It’s not surprising that news of Osama bin Laden’s death would branch into scores of storylines that will fragment our attention and give plenty of opportunity for criticism.
The current target is the President’s decision to not release photos of bin Laden’s body, which some claim are needed to prove he’s really dead. It’s déjà vu all over again, a reprise of the insatiable demands of those who refuse to believe the President is an American. I don’t know who the doubters are, but I feel certain they won’t abandon their doubts even if they’re shown pictures.*
This counterfeit controversy is a distraction from much more serious and complicated issues:
- How will Congress determine whether the government of Pakistan was protecting bin Laden, and what are we going to do it?
- Does the finding of bin Laden support or undermine the claim that enhanced interrogation is both necessary and justifiable?
- When can we bring our soldiers home from Afghanistan?
- And, perhaps the trickiest question: how are we going to handle a fact it seems we are pretending not to know – the unarmed bin Ladin was assassinated in the same way he would have been if we’d dropped a drone missile on his compound?
If we are honest and fair-minded enough to objectively sort through masses of real and fake facts and wildly diverging opinions, we can eventually emerge from all this bin Laden- wrought havoc stronger, wiser, and more committed to our democratic and humanitarian principles. I think it’s going to be a real test of character.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
* It’s hard to imagine how there can be serious doubters. Irrespective of the other forms of government evidence, including DNA and facial recognition, there is ample independent proof, including statements of bin Laden’s daughter. And if we didn’t kill bin Laden, why isn’t he telling the world how foolish we are?