04 May 2011

Open Letter to [Names Withheld]

by Frank Turk

Dear [Names Withheld],

This weekend it was released that US Armed forces, under direct orders from President Obama, launched a strike on a compound in Pakistan to kill Usama bin Laden. The report from the White House, and from the President himself, is that the mission was successful and Usama bin Laden is dead.

You have heard this, and now, you doubt it. That is: like a bad paraphrase of a famous figure in the Christian Bible, unless you see the bullet hole in his head and can put your hand in his cranium, you will doubt the reports. Some of you are convinced he died in 2002, and others believe he was dead even before 9/11 – replaced by another man with less gray hair and a larger nose.

Now, from my desk, I say to you: that’s a very complicated religion you have there. I have a better one to offer you, but it doesn’t come with photographic evidence, so I doubt you will take it up. Suffice it to say that if you believe in the resurrected Christ and you repent of your sins – your pride, your avarice, your entitlement and self-promotion above the governments God has ordained for this world at this time – you can be saved from your paranoia and your crypto-anarchist tendencies.

That’s not why I’m actually writing. I’m writing about the photos.

Look here: in your view, until you personally see the photos, President Obama is a liar. That is: he’s not innocent until proven guilty, he’s guilty until he can produce witnesses to exonerate himself – and that’s easy work, you say, since everyone involved works for him. Just the photos, since the body is in a watery Sheol to prevent its exhumation per Sharia law, and we can call it even.

As you have read on twitter, I’m agin’ it, and I wanted to tell you why.

Back when Jesus was telling people that he would have to die at the hands of the Romans and the Jews, they did something called “crucifixion”. It was a practice so vile that even the Romans hated to write about it – and they wrote about everything. Yet they continued the practice for one purpose only: to make the point that Rome was not to be dallied with, and that those who were so stupid to do so would not just be killed, but would be put on display as a monument to their own stupidity for the sake of warning off others.

And that, it seems to me, is the executive logic behind releasing the Usama death photos: proving that we did it, and that you do not mess with Texas. Or Honolulu, as the case may be. From your desk, the reason is also to prove (to you personally, since you are the most important person we’re talking about) that the Government didn’t lie to you about violating the sovereign space of an ally for the sake of destroying a man who was (allegedly, in your view) leading an effort of mayhem and terror against the United States in particular and Western Civilization in general.

But there’s the thing: Western Civilization.

You know: as I’m typing this, I am in an airport waiting to board to go home from a business trip. Thank God, but I did not have to be virtually strip-searched at either point of entry, and somehow someone named “Turk” doesn’t raise any questions to the TSA about whether he is hiding a weapon where the sun don’t shine so I also was not given the enhanced pat-down. But in 3 weeks I’m taking my family to SoCal, and we will likely be subject to that treatment at at least one point of entry to the national airport system – me, my wife, and my two kids under the age of 12. I get all of Phil’s tweets about how vile it is that our government is treating innocent citizens like criminals for the alleged sake of containing air terror – but I can hate the game without inventing a whole MMORPG of planning and intention which causes me to abandon the principles of Western Civilization.

If what is actually at stake here is our culture and our values, then let’s distinguish war from not-war (and “not-war” is not necessarily “peace”; for example, “not-war” could be “legitimate civil debate” – it could be “pragmatic misalignment”) and approach what is not-war with the right set of categories which preserve the ways and means of Western Civilization.

So to that end, are we at the point where we are revisiting the logic of crucifixion as a deterrent to violence against our citizens? If the answer is “no,” and we can see the western logic of disposing of Usama’s body in the ocean, then maybe we should follow our western logic to its conclusion – and let crazy people who have no body to produce pretend that absence is the same as invincibility and immortality, and let them promote Usama to the Imam in the well for all we care: the fact that the live in a delusion should not cause us to allow them to dictate the way we will run our non-war civilization.

And I don’t want to be the one to point this out to you, but I’m sure you can remember the death of Nick Berg in 2004. His beheading was videotaped by those who were conducting Jihad against, well, us at that time, and their point was exactly: this is what you get when you mess with Jihadists. In fact, this is what you get when you are kidnapped by Jihadists, and when they are running things as well. That is: this is the civilization they want you to embrace.

Now, given that they did do this to Mr. Berg, if we therefore say, “We’ll see your kidnapped and helpless victim and raise you your number one guy in his house on a Sunday night, [gamer expletive omitted]. And here are our pictures,” what are we really doing? Are we saying that because we are stronger, we are right? Is that how we want to reason with the Chinese right now?

So my point is that if we’re going to allegedly be defending civilization from lunatics with Scimitars and dreams of nuclear holocaust drawing an invisible priest of God out of the well to usher in the end times, we have to be something other than the exact same guys but with automatic weapons in place of big swords and Lady Gaga or Donald Trump in place of the invisible holy man and Atlantic City or L.A. in place of the well. We have to actually have a civilization worth saving from those maniacs because it is different from what they want.

Do you want something different than what Usama wanted? Are you sure? Because if the only difference is that in your plan Jason Stratham plays you in the movie, and in his plan Jason Stratham plays him in the movie, you both like the same movie – you both want the same thing. You’re just fighting over who gets the credit.

So when the photos do come out – it’s politically inevitable and the only way our president can prolong this into a boost in popularity both here and abroad – ask yourself if that’s what we want to be known for. That’s the visual we want for this stage of western civilization: we rock because we can blow your head off.

I am certain that Caesar would be very proud.


Steve Berven said...

During WW II, Isoroku Yamamoto was shot down after a planned and pre-meditated ambush by a flight of P-38s based on carefully analyzed intelligence. Targeting key leaders and generals in a war is often driven by military necessity.

That said, I agree that dancing in the streets like the Palestinians did after 9/11 isn't the right answer either. Killing the bad guys is sometimes required, but it should never be treated as a game. More of a grim and terrible responsibility.

We can't claim the moral hig-hground if we are going to show that kind of morbid glee.

John N said...

I live across the Pacific so I should probably refrain from commenting on your domestic affairs, but we got dragged (by our previous administration) into this ‘war on terror’ as your ally, so pardon my interference.

We rock because we can blow your head off Not only that but the first picture was a fake, he didn’t really hide behind his wife after all but she lunged at us, oh… and he also happened to be unarmed, but we are heroes anyway.

Tom Chantry said...

I was going to disagree with this letter. I had my arguments all lined up and ready to shred your letter.

Then I read it.

It's amazing how that works sometimes. This letter made a very focused point. It doesn't make all the perhaps-related points that others are making. I wonder if anyone will address the point of this letter? History and the first two comments tell me it will not.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Frank.

I am a bit annoyed at the seeming inevitability of the pictures being released. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever for either pictures or video to be released, save for the purpose of gloating to the world. You articulated some of the thoughts that were whirling around aimlessly in my head, much better than I ever could! You've got skillz.

And I will admit that a part of myself does want to see pictures or video of the "take down", to satisfy my desire to relish in revenge. I am ashamed of this.

Stephen said...

Turk's open letters have been a source of blessing and I look forward to many more of his letters.

With reference to the current letter, I offer the following:

Certainly, I sincerely hope that no photographs are produced. It would solve nothing, and only serve to show a lack of magnanimousness on the part of the victor who claims to hold the moral high-ground. (The jubilant scenes outside the White House this week demonstrated a disgraceful lack of magnanimousness and send out a very un-western image of civilization.)

At any rate, the release of photographs would also fail to produce in the hearts of the electorate any increased level of trust in the US administration.

The reason being - this all boils down to one word - "trust"

I have no problem putting my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word without the need to ask for photograph evidence. I do have a difficult time putting my trust in the US administration. This is not because of a lack of photographic evidence, it is, rather, because the track record of the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations - from Monica Lewinsky, WMD, and almost every promise made by Obama - have been sullied by so many lies that one can surely be forgiven (or commended) for exercising caution.

That is not to say that we should refuse to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's ... but it is to recognise that, in doing so, we are not obliged to voluntarily acquiesce to a perceived authority figure's suggestion without critical analysis or sufficient research to understand the ramifications of that decision. Otherwise we open up the potential of becoming guilty of the very thing we condemned the wider German community of doing during the 1930's - blindly following the leader and condemning those who ask awkward questions.

I definitely want something better than the kind of society envisioned by bin Laden and his ilk ... I want the kind of society which the Constitution affords us - a society in which not even Caesar is above the law, and where abuse of trust has consequences.

Anyway, a word of thanks to Turk for opening up a discussion on the matter.

LORD bless.

Robert said...

Excellent, Frank. You captured most of my thoughts on this whole matter of people feeling the need to see a picture.

For me, I am actually trying to remind myself thst this is another lost soul who will now be suffering in hell for eternity. And it isn't like I don't deserve the same fate. So how does it make any sense that I should want to see this? I just read "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" and felt encouraged and strengthened by the images of those dying and being tortured with a sense of strength and peace. I have a feeling that the image of bin Laden being killed would make me restless and uneasy.

Tom Chantry said...

Frank, you make a very compelling argument about the pictures and about gloating, and I think you have convinced me.

For all that, to those who are trying so, so hard not to be happy about the death of a mass murderer and troubler of the world's peace, let me ask you this: Does it disturb you that David in Psalm 58:10 appears to relish the thought of dancing in the shed blood of his enemies?

donsands said...

"Look here: in your view, until you personally see the photos, President Obama is a liar."

He has been known to twist the truth. He is a lawyer/politician/president.

In this case however, it seems clear that the Navy Seals were sent in to take out Bin Laden. Would have been nice to have him captured and brought to justice through a trial, but killing a dangerous man like him isn't so wrong, in my way of thinking.

Excellent well worded post. Good thoughts to think about.

Josherrs said...

Excellent post, Frank. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one.

One point though to everyone. This letter isn't about the reaction of people after the news broke. This is about the releasing of the death photos. Frank is spelling out why the photos shouldn't be released. I agree with you, Frank. Let the conspiracy theorists have their conspiracies. These photos wouldn't convince them anyways.

Also, that first fake photo of Bin Laden was not released by the government. It has been a known fake for a couple of years now and is popular on conspiracy theory websites.

Jamie said...

Thank you.

I must say I was disturbed by your post today as it caused me to really look at what America is as opposed to what the PR we put out about us states. One really has to ask, as you do, if “we actually have a civilization worth saving” and I think the answer must be no…we don’t. This conclusion is reached on at least two fronts, first is the moral decay and reality TV filth (among other degradations) our society is content to wallow in. At the risk of aging myself, at one time MTV actually played music; and yes at the time my parents thought it was of the “debil.” But today, by comparison, I bet they would long to return to the “good ole days.”

Second is that if our society was worth saving God would redeem it as opposed to, or along with, His Church; but I don’t find that in the Scriptures, maybe someone else can. Instead He pronounces judgment upon the wicked, to include Americans, and ushers in His eternal kingdom.

Finally, I was saddened by the display of glee some showed at the announced death of bin Laden. I think it evidenced the trivial approach many view life today. I am certainly glad that Justice was served and that an admittedly mass murderer was finally subjected to that justice. But we must, with sobering remembrance, realize that, according to his own testimony, bin Laden died and immediately open his eyes in Hell; and while the masses cheered with great pleasure, our Lord did not; for He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Muslim or American.

Tim Bertolet said...

I thought I'd be in favor of releasing a cleaned up photo of the body, say once it was back on the Carl Vincent. Something like the cleaned up pictures of Che Guevara's remains.

However, I really doubt that releasing the pictures is really going to convince conspiracy theorists. It's funny how many times they'll make claims like "show me the evidence" and then when it stairs them in the face the "evidence" becomes part of the conspiracy.

This post makes some compelling points for not releasing the photos. Much to think about. I think my mind is being changed.

That Crazy Christian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Williams said...


I thank you for your opinion. However, the imagery of a double-tapped Usama does not offend me, and I am neutral as to whether or not they are released. There is far more gruesome imagery in the Psalms and Revelation concerning the demise of various evildoers who rebel against God.

Reckon why we had to know that Agag was hacked all to pieces rather than simply offed by Samuel? Or that the fat guy that Ehud killed gut the sword shoved in so far that the fat swallowed it up? I could give a boatload of prooftexts of the gory imagery, and I'm sure a few spring to your mind. Why, do you suppose, are those images included in Scripture?

Appealing to "Western Civilization" is not a good move for me, I know too much about Western Civ.

David Regier said...

How much did the Trilateral Commission pay you to write this?

Strong Tower said...

Gotta change a couple of fluorescent tubes at the church.

s.driesner said...

Frank, thank you for this letter -- it has helped clarify some of the conflicting thoughts I had about this issue.

My private wish had been to see the photos, mainly because I (like other commenters) do not trust this administration, but in that same vein I did not want them to be widely available, because it would violate the very principles you are defending in this letter.

What I do realize now is that my desire to see the "irrefutable" proof of UBL's death is much like how those who deny the resurrection of Jesus continue to require increasing levels of proof beyond that which we already possess.

The evidence we have of Jesus' resurrection is not photographic, but rather is circumstantial (eyewitnesses willing to go to their deaths to proclaim his resurrection, the empty tomb, the gospel narratives themselves, etc.) and also spiritual (i.e. the transformative power of faith in Christ demonstrated in countless ways in the lives of believers, including me, throughout the centuries). What I just said barely scratches the surface of all the reasons why Jesus' resurrection is an irrefutable fact of history, but even so, the truth of Jesus' resurrection is only irrefutable to those with eyes to see, and there will always be those who refuse to believe.

As Chuck Colson has pointed out, for the disciples to have pulled off a hoax portraying Jesus to have been raised from the dead, when they knew full well that He had not -- even being willing to go to their graves to perpetuate the lie -- is simply not credible or possible.

Regardless of how much I mistrust this administration or even how much they have struggled to get their story straight as to exactly how UBL was killed, to pull off a hoax of this magnitude is simply not possible. It would require all the men on the boat from which he was buried at sea to be in on the hoax, as well as every single person who had any personal contact with the body or was associated with the military team that performed the black op. I simply don't see the Obama administration being capable of such deception, nor should they have any interest in perpetuating such a thing, nor should I be so perversely mistrustful as to require any more proof than has already been given.

semijohn said...

The thing I have to ask about Bin Laden is whether I actually prayed for his salvation? I can't be 100% sure that I never did, but the fact that I can't remember makes the point that if I did it was a very isolated instance and that I probably did not. It would have been better that he repented not just of his violence, but became a Christian.

s.driesner said...

@Tom Chantry,

Regarding Psalm 58:10 ...

"The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked." (ESV translation)

I'm not sure David is saying that David alone will rejoice in the shed blood of his enemies, rather the righteous (and who is righteous but God alone and those to whom he imputes righteousness through faith, including David) will rejoice in seeing the vengeance (for what? against the evil deeds of the wicked referenced earlier in the Psalm). I believe what is being referred to is the last judgment in which God will tread the winepress of the fury of the His wrath (see Rev. 19:15, also Isaiah 63:3, which parallel this passage). It is in this last judgement that wickedness will finally be put away from the universe, and God will take joy and pleasure in doing so, and His righteous ones will glory in the demonstration of His righteous judgment in that day, as well as in the grace God showed them in sparing them from this judgment via the salvation wrought for them on the cross.

It is no contradiction for God to take no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ez. 18:23), yet for Him also to take pleasure in His ultimate glorification through exacting His righteous wrath against all wickedness in the last judgement, even the staining of His garments with the blood of the wicked.

It is in that context that I interpret Psalm 58:10. I hope that's clear enough.

Frank Turk said...

Something to consider:

The total number of people who will be soteriologically saved by the advance of the Gospel through the use of SEAL Team 6 will be exactly ZERO.

So when we're talking about the use of SEAL Team 6, and whether or not they accomplished some mission, we are not talking about the Gospel. We are talking about our nation and our (secular, common) way of life. My prayer to that end is that we can lead a quite life, work with our hands, and be neighbors who do not make our neighbors worry about the property values.

Tom Chantry said...

I agree about the ultimate point of the Psalm, but I also think we must admit that God's justice has a temporal, earthly aspect, and that our imperfect presidents are ministers of that judgement. Is there then no place for rejoicing?

Brad Williams said...

If releasing the photos of a dead Bin Laden is for the purpose of proving his death to conspiracy theorists, it is folly. If it is to point out that this is what happens to people who blow up, maim, and injure our people, then there may be a place for it. It may not be the gospel, but it can be a pretty heavy dose of general revelation.

I'm not relishing this man's death. I do not care to see his death photos. But there is a reason that God left Jerusalem in a heap of ruins for all to see. "Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes" (2 Chron. 29:8).

stratagem said...

Releasing photos (or not) doesn't change what we did, only how much we want to document it. So either what we did to OBL was justified, or what we did was wrong. I can't tell how you feel about that central issue, by reading this article.

Frank Turk said...

I think that, in a complicated modern world, what the US did was right. In the same way, btw, that executing prisoners who receive a capital sentence and die as punishment, the US action was a justifed action. Usama was a lawless man, and he received the consequences of being a lawless man.

But if we are justified to execute a criminal, are we justified to show the world pictures of what we did? See: I think the Bible says that crucifixion as a punishment for lawless men is totally justified. Anyone who wants to argue about that should read what the good theif on the cross says about what is happening to himself, or re-read Rom 13 as Paul's description of Roman political authority. The question is not, "is capital punishment justified?" and it is not "is war against a lawless man justified?"

The question is: are we people who think that we should make a PR event out of the necessary means of war? Should we build our reputation and the world's view of our civilization on that? How does that help us encourage civilizations who are less-serious about economic freedom to join us in something that makes everyone's lives ultimately, materially better?

stratagem said...

I think the fact that there has been a reluctance to release the photos shows that we are not interested in releasing them for PR reasons, but instead, because there are people (mostly overseas) who don't believe he's dead. If they are released, there will be a smaller number of people who don't believe he is dead. (You know, like Elvis).
The hope would be that some folk, thus convinced that OBL's actions led to his violent death and Allah didn't save him, might conclude "hey, maybe this terrorist thing isn't all it's cracked up to be."

Paula said...

"Now, given that they did do this to Mr. Berg, if we therefore say, “We’ll see your kidnapped and helpless victim and raise you your number one guy in his house on a Sunday night, [gamer expletive omitted]. And here are our pictures,” what are we really doing? Are we saying that because we are stronger, we are right? Is that how we want to reason with the Chinese right now?

I get what you're saying and agree with much of it, but there's a little too much moral equivalence here for my comfort. Releasing carefully selected photos of a deceased terrorist is not nearly morally equivalent to a videotaped beheading. The fact that we are even having this debate sets us apart from those who gleefully drag corpses from cars and hang them from bridges. I just cannot make that jump with you.

I think the decision needs to be based solely on what would be best for our National security. Will releasing the photos make us more or less safe?

On the one hand, the pics could be a great marketing tool for the terrorists and mobs in the Arab world (and Cindy Sheehand). You know, the same chronically PMS'ing people who get their knickers in a twist about the burning of a Koran by some obscure fake pastor in Florida.

On the other hand, it may have the effect of throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz. The flying monkeys, who lived in fear of the Witch, immediately changed their allegiance to Dorothy et al.

One positive outcome I see if the photos are released is that the conspiracy theorists will finally give poor Elvis a break. bin Laden can start hanging out at the IHOP's and Waffle Houses so Elvis can finally rest in peace.

donsands said...

"are we people who think that we should make a PR event out of the necessary means of war?"

This is where politics comes in on both sides.

I know when I talk with some of the veterens of WWII they really don't want to talk about the cruelty of the war they had to fight in. I spoke with a wonderful man, who was on Iwo Jima, and he remembered a friend of his being cut down right in front of him. he then pulled a hankerchief from his jeans pocket as he begain to weep. I was honored to talk with this man, who said he was a Christian.

Principles are a thing of the past. may we find our way back.

Frank Turk said...

Paula --

I note and accept your question regarding moral equivalence. Keep in mind that Nick Berg was, under Sharia law, an invader and de facto enemy waging war on Islam -- from the Jihadi point of view.

So while we may reject their idea of what deserves the death penalty, the question is this: are the mortal consequences of being an enemy of our way of life what we want the rest of the world to judge us by?

It may be entirely justified to say that murdering a hostage is not the moral equivalent of killing a terrorist -- even when he is not actively engaged in an act of terror. The question is really about how we view the acts of justice carried out by our armed forces. Are they a spectacle, or are they a necessary but final consequence of going to war against us?

D. C. said...

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the White House will not release a photo of Osama bin Laden's body.

Obama made the remarks during an interview Wednesday with CBS' "60 Minutes."

The White House had been weighing the release of a photo, in part to offer proof that bin Laden was killed during a raid on his compound early Monday. However, officials had cautioned that the photo was gruesome and could be inflammatory.

U.S. forces stormed the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was hiding, then shot and killed the al-Qaida leader.

Frank Turk said...

Strat --

I actually read an interesting piece on-line about the chatter in Jihadi internet circles, and the problem is not disbelief that he is dead: it is to what extent they think he should be seen as a martyr.

Releasing the pictures will ultimately just fan the flames of his martyrdom. Ignominy and silence will better serve the cause of demythologizing Usama.

Paula said...

I feel the need to revise my comment a bit as I've been thinking about it some more. I said,

I think the decision needs to be based solely on what would be best for our National security. Will releasing the photos make us more or less safe?

That's a pretty slippery slope, isn't it? Under that standard, any kind of torture would be permissible if it makes us safer, as would weapons of mass destruction.

The decision should be based on whether it makes us safer and whether it is morally right to do so. I'm open to hearing an argument for why it would be morally right or wrong to release the photos.

As Frank said, (though the president has now announced he will not release the photos) the photos will get out, eventually. Either The Hounds of Trump Tower or the Wiki-Leaker will make sure that happens. So at this point, it's merely an academic discussion anyway.

Frank Turk said...

Live link to the story:

Obama not to release pctures of Usama.

Frank Turk said...

I think that when some leaker gets the photos out (undoubtedly for money), at least we as a people will not be guilty of having a nation which does this as a policy. We will be, like all nations, victims of the worst among us.

Phil Johnson said...


Frank Turk said...

Let me try that link again:

Obama not to release Usama photos

Paula said...

Not so sure about that. Did those who murdered U.N. workers separate Terry Jones from the U.S.? Just the opposite. They went after anyone who did not look like them.

"Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offense; benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop, so that they may be relished the more. Machiavelli

Would it be better to just pull the Band-aid off now? Really, I'm not arguing for the release of the pictures. I'm glad I don't have to make the decision. It's a good reminder to pray for our leaders. Pray that the decision won't be a political one and that God will put wise leaders in places of influence who will inform this policy.

donsands said...

I see it as a good thing not to make a martyr by showing this man's dead body. Good move by the White House. Man, it's difficult to say good and White House in the same sentence.

the phantom of the bookstore said...

At the risk of distracting from the sobriety of this discussion:

I was shocked not to see a single reference to the Costco Frozen Meat Chub.

Sir Aaron said...

I know a lot of people think that releasing the photos will just fan the flames of radical Islam. My opinion, is that just belies the ignorance of our understanding of jihad. That's like saying you'll make an out of control forest fire worse by blowing on it. The photos are all about us and our nature, as Frank expressed in our post. Either we are people who think it is appropriate to display heads on pikes or we're not.

Also, this joyous celebration reminds me of a running back who scores on a magnificent run, breaks out in a wild celebratory dance, and then walks back to the sideline with his team down 35-7. And that's exactly how I see our present situation.

Jeff said...

It seems to be a matter of deterrance as opposed to glee. Similar to Naval ships (from western, 'civilized' nations)hoisting up on a pike the severed head of the pirate leader they had just killed. Similar to the story recounted in Genesis when God commands Abraham to tear apart pieces of animals and line them up on the road for a covenant ceremony. This was a picture(or example) of what would happen to the party which broke the covenant. I do support the release of the photos not to gloat, but as a matter of warning and deterrance. The civil authority, instituted by God, will wield its sword in this way, should you harm its citizens.

Eric said...

Sir Aaron,

How do you manage to see the U.S. as being analogously "down 35-7" to terrorists who would like to strike at our nation every day of the year if they could? We're not only loosing, but we're getting blown out? Exactly how many terrorists attacks have occurred in the U.S. since 9/11? Although I don't like the protracted nature of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and I don't like TSA techniques too much, I can't see those circumstances as indicative of the U.S. being "down 35-7" to the terrorists.

Sir Aaron said...

@Jeff: I think that is a legitimate point of discussion. But again, we have to decide whether (a) that's likely to have the effect (b) whether it necessar to do that to achieve that effect, and (c) whether we think it is morally right to do so.

@Eric: That the winning team desires to score on every possession and hasn't does mean the losing team has had some success. Nonetheless, it's still losing 35-7.

Sir Aaron said...

@Eric: Sorry, but I consider the attack at the military base by a Muslim soldier to be a terrorist attack. I consider the failed car bombing in New York to be a failed terrorist attack. If you were to consider just terrorist attacks in the US, we weren't doing terrible before 9/11 either. Meanwhile, we've spent inordinate amounts of money and gained practically nothing but to temporarily prevent the opponent from scoring. I'll grant you, part of the problem is our own weakness caused by secularism.

Chris Nelson said...

Esther 9.

Chris Nelson said...

There are at least two biblical holy days based on the slaughter of evil people. The Passover and Purim.

Chris Nelson said...

Celebrate OBL's destruction like the Hebrews were commanded to celebrate the Passover and the saints are going to celebrate in Rev. 19:1-4 when a great evil(and lots of evil people)is destroyed.

Frank Turk said...

Hi Chris:

The significant error in your reasoning is that a victory over terrorism is not the same as God delivering His people from bondage in fulfillment of prophecy.

If you think it is, I think you need to re-read your Bible.

I don't have any problem with seeing this victory as a victory. I have a very significant problem with turning this victory into martial torture porn.

Frank Turk said...


You confuse the acts of religiously-addled men (which were legitimately terrorism) with acts of Al Qaida. It does harm to you overall reasoning.

Sir Aaron said...

@Frank: you'll have to be more specific. The New York car bomber guy went to Pakistan and trained there. The underwear bomber, which I did not mention, was shown in an Al Qaeda training video.

And the rest of them were either members or sympathizers of the worst kind.

John N said...

May I offer some comments as an antipodean observer of your culture?

Many of us watching America from the outside, see a sensationalistic culture (thank Hollywood I guess). The desire for the release of pictures is perhaps part of that cultural trait and for the relatives of 9/11 victims perhaps a sense of closure.

I think your president followed the right advice in not making the pics public. Firstly to demythologize the legend and secondly for the reasons Frank pointed out. Sadly this is not going to stop revenge as you know, it’s just a matter of wait and see now.

So Frank, since you’re a seasoned globe trotter you may wanna tweak your name a little to Franco Turko perhaps and if you get stopped, just say “me no speak English…me love kebabs and falafel” :)

B said...

repent of your sins – your pride, your avarice, your entitlement and self-promotion above the governments God has ordained for this world at this time – you can be saved from your paranoia and your crypto-anarchist tendencies.

repent of self-promotion above government? are you aware of the founding of the country? do you object to it?

this is immature Christian thought.

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard when it will be safe to eat seafood again?

Sir Aaron said...


It's ok. Just stay away from the shrimp. ;)

Frank Turk said...

"B" -

You're saying that mature christians don't object to political idolatry?

I disagree.

B said...

just clarifying-
it seemed you were saying that we individuals should not seek to promote self over the government God has ordained, i.e. question those in government by demanding photo evidence.
the founding of our country was executed by men of much greater faith than you and I. they so rejected their government that they killed anyone and everyone associated with the crown so that they might gain their freedom. did they reject what God had ordained?

Sir Aaron said...

Just a small side point. The founding fathers argued intensely over the issue of independence. And they did not kill "anyone and everyone" associated with the crown.

donsands said...

"they so rejected their government that they killed anyone and everyone associated with the crown so that they might gain their freedom."

They fought back. That's my history knowledge, which isn't too deep.

Not sure if the Revolution was God ordained. Although He ordains all things in the sense that a sparrow can not fall to the ground unless it is our Father's will.

Frank Turk said...

"they so rejected their government that they killed anyone and everyone associated with the crown so that they might gain their freedom" is not a small side point. It is the dumbest thing said on this subject in 200 years.

It is exactly what I am decrying, and exactly the kind of idolatry which causes people to think that legitimate authorities are first beholden to "me personally" before they can make a decision.

Hillbilly Geek said...

Guys: and I missing something, or is Rom 13:4 not relevant:
"But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
I am not rejoicing that a man no longer has a chance to repent and be saved, but that an evil man, and a danger to our safety has been removed.
As far as morbid glee, as usual, the ones furthest from the action are whooping and hollering the loudest. I'm sure there are high-fiving and hoo-rahs amongst the strike team, but they are earned, IMHO.

Hillbilly Geek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

With respect, brother, yes, that is one of the things I would like America to be known for. I am not at all sure this takes the jihadis as seriously as they ought to be taken.

Frank Turk said...

I think we are getting to the people who are not reading the post.

Sorry guys: there's nothing in this post which says one word against being grateful, relieved or otherwise politically-satisfied that Usama is dead. This post is about what kind of civilization we are, and whether or not we want to be that same civilization when we are finished opposing lawless and vicious men.

Paula said...

Frank said, "This post is about what kind of civilization we are, and whether or not we want to be that same civilization when we are finished opposing lawless and vicious men.

Drudge reminded me last night that this same president who promised to release a couple thousand pictures of alleged torture by U.S. troops. He backed down after his generals in Iraq and Afghanistan told him it would put the troops in danger:

""The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals. In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger."

So at least he's being consistent (whether or not it's his natural inclination to do so).

Solameanie said...

I have to confess some struggle with this question. I can remember over the years seeing the pictures of Mussolini's body hanging in public, the body of Adolf Hitler after he had committed suicide, the bodies of Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering etc. Historically in America, executions used to be carried out publicly and sometimes were quite the spectacle. The supposed idea behind doing so was to send the message that "this is the end result of evil and crime." I can understand that idea and have some sympathy with it. "Sending a warning to our enemies" etc.

However, given today's spectacle-driven, reality television-obsessed culture, I am afraid that all release of the photos would do is feed some kind of sick voyeurism. As for radical Muslims, they don't need provocation. They kill and take to the streets yelling and screaming just for kicks. I am more concerned with our own state of mind in this country. Very concerned.

This might seem like an odd connection of thought, but remember the scene depicted by the Apostle John in Revelation, i.e. how those experiencing the deserved judgments of God shook their fists at Him instead of bowing their knees in repentance? I think that is precisely where our culture is at, and I don't want to feed the cancer.

Phil said...

David had the head of Goliath in his feasting hall. I think you ought to write an open letter to him as well. "Dear King David- is this really the kind of society you want to have?!?!"

Wade C. Davis said...

I am going to be the odd ball of this bunch.

I want to see the photos but please here me out before you automatically assume I'm a fanatical conspiracy theorist that thinks he sees black helicopters every night before he goes to bed. Frank, I hope it wasn't your intention to imply that it is only wacko conspiracy theorists that are crazy enough to want to see the photos.

I will admit that I was so shocked at the news of Bin Laden's death that I did initially have doubt. My doubt, however, is not the same as the doubt that atheists have when they reject the Gospel of Christ. The difference is that the Gospel has never changed. The Gospel that we have today is the same as the Gospel that was proclaimed by the Apostles. This administration, however, can't say that their reiteration of what happened in regards to killing Bin Laden has never changed, can they?

The Gospel of Christ is filled with eyewitnesses that not only viewed Christ's miracles but also saw Him walk the earth after He had been crucified. Our administration in office has no such external eyewitnesses, do they?

I'm not here, however, to trash Obama and I'm not here to bash Bush. It is, however, an unfortunate reality in life that we live in a fallen world. It is because we live in a fallen world that our governments that we have in this world, irrespective of being God ordained, are corrupt because they are administered by fallen men. Governments need to be held to accountability, even the U.S. Government. I believe that Bin Laden is dead and it's not because I have been presented with overwhelming evidence as produced by our Government. It is because we would have to be idiots of a grand scale to think that we could come out and lie about such a thing if it weren't true. If we didn't kill Bin Laden, there is too much of a risk that he could someday come out with a video and say, "Look at the liars that the U.S. are because they said they killed me and yet I live!"

I want to see the photos because I have a right to see them. I am an American citizen. These photos were obtained by the Federal Government and because of this I have a right under the Freedom of Information Act to acquire such information so long as said information is not deemed classified.

Obama can't classify this information simply because he wants to do so. He has to have a reason. If his reason is because he doesn't want to put our troops in harm's way then his argument is fallacious. Our troops safety was put in harm's way when we killed Bin Laden and we are in denial if we reject this premise. Not releasing photos because we don't want to incite radicals that will avenge Bin Laden is the equivalent of saying that after I punched you in the nose, I refrained from calling you a big dummy because I didn't want to make you mad. Didn't I make you mad when I punched you in the nose?

To say that we can't release photos because to do so is the equivalent of thumping our chests and we don't want to set this precedent isn't exactly academically honest. Photos are like guns. These photos aren't intrinsically evil, it is what you do with them that makes them good or bad. These photos can be used to exhibit our might, and in your opinion, this would be wrong. These photos, however, could be used to illustrate the tragedy that lost souls bring upon themselves when they earn the wages of sin that results in death - both physically and spiritually.

To say that these pictures are going to be used in propaganda and for this reason we should not release them is naiveté. Al qaeda operates the same as the mafia. They go into towns with money and visit less fortunate people. They will go into homes and give a widow groceries and money to get clean water, etc. The young boys in said towns that see this view them as heros. With this in mind, they naturally want to be a part of Al qaeda someday.

Frank Turk said...

In spite of him being completely wrong, I'm choosing to let Wade's words be the final words under this post.

Thread is closed.