Not a Pretty Sight. [UPDATED]

May 2, 2011 at 12:02 am (By Amba)

UPDATE on the backstory of the fake image at top above, a photoshopped composite. It will be replaced by the real thing if/when it is released and if it is as graphic a representation of the deadly force of our resolve.  If not, this one will do fine:

Creative visualization is the process of forming a vibrant and detailed picture in your mind of whatever you wish for and wanted to happen. It is a powerful way of thinking that allows your thoughts to manifest into their physical components.


  1. louisemowder said,

    The man who fired that shot will be envied by young men and women as yet unborn. They will practice their marksmanship, thinking, “Mine could be the trigger finger that puts a bullet in the brain of the next Osama bin Laden.”

    It’s been a terrible ten years. Look at what has happened to our nation. Never was there a prettier picture.

  2. amba12 said,

    Note: I do not know if this photo is authentic. My nephew who’s in med school posted it on Facebook with the caption, “You saw it here first.” I asked “How’d you do that?” and his answer was, “I took it.” It could be a photoshop, the top half of some other dead guy’s face with the unmistakable bottom half of Osama’s — some years ago, when his beard was blacker. On the other hand, maybe he dyed it.

    If the photo were real, it would be out there on more than my nephew’s Facebook feed. But real or fake, it’s a good emblem.

  3. Peter Hoh said,

    Looks identical to a photo that was posted here:

  4. Melinda said,

    Since bin Laden was buried at sea, you have to have some proof he was really shot or you’d have a lot of cynical people. (“Deathers”?)

  5. karen said,

    It’s true, Melinda. I cynically thought- what a great way to get America on it’s feet and unite behind a failing prez. Gas prices over 4.00$ = bhhhaaahhh. I just want to see Osama’s dead corpse.

    Why would they get rid of the body?

    If it is true– good for Obama. (heh- as i listen to the CBS morning news– it’s rahrah Obama. Wouldn’t that suck if the media was propping up(yet again) Obama?

    I was listening to Npr- and there was a discussion about the birth certificate and what a farce it all was– in the same breath- it was stated that McCain had to go to court to prove his citizenship as he was born when his dad was on foreign soil. So– McCain = court. Obama = long form on the net– 2+ yrs later. Fair and balanced.

  6. karen said,

    McCain’s mom was apparently there, too– hence…

  7. Melinda said,

    Karen, according to what I heard on the local news this morning, bin Laden was buried in accordance with Islamic law, which says that a body has to be buried within 24 hours of death (similar to Jewish law) and there was no country that wanted to accept the remains, including his native Saudi Arabia.

    Here’s a Time magazine link that backs this up:

  8. amba (Annie Gottlieb) said,

    Unfortunately, this dude is even worse.

    But maybe not as rich.

  9. amba (Annie Gottlieb) said,

    Peter, so maybe that pic wasn’t photoshopped by my nephew after all. My admiration for his photoshopping skills has been replaced by my admiration for his Googling skills.

    But if real, why hasn’t that picture spread like wildfire? Because it’s hideous? Because people don’t want children to see it? Muslims to be offended?

  10. amba12 said,

  11. amba12 said,

    So it wasn’t my nephew who was the photoshopper.

  12. amba12 said,

    If real photos are released (to avoid “deather” controversies, LOL Melinda), I will replace this.

    I hate the way some of my friends here didn’t wait half a breath to start gloating about how this would be good for Obama. I also hate the way some would rather imagine it’s fake than endure that it happened under Obama. Some things about America — some of the best things — are continuous and not particularly political. Whether his motives are entirely political or better than that, Obama at least had the sense not to tie the hands of those who hunt for us. In this he’s behaving like an American president. He has to and he gets that he has to. Therefore, it would be sensible to neither give him overmuch credit nor deny him the credit that is due.

    Why do people keep score as if the political parties were football teams?

  13. mockturtle said,

    Annie, I totally agree that al-Zawahri is perhaps even more dangerous than bin-Laden. Even so, this is a glorious and hard-earned victory for the Navy special forces. Hip, hip hooray!!

  14. amba12 said,

    It is indeed!

  15. david said,

  16. amba12 said,

    Yes, see the update to the post.

  17. amba12 said,

    I just noticed that the ruins form a V.

  18. wj said,

    The best comment I have seen on this so far is by James Fallows at The Atlantic:

    “It is almost never right to celebrate a death. Almost.”

    That pretty well sums it up.

  19. Spud said,

    “Wouldn’t that suck if the media was propping up(yet again) Obama?”

    Karen, you need to get real. Rush, Sean and Glenn (media), will make sure Obama won’t get propped up.

  20. amba12 said,

    wj, in that rare exceptional case, it’s healthy and natural to celebrate. If only the deaths of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Osama had come much, much sooner. The only thing to mourn about those lives is the choice they made of how to use their humanness.

  21. Tim (formerly Theo Boehm) said,

    For my part, I’m not celebrating bin Laden’s death. It’s not that I’m on the side of the Looney Left or a wuss when it comes to national security.

    It’s just that I wouldn’t have celebrated the deaths of Hitler or the rest of them, either.

    Being near to Amba’s age, I’m old enough to remember, as a pre-schooler, Stalin’s death. I was all excited the bad dictator was dead. When the news came on the radio, I remember saying, “Good!” (The “Richfield Reporter” news at 10 PM; I was up late.) My parents, who were no lefties, but ordinary Democrats who had been through the War and had some respect for Uncle Joe as our late ally, reminded me it is never right to gloat over anyone’s death, no matter how bad they had been in life.

    That advice and that occasion has stuck with me all these years, even with the knowledge and subsequent confirmation of Stalin’s unspeakable crimes.

    It’s just unseemly to celebrate. It looks too much like the jubilation in the Arab streets when some terrorist action or attack on Israel is successful. I’d hope we were better than that.

    No, I think the appropriate reaction is one of quiet, grim satisfaction. I know that for a lot of American young people, the War on Terror has been their Cold War, and the increased security we all have to put up with is something to them akin to the duck-and-cover I’m old enough to recall. So, it may be that bin Laden’s demise represents for many people, especially the young, a release, symbolic as it will almost certainly prove to be.

    But I do hope people remember the Cold War dragged on long after Stalin’s death. And it would be very surprising if the threat of terror from the Middle East should end any sooner, however much anyone would wish it away.

  22. Maxwell James said,

    Completely agree with Tim. Is it a good thing? Yes, it’s a good thing. The world is better off without him in it.

    Does it deserve a show of jubilation? No.

    Especially if it does not mean – as I assume it doesn’t – the end to our near-decade of expensive, foolhardy, and damaging efforts to remake the Middle East. And our own laws, government and culture in the process. The day we make that decision will be a day worth celebrating.

  23. amba12 said,

    Yes, there is a first-glance, superficial similarity to Palestinians dancing in the streets when Americans or Jews are killed.

    There is a major difference, though. They are thinking collectively and we are thinking individually. To them, simply to be American or Jewish is to be a perpetrator. We hunted down the actual perpetrator. Did we ever kill innocent people in his broader pursuit? Undoubtedly. Did we hold that as our goal, and celebrate when we achieved it?

  24. Maxwell James said,

    Annie – sure. We can claim moral superiority. Fat lotta good that’ll do us, though.

    Ask yourself why would people in the Middle East look at this in isolation? We have been bombing/invading various countries in the region for two decades now, and our military presence is not about to disappear. To many this will look like jubilation in the midst of a long and sustained assault.

    If we cheered the death but then said “OK, mission accomplished, let’s go home,” it would at least send a clear message that it was Al-Qaeda, not sovereign nations in the ME, that was our target. But we’re not about to do that. Very unfortunately, in my opinion.

  25. amba12 said,

    Do you think this will give us a much-needed excuse to do so? Or do you think “it’s the oil, stupid” after all? You’re including Afghanistan and Pakistan in “the ME”?

  26. Maxwell James said,

    I think it’s as much “the bureaucracy, stupid” as it is the oil. The Pentagon and Homeland Security have to justify their expansion just as large government office does. And the financial crisis of 2008 shows us that if cheap oil was meant to keep us from imploding economically, it’s a remarkably poor treatment.

    And yes, I’m definitely including Af-Pak, sloppy as that may be. I’m about to hop on a plane and don’t have much time to type.

  27. amba12 said,

    I didn’t mean that as a reproach, only as a point of information.

  28. amba12 said,

    Someone on an unrelated forum I subscribe to (Feldenkrais) wrote:

    This is not a political forum, but since it has opened the doors at least temporarily, I would say, that now is the time to get out of Afghanistan. The sooner, the better. It is a tribal society, they don’t want foreigners interfering in their culture of thousands of years. They prefer the Taliban– so be it. The Taliban has no global aspirations and once we are out of there, they will not follow El Kaida’s ambitions for world domination. Our human resources, our brave young men and women stationed and fighting there should be home with their families, and we need to stop squandering our material resources on pie in the sky projects.

    Can someone present a good reason, now, why not to get out of Afghanistan?

  29. karen said,

    Amba, my apologies for being cynical and thinking it was good timing for Obama. Maybe it’s petty or unAmerican, but it was my 1st reaction.

    I disagree that, since this victory of justice in Osama’s death happened under Obama, he gets the credit. Maybe that’s because Obama cuts down W every chance he can and i think that very unfair and un-presidential. You say: “Some things about America — some of the best things — are continuous and not particularly political.” I totally agree w/you and maybe you can point out one example of simple grace awarded one president to another portrayed by Obama toward W…

    I can’t think of one…

    The only score i’d like to keep is that of the USA to come back into this game(war on terror, economy, education– everything)& kick ass. I have a sinking feeling, though- that since the ideologies are so very different(yes, i mean politically) how can you not take sides when there seem to be two Americas? Who is it that is pushing against the unity of regular folk? It’s still a trust issue for me when it comes to Obama– i just can’t believe him. He lies. A. Lot. Lips moving, or not.

    I’m just jaded, lately. I’ll rahrah Obama, though– he didn’t give up the search, did he!!

  30. Tim (formerly Theo Boehm) said,

    Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
    Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

    —Proverbs 24:17-18

    I take this to heart, which is one of the reasons I’m not celebrating.

    It’s also interesting to see this passage now on lefty sites and from left-leaning Twitterers who are ordinarily rank atheists. Believers who are truly concerned with peace and social justice quote Scripture all the time. It’s just that they commonly don’t do it only to score cheap political points.

  31. amba12 said,

    Both of the “two Americas” you talk about seem to be mesmerized by their own brands of groupthink. Is there any way to observe, study, sense and feel, and come to one’s own conclusions (however tentative)? Or are we all brainwashed?

    To me, Obama lacks the warmth and solidity of someone who is sure of his own identity, of “where he’s coming from” — not surprisingly. For a supposedly inspirational speaker he comes across as emotionless, saying the right things but you can’t tell where in him they’re coming from. (Whereas Ronald Reagan came across as an actor saying the right things with such perfectly winning, reassuring warmth that you never knew if it was a performance or the real thing.) For me, it is enough right now that he is saying the right things. I don’t think he has a sinister hidden agenda, other than political ambition; I think he has a fractured postmodern identity, which is why more traditionally rooted people can’t place him. But it doesn’t automatically mean he’s evil. Presidents are complex individuals, often hidden behind simple public images (at least no one can say that about Obama), and I mistrust and feel manipulated by any passion I am expected to feel about any of them, pro or con.

    Most of us regular people are naïve targets of barrages of carefully crafted PR designed to manipulate our trust and longing for security and inspiration. It’s the politicians and media figures that I think are, for the most part, the cynical ones.

  32. karen said,

    I don’t believe all of that, amba.

    I see how you feel and that is totally plausible, yet i can’t picture it. It’d be simpler for me if i could or if i could even tell you what i think of him– or how. I just see a vindictive streak in him that doesn’t set well w/me– but, who am i to judge, for sure. I don’t believe he’s evil– i just don’t believe he’s all that great.

  33. amba12 said,

    Tim: there is wisdom in that passage — “don’t gloat,” said God. Moral superiority is a particularly dangerous claim because even if your enemy is objectively, provably, quantitatively and qualitatively more evil than you are (individually or collectively), you ain’t no saint. It’s succumbing to relativism to say “To bin Laden, we were the evil ones” — that refusal to take a stand on the relative merits of points of view. But we should be tending to our own conscience and to the question of how well we actually live the ideals we are willing to kill and die for.

    All that said, having been in New York City on 9/11, if I were there last night I would have danced in the streets for the sheer emotional catharsis of it.

  34. Melinda said,

    Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
    Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

    Tim, I’m trying to translate this into something I can understand, like: “And the Lord said, ‘Oh YEAH?'”

  35. mockturtle said,

    I believe the aforementioned Proverb refers to personal, rather than military, foes but I could be wrong.

    When Ted Bundy was executed, it was announced in my large lecture class at the University of Washington. Everyone [or at least it seemed like everyone] stood up and cheered. Here was a cold-blooded serial killer finally stopped for good. Because his reign of terror took place in the Seattle area we all felt a sense of justice, relief and–yes, jubilation–for which I, for one, make no apology.

  36. mockturtle said,

    PS: Not to say that Bundy’s atrocities did not extend beyond Washington state.

  37. amba12 said,

    “Osama bin Laden died on Walpurgisnacht, the night of black sabbaths and bonfires.” ~ Salman Rushdie, who also says it’s time to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

    Re: Ted Bundy, I read a lot about him at one point. He made me realize that in one case, I am unambivalently pro-death penalty: that of serial killers. It’s not that I think their one death can punish them adequately for what they’ve done. It’s a practical matter — they are rogue beyond repair, incurably addicted to their crime, driven to break out of confinement and do it again. They are too dangerous not to destroy.

    (Maybe someone will now present the counterevidence of a cured and repentant serial killer?)

  38. amba12 said,

    Karen — I don’t believe he’s “all that great,” either, but on this particular score he’s doing better than I expected. (Health care reform, on the other hand . . .)

  39. amba12 said,

    Oh, and also, the far left is completely disgusted with him. That’s a good sign.

  40. Maxwell James said,

    I didn’t mean that as a reproach, only as a point of information.

    Oh, I didn’t take it as such. While I’ve tilted strongly leftwards on this & a few other issues in recent years, I’m enough of a realist to understand that our country has interests, including economic interests, that it has to act on. But it just really struck me this morning how shortsighted we can be about those interests, especially when we look at them in isolation (& don’t consider “black swan” events such as the financial crisis).

    There’s probably a lengthy, rambling essay about this in my head, but I’m way too jetlagged right now.

  41. amba12 said,

    Where are you??

    Short-sighted is true — that’s how we “created” Osama in the first place. Like Saddam, he was “our son of a bitch.” And how many dictators did we prop up just because they were anti-Soviet and tractable to our interests? We are boasting now about our defense of freedom and democratic principle, but not that long ago we did much too much “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Realpolitik is all very well, but does it have to be prettied up as principle? Yes, I suppose it does. I suppose it’s all inevitable.

  42. mockturtle said,

    It may be inevitable, Annie, but we certainly can hope and pray for better! At least my little-used right brain would like to think so! ;-)

  43. karen said,

    Realpolitik is all very well, but does it have to be prettied up as principle? Yes, I suppose it does. I suppose it’s all inevitable.

    Would that be a Doctrine, amba?

  44. Maxwell James said,

    San Diego. Lovely place to visit, but I’m only here a day and a half, which takes most of the fun out of it.

  45. amba12 said,

    Ack! It almost takes that long to GET there.

  46. karen said,

    Theo- over at Anchoress’s blog– there is a post about gloating and this little gem:

    “But then, the Vatican weighed in. Speaking as the Church’s official voice, Fr. Frederico Lombardi cautioned believers that a Christian “never rejeoices” at a man’s death.”

    Great minds(yours and Rome’s:0))think alike.

  47. wj said,

    It is, I think, possible to be pleased the bin Laden is gone, without rejoicing — at least as I understand the word rejoice.

    I have no inclination to stand up and cheer, or go out and gather on street corners to celebrate. But I’m glad that a piece of dangerous scum has been removed from the world. I don’t think that removing him will solve all of our problems; merely that it is a step forward.

    I suppose all that makes me guilty of nuance. If so, I’ll live with it. ;-)

  48. amba12 said,

    Even better than getting Osama, they got Osama’s hard drive. Now THAT is striking a more than symbolic blow for national security.

  49. Tim (formerly Theo Boehm) said,

    Thanks, Karen. But I must tell you that, as a good Catholic, I was already well aware of what the Vatican had to say ;-)

    Those verses from Proverbs kept cropping up in various places online, some truly unaccountable, but I thought they represented the root of the matter, and so I quoted them.

    I mainly want to thank Annie, however, for how perfectly she summed up the meaning of that Biblical passage:

    But we should be tending to our own conscience and to the question of how well we actually live the ideals we are willing to kill and die for.

    This, as Annie alluded to, raises the spectre of moral relativism. Moral relativism, as it is commonly understood these days, is not so much a philosophical position as, in fact, an Alinsky-esque tactic to pervert the living of such ideals as would stand in the way of a political power grab. The questioning of how well ideals are lived is NOT meant for sober reflection, but as a means to engulf, entrap and enervate the living of them by the larger society.

    If there is anything positive in the behavior of this country relative to this hard and ultimately sad business, from President Obama to his intelligence and national defense teams, to the skilled and brave military men, down even to the revelers in Times Square, it is that we were NOT debilitated, we were NOT entrapped, we were NOT enervated, but that we stood our ground, and, in the end, finally dealt the foremost evildoer the justice he has so long deserved.

  50. Christopher Diamant said,

    He who lives by the sword……
    as it was written in II Thessalonians 2:2-4; to wit…
    “……..That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    4 – Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the House of God, shewing himself that he is God. …”
    Thus our friend Osama who judged the West and then carried out this spurious judgment has now reaped what he sowed; but more importantly it is the fact that those deceived by our Saudi Arabian Mahdi now see that is was said thus about those who take vengeance into their own hands:

    “Vengenace is Mine” saith the Lord; “I will repay”

    “Mine” is in the possesive here; as “belonging to” or enforced solely “by”….

    Now some have even noticed that Osama bin Laden was not God!

    at the end; all religious fundamentalism runs afoul of what Einstein said: “Everything is as simple as it is: but not simpler…” Fundamentalism of every stripe thus fails the acid test of this simple aphorism….

  51. Christopher Diamant said,

    as I once wrote when copying down what my husband’s servant John once told me:

    “….As of the peacemeakers being blessed as being called ” the children of the Most High ” it is because their principle is seen clearly in their practice: they will die for peace: but they will not kill for it…”

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