing the gov’t to take it in order to eleviate someone elses wants.

    I read this just about everywhere I go in the blogosphere. It so often [and again, this is not aimed at you, Jax; I don't know your personal position] sounds like a claim that clinging to one’s personal property is not only a right, but is an absolute necessity to show “libruls” that the government has no right to tax one citizen for the benefit of another. If individuals were doing enough to help the less fortunate — to secure their freedom from want and freedom from fear — then there would be no justification of any kind for government to tax for such purposes. And note that it’s freedom from “want” — actual privation and suffering, not dissatisfaction at not having the latest electronic gadgets — and “fear” — not discomfort or dissatisfaction or simple yearning — that we’re talking about.

    But there is want and fear, because virtually no individual (including me) is doing what each person could do to live the Savior’s law in caring for each other and alleviating suffering. And none of us is justified in that because of some assertion that personal property rights are inviolable. Selfishness and greed and grasping are not higher moral laws than alleviating suffering, especially when it’s society at large in the form of a democratically elected government that decrees it needs your help to alleviate that suffering.

  27. Zarahemna on May 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Dan,

    You’ve got the wrong guy officer! Heh. Your BoM is spot on, I chose the nick name long ago in LDS chat. It sounds familiar but there’s no-one by the name in the BoM. That means other people don’t take it as a username before I get there.

    As for your responses.

    The mission’s published goal was to kill him, capture was not intended, at least in the press I’ve seen.

    Getting rid of the man in Baghdad has certainly made the world a better place. I’m just not sure how.

    The US public have been openly afraid of terrorism for a decade. Terrorists world wide know that terrorist attacks on the west work because we talk about them, worry about them and spend money trying to stop them all the time. We’re all terrified, which is surely their chief objective.

    AFAIK more Americans are shot and killed by fellow US citizens each year than have died in terrorist attacks on US soil in the last ten years combined. OBL was never dangerous, only scary, terrifying even and I find myself a little rankled that he should be such a celebrity, even in death.

    At least he’s gone. I’m just horrified that he’s succeeded in taking so many of our civil liberties with him. That’s a victory of his over the everyday lives of over 300,000,000 Americans, that’s not acceptable.

  28. Jax on May 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Ardis,

    I agree that there is want and fear and WE ARE ALL responsible to eleviate hunger and suffering. But I don’t do my christian duty by paying taxes and working overtime. Selfishness and greed are not high moral laws…that is why I don’t like the Ayn Rand crowd. She thought capitalism was king and charity was a weakness that hurt the system. The acquisition of wealth is admirable under only one condition as identified in Jacob:

    13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are alifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.
    14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.
    15 O that he would show you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his aeye he can smite you to the dust!
    16 O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this apride of your hearts destroy your souls!
    17 Think of your abrethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that cthey may be rich like unto you.
    18 But abefore ye seek for briches, seek ye for the ckingdom of God.
    19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to ado good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

    (Book of Mormon | Jacob 2:13 – 19)

    Many of us have obtained great wealth, but the only justified reason for doing so is to clothe the naked and feed the hungry. The right to keep property isn’t necessary to “show “libruls” that the government has no right to tax one citizen for the benefit of another” – it is necessary for us to show God that we are willing to care for each other and follow His commandments. Complete equality is the desired status God has for us. If everyone were equal in goods because the gov’t forced it to be so, then what opportunity would there be for good people to serve their fellowmen? (D&C 49:20,; 70:7-10,14; 78:5-6; 104:15-18; almost all of Mosiah 4)

    It is necessary for us to be in an environment that allows us to be selfish and allows us to be charitable; just like it was necessary for Adma/Eve to be in an environment that allowed them to choose good or choose evil. We therefore need to choose, of our on volition, to give of our substance and sacrifice for the good of our fellowmen. Inasmuch as equality is the desired state, it is our obligation (covenant actually) to choose to live in equality with our neighbors instead of in competition with them.

    I am all in with the Glenn Beck crowd on the need for personal freedom in the economic and political landscape. I’m not in agreement with them that the acquisition of great wealth is a good thing for society. We need to be free to be selfish, so that we can show that we aren’t. Unfortunately, even LDS members think that they are free from the requirements of choosing equality (the good) just because they are allowed to choose wealth (the wrong).

  29. Bob on May 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    What I agree to do by CHOSSING to be an American citizen:
    ” We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    By this__I agree to among other things__to be taxed.

  30. Kent Larsen on May 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    IMO, we’re getting off on a political tangent.

  31. Ardis E. Parshall on May 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    The OP is political, Kent.

    Jax, my point is that we DON’T meet our obligation individually. We can, as a society, begin to meet that obligation, but not when individuals insist on their own right to be greedy. When we as a society decide to “promote the common welfare,” greedy individuals insist that their personal rights are morally superior to the right of a united society. They don’t make a sustainable case for their claim, but they do make the assertion, loudly and long.

    To try to satisfy Kent and swing this back more nearly to the original post, I see society’s joining together to reduce want through taxation as exactly similar to society’s joining together through taxpayer-financed armed might to reduce fear. I don’t understand the reasoning of people who enthusiastically support the taking of personal property for the purpose of conducting both defensive and offensive wars — take your pick of words to apply to bin Laden, terrorism, and/or any other military conflict of your choice — but insist it is immoral to do the same thing to feed the hungry and care for the sick.

  32. Grant on May 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Our government isn’t perfect. But it still is of, by and for the people or should be if we work at it (and get rid of some of the corporate and lobbyist power). Also, the United Nations is far from perfect.

    I just have this radical idea that those who ultimately deserve to live on the earth during the thousand year reign of the Lord in peace and equality, will be those who are trying to make a better country and world right now through democratic processes of the people working, voting, and compromising as a nation or cooperating as a world, rather than those sitting around waiting for everyone else to exercise their free agency to do individual good. Intent is important even if our systems are not perfect. Let’s keep working on making them better.

  33. Grant on May 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    sorry for my intemperance. I should have struck the “sitting around” part of the comment. I just think that the concept of an unregulated free market or gun-toting society motivated by selfish individualism and everybody out for themselves is not the best way to build a better world. I choose to exercise my agency differently and participate in our inspired government (and the UN too, the charter of which, used our Constitution as a model and is respected under Art. VI of ours).

  34. Hans in California on May 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    An interesting reaction to OBL’s death:

  35. Mark N. on May 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Do we actually know that OBL is responsible for 9/11?

    I don’t recall my government coming forward with any evidence that he was the guy who caused 9/11 other than the fact that they said so. At one point, OBL admitted to knowing about plan to strike the WTC, but he said it wasn’t his plan. Was he lying? I have no idea.

    Anyway, I have become highly dubious of the government’s “say so” since 9/11. We pretty much accepted that OBL was the guy because the FedGov said he was the guy, but that was back in the days when we pretty much believed anything the FedGov told us. Now, not so much.

    We were assured at one point that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, because it was *known* where they were. Only it wasn’t really known at all. We were assured at some point that there were a bunch of aluminum tubes found that proved that Hussein was in the uranium enrichment business. Except that he wasn’t. There was the “yellowcake” story that turned out to be false.

    So, I’m not totally convinced that OBL’s death is really anything to write home to mother about. We got our boogeyman, but for all I know, he may just be our Emmanuel Goldstein.

  36. Eric Russell on May 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    “Do we actually know that OBL is responsible for 9/11?”

    Yes.

  37. Mark N. on May 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Eric, how do you know? What specific evidence were you shown that convinced you?

  38. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Mark N.,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_for_the_September_11_attacks

    All evidence points to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Not because the government told us, but because that’s where the evidence leads us to. And here is a transcript of the audio of Bin Laden talking about the planning of ramming the planes into the buildings. This is, I believe, the one where he was surprised that the buildings collapsed. He didn’t figure they would collapse.

  39. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    UBL: (…Inaudible…) we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (…Inaudible…) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.
    Shaykh: Allah be praised.
    UBL: We were at (…inaudible…) when the event took place. We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day. We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 p.m. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-((Khair)). Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they
    December 13, 2001
    Page 3 of 7
    reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. Shaykh: Allah be praised.
    UBL: After a little while, they announced that another plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers who heard the news were overjoyed by it.

    He’s the guilty party.

  40. Jax on May 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Ardis,

    My point as well is that we can’t accomplish equality individually either. We have to do it as a society but can’t when individuals insist on being greedy and selfish. We, as Saints, are suppose to choose to create societies of equality, wherein all things are provided for those in need. We can’t be greedy, we must willingly make sacrifices.

    The Lord has said: “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own away; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.”

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 104:15 – 16)

    The poor will be lifted up by the bringing down of the rich. But it must be willing. The equalization must be willing. Those willing to do so will be uplifted and blessed beyond measure while those who don’t wish to participate will be left on their own – just like so many are left on their own now to make their own way in the world, with no one to left lift their burdens or meet their wants/needs. Forcing people to give will not solve the problem nor will it make us a moral people. Those willing to care for each other and live after a celestial model should do so! And prove God herewith if he will not open up the windows of heaven. And why is it so important that we CHOOSE to do this?

    For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a ccelestial glory.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:22)

    Hoarding my wealth doesn’t make me moral. Paying more taxes doesn’t make me moral. Voting to make Donald Trump pay more doesn’t make me or Trump more moral. I am only made moral by giving freely myself. He is only made moral by giving freely himself. Society is just a collection of individuals and the only way to make society more moral is to convince a greater number to increase their own morality by being more freely generous and charitable – not by getting them to pay more taxes.

  41. Mark N. on May 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    That’s all well and good, but I still have to take it on faith that the evidence wasn’t fabricated in some way by the government. I have no means of independently confirming most, if not all, of what the government claims is the evidence that points to OBL. Since my government has shown a willingness to lie to its citizens over the last 10 years on numerous occasions, my faith that it hasn’t been lying to me from the very start has been somewhat diminished.

    If the government really didn’t have a clue as to who planned it and carried it out, would we have found it acceptable for them to have announced such a thing? Heck, no. We would have screamed bloody murder that the most powerful nation on Earth was caught completely flatfooted and clueless as to who did it and why.

    I find it fairly amusing, as I’m reading the Wikipidia article, that the very first linked footnote I decided to read (#21, which goes to http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/piece-by-piece-the-jigsaw-of-terror-revealed-671334.html ) begins with the following:

    “Investigators now say they have pieced together more or less the whole jigsaw of the plan to attack America but are missing one vital ingredient: a firm, compelling link with Osama bin Laden.”

    Out of 137 footnotes, I picked that one first. Wow.

  42. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I’m not going to debate with a conspiracy theorist.

  43. Dan on May 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Mark,

    This is why I’m not going to waste my time with you. Because there is an actual video of Osama Bin Laden discussing their planning of the attack. I mentioned in comment #39, which you completely ignored. Our government did not cause 9/11, nor orchestrate it, nor fake it, nor team up with Bin Laden to create a false flag scenario so we can go into Iraq and steal their oil or any of that other crap found on loony conspiracy sites.

  44. Mark N. on May 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Dan,

    I presume your “conspiracy theorist” comment is directed at me. I assure you, I’m no conspiracy theorist. All I’m saying is that I recognize that my government has claimed that a certain individual is responsible for a certain thing, and that I have no way of independently confirming the evidence. I simply have to take my government’s word for it.

    I’ve continued to read other links from the Wikipedia article, and I’m amazed at how many times there will be some kind of disclaimer in the linked article which boils down to the idea that the government strongly suspects OBL, but can’t prove it. As late as 2006, it looks as if they’re still looking for a smoking gun. If I thought my government was completely trustworthy, that would be one thing, but they keep demonstrating that they are not. They tell a great story, it all sounds very plausible, but the behavior of my government tells me that I need to remain skeptical. If you want to believe the story, great. I’m not saying I have any evidence that it wasn’t OBL in charge of the whole thing. I’m just saying that my government has been caught lying too many times now for me to just automatically believe anything they put out.

  45. Mark N. on May 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    comment #39, which you completely ignored.

    I have to take the tape recording on faith, just like everything else. I can not independently confirm that the conversation on tape was real, or that the translation is correct. You expect me to just believe it because the government said so. I don’t do that any more.

  46. Raymond Takashi Swenson on May 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Mark N: The guys who directly planned the 9/11 attacks whom the US captured were proud of what they did, and why, and were more than happy to proclaim they were agents of al Qaeda, being led by Osama bin Laden. Neither Osama bin Laden nor the Taliban who were harboring him on 9/11 denied that al Qaeda had planned and executed the 9/11 attacks when they were faced by a US invasion. And the minions of al Qaeda have taken credit for other attacks as well, including many of the atrocities against innocent Muslim civilians in Iraq, for the sake of sowing chaos.

    The jihadists have not been secret about their goals. They want to establish international hegemony over Islam, in a renewed caliphate, and they believe that making war on the West in general and the US in particular is a perfect way to enlist people into their program of Muslim unity. Osama bin Laden has put out videos and sound recordings with his message, over the years, and it has not varied. The fact is that jihadists around the world think the 9/11 attacks were a great achievement, and WANT to give al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden the credit for it.

    If the US were to sit back and not actively oppose al Qaeda, despite repeated terrorist attacks, we can be sure that the rest of the world would not have the gumption to stand up to them. Appeasement would be the order of the day, and combined with the demographic growth of Islam in Europe, and the demographic shrinkage of the native European populations, it will not be many generations before Muslims form the voting majority of major European nations.

    Should bin Laden have been arrested and not killed? Remember that he is not a mere criminal, “presumed innocent until proven guilty.” He was making war on America, and on every Muslim population that did not fall into line behind his program. It is not worth the life of an American soldier to give bin Laden a chance to surrender. We owe no “due process of law” to persons who seek to destroy the rule of law through mass murder of innocent civilians.

    As to the celebrations: I am not ready to do that, since there are already many other people who are carrying out the doctrines of bin Laden, either in concert with others in an organized program, or as individual maniacs (like the Army psychiatrist who turned on his feellow soldiers and Americans because he felt that his loyalty to a radical vision of Islam overrode his solemn oaths as a physician and a US commissioned officer, and his upbringing in a generous America that paid for his medical education). It is a positive development, but we have had many others, including the capture of many of bin Laden’s principal deputies. The fact that there has not been a repeat of the 9/11 attacks, in scale and disruptive effect, is a story of constant small victories against those who want us dead for the crime of “living while American.”

    I expect that President Obama, having his one victory against terrorists to crow about, will continue to denigrate what has been achieved otherwise, especially by his predecessor. He will say we have finished the job and can now abandon Afghanistan, destroying the capability to act decisively against any successor to bin Laden. He has used the assets assembled by President Bush, and will now cast them aside, as he promised his own constituency on the Left.

    The 3rd and 4th “freedoms” of FDR can be viewed at in a couple of ways. One would be to view them as positive “rights” which can be enforced through litigation seeking to use the coercive power of the courts to take from others the capacity to make us fear, or to make us “want”. Or we can consider that the 3rd and 4th Freedoms are in fact like the 1st and 2nd ones, things that are protected by PREVENTING the actions of government that would infringe on those freedoms! We have free speech because government stays OUT of our discussions, not because it weighs in with its coercive power to declare a winner and a loser. We have free speech because government stays out of our choice of religious affiliation, not because it chooses to subsidize our choice of denomination. Similarly, we can have freedom from want when government stays OUT of the economic process and allows us the freedom to engage in “the pursuit of happiness”, and we can have freedom from fear when the government is prevented from using its coercive authority to punish citizens who disagree with the incumbent rulers of Congress or the White House. As is the case with the First amendment freedoms, the fundamental nature of Freedom in America is the freedom to make choices and implement them without interference from a government that thinks it is smarter than we are about our own best interests.

    The fact is that government intervention to create economic equality, to redress the books by taking from those who have earned property and give it to those who have NOT earned it, CREATES “want”, depriving those who have worked toward goals and made sacrifices of the means to achieve their “wants”, while destroying the self-sufficiency and willingness to sacrifice and work that is the main thing lacking from most of the persistent poor. Much of government interference in the free market is done on behalf of large established businesses at the expense of the new enterprises. Govenrment regulation prevents competition, and the freedom to take care of one’s own wants.

    Similarly, government that seeks to achieve a total monopoly on violence can do so effectively only if it deprives us of our basic rights to privacy and security against unreasonable searches. It is not much of a stretch from the current state of hypocritically named “transportation security” (which commits indignities on our persons we would not tolerate from anyone else, except at the point of a gun) to a policy of government entering our homes at random in order to confiscate weapons that might be used for unlawful violence, extending the sense of “security” we all feel in the air to our homes as well. We shall then not have to fear individual violence, because we will be totally preoccupied by a constant fear of arbitrary and oppressive government.

    Again, the only way government can fundamentally support freedom from want and freedom from fear is to restrain itself and place the emphasis on the FREEDOM of the individual to make choices for himself and his family.

  47. brian larsen on May 3, 2011 at 6:57 am

    @Raymond #46, while I agree with some of your claims (like the government shouldn’t be bailing large companies out, etc.), I have to disagree with some of your discussion about the “freedoms” being discussed. (I wonder if Dane is regretting putting those in this post yet!) “Freedom” of speech and religion do not require ANY production of either of those, but allow nearly ALL form of both to exists; there is no base requirement. “Freedom” from want and and fear, however, do require a base (lack of want, protection), which requires actual effort/money to sustain. They are different, which is perhaps why you wrote we “can consider” it in the ways you mentioned and not that we “should” or “ought to.”

    I’m with everyone else who feels mixed emotions about the death of Bin Laden (especially Kent #10 – no relation, though shared last name), and it’s good to Dane to mention a moment when he realized that the small inconveniences of his life are very, very small next to those of a very large portion of his brothers and sisters in the rest of the world. I drive a man from the Congo to school three times a week, and most of us know absolutely nothing about a large portion of the world, even if we have lived there for a few years (I, personally, was asked by a US embassy in an West African country if I was willing to go to the streets and do a body-count – but still, I know nothing. The days of believing our actions don’t matter to those we can’t see, or share a continent or nation with, are long over. Business and government realized this a long time about – it’s about time the general populace began to catch up!

  48. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Mark,

    Watch the video yourself

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0FVeqCX6z8

    It’s true. Ugh, conspiracy theories…

  49. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Dan, do you speak Arabic? I don’t. I’m taking it on faith that the translation is correct.

    I’m halfway through the video, and I must say that this is the most disjointed conversation I’ve ever listened to.

    But what interests me, so far, is that we are apparently listening to people – if I’m getting this right – discussing how others who did not have knowledge of this planned attack had visions ahead of time of this happening.

    What are we to make of these religious people – and I’m sure you’d agree that that’s how they see themselves – claiming gifts of prophesy here?

  50. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Ray (46): I think you’re answering a question I didn’t ask. All I want to know is: how much direct, first-hand knowledge do you have of all this terrorism stuff? Or are you willing to admit that everything you think you know about it has been filtered by what our government has put out on it?

    That’s all I’m saying. If you trust that your government has told you the complete, 100% unvarnished truth about all of this, then good for you.

  51. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Mark,

    Get past the nature of their discussion and see that when OBL is talking he is referring to the plan they set out. They’re gloating, speaking as if they had visions beforehand of the attacks they caused.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/nov/24/theobserver

    There is OBL’s message to the west as to why they attacked us.

    3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

    (a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

    (b) The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.

    and

    (6) Sixthly, we call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.

    If, from all the evidence out there, you still choose not to believe that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda caused 9/11, then I’ve got nothing more to say to you.

  52. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    And the big question about our raid on the Pakistani compound, as always is: WWJD?

    Would Jesus have advocated and/or been willing to lead such an operation?

  53. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

    “Get past the nature of their discussion…”

    Yes, by all means, let’s not talk about what they’re actually saying.

    As for the “letter to America”, I’ve kept a link to that in my browser. No where in the letter does OBL take direct credit for what happened. But he’s definitely in favor of it having happened. I don’t dispute that.

    I’ll ask again: Dan, do you speak Arabic?

  54. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Mark,

    And the big question about our raid on the Pakistani compound, as always is: WWJD?

    Would Jesus have advocated and/or been willing to lead such an operation?

    I’m glad you’re moving away from the conspiracy theories. Jesus didn’t join the military, nor participate in the government, either the ruling Pharisees, or the Roman Empire. But I believe he advocated that we adhere to the governments and ruler we are subject to. We cannot tell what Jesus would have done, but we can go by what our prophet has said. I’m gonna go with what President Hinckley said in October 2001,

    Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions.

    Killing Osama Bin Laden is holding him accountable for his actions. Just like killing the Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon by Gidgiddoni. Or do you wish to claim that President Hinckley was wrong? Personally I have no qualms in saying he was wrong in April 2003 about justifying the war in Iraq. Was he wrong in 2001 for saying terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions?

  55. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Mark,

    Trust me dude, you need to let go of the conspiracy theories

    http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20080701092211/http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1550477.cms

    AMMAN: Al Qaeda terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden said in an audiotape broadcast by the Al Jazeera satellite channel that he himself had assigned 19 people for the Sep 11, 2001, attacks in the US.

    “In fact, brother Zacarias Moussaoui has no connection whatever with the Sep 11 operation,” Osama bin Laden said in the audiotape that Al Jazeera on Tuesday reported was posted on a website.

    “I am the man responsible for the recruitment of the 19 people who carried out the attacks, and I did not assign any task to Moussaoui,” he added.

    Moussaoui was recently sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, sparing him the death penalty by a US jury.

    Osama bin Laden contended that Moussaoui’s confession to having a role in the Sep 11 attacks was “null and void, because it was extracted under pressure”.

    “Moussaoui was arrested two weeks before the September events, and if he knew anything about (the operation), we should have told (9/11 ringleader) Mohammed Atta and his brothers to leave the US at once,” the Al Qaeda chief said.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3966817.stm

    I will speak to you about the reasons behind these incidents. I will honestly tell you about the minutes in which the decision was made so that you will consider. I say to you that God knows that the idea of striking the towers never occurred to us.

    But, after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I started thinking of that.

    The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet.

    At those difficult moments, many meanings that are hard to describe went on in my mind. However, these meanings produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and generated a strong determination to punish the unjust ones.

    While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women…

    It cannot be clearer than that. He claimed responsibility for it. In personal videos with his conspirators, they laughed about how effective the attack was, and in a letter to the west he explained why he attacked us. Get away from conspiracy theories, Mark. They will eat your brain cells!

  56. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Dan: do you speak Arabic?

    Who provided the transcript? The article does not say.

    You’re not getting my point. You believe what is being said without acknowledging that you’re taking it on faith. You’re trusting that you’re being told the truth. I’m willing to admit that I don’t know, and can’t know from first-hand experience, that I’m being told the truth. All I can do is say, well, it sounds plausible. I guess I should believe it.

    Even within the last day or two, our government is saying things about the operation to kill OBL (they can’t even agree among themselves that the operation was to kill him or had the option to take him alive) that the Pakistani government is disputing. Who should I believe, and why?

  57. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “But I believe he advocated that we adhere to the governments and ruler we are subject to.”

    I guess that explains, after the crucifixion, Peter’s unwillingness to shut up when the Jewish authorities said to shut up.

  58. Ardis E. Parshall on May 3, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Thanks, Jax, for a courteous and, for me, at least, a useful exchange. Too often the first sign of perceived difference is a signal to turn on the sarcasm, but that has been absent here. I appreciate that. I’m trying to tone down the snark in my online discussion and it really helps that you were, well, adult about it all and didn’t give me a poor excuse to lob a few over your bow.

  59. Jax on May 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Well Ardis…it was easy to be ‘adult’ when the other conversation in the thread was being quite juvenile it seemed….

    I know many who visit this sight are much more ‘liberal’ than the general LDS population and they think the rest of us conservatives think of them as communist/socialists. Well I’m conservative/libertarian who thinks the scriptures are clear we SHOULD be socialist. Only difference being that we should choose it for ourselves and not force everyone else to live by it. Both major political parties have it wrong. One thinks socialism is bad, the other thinks everyone should be forced to participate…they are both wrong according to scripture. One thinks we should be free and the other thinks we should care for each other. They are both right. Too bad we don’t have one party that is correct in both areas….that we should be free but willingly live in a non-competitive society…..

    Thanks for the conversation!

  60. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Mark,

    You’re telling me that the United States government, the British newspapers, the German newspapers, Al-Jazeera, Indian newspapers are all in on some conspiracy to pull the wool over our eyes. You’re telling me to not trust a single person on this planet to tell me the truth. You’re telling me Al-Jazeera did not translate the tape correctly and that I must learn Arabic myself in order to verify that an Arabic speaking television station is not lying to me about the message the bad guy is wanting to tell me. You’re nuts dude. I don’t need to know Arabic to believe a translation is correct because I actually still have faith in my fellow man to do the right thing. I want none of your scary world, Mark.

  61. Zarahemna on May 3, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    @Dan

    I see you putting a lot of words in his mouth. I think the question was simple enough. It seems you are avoiding giving an answer.

    Guilt, at least in the modern sense, is to be established by a court.

    Killing OBL lays a strange precedent. It appears you can now kill the citizens of another country without that being an act of war.

    How would you react if Pakistan executes an American in Vegas tomorrow night? Without trial and without contacting the US authorities.

    Turn it around. It doesn’t look so pretty.

  62. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    You’re telling me Al-Jazeera did not translate the tape correctly and that I must learn Arabic myself in order to verify that an Arabic speaking television station is not lying to me about the message the bad guy is wanting to tell me.

    No, Dan, that’s not what I’m telling you. I’m telling you that you don’t *know* it, but that you do *believe* it. You *trust*, but you can’t *verify*. You seem to be very anxious that I be convinced of the truth of things that you believe to be true, and that if I don’t, then I’m obviously nuts.

    I’m saying a healthy skepticism may be warrented. There’s a right-wing radio station in my city that carries a morning show where the hosts go to great pains to try and convince me that it’s not a right-wing station with an overall right-wing point of view, especially during their show, but just goes with a “common sense”, even “libertarian” point of view, which, to my left-wing ears, is just nonsense. I don’t believe everything they tell me, even though I’m a regular listener. They, too, seem to believe that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe is a whacko.

    I don’t care if you think I’m nuts, but deciding that it’s possible my government lies to me on occasion (and seems to be doing so with increasing frequency) isn’t a conspiracy theory, Dan. And asking you to give a little thought to the “chain of evidence” that you’re presented with is all I’m doing.

    That’s what I’m saying, Dan.

  63. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Zarahemna,

    I’m not sure what question I’ve avoided. I don’t know if you know this, but OBL is not the first terrorist we’ve killed extra-judicially…not sure what precedent this sets since our nation, and other nations, have done this sort of thing for quite some time. Some are captured, others are killed. In terms of OBL, I think this was the best of all options. Are you really suggesting giving him a platform in which you allow him to defend his actions by blaming us for the deaths of our innocents? He said in the letter Americans themselves are to blame for our support of Israel and oppressive regimes. He said himself that American citizens, by the very nature of participating in elections and by paying taxes, are complicit in the actions of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and the ugly dictators in the Middle East. You want to give him an opportunity in a court of law to go through all that again? Not for me, man. You want to give him a chance to actually be let go? To be a free man again? I generally am of the viewpoint that it is better to let a guilty man go free than to execute an innocent man. But Bin Laden is not innocent, and he can take up that discrepancy with me in the afterlife if he really wants. For some people the best justice is at the end of a gun. Such is the case for Osama Bin Laden. Good riddance.

  64. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Mark,

    I’m not questioning whether or not our government is completely honest. But I am questioning why someone doubts something when the evidence is overwhelmingly strongly toward one conclusion. It has the hallmark of the birthers who still cannot believe, with all the overwhelming evidence, that Obama was born in Hawaii. Or the truthers who still cannot believe, with all the overwhelming evidence, that their own government did NOT cause 9/11. It’s one thing to question the chain of events. For instance, we’re still gathering all the evidence of exactly what happened during this raid in Pakistan, but after ten years, to still question whether or not Osama Bin Laden ordered the attack on 9/11, I have to wonder what’s going on in your mind, Mark. :)

  65. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Dan, I don’t *know* if OBL was the main mind behind 9/11 or not. The story that the government and the media have told about it seems to be plausible. I’m willing to say I *believe* it, I’m not willing to say that I *know* it to be absolutely true.

  66. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I know it to be absolutely true. OBL said it with his own words, and I’m going to believe him at his word.

  67. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Dear Mr. Moderator, there seems to be an exchange between Ardis and Jax up above that really belongs to a different thread, unless I just missed something somewhere.

  68. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    For what it’s worth, Dan, he also denied it with his own words. Why isn’t this one of those “were you lying then, or are you lying now” kind of things?

  69. Mark N. on May 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Mr. Moderator, never mind my 67.

  70. Dan on May 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    dunno Mark, and I don’t really care. He’s dead and his movement with him. Goodbye and good riddance.

  71. Hans in California on May 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Seen on a bumper sticker:

    “It’s God’s job to judge the terrorists. It’s our job to arrange the meeting. US Marines!”

    And from Mark Twain:

    “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

  72. Zarahemna on May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I think our desire to see him dead was born of fear. A general fear of OBL.

    That means his execution simply confirms that he was one of the world’s most successful terrorists, making him a martyr to his followers at the same time.

    We wouldn’t know anything about the power of martyrs though eh?

    We should have ignored him and what he did with his life like the irrelevancies they were and are.

  73. Hans in California on May 4, 2011 at 5:43 am

    “We should have ignored him and what he did with his life like the irrelevancies they were and are.”

    Great. I’ll make sure that the sister in my ward who lost her aunt and her cousin on one of the planes that crashed into the WTC will know that what OBL did to her family was irrelevant. i’m sure that will bring her some comfort.

  74. Dan on May 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Zarahemna,

    It is correct that normally we should ignore idiots like OBL, except when he kills hundreds or thousands of our own. That’s when you cannot ignore, but you must go after and bring him to justice. He certainly was NOT going to stop with just that one hit.

  75. kyle ransom on May 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    osoma ben laden must of been a morman it said on the news he had at least 3 wieves..he was a polygumst..i wonder if he was one of warren jeffs boys..any way i am glad hes dead now if they can just get that other muslum barack hussain oboma the wourld will be a better place to live

WELCOME

Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.