Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not once during the nine-and-a-half years the United States was looking for Osama bin Laden did I imagine his capture. Am I surprised he was found in a house and not a cave? No, I always felt he was in or around Islamabad. Am I surprised that it was a cell phone call that gave him away? No, though it is worth noting that his outsized hideout had neither a land line nor an internet hook-up. Am I surprised that it took this long to find him? No, like Orwell I thought his absence served a purpose, both as a motivation and a justification for U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Am I surprised that he was buried at sea? Despite the shrine that his gravesite would have invariably become, yes, I find this strange, especially for someone who was born and raised in a desert. Am I surprised by the reaction to his death? No, there are many in the U.S. capable of the kind of celebration only an execution can inspire. Do I share this response? My first response to any death is to consider what it is to be absent.

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