Immediately after breaking the news of Osama bin Laden's death to my 8-year-old, who would have heard it from school if I didn't get to him first, he asked the next obvious series of questions: Is he going to hell? (absolutely) and Where is the body? Because dead bodies are what computer game and Nerf-gun obsessed little boys think about. And also grownups who live with 8-year-old boys when they hear that the World's Most Wanted Man has been killed.
My kids are such bad influences on me. I was thinking about that bloody body even before my son was. After my initial reaction of, Shit, of all nights I go to bed at 9 p.m., I just wanted all the details on the corpse. Never mind the major political implications, potential increased terror alerts, and all that really heavy and meaningful analysis stuff. I wanted the pictures, to prove to me and the world that it's really him and he's really dead because, you know, we all are fully qualified to make that pronouncement.
There are no pictures ... yet ... but when I heard that Osama bin Laden's body was NOT smeared with lard and thrown into a hog pen, I was like, huh? They buried him at sea? Isn't that what they do for Navy heroes? A fanatical child-killer does not deserve such a peaceful disposal.
The decision how to dispose of the body was not one considered lightly. The U.S. Forces knew they wanted to be respectful to the Muslim religion, but they also had to make sure they didn't piss off 80 percent of the country who wished his body had been degraded in every way possible before being thrown on a trash heap. They actually went around asking a bunch of Islamic countries if they wanted his body and, shocker! nobody did. "Millions make a pilgrimage to the Osama Shrine every year ..." would not have looked good on the tourism brochure.
So the U.S. decided to just dump the body over the side of boat like fish chum. Which, after consideration, I think is VERY appropriate. The Navy calls a burial at sea "sleeping with the fishes," but in this specific case, I prefer to think of it as "being eaten by fishes." My 8-year-old likes that, too.
The question remains, will this prevent Osama's followers from establishing a shrine at the site of his death near Islamabad? Or at his birthplace? Or at any other location that is even remotely associated with the terrorist leader? Which makes me think that the U.S. needs to sit down at the negotiating table with Pakistan leaders and come up with a way to make sure that won't happen. One idea? A Navy Seals Water Park & Aquarium. I hear the weather is warm over there.
Was burial at sea too kind for Osama bin Laden?
Image via lennyk410/Flickr