Government & Politics

Better late than never: Wishing bin Laden a speedy trip to hell

For the past seven years at my old blog, I regularly wondered why Osama bin Laden wasn’t already dead and in hell. I’d always believed bin Laden’s liquidation should’ve been a top priority for the United States, if for no other reason than justified vengeance.

He deserved to die for the 9/11 attacks and for all the other murderous terrorism he planned and inspired over the years. After all, bin Laden was the founder and figurehead of al-Qaida, America’s worst enemy over the past 15 years. Every day that he evaded justice for his crimes was an insult to his victims throughout the world.

I’ll never get over the fact that mere months after 9/11— in the spring of 2002 – the United States pulled special forces out of Afghanistan so they could be used in a costly midadventure in Iraq. All of a sudden, our president said he “wasn’t that concerned” about the terrorist mastermind.

I couldn’t believe it. In terms of killing al-Qaida leadership, I found myself taking a much harder line than many conservatives. A lot of them discounted bin Laden, assuming he was already dead (despite the occasional release of audio tapes where he discussed current events). Others worried that “if we kill him we make him a martyr.” And some just wrote him off, figuring that he was holed up in a cave somewhere, living like an animal, and that was good enough punishment. It wasn’t worth the blood and treasure for our military to scour the badlands just to find and kill one person.

Well, I always disagreed with those opinions, and thought we needed to get bin Laden, and that he needed to pay. I generally believed all the reports that assumed he was in Waziristan: dwelling in a cave, constantly fearing an unseen drone would bomb his ugly mug if he ever poked it out into the fresh air. In 2006, I started seeing reports that bin Laden was actually in Pakistan, and that Pakistan was reluctant to turn him over. President Bush also seemed reluctant to send special operations forces into Pakistan to hunt him down. Possibly he felt constrained by diplomacy to say otherwise in public.

Sunday, we learned that bin Laden hadn’t been living in a Waziristan cave for many months, if not for several years. Instead he’d been living comfortably in a heavily fortified million-dollar mansion in a Pakistan city. It took years for U.S. intelligence to track him to that location. A squad of Navy SEALS received orders to helicopter into the compound at night, drop in, and eliminate the rotten bastard. It was a daring and risky mission, and it was successful:

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.

Last night, crowds gathered in the streets of New York and Washington to cheer the news. They celebrated into the early morning hours because many had assumed this day would never come.

Thankfully, it did. And while this victory might be largely symbolic in a military sense, coming nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s still a monumental win for the United States. Bin Laden may not have been directly involved in al-Qaida s operations in recent years, but he was more than just a poster boy. He unified al-Qaida as a spiritual leader, and justified killing with his warped, medieval Islamist ideology. Finally, his long jihad against the United States caught up with him, and he met a fate he deserved many years ago. Better late than never.

One last thing: There’s obviously no shortage of reasons to despise bin Laden, but New Orleanians might recall how al-Qaida leadership rejoiced after Katrina (and the Federal Flood), believing that the resultant death and destruction in our region was divinely inspired.

What a hideous and curdled mindset.

Good riddance, Osama bin Laden. I won’t miss having to wonder when you are going to hell.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
About Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and the Federal Flood he helped create the Rising Tide conference, which grew into an annual social media event dedicated to the future of New Orleans.

  • jeffrey

    Well you got one thing right. The “victory” here is wholly symbolic. It could be substantive if it meant that the bloody and wasteful wars were ending, if it meant that American civil liberties were being respected, if it meant the illegal and immoral practices of indefinite detention and torture were ending.

    But of course none of these real world consequences are anywhere near as significant as the satisfaction of symbolic barbaric vengeance fetishes.

  • Tim

    Thanks for reminding everyone of what a total asshat Bush was. Absolutely, we were on our way to getting Bin Laden in 2002 when suddenly Bush decided he’d rather attack Iraq. The full force of that folly is captured in this number: 3509. That’s how many US combat deaths have been officially recorded in Iraq. It is a chilling number when you realize that Bin Laden murdered a little under 3000 in the combined attacks on 9/11. So because Iraq was a total waste of time, we can only conclude that BUSH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING MORE AMERICANS THAN BIN LADEN.

    Also, an excellent analysis of this shift in focus here:



  • LB


  • Thank you, Mark, for taking the couple of extra words (in your oped) to fully describe the events that killed more than 1,500 souls in New Orleans in 2005.

    “… There’s obviously no shortage of reasons to despise bin Laden, but New Orleanians might recall how al-Qaida leadership rejoiced after Katrina (and the Federal Flood), believing that the resultant death and destruction in our region was divinely inspired….”

  • rickngentilly

    when iraq v.2 went down i told my peeps at work that it was bullshit.

    the people i work for said i was a “communiss”

    i was all down with dubya when he went to afghanistan to get the cat who called the 9.11.01 tune.

    when he went to iraq i went apeshit on bush. not a popular view amongst the uptown swells who cut my check.

    i actually took a two year sabatical at another place that was corporate. i got insurance and beni’s.

    after katrina my old employers agreed and asked me to come back.

    two years later that was a long forgoten image. they hated bush and blanco.

    now they hate obama and love jindal.


    all i know is i got my old job back and i am free of of my katrina ptsd

    every thing that used to piss me off now makes me laugh.

    now if i can just help my sous chef thru the fire.

  • Yes, better late than never — and your anecdote about OBL over at YRHT doesn’t surprise me. What a meglomaniacal creep.

    I’m hoping some of the so-called experts are right in saying that Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and North Africa is losing ground to more secular and democratic movements. If so, bin Laden’s corpse/shade is maybe less martyr and more refuse of an age gone by.