Dear Westbankmama

Dear Westbankmama,

We have requested assistance from some etiquette experts as to our Bin Laden problem, but for some inexplicable reason we have not received an answer. Therefore we chose to write to you, as you live in an area where you unfortunately have much experience with delicate matters of this sort. Can you help us? We are so very confused about the right thing to do. As you know we debated about what to do with the deceased, and came up with a solution that we thought was both practical and, frankly, elegant. Now we don’t know how to deal with the public relations aspect. Can you please give us some advice?

Wondering in Washington

Dear Wondering,

Gentle reader, please note that as admirable as it is to try to apply the rules of etiquette to all situations, dealing with an arch terrorist that killed nearly 3,000 of your citizens and threatened to kill more is not one of them.

As to your “public relations” problem, I am genuinely confused. What exactly is the message that you want to project and to whom? If you are concerned about appearing polite and sensitive to the terrorist himself and to his friends, then shooting the individual in question was certainly not the way to go about it. If you want to appear strong and deter other terrorists from killing Americans, then excessively worrying about how to treat the resulting body sends the wrong message.

As to the message you want to convey to the American people, I must say that so far it has been a complete muddle. Perhaps you should learn from the Israelis, who don’t publicize operations of this sort until weeks, and sometimes months afterwards, so that they can protect their intelligence sources. In addition, when they do come out with details, they are consistent, having given the experts time to debrief those involved in order to get the complete picture and all of the facts straight.

As to your current dilemma about publishing the picture of Bin Laden’s body, think of it this way. In the past an enemy’s head would be cut off and placed on a spike in front of the castle. Admittedly this was somewhat messy and malodorous, but surprisingly effective at convincing the public that the enemy was indeed gone.  By publishing the picture you will be able to do the same thing, in a more hygienic way. This will help many people achieve what is currently called “closure”. The victims’ families will know that the terrorist is actually dead. The terrorist’s friends and families will know that he is actually dead. And the American people will know that he is actually dead – saving quite a lot of time in mulling unnecessary conspiracy theories.

If the liberals are shocked and dismayed at the picture, then tell them to use a simple imaginatory exercise. Ask them to imagine that it is not Bin Laden they are looking at, but Sarah Palin (who I sincerely love dearly, and am sure that if she were in your position she would not be wasting my time asking silly questions!). Your liberals will undoubtadly calm down right away.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    May 05, 2011 @ 18:25:41

    As stated so nicely at, Bin Laden’s body was treated with respcet to protect OUR dignity, not his. The same goes for not releasing grisly photos of the body.

  2. westbankmama
    May 06, 2011 @ 06:14:30

    Susan – dealing with terrorists is a bloody, dangerous, and serious business. Worrying about our “dignity” is not a priority. We here in Israel have a lot more experience with this, since unfortunately the terrorists are constantly trying to kill us, and sometimes are successful. Deterrance can save lives. Worrying too much about how things look just shows weakness and invites further terror.

  3. Susan
    May 06, 2011 @ 17:51:21

    It is terribly sad to see you have given up on the important Jewish value of human dignity, and the dignity with which we treat the dead. If we give up on our highest values, then the terrorists have won. It cost us nothing to take the high ground by treating Bin Laden’s body with dignity, and we gained much be retaining our values. I am sorry you seem unable to see this.

  4. Ben David
    May 08, 2011 @ 07:21:47

    Susan – nobody has given up on any Jewish values.
    What have have done is become weary of constantly shifting, agenda-driven hand-wringing by “progressives” that masquerades as morality.

    In fact, we lose a lot by not displaying those pictures – we lose deterrence, and we lose a lot of fence-sitting Arabs who will now be swayed by conspiracy theories, which abound in this paranoid corner of the world.

    When it suits their pacifist political positions, this administration and other “progressives” have pushed for the publication of much more gore than this – under the banner of “the public’s right to know what war is really like.”

    This is not morality – but politically-motivated folderol. For comparison, here is what a REAL Jewish moral reckoning looks like:

    Murderers forfeit their claim to “human dignity” when they take up arms against innocents. This is an explicit verse in our Torah:

    Exodus 22:1 – If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten so that he dieth, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.

    – and confirmed by the Talmudic ruling: If one comes to kill you – rise up earlier and kill them.

    Bin Laden lost his claim to “dignity” when he devoted himself to mass murder.

    Publicizing his death can only reduce future deaths of innocents.

  5. Balabusta in Blue Jeans
    May 12, 2011 @ 04:26:41

    The problem isn’t the liberals, the problem is the blindly anti-Obama ‘conservatives’, who appear to have lost their collective minds over this, since the idea that a man they despise brought America’s greatest enemy to justice seems to hurt them so badly that they can’t feel any pleasure in Bin Laden being gone.

    And no, liberals do not want to see pictures of Sarah Palin dead. She is a whiny, ignorant, self-promoter, but she is not a criminal, and should live a long happy life. One where, hopefully, she learns that it is polite when you thank everyone involved in Bin Laden’s death to give the president who gave the kill order a little shout-out.

  6. Shimshonit
    May 12, 2011 @ 21:02:31

    Is the issue of treating bin Laden’s corpse with dignity (he was buried at sea) the same as treating his memory with dignity (by not publishing photos of his shot-up carcass)? I’m not sure that they are the same. The fact is, burying him at sea WAS treating him with dignity, while denying his worshipers the opportunity to make his burial place into a shrine. The debate over publishing photos of him in death is a separate issue, and I think Ben David brings up some interesting points about that. I am personally doubtful about deterrent value, and more impressed by the argument that it would deter conspiracy theories about him.

  7. Trackback: Killer questions « Shimshonit
  8. Andrea
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 08:39:45

    I see there are some far left liberals responding to the death of OBL. You can tell they are liberals because liberals want to “feel.” They want to feel good about things because it makes them feel good about themselves. And when they are unable to pose an argument or an actual debate, they name call as we see from blue jeans, whatever. You see in the U.S. there is a real culture clash.

    If a conservative doesn’t want a gun, they don’t buy one. But if a liberal doesn’t want a gun, they will work (very hard) to ban all guns. If a conservative is a vegetarian, he/she doesn’t eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone (and the toys in the Happy Meals). If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, they turn the channel, but the liberal wants the station shut down. A conservative takes care of themselves and helps others, the liberal waits for the government to take care of them and becomes a permanent victim. The liberal thinks anything he/she wants is a right. The conservative knows that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No one guarantees the outcome. Liberals have no idea what to do when they run out of other people’s money to spend on their wants (so they can feel good). You get the picture.

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