Linux, politics, and other interesting things
After almost 10 years the Americans finally found Osama bin Laden, unfortunately they were unable to take him alive. The Reid Report has a good summary of what happened .
Sam Varghese wrote an interesting analysis of the political aspects of this event in Pakistan , and he’s a lot less positive about it than most people. Later he wrote about the inconsistencies in the reports, it seems that bin Laden was executed while unarmed . When dealing with someone who is no stranger to suicide attacks and who has stated an intention to never be taken alive it’s not unreasonable to shoot quickly, it’s just a pity that they couldn’t have been honest from the start.
Dr. Pamela Gerloff wrote an insightful article for Psychology Today titled “Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death” . She asks the rhetorical questions “What kind of nation and what kind of species do we want to be? Do we want to become a species that honors life? Do we want to become a species that embodies peace?” and suggests that we should mourn the series of tragedies that led up to this situation and to “feel compassion for anyone who, because of their role in the military or government, American or otherwise, has had to play any role in killing another”.
Daniel R. Hawes wrote an insightful article for Psychology Today that’s quite different from Dr. Gerloff’s article . He is quite glad that bin Laden is dead. But he considers how the people who have lost friends and relatives on 9-11 might feel about this and says that “the shouts and celebratory chants that rang around America today seemed to me to carry a certain element of irreverence for those affected most deeply by the September 11 attacks and the entire military operations that followed”.
To represent the people who are partying now there is a post by Jenny Lind Schmitt that is totally unworthy of a site such as Psychology Today . Jenny told her small children about al Quaeda: “They hate you because you are American. Their god is destruction, and they would kill you, a little child, if they had the chance, just because you are American.” She also describes al Quaeda as “lunatics”. Describing all your enemies as “lunatics” is quite common in general conversation, but it’s not suitable for a web site that discusses psychology (where some respect for people with mental health issues is expected). Teaching children to be bigoted against Islam is a bad thing too. It seems to me that a factor in the violence that comes from the middle-east is a result of women just like her telling their children similar things but with country names and religions switched. Finally some capacity for empathy is required for someone to have any insight into psychology, someone who can’t understand such things can’t be competent to discuss psychology.
In stark contrast to Jenny (who bears an irrational hatred in spite of apparently not having any close connection to the events in question) there is a TED talk by Phyllis Rodriguez (who’s son was killed in the 9-11 attacks) and Aicha el-Wafi (who’s son is in jail for being a member of al Quaeda and was accused of being part of the 9-11 plot) . The two women became friends after 9-11 and work together in the cause of peace. From reading some interviews that Google turned up Aicha seems like a very intelligent woman, I think that the TED talk with her section translated from French to English didn’t seem to show this. Perhaps people who speak French and English would get more from the TED talk than I did. Also perhaps if she gave a talk to a French audience and it was subtitled then the result would be better.
Now of course the less intelligent people on the right-wing are trying to spin this to say that Bush deserves credit for getting bin Laden. The Reid Report has a good analysis of the history of the hunt for bin Laden and it doesn’t make Bush look good . Also the Reid Report has an interesting analysis of the operation to get bin Laden and the possibility for peace now that he’s gone .
LA Times has an article about the use of the name Geronimo as a code-word for bin Laden . But compared to the use of words such as “crusade” and “paladin” by the US armed forces this hardly rates a mention.